« AnteriorContinuar »
when we shall be put into full possession of all things which we have now only in promise. At that time, faith shall end in fruition, and promises in performance.
As the soul is the life of the body, and faith the life of the soul, so are God's promises the life of faith. For from whence hath faith this efficacy, but because it lays hold on the free promises? But from whence have the promises their strength? Even from the constant nature of Jehovah, who always gives a being to his word. Desirest thou faith? Then take notice of God's promises. Wouldst thou have thy faith, like the light in the Lord's sanctuary, never to go out? Then acquaint thyself with God's promises; know them well, meditate on them, confer about them: let them be continually in thy mind, memory, heart, and tongue. Satan laboreth in nothing more than to keep us in unbelief, especially of particular promises; for he knows if we believe them, we shall in all things have the victory, come before God with boldness, carry peace in our own bosoms to our graves, and do and suffer any thing for God.b Oh the abundance of sweet cordial comfort, which all humble believers draw by faith out of every promise!
Now, beloved, these precious promises, whereupon our happiness so much depends, lie hid in the holy Scripture, as veins of gold on earth.c
a 2 Cor. i. 20. b 1 John. v. Eph. ii. Rom. xv. Heb. e Isa. Ixvi. 11, 12.
Surely those that searched those mines, to bring to light these treasures, are worthy of great commendation. Wherefore, I doubt not, but the good pains of this blessed and faithful servant of God, will find good entertainment of all the children of the promises; who hope to entertain them that have, with great care and good evidence of spiritual understanding, discovered and compiled the variety and use of all the promises, in matters temporal, spiritual, and eternal. So that here is a medicine for every disease, and a salve for every sore. Read them carefully, and ponder them seriously, and apply them faithfully. And I beseech the good Lord, who is the Author of them, that, by his Holy Spirit, he would make them powerful and effectual in us.
Consider what is said, and the Lord give us understanding in all things.a
To be observed in reading of Promises.
1. Whatsoever promise is made in general to all the faithful, every one must particularly ap ply it to themselves; as the Messiah is promised to all, every one must apply him to themselves.b 2. Whatever promise is made to any one of
a2 Tim. ii. 7. b Gen. iii. 15.
the faithful, (if there be not some particular reason which ties it to his person; as was to Abraham for a son, and his seed to inherit the land of Canaan,) every child of God hath right to it: as, "I will not leave thee, nor forsake thee "a This every one may apply to themselves, as we know the Holy Ghost applies it: for he hath said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Which teacheth us to do the like in all the rest of the promises.
3. Under temporal promises to the Jews, are set forth the excellent promised graces which God will give to his people after the coming of Christ.c
4. When we read the conditions of the promises, they are not like to the duties of the law, -made to the perfect fulfillers of them: the promises are evangelical, made to those which endeavor to keep them; and the main conditions of them are faith.
5. In all the promises for increase of grace or means of grace, or for any earthly things, we must know we shall have them so far performed to us as the Lord seeth good for us.
6. In our weak endeavorings to keep the promises, we must believe the performance to us, is in, by, and through Christ; in whom all the promises of God are, YEA and AMEN :d that is, as I conceive, "confirmed and made good to us in
a Joshua i. 5. b Heb. xiii. 5. c Ezek. xxxiv. 25, 26, 27. d2 Cor. i. 20.
him." When we can see nothing in ourselves why they should be performed to us, even then we are to claim them for Christ's sake, if thou be in Christ. For if thou be not in him, no promise belongs to thee; but threatenings and judgments are thy portion; and nothing else can we claim as our due. Sorrow, weeping, and howling, is that which God requireth of us; and not laying upon the comfortable promises, till we hunger after Christ: which God grant we may do more and more, till we come to be satisfied with his image in the life to come."
CONCERNING SPIRITUAL THINGS.
These Promises are applicable to Believers on the follow ing Occasions.
If thou findest nothing in thyself that may move the Lord to have mercy.
"I, EVEN I, am he that blotteth out thy trapsgression for mine own sake, and will not remem
a Psalm xvii. 15.
ber thy sins. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and as a cloud thy sins: return unto me, for I have redeemed thee.b
"I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.c
"I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean from all your filthiness.d
"I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will lead him also, and restore comfort unto him, and to his mourners."e
These promises are free; made by the Lord, not for any thing that, is in man; for the Lord saith, They had not called upon him, but wearied the Lord; brought him no offering, yea wearied him with their sins; and yet, for his own sake, he would forgive their sins.
These promises we shall have always need of; as at our conversion, so afterwards, many times, we shall, in our own feeling, find nothing in ourselves to persuade us of the pardon of our sins; then we must fly to these free promises. When thou seest nothing in thyself why the Lord should pardon thy sins, and therefore doubtest of the pardon of them, apply, "I am he that puts away thy sins for my own sake."
When thy sins rise up as a cloud, that thou canst see nothing but them, apply, "I have put away thy sins as a cloud."
a Isa. xliii. 25. d Ezek. xxxvi. 25. to 25.
b Isa. xliv. 22.
e Isa. lvii. 18.
c Jer. xxxi. 34. f Isa. xliii. 22