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and have a most comfortable view of the eternal inheritance: and, blessed be God, I have had many sweet foretastes of it; but Satan and my own unbe lieving heart have often robbed me of my peace and comfort; indeed at times I have been sorely tempted to believe that I had neither part nor lot in the matter. I see the testament is well confirmed, and the inheritance richly secured, being witnessed by the eternal Three-ratified by the sevenfold seal of heaven and enjoined to us, with all its saving benefits, by the blood of the Son of God. And I am fully persuaded that, as the covenant is confirmed, “no man disannulleth or addeth thereto,” Gal. iii. 15. But I have often doubted of my right and title, and whether my evidences are real or not.
. Cushi. The eternal inheritance is handed down to us in an unconditional promise; and, as God is called a believer's “ portion,” so a believer is called “an heir of God;" and, as the portion is held forth to us in a promise, so a believer is called “ an heir of promise,” to whom the inheritance is confirmed by oath, Heb. vi. 17. And the testament also is called “ the covenant of promise,” Eph. ii. 12.
That which gives a man a right and title to it, in the first place, is the free invitation and promise of God: “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely,” Rev. xxii. 17. There is the invitation: “And he that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,". John vi. 37. There is the promise to the coming heir.
Secondly. That which makes manifest our sonship and heirship is the grace of faith: “ For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus,” Gal. iii. 26. The appropriating act of faith is called
receiving the promises, and receiving Christ Jesus the Lord, Col. ii. 6. They are both the same; for, if we receive the promises, the Lord is our portion held forth in the promise; and when it is called receiving the Lord, it is the same; for all the promises are in him yea and amen.
Believing on the name of Christ for life and salvation is called receiving of him:“ He came to his own, but his own received him not; but to as many as did receive him, to them gave he power (or privilege] to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name,” John i. 12. Thus you see that the privilege of sonship and heirship is made manifest to us by faith; and faith ventures upon a divine grant.
Faith is likewise called a substance, and an evidence: “ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” Heb. xi. 1. That which a believer hopes for is the everlasting enjoyment of his God in heaven; and, as faith leads the mind to Christ, discovers Christ, lays hold of Christ, applies Christ, and gives Christ a dwelling in the heart by faith, (Eph. iii. 17) it is called “ the substance of things hoped for:” and, as the witness of God's Spirit always attends it, impresses the mind with the strongest persuasion, and confirms and ratifies the truth of God to the believing soul, it is called “ the evidence of things not seen.”
To be short; faith is a divine persuasion, a humble confidence, a living fruit, an active grace, a discerning eye, an appropriating hand, and a moving foot. It is born of God; it is a divine substance, not a shadow; a living fruit of the Holy Ghost, not a barren assent; a comfortable assurance of all promised good, and
not a deceiving fancy: - The just live by it; they overcome the world by it: the saints' conflicts are called faith's fight, and their conquests are called faith's victory.
Faith is such a powerful demonstration to the believer's conscience, that, if he were under a strong temptation, and violently beset with unbelief, he dare not deliberately lay his hand on his heart, look his Maker in the face, and say he has neither part nor lot in his great salvation. Faith, as an evidence of things not seen, would gainsay every word of such a rash declaration, bring him in culpable of falsehood, and make him retract every word, even in the court of conscience; and, as Milton says, “ Who against faith and conscience can be heard ? yet many will presume.' The psalmist " said in his heart, All men are liars; but “ He that believeth shall not make haste" in drawing such conclusions, Isa. xxviii. 16; for faith comes in as a deliberate evidence of the truth, and gainsays the whole of it, as may be seen in the Psalmist, “ This is my infirmity."
Ahimaaz. But, if God's grant gives me a right to, and faith secures, the inheritance, as the scriptures that
you have quoted plainly prove, which say that “God gave it to Abraham by promise;" and “if they that are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise of none effect;" and again, for “as many às are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham,” this is plainly demonstrated. But then, why is a man said to obtain a right by doing? “ Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city,” Rev xxii. 14.
Cushi. Take heed that you never expound one scripture to contradict another; for, if you do, you will make a jargon of the sweetest harmony, charge divine rectitude with inconsistency, and the God of order with confusion. Wisdom says, " My mouth shall speak truth, and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge,” Prov. viii. 7-9. Now, to shew you the meaning of the above text, I will grant it you in your own sense, and see how the current of scripture will harmonize with your opinion. We will suppose
that a man in a state of nature never had committed an actual transgression; though God declares that “all have sinned;" yet, for argument sake, we will add to that man abstinence from sin that he has observed every precept of the law externally, and lived exactly by that rule; yet God " has concluded all men in unbelief,” Rom. xi. 32. And what says God of his works ? " Whatsoever is not of faith is sin,” Rom. xiv. 23. Again, “ Without faith it is impossible to please God,” Heb. xi. 6. And what says the Judge himself of such a man? “ He that believeth not shall be damned,” Mark xvi. 16. What says God of his human righteousness ? “Wo to them that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that
add sin to sin," Isa. xxx. 1. The grand points of the law are two; that a man love God with all his heart, and his neighbour as himself: “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Thus you see all the law hangs on the hinge of love. But what says God of
the natural man? Why that “ the carnal mind is enmity against God, it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” Therefore the Holy Ghost concludes, that, “ if a man have all knowledge, and understands all mysteries, and speaks with the tongue of men and angels, and if he gives all his goods to feed the poor, and his body to be burned, and hath not charity, or love, it profiteth him nothing,” i Cor. chap. 13. He is still of the works of the law, and “as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for by the deeds of the law shall no flesh living be justified.” Thus you see that your legal construction upon
that text runs foul of half the word of God. Is not this “ darkening counsel by words without knowledge ?” Job xxxviii. 2. Will not God say of
that ye have not spoken the thing that is right of me?” Job xlii. 8.
Now let me shew you my opinion of that text. What is God's command concerning Christ and his gospel ? The text, you know, mentions doing his commandments. Why he says, “ I will raise them up a prophet' from among their brethren, like unto thee [Moses), and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words, which he shall speak in my name, I will requite it of him,” Deut. xviii. 18, 19. But what says John ? “And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment,” 1 John iii. 23. Now suppose that God should open the door of faith to a man, Acts xiv. 27; and
fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness in him,