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ture is revealed concerning the Trinity in unity, looking up always for the inward teaching of the Holy Spirit, and I would direct them to a form of sound words in the common prayer-book for Trinity
Sunday, which contains the shortest and best account of the subject that I ever saw. “ It is very meet, right, and our 6 bounden duty, that we should at all times, and in all 6 places, give thanks unto thee, O Lord, almighty, “ everlasting God. Who art one God, one Lord, not one only person, but three
in one substance: “ for that which we believe of the glory of the Father, “ the same we believe of the Son, and of the Holy “ Ghost, without any difference or inequality." These are precious words. Meditate, reader, upon them, and intreat the Holy Spirit to enlighten thine understanding with the saving knowledge of them, that being established in the doctrine of the ever-blessed Trinity, and of the Godhead of the Lord Christ, thou mayest be enabled to overcome the difficulties which arose.
Secondly, From thy not being well acquainted with the nature of Christ's salvation. Concerning which young believers are apt to have many doubts. Carnal reason is strong in them. The spirit of bondage resists with many and mighty arguments, and unbelief musters up
all its forces, and there is a long and obstinate fight against being saved freely and fully by the grace of Christ Jesus. But the arguments, which God has provided in his word, when applied by his Spirit, will prevail and overcome. Meditate upon them for the establishing of thy weak faith. Consider, first, the covenant. Salvation is not a thing of chance, or left to man's will or power, but it was contrived by the blessed Trinity in the covenant of grace, and every thing belonging to it was perfectly settled. It is said to be 2 Sam. xxiii
. 5. an everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure. O thou of little faith, why then dost thou doubt! What doubt! of God's love? Here is a covenant springing from his mere love, and from everlasting. Doubt of its being well contrived ! Infinite
wisdom orders it in all things. Doubt of its being well executed ? It is in all things sure; sure as God's almighty power and faithfulness can make it. What motives are here for the strengthening of thy faith ? May the Lord render them effectual.
Reflect, Secondly, upon the undertakings of the Lord Christ, the Surety of this covenant.
There was nothing left out of this covenant; it was ordered in all things belonging to salvation, and Christ undertook to perform all things on the part of his father, that his law might be magnified, and his justice made honourable and glorious; and on the part of the sinner, that he might be saved from all evil, and entitled to all good. And being God and man united in one Christ, he was a proper surety to reconcile God to man, and to reconcile man to God. May these things then sink deep into thy heart, that thy surety has undertaken the whole of thy salvation, to do all for thee, and all in thee, and all by thee. What canst thou desire more for the settling of thy faith?
3. Perhaps thou wilt say, his undertakings were great, but has he fulfilled them; Yes, and so perfectly that he is able to save to the uttermost. He was called Jesus because he was to save his people from their sins; as their surety he was to fulfil the law for them by his obedience, and to suffer the pains and penalties of it by his death and passion. Accordingly in the fulness of time he was manifest in the flesh, and came to do the will of his Father: of his obedience to that will, he thus speaks. “I have finished the work, which thou
gavest me to do.” Of his suffering that will he said with his last breath, “ It is finished.” Observe, whatever he undertook to do in his life and death was finished, and it was demonstrated that as man's 'surety he had done and suffered every thing ordered in the covenant, by his resurrection from the dead: for then did the Father declare him to be the Son of God with power. Will not all this satisfy thee, O thou of little faith ? Here is one more cause of thy doubting remov
ed; thou canst not deny but Christ has finished every thing he undertook, and in consequence thereof he has all power in heaven and earth to bestow a full and finished salvation. What canst thou now object ?
4. Does a thought arise in thy heart? It is finished, but is it so freely given that such an unworthy creature, as I am, may partake of it? Yes; it comes to thee in the way of a free gift. Great, inestimable, and eternal, as it is, yet it is all thine in receiving. Not he who worketh but he who believeth is justified from all things. It is by faith that believers are justified and sanctified, are strengthened and comforted in their walk, by faith they fight against all their enemies, and by faith they conquer, and lay hold of eternal life. And therefore it is all of faith, that it might be by grace. Salvation is wrought out and finished by thy surety, given to thee freely, continued with all its blessings in time and through eternity; as a free gift, to the praise of the glory of free grace. Why therefore art thou discouraged? Hast thou nothing to buy with ? Then obey the Lord's command, Come and buy free salvation without money, and without price. How should this motive still add to the establishment of thy faith? For there thou seest whatever thou wantest is thine by believing. Thou mayest have it freely by grace. It is treasured up for thee in the fulness of thy dear Saviour, and thou canst not honour him more, than to make free use of it. What dost thou
say this ? Hast thou any thing to object? Canst thou find any
fault with the covenant of grace, or with the undertakings of the God-man in it? No, certainly, the covenant was well ordered in all things and sure, and what the Surety of the covenant undertook he has perfectly fulfilled. Salvation is finished on his part. He has glorified the law by his infinitely perfect obedience, he has made divine justice honourable by his sufferings and death, he has brought in everlasting righteousness for his people, and will bring them to everlasting glory: for he has already taken possession of it for them as the
head of the body the church, and he has all power in heaven and earth to save them day by day, until he make them partakers of his eternal salvation. What can thy heart wish for more than such a Saviour, and such a salvation ? O! be not faithless then, but believing, and if thou hast any doubts left, endeavour to have them cleared up by reading and prayer, until thy faith be perfectly settled on the divinity of God thy Saviour, and the infinite sufficiency of his salvation. These two points lay at the very foundation of the christian religion. They must be supposed in all its principles, and built upon in all its practice ; therefore being of universal influence ; if they be thoroughly established thy faith will be stedfast, and thy life well ordered and comfortable. Examine then, and prove thyself here before thou readest any farther. Dost thou believe Christ to be true and very God, in every perfection and attribute equal with the Father ? and is his a full and a free salvation ? All the following directions depend upon, and can only profit thee, so far as thou believest these two points. Look well then to thy establishment in them. If it be strong, the life of faith will be steady and prosperous; but if it be weak, thou wilt be liable to be tost about continually with errors, and overcome with temptations, especially with those, to which a legal spirit will expose thee, as I purposed to shew under the
Third general head, in which is to be considered, how the little children in Christ for want of being established in the belief of his Godhead, and of his full and free salvation, labour under many doubts, a legal spirit working with their unbelief puts them upon reasoning continually against being saved freely by grace through faith.
He is of a legal spirit, who is under the law, and apprehends himself bound to keep it, as the condition of life requiring of him, Do this and thou shalt live. In his understanding he sees this, and no other way to life, in his will he is continually inclined to it, and in his
heart he loves it; because he fancies it in his own
It would appear to them to be actuated by a zeal for God, but it is to eclipse the glory of the Lord Christ, to take away the all-sufficiency of his salvation, and to rob them of their great joy and peace in believing
If any one should ask, how this legal spirit comes to have such power over mankind ? The scripture informs us,
First, that all men being God's creatures, are under the law to him, bound to keep it, or bound if they transgress to suffer the threatened pains and penalties. In this state man was created, and in it all men are by nature, and therefore there is in us all a continual leaning to the law, and a desire to attain righteousness by