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  • CHAPTER - OF FAITH IN CHRIST.
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    Question. I am glad that you have instructed me into this part of the worship of God; I pray tell me also how else I should worship him? Answer. Thou must believe his word. Question. Is that worshiping God? Answer. Yes. “After the way which you call heresy, (said Paul,) so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things that are written in the law and the prophets,” etc. Acts 24:14. Question. Why should believing be counted a part of God’s worship? Answer. Because, without faith it is impossible to please him. Hebrews 11:6. Question. Why is it not possible to please him without believing? Answer. Because, in all true worship a man must believe that God is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Besides, he that worships God, must also of necessity believe his word; else he cannot worship with that reverence and fear that becomes him, but will do it in a superstitious, profane manner. “For whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Romans 14:23. Question. But do not all believe as you have said? Answer. No. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” And again, “The children of the flesh, these are not the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” John 3:6; Romans 9:8. Question. What do you mean by that? Answer. Thou must be born twice, before thou canst truly believe once. John 3:3,5. Question. How do you prove that? Answer. Because believing is a Christian act, and none are true Christians but those that are born again. But I mean by believing, believing unto salvation. Question. Can you prove this? Answer. Yes; they that believe in the name of Christ, are such as are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12,13. Question. What is believing? Answer. It is such an act of a gracious soul, as layeth hold of God’s mercy through Christ. Acts 15:11. Question. Why do you call it an act of a gracious soul? Answer. Because their minds are disposed that way, by the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:13. Question. If such a poor sinner as I am would be saved from the wrath to come, how must I believe? Answer. Thy first question should be, On whom must I believe? John 9:35,36. Question. On whom, then, must I believe? Answer. On the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 16:31,32. Question. Who is Jesus Christ, that I might believe in him? Answer. He is the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16. Question. Why must I believe on him? Answer. Because he is the Savior of the world. 2 Peter 3; 1 John 4:14. Question. How is he the Savior of the world? Answer. By the Father’s designation and sending. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17. Question. How did he come into the world? Answer. In man’s flesh; in which flesh he fulfilled the law, died for our sins, conquered the devil and death, and obtained eternal redemption for us. Galatians 4:4; Romans 10:3,4; Romans 8:3; Hebrews 2:14,15; Hebrews 6:20. Question. But is there no other way to be saved but by believing in Jesus Christ? Answer. There is no other name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved; and therefore he that believeth not shall be damned. Acts 4:12 ; Mark 16:16 ; John 3:18,36. Question. What is believing on Jesus Christ? Answer. It is a receiving of him with what is in him, as the gift of God to thee a sinner. John 1:12. Question. What is in Jesus Christ, to encourage me to receive him? Answer. Infinite righteousness to justify thee, and the Spirit without measure to sanctify thee. Isaiah 45:24,25; Daniel 9:24; Philippians 3:7,8; John 3:34. Question. Is this made mine, if I receive Christ? Answer. Yes; if thou receive him as God offereth him to thee. John 3:16. Question. How doth God offer him to me? Answer. Even as a rich man freely offereth an alms to a beggar, and so must thou receive him. John 6:32-36. Question. Hath he indeed made amends for sin? and would indeed have me accept of what he hath done? Answer. That he hath made amends for sin, is evident, because God for Christ’s sake forgiveth thee. And it is as evident that he would have thee accept thereof, because he offereth it to thee, and hath sworn to give thee the utmost benefit, namely, eternal life, if thou dost receive it; yea, and hath threatened thee with eternal damnation, if after all this thou shalt neglect so great salvation. Ephesians 4:32; Romans 3:24; Matthew 28:19; Acts 13:32,33,38,39; Hebrews 6:17,18 Hebrews 2:3; Mark 16:16. Question. But how must I be qualified, before I shall dare to believe in Christ? Answer. Come, sensible of thy sins, and of the wrath of God due unto them; for thus thou art bid to come. Matthew 11:28. Question. Did ever any come thus to Christ? Answer. David came thus; Paul and the jailer came thus; also Christ’s murderers came thus. Psalm 51:1-3; Acts 9:6; Acts 16:30,31; Acts 2:37. Question. But doth it not seem most reasonable that we should first mend and be good? Answer. “The whole have no need of the physician, but those that are sick. Christ came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Mark 2:17. Question. But is it not the best way, if one can, to mend first? Answer. This is just as if a sick man should say, Is it not best for me to be well before I go to the physician; or as if a wounded man should say, When I am cured I will lay on the plaster. Question. But when a poor creature sees its vileness, it is afraid to come to Christ, is it not? Answer. Yes; but without ground; for he hath said, “ Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not. And to this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.” Isaiah 