Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

my Departure is at Hand. I have fought a good Fight, I have finifhed my Courfe, I have kept the Faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a Crown of Righteoufnefs, which the Lord the righteous Judge fhall give me at that Day; and · not to me only, but unto all them alfo that love his Appearing (q).'

[ocr errors]

(q) 2 Tim, iv. 6-8.

CHAP. V.

How to live by Faith on the Father, Son, and Spirit.

1-8. [1] Particular Directions how to live by Faith on God the Father; § 9-13. [II] and on the Lord Jefus Chrift; § 14-18. [III] and also on the Holy Spirit.

[ocr errors]

A

[ocr errors]

to

MONGST the many particular Cafes belonging to the Life of Faith, which it will be proper to mention, it is of great Importance confider how to live by Faith

on God the Father. He is both the Object of our Knowledge, as revealed in Nature; and of our

Faith,

[ocr errors]

Faith, as revealed in Scripture. This is Life eternal, that we know the only true God (a);' and previous to our believing in Chrift himself, we muft believe in God (b).' Therefore fince it is a principal Part of Faith to know God, and live upon him, and to him, you will not think the following Directions needlefs.See the full and glorious Proofs of the Being of God, in the whole Frame of Nature, especially in your felves. It is Madness to behold the World, and to know what Man is, and yet deny that there is a God. He that will not know what all the World more plainly preaches, than Words can poffibly exprefs, declares himself unteachable.Take the Being and Perfections of God for the greatest, the clearest, and fureft Truths, next to the Knowledge of your own Being. None but the Fool fays in his Heart, there is no God,' or doubts of his divine Attributes (c).

§ 2. Remember that in the prefent State, we can but very imperfectly know God, or Speak concerning him. To fuppofe our Knowledge or Expreffions of God to be perfect, would be finking him to the Condition of a Creature. And yet all Knowledge and Expreffions of God are not therefore falfe or in vain. But we must think and fpeak of him according to the highest Notions we can borrow from the nobleft Parts of his Image; ftill confeffing that they are but borrowed, and that we fee thro' a Glafs darkly,' till we come to fee Face to Face; for when that which is perfect is come, < then that which is in Part fhall be done away (J).'Charge not as erroneous, every different Manner

9

(a) John xvii. 3.
(c) Pfalm xiv. I.

(b) -xiv. 1.
(d) 1 Cor. xiii, 10, 12,

[ocr errors]

Manner of Expression concerning God. For Want of candid Allowances in this Refpect, what direful Effects have the Churches known and felt?

Cherish not a prefumptuous Curiofity as to the fecret Things of God. You will not prefume to fay, that you know the Secrets of your Prince, or the Heart of your Neighbour. Take Heed then of darkening Countel by Words without Knowledge (e).' Know and confider, that the fecret Things belong unto the Lord our God; but thofe Things which are revealed, belong unto us, and to our Children for ever (f).'-Let all your Knowledge of God be practical. If we muft not take God's Name • in vain,' ourThoughts of God ought not to be idle and unprofitable. Our Knowledge and Thoughts of God are of the highest Importance and Efficacy to our own Souls, for renewing them to his holy Image. The Thoughts of his Wifdom muft bring our Souls to abfolute Submiffion to his Will. The Knowledge of his Goodness muft infpire us with fupreme Love to him. The Knowledge of his

Power muft excite our Confidence and Fear. It is a hateful Character, to profefs to know God, but in Works deny him, being abominable and difobedient, and unto every good Work reprobate g). A Thought of God fhould partake of his Omnipotency, and be able to do any Thing upon our Souls. It should annihilate in our View all the Grandeur and Honours of the World, all the Pleafures and Treasures of the Flesh, and all the Power of Temptations. What Fervency in Prayer, what Earnettnefs of Defire, what Confidence of Faith, what

(e) Job xxxviii, 2.

(f) Deut. xxix. 29. (g) Tit. i. 16,

[ocr errors]

what Hatred of Sin, what ardent Love, what tranfporting Joy, what conftant Patience, fhould one ferious Thought of God produce in the believing Soul?

[ocr errors]

§ 3. By Faith yield up your felves to God, and live to him, as your Creator, and abfolute Proprietor. The first and greatest Work of Faith, is to engage us fincerely in a holy Covenant with God, to be unrefervedly his. As he that is dead, is freed from Sin (h);' because a dead Man hath no Faculties to do Evil; fo he that is refigned to God, as his abfolute Proprietor, is freed from Sin; because he hath Nothing which is his own, and therefore hath Nothing to alienate from his Owner. We are not our own,' and therefore must glorify God in our Body, and in our Spirit, which are God's (i).' Faith will derive abundant Comfort from this Relation, fince they that are his by Confent, and not merely by Constraint, fhall undoubtedly be loved and cared for as his own. God will

[ocr errors]

provide for his own, and thofe of his own House;" for if we don't do so, he accounts us' worse than Infidels (k).'- By Faith refign up.yourselves to God, as your Sovereign Ruler, abfolutely refolved to learn, and love, and obey his Laws.' Marriage is not conjugal Fidelity and Duty, but it is a Covenant which obliges to be faithful and obedient. An Oath of Allegiance is not Obedience to the Laws, but it is a covenanting to obey them. The Hiring of a Servant is not doing Service, but it is entering into an Obligation to do it. So Faith is not Obedience itself, but it is engaging ourselves to be obedient.

[blocks in formation]

obedient. It regards the Precepts as well as the Promifes; tho' in Order to his Precepts, it firit of all views God as a King and Ruler.By Faith acknowledge God as your univerfal Benefactor, and live in a Dependance on him. Faith takes every good Thing as a Stream from this inexhaustible Fountain, and as a Token of Love from this Immenfity of Love. Remember that God enlightens you by the Sun, nourishes you by your Food, teaches you by his Minifters, protects you by his Magiftrates, and delights you with your Friends. One Creature gives you what another cannot, but all is from God. All Things' belonging to the Life that now is, and that which is to come;' even

all Things richly to enjoy' are the Gifts of his incomprehenfible Benignity (1).-Diftinguish between these Relations of God to you, but by no Means oppose them to each other. Tho' one of these Relations may at one Time appear more confpicuous, and another at another Time; yet they are all of them harmoniously united in producing the fame Effects. Efpecially let Faith unvail to you the Beauties of divine Goodness. All the Good which God does, he does it from the Goodness of his Nature. Thou art Good, and doeft good. The Lord is good to all (m).' God has not more wonderfully revealed any thing, than his amiable Goodness. For this End he fent his Son in our Flesh, to declare his Love to perifhing Men, and to call them to behold and admire it. As Chrift is the chief Difplay of the Father's Love, fo it is the chief Office of Faith, to fee the Love of God in the Face of Jefus Chrift.

(1) 1 Tim, iv. 8. vi. 17.

E

(m) Pfalm exix, 68, xlv. g:

« ForrigeFortsæt »