Chapter X

The Principle of the Assignation of Divine Honour unto the Person of Christ, in both the Branches of it; which is Faith in Him

The principle and spring of this assignation of divine honour unto
Christ, in both the branches of it, is faith in him. And this has been
the foundation of all acceptable religion in the world since the
entrance of sin. There are some who deny that faith in Christ was
required from the beginning, or was necessary unto the worship of God,
or the justification and salvation of them that did obey him. For,
whereas it must be granted that "without faith it is impossible to
please God," which the apostle proves by instances from the foundation
of the world, Heb. 11--they suppose it is faith in God under the
general notion of it, without any respect unto Christ, that is
intended. It is not my design to contend with any, nor expressly to
confute such ungrateful opinions--such pernicious errors. Such this
is, which--being pursued in its proper tendency--strikes at the very
foundation of Christian religion; for it at once deprives us of all
contribution of light and truth from the Old Testament. Somewhat I
have spoken before of the faith of the saints of old concerning him. I
shall now, therefore, only confirm the truth, by some principles which
are fundamental in the faith of the Gospel.

1. The first promise, Gen. 3: 15--truly called "Prooteuangelios"--was
revealed, proposed, and given, as containing and expressing the only
means of delivery from that apostasy from God, with all the effects of
it, under which our first parents and all their posterity were cast by
sin. The destruction of Satan and his work in his introduction of the
state of sin, by a Saviour and Deliverer, was prepared and provided
for in it. This is the very foundation of the faith of the church; and
if it be denied, nothing of the economy or dispensation of God towards
it from the beginning can be understood. The whole doctrine and story
of the Old Testament must be rejected as useless, and no foundation be
left in the truth of God for the introduction of the New.

2. It was the person of Christ, his incarnation and mediation, that
were promised under the name of the "seed of the woman," and the work
he should do in breaking the head of the serpent, with the way whereby
he should do it in suffering, by his power. The accomplishment hereof
was in God's sending his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, in the
fullness of time, made under the law, or by his manifestation in the
flesh, to destroy the works of the devil. So is this promise
interpreted, Gal. 3: 13; 4: 4; Heb. 2: 14-16; 1 John 3: 8. This cannot
be denied but upon one of these two grounds:--

(1.) That nothing is intended in that divine revelation but only a
natural enmity that is between mankind and serpents. But this is so
foolish an imagination, that the Jews themselves, who constantly refer
this place to the Messiah, are not guilty of. All the whole truth
concerning God's displeasure on the sin of our first parents, with
what concerneth the nature and consequence of that sin, is everted
hereby. And whereas the foundation of all God's future dealing with
them and their posterity is plainly expressed herein, it is turned
into that which is ludicrous, and of very little concernment in human
life. For such is the enmity between mankind and serpents--which not
one in a million knows any thing of or is troubled with. This is but
to lay the axe of atheism unto all religion built on divine
revelation. Besides, on this supposition, there is in the words not
the least intimation of any relief that God tendered unto our parents
for their delivery from the state and condition whereinto they had
cast themselves by their sin and apostasy. Wherefore they must be
esteemed to be left absolutely under the curse, as the angels were
that fell--which is to root all religion out of the world. For amongst
them who are absolutely under the curse, without any remedy, there can
be no more than is in hell. Or--

(2.) It must be, because some other way of deliverance and salvation,
and not that by Christ, is here proposed and promised. But, whereas
they were to be wrought by the "seed of the woman" if this were not
that Christ in whom we do believe, there was another promised, and he
is to be rejected. And this is fairly at once to blot out the whole
Scripture as a fable; for there is not a line of doctrinal truth in it
but what depends on the traduction of Christ from this first promise.

3. This promise was confirmed, and the way of the deliverance of the
church by virtue of it declared, in the institution of expiatory
sacrifices. God in them and by them declared from the beginning, that
"without shedding of blood there was no remission;" that atonement for
sin was to be made by substitution and satisfaction. With respect unto
them, the Lord Christ was called "The Lamb of God," even as he took
away the sins of the world by the sacrifice of himself, John 1: 29.
For we "were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb
without blemish and without spot," 1 Pet. 1: 19. Wherein the Holy
Spirit refers unto the institution and nature of sacrifices from the
beginning. And he is thence represented in heaven as a "Lamb that had
been slain," Rev. 5:6--the glory of heaven arising from the fruits and
effects of his sacrifice. And because of the representation thereof in
all the former sacrifices, is he said to be a "Lamb slain from the
foundation of the world," Rev. 13:8. And it is strange to me that any
who deny not the expiatory sacrifice of Christ, should doubt whether
the original of these sacrifices were of divine institution or the
invention of men. And it is so, amongst others, for the reasons

