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Acceptance of the Gofpel-Offer, are the Terms of our Interest in him, and constitute the Faith o/God's Elect.—They therefore. and they only, are true Believers in Christ, who hearti y acquiesce in the glorious Method of a Sinner's Recovery from Ruin by Jesus Christ,.ind heartily accept an offered Saviour, in all his Offices and Benesits.—A true Believer, convinced of his naturjl Blindness and Ignorance, repairs to the Lord Jesus Christ, to enlighten his Mind. to make his Way plain before him, and to give him a clear, sensible, and spiritual Acquaintance with the great Things of his eternal Peace.—-The true Believer has found by Experience his utter Incapacity to procure the divine Favour by the best of his Duties, Reformations, or moral Persormances, and that he has Cause to be ashamed and consounded in his own Sight, for the great Desects of his highest Attainments in Religion; and therefore welcomes the Lord Jelus Christ to his Soul as the Lord his Righteousness; repairs to him, and.to him on!y,/ir Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanclificalion, and Redemption; and builds all his Hope of Acceptance with God, upon what Christ has done and suffered for him.—The true Believer labours and is heavy laden with the Sinsulness of his Nature; and longs for a surther Victory over his corrupt Affections, Appetites and Passions, for more Spirituality in his Duties, and for a surther Progress in Piety and Holiness; and therefore heartily desires and accepts the Lord Jesus Christ, as his Sanclifier, as well as Saviour; and earnestly seeks aster the renewing, strengthning, and quickning Influences of his blessed Spirit.-—The true Believer seels the Necessity of this blessed Saviour in all his Disices, Relations, and Characters. He sees him to be just such a Saviour as his Soul wants; and therefore chearsully accepts a whole Christ, with his .whole
«5* .Heart, Heart, without any Reserve, .without any Desire of other Terms of Acceptance with God.—He may entertain dark Apprehensions of himself, and complain heavily of the great Desects of his Faith and Holiness; but he can never entertain hard Thoughts of the Gofpel Scheme, nor complain of the Terms of Salvation therein propofed: These appear to him the Wisdom ofGod, and the Power of God, and every Way answer the Exigencies of his State, and the Desires of his 'Soul.
But if, on the contrary, we consider the Character of a dead Faith, it is what never brings the Soul to a full Consent to the Terms of the Gofpel, without fome Exception and Reserve.—The unsound Believer may imagine, that he accepts of the Lord Jesuj Chriji as his Saviour; but what is the Foundation and encouraging Motive of his imaginary Compliance with the Gofpel-ofser? Upon an impaitial Enquiry, it will always be found to be something in himself: His good Afsections, Duties, Moralities, Reformations, Promises, or Purpofes. He endeavours by thele to recommend himiclfto God; and on the Account of these, he hopes to find Acceptance through Christ.—Or if he seels ever so strong a Desire of Salvation by Christ, yet he is driven to it only by Fear and Self.love; and will renew his Afsections to his other Lords, as soon as his awakening Apprehensions are worn off.—He "i«s not seel his Want of Christ's enlightening and enlivening Influences; for he knows not what they mean.—Htsubmits net to the Righteousness ofChrifi; for he is still endeavouring to procure Acceptance with God, from some good Qualifications of his own, some Duties which he persorms, or some Progress which he makes, or designs to make, in his religious Course.—He cannot submit to Christ as his Lorrf; for there is some flothsul Indulgence which
he he cannot forego, fome darling Lust which he can- * not part with; fome worldly Idol which his Heart is set upon; or some disficult Duty which he must exc.ile himself from.
