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EFFECTS OF FAITII AND UNBELIEF.
the heart of Christ, when with his mouth he giveth reproofs; but Unbelief will imagine wrath in his heart, when with his mouth and word he saith he loves us. Matt. xv. 22–29;
Faith will help the soul to wait, though God defers to give; but Unbelief will take offence and throw up all, if God makes any tarrying. Psalm xxv. 5; Isa. viii. 17; 2 Kings vi. 33. Faith will give comfort in the midst of fears ; but Unbelief causeth fears in the midst of comforts. 2 Chron. xx. 20, 21; Matt. viii. 26; Luke xxiv. 25. Faith will suck sweetness out of God's rod; but Unbelief can find no comfort in his greatest mercies. Psalm xxiii.; Numb. xii. Faith maketh great burdens light; but Unbelief maketh light ones intolerably heavy. Mal. i. 12, 13. Faith helpeth us when we are down; but Unbelief throws us down when we are up. Micah vii. 8–10; Heb. iv. 11. Faith bringeth us near to God, when we are far from him; but Unbelief puts us far from God when we are near to him. Heb. x. 22; iii. 12, 13.
Where Faith reigns, it declareth us to be the friends of God; but where Unbelief reigns, it declareth us to be his enemies. Heb. iii. 18; Rev. xxi. 8. Faith putteth a man under grace ;
but Unbelief holdeth him under wrath. Rom. ii. 24-26; Eph. ii. 8; John iii. 36; 1 John v. 10; Heb. iii. 17; Mark xvi. 16; John viii. 24. Faith purifieth the heart; but Unbelief keepeth it polluted and impure. Acts xv. 19; Tit. i. 15, 16. By faith the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us; but by unbelief we are shut up under the law to perish. Rom. iv. 23, 24; xi. 32; Gal. iii. 23.
Faith maketh our work acceptable to God through Christ; but whatsoever is of Unbelief is sin. For without faith it is impossible to please him. Heb. xi. 4; Rom. xiv. 23; Heb. xi. 6. Faith giveth us peace and comfort in our souls; but unbelief worketh trouble and tossings, like the restless waves of the sea. Rom. v. 1; James iv. 1.
Faith maketh us see preciousness in Christ, but Unbelief sees no form, beauty, or comeliness in him. 1 Pet. i.; Isa. liii. 1-3. By faith we have our life in Christ's fulness; but by unbelief we starve and pine · away. Gal. ii. 20. Faith gives us the victory over the law, sin, death, the devil, and all evils : but Unbelief layeth us obnoxious to them all. 1 John v. 4; Luke xii. 46.
Faith will show us more excellency in things not seen, than in them that are; but Unbelief sees more in things that are, than in things that will be hereafter. 2 Cor. iv. 18; Heb. xi. 24-27; 1 Cor. xv. 32.
Faith makes the ways of God pleasant and admirable; but Unbelief maketh them heavy and hard. Gal. v. 6; 2 Cor. xii. 10, 11; John vi. 60; Psalm ii. 3.
By faith Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, possessed the land of promise; but because of unbelief, neither Aaron, nor Moses, nor Miriam, could get thither. Heb. xi. 9; iii. 19. By faith the children of Israel passed through the Red sea; but by unbelief the generality of them perished in the wilderness. Heb. xi. 29; Jude 5. By faith Gideon did more with three hundred men, and a few empty pitchers, than all the twelve tribes could do, because they believed not God. Judges vii. 16-22; Num. xiv. 11, 14. By faith Peter walked on the water; but by unbelief he began to sink. Matt. xiv. 22-33.
Thus might many more be added, which for brevity's sake, I omit; beseeching every one that thinketh he hath a soul to save, or be damned, to take heed of Unbelief; lest seeing there is a promise left us of entering into his rest, any of us by unbelief should indeed come short of it.
II. The second use is a use of EXAMINATION.
Sinner, thou hast heard of the necessity of coming to Christ; also of the willingness of Christ to receive the coming soul; together with the benefit that they by him shall have, that indeed come to him. Put thyself now upon this serious inquiry, Am I indeed come to Jesus Christ ?
MOTIVES AND MEANS OF EXAMINATION.
Motives plenty I might here urge, to prevail with thee to a conscientious performance of this duty. As,
1. Thou art in sin, in the flesh, in death, in the snare of the devil, and under the curse of the law, if thou art not coming to Jesus Christ.