(1.) On the supposition that they were of men's finding out and
voluntary observation, without any previous divine revelation, it must
be granted that the foundation of all acceptable religion in the world
was laid in, and resolved into, the wisdom and wills of men, and not
into the wisdom, authority, and will of God. For that the great
solemnity of religion, which was as the centre and testimony of all
its other duties, did consist in these sacrifices even before the
giving of the law, will not be denied. And in the giving of the law,
God did not, on this supposition, confirm and establish his own
institutions with additions unto them of the same kind, but set his
seal and approbation unto the inventions of men. But this is contrary
unto natural light, and the whole current of Scripture revelations.

(2.) All expiatory sacrifices were, from the beginning, types and
representations of the sacrifice of Christ; whereon all their use,
efficacy, and benefit among men--all their acceptance with God--did
depend. Remove this consideration from them, and they were as
irrational a service, as unbecoming the divine nature, as any thing
that reasonable creatures could fix upon. They are to this day as
reasonable a service as ever they were, but that only their respect
unto thee sacrifice of Christ is taken from them. And what person of
any ordinary understanding could now suppose them a meet service
whereby to glorify the divine nature? Besides, all expiatory
sacrifices were of the same nature, and of the same use, both before
and after the giving of the law. But that all those afterwards were
typical of the sacrifice of Christ, the apostle demonstrates at large
in his Epistle unto the Hebrews. The inquiry, therefore, is, whether
this blessed prefiguration of the Lord Christ and his sacrifice, as he
was the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world, was an effect of
the wisdom, goodness, and will of God, or of the wills and inventions
of men. And let it be considered, also, that these men, who are
supposed to be the authors of this wonderful representation of the
Lord Christ and his sacrifice, did indeed know little of them--or, as
the assertors of this opinion imagine, nothing at all. To suppose that
those who knew no more of Christ than they could learn from the first
promise which, as some think, was nothing at all--should of their own
heads find out and appoint this divine service, which consisted only
in the prefiguration of him and his sacrifice; and that God should not
only approve of it, but allow it as the principal means for the
establishment and exercise of the faith of all believers for four
thousand years; is to indulge unto thoughts deviating from all rules
of sobriety. He that sees not a divine wisdom in this institution, has
scarce seriously exercised his thoughts about it. But I have elsewhere
considered the causes and original of these sacrifices, and shall not
therefore farther insist upon them.

4. Our first parents and all their holy posterity did believe this
promises or did embrace it as the only way and means of their
deliverance from the curse and state of sin; and were thereon
justified before God. I confess we have not infallible assurance of
any who did so in particular, but those who are mentioned by name in
Scripture, as Abel, Enoch, Noah, and some others; but to question it
concerning others also, as of our first parents themselves, is foolish
and impious. This is done by the Socinians to promote another design,
namely, that none were justified before God on the belief of the first
promise, but on their walking according to the light of nature, and
their obedience unto some especial revelations about temporal things--
the vanity whereof has been before discovered. Wherefore, our first
parents and their posterity did so believe the first promise, or they
must be supposed either to have been kept under the curse, or else to
have had, and to make use of, some other way of deliverance from it.
To imagine the first is impious--for the apostle affirms that they had
this testimony, that they pleased God, Heb. 11: 5; which under the
curse none can do--for that is God's displeasure. And in the same
place he confirms their faith, and justification thereon, with a
"cloud of witnesses," chap. 12: 1. To affirm the latter is groundless;
and it includes a supposal of the relinquishment of the wisdom, grace,
and authority of God in that divine revelation, for men to retake
themselves to none knows what. For that there was in this promise the
way expressed which God in his wisdom and grace had provided for their
deliverance, we have proved before. To forsake this way, and to retake
themselves unto any other, whereof he had made no mention or
revelation unto them, was to reject his authority and grace.