35:4 Isaiah 66:2. Question. What encouragement can be given us thus to come? Answer. The prodigal came thus, and his father received him, and fell upon his neck and kissed him. Thus he received the Colossians, and consequently all that are saved. Luke 15; Colossians 2:13. Question. Will you give me one more encouragement? Answer. The promises are so worded, that they that are scarlet sinners, crimson sinners, blasphemous sinners, have encouragement to come to him with hopes of life. Isaiah 1:18; Mark 3:28; John 6:37; Luke 24:47; Acts 13:36. Question. Shall any one that believeth be saved? Answer. If they believe as the scriptures have said ; if the scriptures be fulfilled in their believing. John 7:38; James 2:23. Question. What do you mean by that? Answer. When faith, which a man saith he hath, proveth itself to be of the right kind, by its acts and operations in the mind of a poor sinner. James 2:19-23. Question. Why, are there many kinds of faith? Answer. Yes; there is a faith that will stand with a heart as hard as a rock; and a short, winded faith, which dureth for a while; in time of temptation such fall away. Luke 8:13. Question. Is there any other kind of faith? Answer. Yes; there is a faith that hath no more life in it, than hath the body of a dead man. James 2:26. Question. Is there yet another of these unprofitable faiths? Answer. Yes; there is a faith that is of ourselves, and not of the special grace of God. Ephesians 2:8. Question. Tell me if there be yet another? Answer. There is a faith that standeth in the wisdom of men, and not in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:5. Question. Is here all? Answer. No; there is a faith that seems to be holy, but it will not do, because it is not the most holy faith. 2 Peter 2:20; Jude 20. Question. Alas! if there be so many kinds of faith that will not profit to salvation, how easy is it for me to be deceived? Answer. It is easy indeed! And therefore the Holy Ghost doth in this thing so often caution us, “Be not deceived; let no man deceive you; and if a man thinketh himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” 1 Corinthians 6:9; Ephesians 5:6; Galatians 6:3. Question. But is there no way to distinguish the right faith from that which is wrong? Answer. Yes; and that by the manner of its coming and operation. Question. What do you mean by the manner of its coming? Answer. Nay, you must make two questions of this one; that is, what is it for faith to come? and in what manner doth it come? Question. Well, then, what is it for faith to come? Answer. This word, faith comes, supposeth thou wert once without it; it also supposeth, that thou didst not fetch it whence it was; it also supposeth it hath a way of coming. Galatians 3:23,25. Question. That I was once without it, you intimated before; but must I take it without proof for granted? Answer. I will give you a proof or two. “God hath concluded them all in unbelief;” and again it is said, “faith comes;” and again the Holy Ghost insinuateth our estate to be dreadful before faith come. Romans 11:32; 10:17; Galatians 3:23. Question. Why, how is it with men before faith comes? Answer. Without faith, or before faith comes, it is impossible to please God; for whether their actions be civil or religious, they sin in all they do. “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination,” and “the plowing of the wicked is sin.” Proverbs 21:4,27. Question. Is not this a very sad condition? Answer. Yes; but this is not all; for their present unbelief bindeth them over to wrath, by shutting them up to the law; it also draweth them away from God, and will drown them in everlasting damnation, if the grace of God prevent not. Galatians 3:23; Hebrews 3:17,18; John 3:36. Question. What if a man saw himself in this condition? Answer. There are many see themselves in this condition. Question. How came they to see it? Answer. By the preaching and hearing of the word of God. John 16:8,9. Question. And what do such think of themselves? Answer. They do not only think, but know that in this condition they are without Christ, without hope, and without God in the world. Ephesians 2:11,12. Question. Are not they happy that see not themselves in this condition? Answer. Yes; if they have seen themselves delivered therefrom by a work of faith in their souls; else not. Question. How do you mean? Answer. I mean, if they have seen themselves delivered from this state, by being by the word and Spirit of God implanted into the faith of Christ. Romans 11:17-19. Question. Are not they happy that are never troubled with this sad sight of their condition? Answer. They are just so happy as is that man who lieth fast asleep in his house while it is on fire about his ears. Can a man be happy that is ignorant that he is without God, and Christ, and hope? Can a man be happy that is ignorant that he is hanging over hell by the poor weak thread of an uncertain life? For this is the state of such a one. Question. But may not faith come to a man without he see himself to be first in this condition? Answer. It is God’s ordinary way to convince men of this their sad condition, before he revealeth to them the righteousness of faith, or worketh faith in them to lay hold of that righteousness. John 16:9-11; Galatians 3:23,25. Question. How then do you conclude of them that never saw themselves shut up by unbelief under sin and the curse of God? Answer. I will not judge them for the future; God may convert them before they die. But at present their state is miserable ; for because they are shut up and held prisoners by the law, by their lusts, and by the devil, and unbelief, therefore they cannot so much as with their hearts desire that God would have mercy upon them, and bring them out of their snares and chains. Question. Then do you count it better for a man to see his condition by nature, than to be ignorant thereof? Answer. Better a thousand times to see it in this world, than to see it in hell-fire; for he must see it there or here. Now if he sees it here, this is the place of prayer; here is the preaching of the word, which is God’s ordinance to beget faith. Besides, here God applieth promises of mercy to the desolate, and Christ also hath protested, that he that cometh to him, He will in no wise cast out. John 6:37. Question. I am convinced that I was once without faith, and also that I cannot fetch it; but pray tell me the way of its coming? Answer. