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the knowledge of those blessed truths, are more grounded and better established in them, and these being received and enjoyed by faith, do manifest the excellency of living by it above any other state, except that of glory.
First, they are pardoned and accepted in the Beloved-In him partakers of every covenant-mercy; for he was made of God unto them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. His whole salvation is theirs. And this is their state of grace, into which he has brought them, and by faith put them into the present enjoyment of it.
This was largely treated of before, but cannot be too much insisted upon, both because there is a growth in the knowledge of the covenant, and clearer evidence daily to be had of the believer's interest in it, and also because the love and wisdom and mercy in contriving, the power in executing, the grace in applying, the blessings of the covenant, are all infinite. The height and depth, the length and breadth of those divine perfections cannot be fully comprehended. They surpass knowledge; so that if a believer knows a great deal of the
way of salvation ; yet there is still more, far more to be known. So long as he lives he must be learning, waiting upon the divine Prophet for his inward teaching, and he will become more dependent upon him, the more he learns: for the wiser he grows, the clearer views will he have of his having attained as yet but little wisdom, which makes him press forward. He believes that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are laid up in Christ, and he longs for more knowledge of his gracious undertakings, of his adorable person, and of his full and free salvation. He follows on to know the Lord. He advances from one degree to another, from faith to faith, and is not satisfied with any discovery until that which is in part be done away, and he shall know even as also he is known.
The believer, being thus satisfied that he is in a safe state, looks up to the Lord to keep him, and to enable
him to walk comfortably in it, which is another excellency of the life of faith. All things are well ordered in the covenant for every step he is to take : all treasured up in the fulness of Christ, and by faith received out of it. The believer has many enemies opposing him in his way heaven-wards; but in Christ he has strength sufficient to conquer them all, and does conquer them. His worst enemy, that gives him most uneasiness, is indwelling sin, which is never at rest like the troubled sea, always casting up some of its filthy motions and corruptions; so that when he is in prayer, it is ever trying to amuse and distract the mind with a thousand vain and idle thoughts, to weaken faith by its carnal reasonings and doubts, or when he is in any holy duty, it is ever present with him to hinder him from doing it so perfectly as he would. Over this enemy there is no victory but by faith. The old man of sin defies all strength, except that which is almighty, and therefore this the Lord has promised; and these believers had experience of his faithfulness, whose iniquities he had pardoned, and who declared, Micah vii. 19. “ He will 66 subdue our iniquities.” He will do it: He is engaged by promise, by office, it is his glory to save his people from the dominion of their sins. On him therefore they depend for continual victory, and according to their faith so it is done unto them. While they fight against sin, relying on the strength of their almighty King, they always conquer. His arm subdues the strongest lust: but if they attack the weakest without him, they are infallibly conquered. And this has so often happened to those fathers that know him that is from the beginning, that now they never dare go
down to battle, but with their eyes upon the Lord. He has taught them to depend wholly upon him for the crucifying of the old man of sin day by day, and in the power of his might, armies of lusts are made to flee before them. The captain of their salvation encourages them to fight on, not only by subduing sin in them, but also by making this the earnest of their having in
him an absolute mortification of sin. By faith they see it, and his victorious grace will never leave them until he put them into full possession of it. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ their Lord, ere long they shall have perfect and everlasting victory over the whole body and being of sin. And