As for those who are otherwise minded, it is incumbent on them
directly to prove these three things:--

(1.) That there is another way--that there are other means for the
justification and salvation of sinners--than that revealed, declared,
and proposed in that first promise. And when this is done, they must
show to what end--on that supposition--the promise itself was given,
seeing the end of it is evacuated.

(2.) That upon a supposition that God had revealed in the promise the
way and means of our deliverance from the cures and state of sin, it
was lawful unto men to forsake it, and to retake themselves unto
another way, without any supernatural revelation for their guidance.
For if it was not, their relinquishment of the promise was no less
apostasy from God in the revelation of himself in a way of grace, than
the first sin was as to the revelation of himself in the works of
nature: only, the one revelation wag by inbred principles, the other
by external declaration; nor could it otherwise be. Or,--

(3.) That there was some other way of the participation of the
benefit of this promise, besides faith in its or in him who was
promised therein; seeing the apostle has declared that no promise will
profit them by whom it is not mixed with faith, Heb. 4: 2. Unless
these things are plainly proved--which they will never be--whatever
men declaim about universal objective grace in the documents of
nature, it is but a vain imagination.

5. The declaration of this promise, before the giving of the law,
with the nature and ends of it, as also the use of sacrifices, whereby
it was confirmed, was committed unto the ordinary ministry of our
first parents and their godly posterity, and the extraordinary
ministry of the prophets which God raised up among them. For God spake
of our redemption by Christ by the mouth of his holy prophets from the
beginning of the world, Luke 1: 70. No greater duty could be incumbent
on them, by the light of nature and the express revelation of the will
of God, than that they should, in their several capacities,
communicate the knowledge of this promise unto all in whom they were
concerned. To suppose that our first parents, who received this
promise, and those unto whom they first declared it, looking on it as
the only foundation of their acceptance with God and deliverance from
the curse, were negligent in the declaration and preaching of it, is
to render them brutish, and guilty of a second apostasy from God. And
unto this principle--which is founded in the light of nature there is
countenance given by revelation also. For Epoch did prophesy of the
things which were to accompany the accomplishment of this promise,
Jude 14; and Noah was a preacher of the righteousness to be brought in
by it, 2 Peter 2: 5--as he was an heir of the righteousness which is
by faith, in himself, Heb. 11: 7.

6. All the promises that God gave afterwards unto the church under
the Old Testament, before and after giving the law--all the covenants
that he entered into with particular persons, or the whole
congregation of believers--were all of them declarations and
confirmations of the first promise, or the way of salvation by the
mediation of his Son, becoming the seed of the woman, to break the
head of the serpent, and to work out the deliverance of mankind. As
most of these promises were expressly concerning him, so all of them
in the counsel of God were confirmed in him, 2 Cor. 1: 20. And as
there are depths in the Scripture of the Old Testament concerning him
which we cannot fathom, and things innumerable spoken of him or in his
person which we conceive not, so the principal design of the whole is
the declaration of him and his grace. And it is unprofitable unto them
who are otherwise minded. Sundry promises concerning temporal things
were, on various occasions, super added unto this great spiritual
promise of life and grace. And the enemies of the person and mediation
of Christ do contend that men are justified by their faith and
obedience with respect unto those particular revelations, which were
only concerning temporal things But to suppose that all those
revelations and promises were not built upon and resolved into, did
not include in them, the grace and mercy of this first promise--is to
make them curses instead of blessings, and deprivations of that grace
which was infinitely better than what, on this supposition, was
contained in them. The truth is, they were all additions unto it, and
confirmations of it; nor had any thing of spiritual good in them, but
upon a supposition of it. In some of them there was an ampliation of
grace in the more full declaration of the nature of this promise, as
well as an application unto their persons unto whom they were made.
Such was the promise made unto Abraham, which had a direct respect
unto Christ, as the apostle proveth, Gal. 3 and 4.

7. Those who voluntarily, through the contempt of God and divine
grace, fell off from the knowledge and faith of this promise, whether
at once and by choice, or gradually through the love of sin, were in
no better condition than those have been, or would be, who have so
fallen off or should so apostatize from Christian religion after its
revelation and profession. And although this proved, in process of
time, both before and after the flood, to be the condition of the
generality of mankind, yet is it in vain to seek after the means of
salvation among them who had voluntarily rejected the only way which

God had revealed and provided for that end. God thereon "suffered all
nations to walk in their own ways," Acts 14: 1 "winking at the times
of their ignorance"--not calling them to repentance, chap. 17: 30;
yea, he "gave them up unto their own hearts lust, and they walked in
their own counsels," Ps. 81: 12. And nothing can be more derogatory
unto the wisdom and holiness of God, than to imagine that he would
grant other ways of salvation unto them who had rejected that only one
which he had provided; which was by faith in Christ, as revealed in
that first promise.