There is nothing more apparent than the Distinction between these two Sorts of Believers. The one comes to Christ destitute of all Hope and Help in himself, but sees enough in Christ to answer all his Wants. The other is lull in himself.—The one looks to Christ to be his Light.— The other leans to his own Understanding.—The one makes mention of Christ's Righteousness, and that only.—The other hopes for an Interest in Christ and his Salvation, on Account of his own Attainments, and, in Efsect, expects Justification by his own Righteousness, for Christ's Sake.—-The one brings a guilty, polluted, unworthy Soul to the blessed Redeemer, without any Qualification to recommend it; expecting from him alone all the Supplies he wants, repairing to him for Gold tri;d in the Fire, that be may be rich ; for Eye.salve, that he may see; and for.ibbite Raiment, that he may be cloathed. The other ordinarily raises his Expectations from Christ, in Proportion to his own imaginary Qualisications and good Dispositions.—The one as well desires Salvation by Christ from Pollution, as from Guilt. The other has a Reserve of some deceitsul Lust, . and hugs some Dalilah in his Bosom, which he can.not be villing to part with.—In fine, the one is wiping to accept of the Lord Jc/us Chris upon an.y 'semis:, the other will not come to Christ, Inir up.jn Terms of his own stating.—But I shall find Oscision to speak surther to. some of these Things under the following Head. £. A svingFaith is an humble Trust in, and De. senile. ce upon the Lord Jesui Chris, as the Author , cf our eternal Salvation; but a dead Faith always builds upon some false Foundation, or upon none at all.—A saving Faith is often described in Scripture by a trusting in the Lord, committing our Way to him, resting in kirn, and other such-like Expressions; which li.ppose an humble Considence in the abundant Sufficiency ot the Redeemer's Merits, and the boundless Kiches of God's Mercy in him. . i. Accordingly the true Believer, in his greatest Dark- . ness and Discouragement, ventures his Soul and eternal Interests in the Hands of Christ, with at least a supporting and encouraging Hope—-His past Sins may appear in most affrightning Forms, vastly numerous, dreadsully aggravated. However, he yet keeps his Hope alive with this comfortii g Consideration, that the Blood ofjesus Christ cleansethfrom
all Sin. He may be oppressed with a Sense of
the horrible Desects of his Du ies and religious Attainments; but he yet sees A' igkteousnest enough in. Christ, for a sase Foundation of C,nsidence, though he find nonp in himself—I his, and this alone, keeps his Soul from finking, answers the Clamours of Conscience, and dispofes him to rely
upon the free Grace and Mercy of God He may
be distressed with the Prevalence of his inward Corruptions ; he may, in an unguarded Hour, be surprised and foiled by the Power of his sinsul Appetites or Passions, or by some unexpected Temptation; but, even in this Case, his Resuge is in that blessed Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.— \nd tho' from sad Experience of his own dreadful impersections, he may be ready to question his State, and to sear lest he be deceived, and lest he mould finally be ashamed of hi J Hope; nevertheless he ventures that alfo in the Hands of Christ, and depends upon him that he will not leave him to a Soul-ruininn Deceit, but will guide him by his Counsel, and aJterwards bring him to Glory.—
Such Such a Dependence upon Christ the Believer ordi" narily exercises in his darkest Hours, and dullest Frames.- But when in the more lively Exercise of Grace, and when Christ is pleased to shine into the Soul with clearer Communications of his Love, his Considence (like a Rock in the Sea), stands unmoved in the greatest Tempests; and he knows mihjm he has believed, that he is able to keep that which he has committed to him, against that Day. With this Considence he can, even glory, in Tribulation; he can chearsully look Death itself in the Face, and triumph over the King of Terrors.
But now, if we take a View oi a, dead Faith, we shall sind in it the quite contrary Properties.—The unsincere Pro'essor (as has been oblerved already) ordinarily raises his Expectations and Encouragements from something in himfelf. His good Frames, his Joys and Comforts, his Endeavours or Design* to serve God, axe what he has to depend upon; and upon t! ese he does and will depend; and perhaps will never see his Mistake,.'till it be too late. —Some of these indeed do not sind even this salse Foundation to build upon; but quiet their Souls with a loofe and general Hope.-—They believe that God is mercisul, and that Jefut Christ came to save Sinners; or they hope, they shall some time or another obtain Grace, tho'they sind none at present. Thus too many of them go on quietly in, their Sins, dwell at Eafe, and cry Peace to their Souls, 'till the Flood of God's Displeasure sweeps away their Resuges of Lies.-—Others there be, who, by Means of a better Education, or from some awakening Sense of their Guilt and Danger, cannot but see, that these Beds are too short to stretch themselves upon; and therefore their Faith is their Torment. They believe in Christ as their Judge; but not as their Saviour. They spend their Lives