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17. Question. How by hearing? Answer. God mixeth it with the word, when he absolutely intendeth the salvation of the sinner, Hebrews 4:2,3 ; Acts 13:48. Question. And how do men hear, when faith is mixed with the word? Answer. They hear the word not as the word of man, but as it is in truth the word of God, which worketh effectually in them that believe. I Thessalonians 2:13. Question. Pray tell me now the manner of its coming? Answer. It comes through difficulty; it comes gradually. Question. What are the difficulties which oppose it at its coming? Answer. Sense of unworthiness, guilt of conscience, natural reason, unbelief, and arguments forged in hell, and thence suggested by the devil into the heart against it. Luke 5:8; Mark 9:24; Isaiah 6:5; Romans 4:18-21. Question. How doth faith come gradually? Answer. Perhaps at first it is but like a grain of mustard seed, small, and weak. Matthew 17:20. Question. Will you explain it further? Answer. Faith, at first, perhaps may have its excellency lie inview only, that is in seeing where justification and salvation, are; after that it may step a degree higher, and be able to say, ‘It may be,’ or ‘Who can tell but I may obtain this salvation?’ Again, it may perhaps go yet a step higher, and arrive to some short and transient assurance. Hebrews 11:13; Joel 2:13,14; Zephaniah 2:3; Psalm 30:7. Question. But doth faith come only by hearing? Answer. It is usually begotten by the word preached; but after it is begotten, it is increased several ways. It is increased by prayer; it is increased by Christian conference; it is increased by reading; it is increased by meditation; it is increased by the remembrance of former experiences. Luke 17:5; Mark 9:24; Romans 1:12; 16:25, 26; 1 Timothy 4:12-16; Matthew 16:8,9. Question. What do these things teach us? Answer. They teach us that the men of this world are very ignorant of, and as much without desire after faith. They neither hear, nor pray, confer, nor read, nor meditate, for the sake of faith. Question. But you said even now, that this faith was distinguished from that which profiteth not to salvation, as by the manner of its coming, so by its operation. Pray what is its operation? Answer. It causeth the soul to see in the light thereof, that there is no righteousness in this world that can save the sinner. Isaiah 64:6. Question. How doth it give the soul this sight? Answer. By giving him to understand the law, and his own inability to do it. Galatians 2:15,16. Question. And doth it always show the soul where justifying righteousness is? Answer. Yes; it shows that justifying righteousness is only to be found in the Lord Jesus Christ, in what he hath done and suffered in the flesh. Isaiah 45:24,25; Philippians 3:3-9. Question. How doth faith find this righteousness in Christ? Answer. By the word, which is therefore called the word of faith, because faith by that findeth sufficient righteousness in him. Romans 10:6-9. Question. How else doth it operate in the soul? Answer. It applieth this righteousness to the sinner, and also helps him to embrace it. Romans 3:21,22; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Galatians 2:20. Question. How else doth it operate? Answer. By this application of Christ, the soul is quickened to life, spiritualized, and made heavenly. For right faith quickeneth to spiritual life, purifies and sanctifies the heart; and worketh up the man that hath it, into the image of Jesus Christ. Colossians 2:12,13; Acts 15:9; Acts 26:18; 2 Corinthians 3:18. Question. How else doth it operate? Answer. It giveth the soul peace with God through Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1. Question. Surely Christ is of great esteem with them that have this faith in him. Is he not? Answer. Yes, yes. Unto them therefore which believe he is precious; precious in his person, precious in his undertakings, precious in his word. 1 Peter 2:7; 1:18, 19; 2 Peter 1:3,4. Question. Can these people then, that have this faith, endure to have this Christ spoken against? Answer. O, No! This is a sword in their bones, and a burden that they cannot bear. Psalm 42:10; Zephaniah 3:18,19. Question. Doth it not go near them when they see his ways and people discountenanced? Answer. Yes; and they also choose rather to be despised and persecuted with them, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Hebrews 11:24,25. Question. Do they not pray much for his second coming? Answer. Yes, yes; they would fain see him on this side the clouds of heaven. Their conversation is in heaven, from whence they look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20. Question. And do they live in this world as if he were to come presently? Answer. Yes; for his coming will be glorious and dreadful, full of mercy and judgment. “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also and the works therein shall be burnt up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness!” 2 Peter 3:10,11.

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