8. From these considerations, which are all of them unquestionable
principles of truth, two things are evident.

(1.) That there was no way of the justification and salvation of
sinners revealed and proposed from the foundation of the world, but
only by Jesus Christ, as declared in the first promise.

(2.) That there was no way for the participation of the benefits of
that promise, or of his work of mediation, but by faith in him as so
promised. There was, therefore, faith in him required from the
foundation of the world; that is, from the entrance of sin. And how
this faith respected his person has been before declared. Now, faith
in him as promised for the works and ends of his mediation, and faith
in him as actually exhibited and as having accomplished his work, are
essentially the same, and differ only with respect unto the economy of
times, which God disposed at his pleasure. Hence the efficacy of his
mediation was the same unto them who then so believed, as it is now
unto us after his actual exhibition in the flesh.

But yet it is acknowledged, that--as unto the clearness and fullness
of the revelation of the mystery of the wisdom and grace of God in him-

  • as unto the constitution of his person in his incarnation, and therein the determination of the individual person promised from the
    beginning, through the actual accomplishment of the work which he was
    promised for--faith in him, as the foundation of that divine honour
    which it is our duty to give unto him, is far more evidently and
    manifestly revealed and required in the gospel, or under the New
    Testament, than it was under the Old. See Eph. 3: 8-11. The respect of
    faith now unto Christ is that which renders it truly evangelical. To
    believe in him, to believe on his name, is that signal especial duty
    which is now required of us.

    Wherefore the ground of the actual assignation of divine honour unto
    the person of Christ, in both branches of it, adoration and
    invocation, is faith in him. So he said unto the blind man whose eyes
    he opened, "Believest thou on the Son of God?" John 9: 35. And he
    said, "Lord, I believe; and he worshipped him," verse 38. All divine
    worship or adoration is a consequent effect and fruit of faith. So
    also is invocation; for "How shall they call on him in whom they have
    not believed?" Rom. 10: 14. Him in whom we believe, we ought to adore
    and invocate. For these are the principal ways whereby divine faith
    does act itself And so to adore or invocate any in whom we ought not
    to believe, is idolatry.

    This faith, therefore, on the person of Christ is our duty; yea, such
    a duty it is, as that our eternal condition does more peculiarly
    depend on the performance or nonperformance of it than on any other
    duty whatever. For constantly under those terms is it prescribed unto
    us. "He that believeth on the Son has everlasting life: and he that
    believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth
    on him," John 3: 36. Wherefore the nature and exercise of this faith
    must be inquired into.

    There is a faith which is exercised towards those by whom the mind
    and will of God is revealed. So it is said of the Israelites, "They
    believed the Lord and Moses," Exod. 14: 31; that is, that he was sent
    of God, was no deceiver--that it was the word and will of God which he
    revealed unto them. So 2 Chron. 20: 20, "Believe in the Lord your God,
    so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye
    prosper." It was not the persons of the prophets, but their message,
    that was the object of the faith required. It was to believe what they
    said, as from God--not to believe in them as if they were God. So it
    is explained by the apostle, Acts 26: 27, "King Agrippa, believest
    thou the prophets? I know that thou believest." He believed that they
    were sent of God, and that the word they spake was from him; otherwise
    there was no believing of them who were dead so many ages before.

    And this is all the faith in Christ himself which some will allow. To
    believe in Christ, they say, is only to believe the doctrine of the
    gospel revealed by him. Hence they deny that any could believe in him
    before his coming into the world, and the declaration of the mind of
    God in the gospel made by him. An assent unto the truth of the gospel,
    as revealed by Christ, is with them the whole of that faith in Christ
    Jesus which is required of us.

    Of all that poison which at this day is diffused in the minds of men,
    corrupting them from the mystery of the Gospel, there is no part that
    is more pernicious than this one perverse imagination, that to believe
    in Christ is nothing at all but to believe the doctrine of the gospel;
    which yet, we grant, is included therein. For as it allows the
    consideration of no office in him but that of a prophet, and that not
    as vested and exercised in his divine person, so it utterly overthrows
    the whole foundation of the relation of the church unto him, and
    salvation by him.

