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precious faith, is in the faith: and the faithless, the unbelieving, in whom the grace of saving faith has never been wrought by the Holy Spirit, is not in the faith. But I conceive the expression aims at these three things.

1. The elect's peculiarity of this heavenly gift; hence called the faith of God's elect,' Tit. i. 1. It is the peculiar treasure of these happy objects of everlasting love; it is given to none but them; it remains among that blessed party, as a peculiarity of their community. Hence the apostle Peter addressed himself to those to whom he writes, under this character, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us,' 2 Pet. i. 1. There is a fourfold faith mentioned in scripture: An historical faith, that devils partake of, Jam. ii. 19; a faith of miracles, which one may have, and yet want charity, or true saving grace,' 1 Cor. xiii. 2. a temporary faith, which apostates in the end may have had, like the stony-ground hearers, Matth. xiii. 20, 21. But the faith here to be tried, is the faith that unites to Christ, which none have but those ordained to eternal life,' Acts xiii. 48. It is that whereby a sinner receives and embraces Jesus Christ as a Saviour, and relies upon and trusts in him as his Saviour in particular, for the whole of his salvation, and in virtue of which he lives to God. Now, it is every one's concern to try whether he be in this faith or not.


2. The life of faith. The Christian life is indeed the life of faith. Hence Paul says, The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God,? Gal. ii. 20. By Adam's eating the forbidden fruit, mankind were led off from the heavenly life into the life of sense, living to gratify their senses, follow their passions, please the vanity of their minds, and the vileness of their affections. Now, God has by Jesus Christ brought in a new way of heavenly life as the road to happiness; and that is the life of faith. Ye should try whether ye are in · that road or not. The life of sense is indeed a spiritual death see whether ye are in the faith, as in the life, the true life of the soul.


3. The operativeness or efficacy of faith: for faith worketh by love,' Gal. v. 6. Faith lies inwardly, undiscernible to all the world, but to God and the believer him

self. But then it is not a dormant or inactive principle, but spreads its effects outwardly through the whole man. Sound faith works the whole conversation, in every part thereof, into true holiness, brings in an universal respect to the commands of God, and sanctifies the whole man throughout. In vain do they pretend to be possessed of faith, who do not live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. For they to whom God has shewn the good, Christ himself, and have by faith rolled the burden of their salvation upon him, will do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God, as the genuine and neverfailing fruits of true faith. So ye would consider whether ye be in the faith, which is the way to all other good things.

Secondly, I come to shew the weight and importance of this point. There is nothing about you that can possibly be of greater importance for you to know, and to be clear about. It is the head point, on which all that concerns your eternal salvation depends; and that is a matter of the last consequence to every sinner. We must not stay to enumerate the several particulars. But the weight of it will sufficiently appear, if ye consider, that on it depends,

1. Your union with Christ, and saving interest in him. If Christ dwells in you, it is by faith, Eph. iii. 17. This is supposed in the text. We remain branches of the first Adam, without Christ, till we by faith come into him as the true vine. If ye are not in the faith, if ye are not of that household, ye are none of Christ's; ye have no saving interest in him, and so none in his purchase. Ye are yet far from God, strangers to his covenant, and without any

cial relation to him.

2. Your deliverance from the curse of the law, and your absolviture from the sentence of the condemnation ye were born under. Hence the apostle says, Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ,' Rom. v. 1. If you have received remission of sin, it has been by faith. Hence the apostle says, Be it known unto you, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses,' Acts xiii. 38, 39. If ye

are not in the faith, there is not one of all your sins, from the womb to this day, but is sealed up among God's treasures, and will be brought out against you in due time. The curse of the broken law stakes you down under wrath: For he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him,' John iii. 36.

3. Your doing any thing acceptable in God's sight: For without faith it is impossible to please him,' Heb. xi. 6; If ye be not in the faith, ye are reprobate to every good work. Ye can no more serve the true ends of Christianity, than dross can go for gold, or discovered counterfeits pass for current money. For without saving faith, ye are without Christ; and without Christ ye can do nothing, John xv. 5; So that however your works may be in the world's view, some good, some bad; yet there are none of them, however good in themselves, good in God's sight, as they do not proceed from a principle of faith in the heart, and are not directed to the glory of God as their ultimate scope and end.

