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mised to them in the freest and fullest manner that any grant can be conveyed, springing from sovereign grace in the giver, and receiv ed not from any qualification in themselves, but entirely from his own bounty, continued and increased with all the rich and ripe fruits of faith to the praise of the glory of the grace of God.
It has been long observed, and much lamented, that there are very few of these happy believers, who give such a perfect credit to the promises of God in Christ, as to rest their hearts upon his faithfulness without any doubt or wavering: They do not trust so far as the promises warrant them, which stops the exercise of faith, and hinders the growth of the Spiritual life. Weak faith has little fruit. Strong faith improves love to God, loving obedience, patient suffering, persevering warfare, and the other fruits of the Spirit. Indeed for this very purpose it is commanded, that we might trust and not be afraid; and there are promises made to them who obey the command, and all things promised are possible to them who believe. For there is strength
sufficient in the promiser to make faith grow, yea, to make it grow exceedingly: and he has done it, giving us a happy instance in the church of the Thessalonians, in which persecution raged, but faith was victorious, and patience triumphant. It has pleased God to give us in the scriptures many encouragements for the growth of faith, which are in the following treatise set before the reader; that we may honour his word, and trust in it at all times, especially when appearances make against their being fulfilled. Then it is high worship, against hope to believe in hope, as the father of the faithful did: and they are his children, and follow the steps of his faith, who, when sin is felt in its defilement, in its guilt, in the sense of inward corruptions, and of strong temptations, in the many troubles of life, in the infirmities of age, and in the approach of death, put their whole trust and confidence in the promises of God. Nothing else is appointed, either to bring in the peace of God to the conscience, or to keep it in. God only in such trials can be a safe refuge, and a A 2
sure defence; and faith, looking at what he has engaged to give, secures the promised help to the glory of God. Under these several heads something is here offered from the scriptures of truth to encourage a more steadfast reliance on the divine faithfulness, than one commonly meets with. And what is said upon each head is here set before the reader, on the authority of God's word, and is also followed with fervent prayer, that the end of publishing this treatise may be answered, even, that the srciptural faith may be hereby increased, that it may abound yet more and more, and in such a great degree, as may bring the highest glory to God, the truest holiness to the heart, and the happiest experience in the life, and in the warfare of the Christian. May the gracious Lord, who is the author and finisher of the faith, accompany it with his Spirit to the advancement of his own praise, and to the edification of his own people. To him who keepeth promise for ever, be glory in the church, through Christ Jesus, world without end. Amen.
WHERE there has been war, a triumph supposes a battle to have been fought, a victory to have been obtained, and the great rejoicings of the conquerors upon this occasion. The Christian has his matter of triumph, but it is spiritual. It is always in Christ, the captain of his salvation. So it is written "Thanks be to God, who always causeth us to triumph in Christ." The apostle is speaking of his preaching the gospel. He carried the sweet savour of Jesus' name from place to place; but it was not always received as a joyful sound, nor welcomed as it deserved. He met with great opposition. The Holy Ghost witnessed that in every city, bonds and afflictions awaited him. As these abounded, grace did much more abound. For he was carried on through
persecutions, imprisonment, stoning, whipping, perils of various kinds, suffered for Christ, and Christ made him victorious over them all. He not only enabled Paul to conquer, but also made him more than conqueror he was the blessed instrument of pulling down the strong holds of sin and Satan, and of setting up in the world that kingdom of Jesus, which is flourishing to this day, and which will triumph to eternity. A poor weak man had all the Roman empire against him, but he did wonders. Through Christ strengthening him, he went on conquering and to conquer and to Christ he gives all the glory; acknowledging that the gospel, his preaching it, and the success of it, was of God, the excellency of the power was of God. "Thanks be unto God, who always causeth us to triumph in Christ." He, for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate, that as our surety he might live, and die and conquer for us. It was to the everlasting honour of his grace and mercy, that he would engage in this war, and undertake to deliver