    That which suits my present design, is to evince that it is the
    person of Christ which is the first and principal object of that faith
    wherewith we are required to believe in him; and that so to do, is not
    only to assent unto the truth of the doctrine reverted by him, but
    also to place our trust and confidence in him for mercy, relief, and
    protection--for righteousness, life, and salvation--for a blessed
    resurrection and eternal reward. This I shall first manifest from some
    few of those multiplied testimonies wherein this truth is declared,
    and whereby it is confirmed as also with some arguments taken from
    them; and then proceed to declare the ground, nature, and exercise of
    this faith itself.

    As unto the testimonies confirming this truth, it must be observed of
    them all in general, that wherever faith is required towards our Lord
    Jesus Christ, it is still called believing "in him," or "on his name,"
    according as faith in God absolutely is every where expressed. If no
    more be intended but only the belief of the doctrine revealed by him,
    then whose doctrine soever we are obliged to believe, we may be
    rightly said to believe in them, or to believe on their name. For
    instance, we are obliged to believe the doctrine of Paul the apostle,
    the revelations made by him, and that on the hazard of our eternal
    welfare by the unbelieving of them; yet that we should be said to
    believe in Paul, is that which he did utterly detest, 1 Cor. 1: 13,

    For the places themselves the reader may consult, among others John
    1: 12; 3: 16,18,36; 6: 29, 35, 41; 7: 38, 39; Acts 14: 23; 16: 31; 19:
    4; 24: 24; 26: 18; Rom. 3: 26; 9: 33; 10: 11; 1 Peter 2: 6; 1 John 5:
    10, 13. There is not one of these but sufficiently confirms the truth.
    Some few others not named may be briefly insisted on.

    John 14: 1, "Ye believe in God, believe also in me." The distinction
    made between God and him limits the name of God unto the person of the
    Father. Faith is required in them both, and that distinctly: "Ye
    believe in God, believe also in me." And it is the same faith, of the
    same kind, to be exercised in the same way and manner, that is
    required; as is plain in the words. They will not admit of a double
    faith, of one faith in God, and of another in Christ, or of a distinct
    way of their exercise.

    Wherefore, as faith divine is fixed on, and terminated in, the person
    of the Father; so is it likewise distinctly in and on the person of
    the Son: and it was to evidence his divine nature unto theme which is
    the ground and reason of their faith--that he gave his command unto
    his disciples. This he farther testifies, verses 9-11. And as unto the
    exercise of this faith, it respected the relief of their souls, under
    troubles, fears, and disconsolations: "Let not your heart be troubled:
    ye believe in God, believe also in me." To believe in him unto the
    relief of our souls against troubles, is not to assent merely unto the
    doctrine of the gospel, but also to place our trust and confidence in
    him, for such supplies of grace, for such an exercise of the acts of
    divine power, as whereby we may be supported and delivered. And we
    have herein the whole of what we plead. Divine faith acted distinctly
    in, and terminated on, the person of Christ--and that with respect
    unto supplies of grace and mercy from him in a way of divine power.

    So he speaks unto Martha, John 11: 25-27, "He that believeth in me,
    though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth, and
    believeth in me, shall never die. Believest thou this?" Whereunto she
    answers "Yea, Lord; I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of
    God." His person was the object of her faith; and her belief in him
    comprised a trust for all spiritual and eternal mercies.

    I Shall add one more, wherein not only the thing itself, but the
    especial ground and reason of it, is declared, Gal. 2: 20--"The life
    which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God,
    who loved me, and gave himself for me." That faith he asserts which is
    the cause of our spiritual life--that life unto God which we lead in
    the flesh, or whilst we are in the body, not yet admitted unto sight
    and enjoyment. Of this faith the Son of God is both the author and the
    object; the latter whereof is here principally intended. And this is
    evident from the reason and motive of it, which are expressed. This
    faith I live by, am in the continual exercise of, because he "loved
    me, and gave himself for me." For this is that which does powerfully
    influence our hearts to fix our faith in him and on him. And that
    person who so loved us is the same in whom we do believe. If his
    person was the seat of his own love, it is the object of our faith And
    this faith is not only our duty, but our life. He that has it not, is
    dead in the sight of God.