4. Lastly, Your eternal salvation. It is the stated ordinance of heaven, Mark xvi. 16; He that believeth shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned.' So the clearing of that point, is the clearing whether ye be in a state of salvation or not. This is a point than which there is none more weighty and important. How then can that miss to be a point of the greatest moment, on which it depends? Were men more concerned as to their lot and place in the other world, they would be less concerned about the vain pleasures, amusements, and profits of this world; and bend all their endeavours and attention to gain a blessed and happy eternity.

Upon this, I hope, some may be ready to say, Seeing so much depends upon being in the faith, and since we must eternally perish without it, what shall we do to get faith, that we may not underlie the wrath of God for ever? I answer, Faith is the gift of God, and to him you must apply for it; Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of faith, and to him ye must betake yourselves, that he may work it in you; and the Holy Ghost is called the Spirit of faith, and it is the effect of his operation: so that you must have recourse to him, that he may fulfil in you the work VOL. III. U u


of faith with power. More particularly, if you would have this precious grace of faith,


1. Be diligent in reading and hearing the word. This is a mean that God hath appointed for begetting faith in the hearts of sinners. Hence the apostle tells us, Rom. x. 17; that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.' Such as would have faith without hearing, would have it out of God's way. See that ye diligently attend the preaching of the word, and miss no opportunity of hearing it. The ordinances are the organ through which the Spirit breathes, when he conveys quickening influences into the souls of men. They are the conduit-pipes through which the water of life runs. They are Christ's road in which he comes to bless sinners. See then that ye be not out of the way when he passeth by. The pool of Bethesda was a figure of the ordinances, to which the diseased repaired, to wait the descent of the angel to trouble the waters: and whosoever stepped into the pool after the moving of the waters; was immediately healed. But if any absented themselves, they could receive no benefit thereby. So if ye would be healed of your spiritual diseases, especially unbelief, that deadly ma lady, that fixes the guilt of all your sins upon you, make conscience of attending the preaching of the word, and cry for the Spirit of faith.

2. Pray earnestly to God, that he would teach you to believe. Remember faith is his gift, and he bestows it on whomsoever he will. Pray diligently for it; and redeem time for that end. And pray importunately, besieging heaven with your cries for that effect, as resolved to get what ye want. Seek faith from God as a condemned man would seek a pardon: seek this, as a man that sees death before him would sue for his life. Remember, O sinner, that there is no life for you without it: for he that believeth not, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.' Fall down then before God, and cry for it as for life, saying, 'O give me faith, or else I die. I may live, and be happy for ever, without friends or relations, wealth, honours, or pleasures; but I cannot live happily and comfortably without faith. Without it I can do no

thing acceptable in thy sight. Vouchsafe me this precious blessing, that I may glorify thy name for ever.'

II. I now proceed to consider the trial of this point. This the text takes up in these two things, self-examination, and self-probation.

First, Self-examination. We must carefully examine, whether we be in the faith or not, And this speaks the

following things.

1. The necessity of the knowledge of the faith, both of the doctrine of faith in fundamentals, and the grace of faith' as to the nature of it, though it be not an experimental knowledge. No body can examine themselves on a point they have no notion of: so that those who are grossly ig norant of the nature of faith, are quite incapable of selfexamination in this point, but just walk on in darkness and confusion to their own ruin, 1 John ii. 11. How much then does it concern all to cultivate the knowledge both of the doctrine and grace of faith?

2. Men professing faith may yet be void of it. They may seem to be in the faith, in a gracious state, who are yet in unbelief, and in the gall of bitterness: otherwise there would be no need of self-examination on that head. There is no need of it in heaven or hell; for there are no false colours worn there; nor do any there seem to be any more but what really they are. But here, in the visible church, are foolish virgins as well as wise, and foolish builders as well those who are not so. Great is the need, then, of self-examination.

3. The certain knowledge of our estate, whether we be in the faith or not, gracious or graceless, may be attained in the use of ordinary means, without extraordinary revelation. Self-examination and probation is that means; 2 Pet. i. 10. 'Give all diligence to make your calling. and election sure.' Many complain they can never get to a point in that matter: but let them inform their judg ment as to the nature and evidences of faith; let them lay aside their laziness, and their untender walking, shewing a precise regard to the duties of morality; and it will not be so hard. But when people remain in confusion as to the nature and evidences of faith, cannot bring themselves to

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