As the old man is thus crucified, so is the new man quickened by the power of Jesus, received by faith, according to what is written, “ The just shall live by his “ faith.” The justified person by his union with Christ is a partaker of the grace of life, and in virtue of this union he lives upon Christ as a member does in the body, and thereby he has communion with the Father, by the bond of the Spirit ; and this spiritual life is begun and carried on by faith ; it is a life of faith, not as if faith quickened a dead sinner; for Christ is our life. But the sense and comfort, and strength of that life which Christ gives, are received by faith, and these are according as faith is. If faith be weak, so are they. As it grows, so do they. Which discovers to us another wonderful excellency of the life of faith, since by it we now partake of a spiritual and eternal life: “ For “ he that believeth hath everlasting life," hath it now, is already passed from death unto life, and he looks up to the Lord and Giver of it for every thing need. ful, and expects it out of his fulness. Hear one of these happy believers thus relating his case. I dead to the law, says he, yet alive to God; I am crucified with Christ, and am a partaker of the merit and power of his cross, and by faith I have in him an absolute crucifixion of sin; and although the old man is thus crucified, yet the new man liveth: nevertheless I live, yet not I-I live a spiritual life, yet not I as a natural man, I did not quicken myself; I cannot keep myself alive, Christ liveth in me, he is the Author of my life, and on him I depend for the continuance of it in time and in eternity: for the life which I now live in the flesh, while I am in this body of sin and death, I live by the faith of the Son of God; he is the Author, he is the
Object of that faith, by which I have received life from him: by an act of sovereign grace he quickened me from a death in trespasses and sins, and united me as a living member into his mystical body, and I am kept alive through his living, acting, and working in me by his Spirit; he dwelleth in my heart by faith, and the more clearly I see this, the more do I love and enjoy the Prince of life, my precious, above all expression, infinitely, eternally precious Jesus, who loved me and gave himself for me, that by his death I might be dead to sin, and by his resurrection might live to and with God for ever and ever. Thanks and praise be to thee without ceasing, thou dear Lamb of God, for thy love to me the chief of sinners.
Let all thy people This is the happy case of those believers, who are like the blessed Paul, strong in the Lord Christ. By his death they are dead to sin, and because he liveth they are alive to God : for they who are joined to the Lord are one spirit. And as their faith increases, they have more spiritual fellowship with Christ in his death and resurrection, not only in the merit, but also in the efficacy of both. They grow more dependent upon the Lord's strength, and he daily mortifies in them the old man of sin, and as he grows weaker their other enemies have less power over them. By their lusts Satan tempts them, the more these are mortified, the weaker will be his temptations. By their lusts, by the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, the world tempts them, as these are subdued, they will be more crucified to the world. Christ living, dwelling, and reigning in them by faith, will day by day weaken the strength of sin and Satan, and the world, and by the power of his death and resurrection he will be conforming them more to his own image and likeness. He will by faith enable them to be growing up into him in all things, as long as they live. They will be going on from strength to strength, till sin and death be swallowed up in victory.
And this grace
Until that happy time come he has appointed certain means, in the use of which they are to wait for the continual receiving of grace from him to deaden the old man, and for the growth of the new. they receive, not merely because they use the means, buť because they use them in faith, expecting his presence in, and blessing upon them. Believers set the Lord always before them, and look through the means at him : for without him they are good for nothing; but when observed, according to his mind and will, as acts of trust in his promise, and of dependence upon
his faithfulness, then they answer the end for which they were instituted and become the means of spiritual communion with him. And thus legal duties become christian privileges. One of these means is attendance upon public worship, the ground and reason for which is Christ's promise" Where two or three are gather“ed together in my name, there am I in the midst “ of them."-Two or three believers make a church, when they are gathered together in the name of Christ's divinity. By faith they expect the fulfilling of his promise, and his presence in the midst of them; and they are then most spiritual worshippers, when they are looking most unto Jesus, and enjoying communion with him. What are their prayers but acts of faith and dependence ? “Whatever ye shall ask, says Christ, “in my name, believing ye shall receive." Which words shew us that prayer is nothing worth, unless it be presented in Christ's name, and in faith relying on Christ's promise to hear and answer. The object of prayer is the Godhead in three persons. The address to each is in their covenant-offices, and the petitions to each should be according as they stand related to sinners in those offices, and the communion with the divine persons is thus expressed—“Through Christ Jesus
we have an access by one Spirit unto the Father;" and whatever we ask believing we receive. What is believers hearing the word ? Is it not a continual dependence upon their divine Teacher to make his word