    But I hope it is not yet necessary to multiply testimonies to prove
    it our duty to believe in Jesus Christ--that is, to believe in the
    person of the Son of God, for other faith in Christ there is none; yet
    I shall add one or two considerations in the confirmation of it.

    1st, There is no more necessary hereunto--namely, to prove the person
    of Christ the Son of God to be the proper and distinct object of faith
    divine--than what we have already demonstrated concerning the solemn
    invocation of him. For, saith the apostle, "How they call on him in
    whom they have not believed" Rom. 10: 14. It holds on either side. We
    cannot, we ought not, to call on him in whom we do not, we ought not
    to believe. And in whom we do believe, on him we ought to call.
    Wherefore, if it be our duty to call on the name of Christ, it is our
    duty to believe in the person of Christ. And if to believe in Christ
    be no more but to believe the doctrine of the Gospel which he has
    revealed, then every one whose doctrine we are obliged to believe, on
    them we ought to call also. And on this ground, we may call on the
    names of the prophets and apostles, as well as on the name of Jesus
    Christ, and be saved thereby. But whereas invocation or prayer
    proceedeth from faith, and that prayer is for mercy, grace, life, and
    eternal salvation; faith must be fixed on the person so called on, as
    able to give them all unto us, or that prayer is in vain.

    2dly, Again, that we are baptized into the name of Jesus Christ, and
    that distinctly with the Father, is a sufficient evidence of the
    necessity of faith in his person; for we are therein given up unto
    universal spiritual subjection of soul unto him, and dependence on
    him. Not to believe in him, on his name--that is, his person--when we
    are so given up unto him, or baptized into him, is virtually to
    renounce him. But to put a present close unto this contest: Faith in
    Christ is that grace whereby the church is united unto him--
    incorporated into one mystical body with him. It is thereby that he
    dwells in them, and they in him. By this alone are all supplies of
    grace derived from him unto the whole body. Deny his person to be the
    proper and immediate object of this faith, and all these things are
    utterly overthrown--that is, the whole spiritual life and eternal
    salvation of the church

    This faith in the person of Christ, which is the foundation of all
    that divine honour in sacred adoration and invocation which is
    assigned unto him, may be considered two ways. First, as it respects
    his person absolutely; Secondly, As he is considered in the discharge
    of the office of mediation.

    First, In the first sense, faith is placed absolutely and ultimately
    on the person of Christ, even as on the person of the Father. He
    counts it no robbery herein to be equal with the Father. And the
    reason hereof is, because the divine nature itself is the proper and
    immediate object of this faith, and all the acts of it. This being one
    and the same in the person of the Father and of the Son, as also of
    the Holy Spirit, two things do follow thereon. 1. That each person is
    equally the object of our faith, because equally participant of that
    nature which is the formal reason and object of it. 2. It follows
    also, that in acting faith on, and ascribing therewithal divine honour
    unto, any one person, the others are not excluded; yea, they are
    included therein. For by reason of the mutual inbeing of the Divine
    persons in the unity of the same nature, the object of all spiritual
    worship is undivided. Hence are those expressions of the Scriptures,
    "He that has seen the Son, has seen the Father; he that honoureth the
    Son, honoureth the Father, for he and the Father are one."

    And to clear our present design, three things may be observed from
    hence; namely, that the divine nature, with all its essential
    properties, is the formal reason and only ground of divine faith

    1st, That the Lord Christ is not the absolute and ultimate object of
    our faith, any otherwise but under this consideration, of his being
    partaker of the nature of God--of his being in the form of God, and
    equal unto him. Without this, to place our faith in him would be
    robbery and sacrilege; as is all the pretended faith of them who
    believe not his divine person.

    2dly, There is no derogation from the honour and glory of the Father-

  • not the least diversion of any one signal act of duty from him, nor from the Holy Spirit--by the especial acting of faith on the person of
    Christ; for all divine honour is given solely unto the divine nature:
    and this being absolutely the same in each person, in the honouring of
    one, they are all equally honoured. He that honoureth the Son, he
    therein honoureth the Father also.

    3dly, Hence it appears what is that especial acting of faith on the
    person of Christ which we intend, and which in the Scripture is given
    in charge unto us, as indispensably necessary unto our salvation. And
    there are three things to be considered in it.