2. There is no way to be delivered from these, but by coming to Jesus Christ.
3. If thou comest, Jesus Christ will receive thee, and will in no wise cast thee out.
4. Thou wilt not repent it in the day of judgment, if thou now comest to Jesus Christ.
5. But thou wilt surely mourn at last, if now thou shalt refuse to come. And,
6. Lastly, Now thou hast been invited to come, now will thy judgment be greater, and thy damnation more fearful, if thou shalt yet refuse, than if thou hadst never heard of coming to Christ.
Object. But we hope we are come to Jesus Christ.'.
But lest thou shouldst speak without ground, and so fall unawares into hell-fire, let us examine a little.
First, Art thou indeed come to Jesus Christ ? What hast thou left behind thee? What didst thou come away from, in thy coming to Jesus Christ?
When Lot came out of Sodom, he left the Sodomites behind him. Gen. xix. When Abraham came out of Chaldea, he left his country and kindred behind him. Gen. xii.; Acts vii. When Ruth came to put her trust under the wings of the Lord God of Israel, she left her father and mother, her gods, and the land of her nativity, behind her. Ruth i. 15–17; ii. 11, 12. When Peter came to Christ, he left his nets behind him. Matt. iv. 18. When Matthew came to Christ, he left the receipt of custom behind him. Matt. ix. 9. When Paul came to Christ, he left his own righteousness behind him. Phil. iii. 6, 7, 8. When those
that used curious arts came to Jesus Christ, they took their curious books and burned them though in another man's eye they were accounted worth fifty thousand pieces of silver. Acts xix. 18-20.
What sayest thou, man? Hast thou left thy darling sins, thy Sodomitish pleasures, thy acquaintance and vain companions, thy unlawful gain, thy idol gods, thy righteousness, thy unlawful books and curious arts behind thee? If any of these be with thee, and thou with them, in thy heart and life, thou art not yet come to Jesus Christ.
Again, Art thou come to Jesus Christ? Prithee tell me, what moved thee to come to Jesus Christ? Men do not usually come or go, to this or that place, before they have a moving cause, or rather a cause moving them thereto. No more do they come to Jesus Christ (I do not say before they have a cause, but) before that cause moveth them to come. What sayest thou? Hast thou a cause moving thee to come ? To be at present in a state of condemnation, is cause sufficient for men to come to Jesus Christ for life: but that will not do, except the cause move them; the which it will never do until their eyes be opened to see themselves in that condition. For it is not a man's being under wrath, but his seeing it, that moveth him to come to Jesus Christ. Alas ! all men by sin are under wrath; yet but few of that all come to Jesus Christ: and the reason is, because they do not see their condition. “Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come ?” Matt. iii. 7. Until men are warned, and also receive the warning, they will not come to Jesus Christ.
Take three or four instances for this. Adam and Eve came not to Jesus Christ until they received the alarm, the conviction of their undone state by sin. Gen. iii. The children of Israel cried not out for a mediator, before they saw themselves in danger of death by the law. Exod. xx. 18, 19. Before the publican came, he saw himself lost and undone.
WHAT BELIEVERS SEE IN CHRIST.
Luke xvii. 13. The prodigal came not, until he saw death at the door,' ready to devour him. Luke xv. 17, 18. The three thousand came not, until they knew not what to do to be saved. Acts ii. 37–39. Paul came not, antil he saw himself lost and undone. Acts ix. 3–11. Lastly, Before the jailer came, he saw himself undone. Acts xvi. 29–31.
And I tell thee, it is an easier thing to persuade a well man to go to the physician for a cure, or a man without hurt to seek a plaster to heal him, than it is to persuade a man that sees not his soul-disease, to come to Jesus Christ. The whole have no need of a physician; then why should they go to him? The full pitcher can hold no more; then why should it go to the fountain ? And if thou comest full, thou comest not aright; and be sure, Christ will send thee empty away. But “he healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Mark ii. 17; Psalm cxlvii. 3; Luke i. 52, 53.
Again, Art thou coming to Jesus Christ ? Prithee tell me, what seest thou in him to allure thee to forsake all the world, to come to him? I say, what hast thou seen in him? Men must see somewhat in Jesus Christ, else they will not come to him.
What comeliness hast thou seen in his person? Thou comest not, if thou seest no form nor comeliness in him. Isa. liii. 1-3. Until those mentioned in the Song were convinced that there was more beauty, comeliness, and desirableness in Christ, than in ten thousand, they did not so much as ask where he was, nor incline to turn aside after him. Song v.; vi.
There be many things on this side heaven that can and do carry away the heart; and so will do, so long as thou livest, if thou shalt be kept blind, and not be admitted to see the beauty of the Lord Jesus.
Further, Art thou come to the Lord Jesus? What hast thou found in him, since thou camest to him?