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but by a person that takes up this God as a promising God. All mankind have either to do with God as promising, or threatening. The threatening God threatens the most dreadfully: the promising God promises the greatest good. It is impossible that there can be true and strong love fixed on that person from whom we do dread the greatest evil: therefore the Lord hath framed the matter so in the dispensing of his grace, in the call of the gospel, that he still tenders himself to his people, and at all times hath done since sin came into the world, under soine gracious discovery of himself. I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, saith the Lord to Moses. Even when the man is afraid to look upon God, saith the Lord, Do not be afraid, I am the God of Abraham, &c. “ I am the God of thy fathers, I appeared « to them, I spake my good mind to them, and they lived and
died in the promise; and thou, Moses, art one that art con« cerned therein," Exod. iii. 3, 4.
Two things I shall conclude with at this time.
1. It is a marvellous condescension in God, that he hath come to us as a promising God. He might have stood upon his state, and throne, and dignity; he might have kept upon the throne of his glories: but in wonderful grace he comes down, if I may so speak, as an equal; and he comes into covenant with us, and plights his troth. Is not this wonderful? Solomon ondered: Will God indeed dwell with men. No wonder if God will command men; no wonder if God will threaten sinners; these things become God, and are like him, and are suited to his nature: but will God promise to man ; Will he make a covenant with man. Job xli. 3, 4. So Ezek. xvi. 6,-9.
2. As it is a great condescension in God to reveal himself to us as a promising God, so it is a great duty upon his people to keep that name of God continually in their eye. Pray, what do you do in the word ? in prayer? What is the God you deal with? Do you betake yourselves to the word, to hear the word of God as a commander ? Ay, but where is the strength for obedience? That is uncomfortable work then. Ay, but, saith the believer, God's promising for all şhat he hath done for his people before, and all that they
have done in their actings of faith towards him, encourages
Would it not put another sort of edge upon our prayers, were we to eye God as a promising God? What do we
do in prayer; think you, what is the business of prayer? The main thing in prayer is to put God in mind of the promise. The great work of Christians is to turn promises into prayer, and God will turn both into performance. Every believer, you know, is to ask according to God's will. The asking according to God's will, is to ask in faith, James i, 5, 6, And not only to ask what God bids us ask, but to ask what God has commanded us to hope ; and we know what to hope for, by what God has promised. . If we stretch our hope beyond the promise, we are out of the way: but his promises are so large, that a believer needs not to fear but he hath room, enough for his faith to work in, nay to run in. The faith of a believer hath room enough to treat with God in. Labour for this. All the disquiets that are in the minds of believers, all the changes that are in their thoughts about the God they have to deal with, all proceed from this. In the day of his love, in the day of their peace, he hath been made known to them as a promising God. Ay, but now there is a cloud comes upon their faith, and may be a veil upon his face; and he comes to them and appears as if he were a threatening or commanding God. No dealing with him in
Learn to mind God's true name, He is a promising God. The Lord teach you this.
SER MON IV.
HEBREWS X. 23.
-For he is faithful that promised. You heard that these words contain the argument by which the apostle presseth the preceding exhortation to Christians, Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; and the argument is very proper, and very strong, Let us hold fast the profession of our faith, for God holds fast his promises sufficiently. Yea, our faith is built upon his promises. It is time enough for faith to stagger when God fails, but never till then. If God could fail, then a believer's faith should fail, and never till then. With regard to this argument of the apostle's, I did first take a general view of it, with respect to something contained in the manner of speaking. 1. He speaks of a promiser, and names no person, only he that promises. He knew well enough, that Christians knew whom he meant; that it was God's promise ; faith looks to that only. 2. The apostle doth not tell what he promises ; but only he hath promised. And here now it is needful that we gather the extent of the promise, and the nature of the faith and hope that the apostle is exhorting them to maintain the profession of God's promises, and the believer's faith and hope are justly and equally commensurate; all that we need to desire and hope for, God's promises secure. 3. I noted, that the word here in the original is, Fuithful is he that promises; or, that is the promiser; or, that is as it were in the act of promising. The promises of God are not past things; they may seem so to us; but they are always current, and present, and acting, and working perpetually, till performance comes.
From the words themselves, I did propose several truths to be handled. The first that I began upon, was this: That the Christian's God is a promising God. The name that the apostle here by the Spirit gives him, is, He thut promises. Besides
what was spoken last day, I shall now further speak upon this truth, in handling these two things :
I. I will shew you what is a promising God, and what is to be considered therein.
II. What need we have of a promising God; that there is no other God can save us but a promising God.
Lastly, I shall make application of the point.
1. What is a promising God? It is the true God manifesting his grace and mercy to us, and securing that by his faithful word, that is a promising God; he is the true God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Consider, in this matter, the high and eternal rise of all promises; and that is the infinite, unaccountable love of God unto the chosen. The promise of God is but the birth of the purpose of God. The purpose of God springs from nothing, the promise of God springs from somewhat. There had never been a word of good-will to the children of men spoken by God, if there had not been thoughts of good-will framed in his heart from eternity. This we find sometimes called the promise: God that cannot lie, promised before the world began, Titus i. 2. The meaning is, he purposed it before the world began, and as soon as the world began he revealed' it. This is carefully to be taken notice of, That all the promises of God spring from this purpose of God, and are designed by our Lord in their true application to answer the purpose; that as the
purpose of his grace is a sure and limited one, determined, and distinct; so the promise is of the same design. Who hath saved us, saith the apostle, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, 2 Tim. i. 9, 10.
2. About this promising God and his promises, we are to consider the channel wherein they run; and this is all in and through Jesus Christ. That man looks with a bad eye upon any of the promises of God, that does not see Christ in them ; and they do not see Christ rightly, unless they see all the pro
mises in him. We see the covenant in him, and him in the covenant; all the promises of God are in him; he was promised himself, and all the blessings that are promised, are purchased by him, and left to his people as a legacy in his last will, confirmed by his own death.
3. The promises in this promising God, come to be considered as they lie before us in the word. There they are indited by the Holy Ghost, and written by holy men of God, that were acted by the Spirit of God; and, if I may so speak, there we have them in black' and white.
4. We would consider the promise as the father of believers, or the mother in a figurative phrase. Every believer is a child of promise: Now we brethren, aš Isaac was, are the children of promise, Gal. iv. 28. Not only are we heirs of the promise, for that relates to the estate, Gal. iii. 29. Heb. vi. 17. and xi. 7, 9.; but children of the promise, begotten again to a lively hope through the promise. When a poor creature is converted, it is the promise of God that does it. The efficacy of the promise of God, in its begun performance, does change and renew the heart, Jam. i. 18. 1 Pet. i. 23. The apostle, concerning his own conversion, says, It pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, Gal. i. 15. It was a kind of strange separation. The poor young man was left of God as eminently as any youth in all Judea ; at his best he was a superstitious blinded Jew, and at his worst a bitter enemy to the name of Jesus Christ. Who would think now this man was separated from his mother's womb for God? he seemed to be separated from God, and separated to the vengeance of God. For all this, grace seized his heart, and he is called in due time. These things we are to conceive when we speak and think of a promising God: the rise of them, in the purpose of God's heart; the channel of all the promises, in and through the heart's blood of our Lord Jesus; recorded to us in the word, and in God's good time applied to the heart, to call in the heirs of promise, and to bring them home to possess their estate.
II. The second thing is, What need we have of a promising God? This must be a name peculiarly applied unto the God