    (1st,) That his divine nature is the proper formal object of this
    faith, on the consideration whereof alone it is fixed on him. If you
    ask a reason why I believe on the Son of God--if you intend what cause
    I have for it, what motives unto it--I shall answer, It is because of
    what he has done for me, whereof afterwards. So does the apostle, Gal.
    2: 20. But if you intend, what is the formal reason, ground, and
    warranty whereon I thus believe in him, or place my trust and
    confidence in him, I say it is only this, that he is "over all, God
    blessed for ever;" and were he not so, I could not believe in him. For
    to believe in any, is to expect from him that to be done for me which
    none but God can do.

    (2dly,) That the entire person of Christ, as God and man, is the
    immediate object of our faith herein. The divine nature is the reason
    of it; but his divine person is the object of it. In placing our faith
    on him, we consider him as God and man in one and the same person. We
    believe in him because he is God; but we believe in him as he is God
    and man in one person.

    And this consideration of the person of Christ--namely, as he is God
    and man--in our acting of faith on him, is that which renders it
    peculiar, and limits or determines it unto his person, because he only
    is so;--the Father is not, nor the Holy Spirit. That faith which has
    the person of God and man for its object, is peculiarly and distinctly
    placed on Christ.

    (3dly,) The motives unto this distinct acting of faith on his person
    are always to be considered as those also which render this faith
    peculiar. For the things which Christ has done for us, which are the
    motives of our faith in him, were peculiar unto him alone; as in the
    place before quoted, Gal. 2: 20. Such are all the works of his
    mediation, with all the fruits of them, whereof we are made partakers.
    So God, in the first command, wherein he requires all faith, love, and
    obedience from the church, enforced it with the consideration of a
    signal benefit which it had received, and therein a type of all
    spiritual and eternal mercies, Exod. 20: 2, 3. Hence two things are
    evident, which clearly state this matter.

    [1st,] That faith which we place upon and the honour which we give
    thereby unto the person of Christ, is equally placed on and honour
    equally given thereby unto the other persons of the Father and the
    Holy Spirit, with respect unto that nature which is the formal reason
    and cause of it. But it is peculiarly fixed on Christ, with respect
    unto his person as God and man, and the motives unto it, in the acts
    and benefits of his mediation.

    [2dly,] All of Christ is considered and glorified in this acting of
    faith on him;--his divine nature, as the formal cause of it; his
    divine entire person, God and man, as its proper object; and the
    benefits of his mediation, as the especial motives thereunto.

    This faith in the person of Christ is the spring and fountain of our
    spiritual life. We live by the faith of the Son of God. In and by the
    actings hereof is it preserved, increased, and strengthened. "For he
    is our life," Col. 3: 4; and all supplies of it are derived from him,
    by the acting of faith in him. We receive the forgiveness of sins, and
    an inheritance among them that are sanctified, "by the faith that is
    in him," Acts 26: 18. Hereby do we abide in him; without which we can
    do nothing, John 15: 5. Hereby is our peace with God maintained--"For
    he is our peace," Eph 2: 14; and in him we have peace, according to
    his promise, John 16: 33. All strength for the mortification of sin,
    for the conquest of temptations--all our increase and growth in grace
    depend on the constant actings of this faith in him.

    The way and method of this faith is that which we have described. A
    due apprehension of the love of Christ, with the effects of it in his
    whole mediatory work on our behalf--especially in his giving himself
    for us, and our redemption by his blood--is the great motive
    thereunto. They whose hearts are not deeply affected herewith, can
    never believe in him in a due manner. "I live," saith the apostle, "by
    the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
    Unless a sense hereof be firmly implanted in our souls, unless we are
    deeply affected with it, our faith in him would be weak and wavering,
    or rather none at all. The due remembrance of what the blessed Lord
    Jesus has done for us, of the ineffable love which was the spring,
    cause, and fountain of what he so did--thoughts of the mercy, grace,
    peace, and glory which he has procured thereby are the great and
    unconquerable motives to fix our faith, hope, trust, and confidence in

    His divine nature is the ground and warranty for our so doing. This
    is that from whence he is the due and proper object of all divine
    faith and worship. From the power and virtue thereof do we expect and
    receive all those things which in our believing on him we seek after;
    for none but God can bestow them on us, or work them in us. There is
    in all the acting of our faith on him, the voice of the confession of
    Thomas, "My Lord and my God."

    His divine person, wherein he is God and man, wherein he has that
    nature which is the formal object of divine worship, and wherein he
    wrought all those things which are the motives thereunto, is the
    object of this faith; which gives its difference and distinction from
    faith in God in general, and faith in the person of the Father, as the
    fountain of grace, love, and power.

    Secondly, Faith is acted on Christ under the formal notion of
    mediator between God and man. So it is expressed, 1 Peter 1: 21, "Who
    by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave
    him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God." And this acting
    of faith towards Christ is not contrary unto that before described,
    nor inconsistent with it, though it be distinct from it. To deny the
    person of Christ to fall under this double consideration--of a divine
    person absolutely, wherein he is "over all, God blessed for ever,"
    and, as manifested in the flesh, exercising the office of mediator
    between God and man--is to renounce the gospel. And according unto the
    variety of these respects, so are the acting of faith various; some on
    him absolutely, on the motives of his mediation; Some on him as
    mediator only. And how necessary this variety is unto the life,
    supportment, and comfort of believers, they all know in some measure
    who are so. See our exposition on Heb. 1: 1-3. Sometimes faith
    considers him as on the throne; sometimes as standing at the right
    hand of God; sometimes as the mediator between God and man, the man
    Christ Jesus. Sometimes his glorious power, sometimes his infinite
    condescension, is their relief.

    Wherefore, in the sense now intended, he is considered as the
    ordinance, as the servant of God, "who raised him up from the dead,
    and gave him glory." So our faith respects not only his person, but
    all the acts of his office. It is faith in his blood, Rom. 3: 25. It
    is the will of God, that we should place our faith and trust in him
    and them, as the only means of our acceptance with him--of all grace
    and glory from him. This is the proper notion of a mediator. So is he
    not the ultimate object of our faith, wherein it rests, but God
    through him. "Through him have we access by one Spirit unto the
    Father," Eph. 2: 18. So he is the way whereby we go to God, John 14:
    6; see Heb. 10: 19-22. And this so is faith in him; because he is the
    immediate, though not the ultimate, object of it, Acts 26: 18.

    This is that which renders our faith in God evangelical. The especial
    nature of it ariseth from our respect unto God in Christ, and through
    him. And herein faith principally regards Christ in the discharge of
    his sacerdotal office. For although it is also the principle of all
    obedience unto him in his other offices, yet as unto fixing our faith
    in God through him, it is his sacerdotal office and the effects of it
    that we rest upon and trust unto. It is through him as the high priest
    over the house of God, as he who has made for us a new and living way
    into the holy place, that we draw nigh to God, Heb. 4: 14-16, 10:
    19-22; 1 John 1: 3.

    No comfortable, refreshing thoughts of God, no warrantable or
    acceptable boldness in an approach and access unto him, can any one
    entertain or receive, but in this exercise of faith on Christ as the
    mediator between God and man. And if, in the practice of religion,
    this regard of faith unto him--this acting of faith on God through him-

  • be not the principle whereby the whole is animated and guided, Christianity is renounced, and the vain cloud of natural religion
    embraced in the room of it. Not a verbal mention of Him, but the real
    intention of heart to come unto God by him, is required of us; and
    thereinto all expectation of acceptance with God, as unto our persons
    or duties, is resolved.

    We have had great endeavours of late, by the Socinians, to set forth
    and adorn a natural religion; as if it were sufficient unto all ends
    of our living unto God. But as most of its pretended ornaments are
    stolen from the gospel, or are framed in an emanation of light from
    it, such as nature of itself could not rise unto; so the whole
    proceeds from a dislike of the mediation of Christ, and even weariness
    of the profession of faith in him. So is it with the minds of men who
    were never affected with supernatural revelations, with the mystery of
    the gospel, beyond the owning of some notions of truth--who never had
    experience of its power in the life of God.

    But here lies the trial of faith truly evangelical Its steady
    beholding of the Sun of Righteousness proves it genuine and from
    above. And let them take heed who find their heart remiss or cold in
    this exercise of it. When men begin to satisfy themselves with general
    hopes of mercy in God, without a continual respect unto the
    interposition and mediation of Christ, whereinto their hope and trust
    is resolved, there is a decay in their faith, and proportionally in
    all other evangelical graces also. Herein lies the mystery of
    Christian religion, which the world seems to be almost weary of.

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