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for your faith in God's faithfulness: he foresaw all things that shall come, or can come to pass, that look like impediments. All your sinning, all your fainting, all your unbelief, all your murmurings, all your turnings and temptings of the Lord, poor believer, they were all foreseen by God, yet he made the promise, and therefore he will keep it. I believe we are such poor believers, that if we had the foresight of all that comes in the way to hinder, we would never believe. A poor believer, if in the day that he giv's the hand unto the Lord, in the day that he marries his soul unto Christ Jesus, in the day that he engages to expect life, and righteousness, and salvation' in this holy One of Israel; I say, if this man, could foresee all the sin, and all the miscarriages and weaknesses that will be found in him for but seven years to come, he would draw back his hand, and be ashamed to say, I believe. The reason why I say so is this, because when a few of these come in our way, they shake our faith. The children of God have one advantage in their weakness, that our future things are hid from us; things that shall come to pass we do not know, but the Lord sees them all, and in sight of them all he makes the promise, and therefore, notwithstanding them all, he keeps the promise, Isa. xlviii. 19, 19. and Psal. Ixix. 5.
8. The mighty power of God is that which we should ground our faith of his faithfulness upon. Omnipoteny must be engaged to fulfil the promises, and omnipotency must be acted upon in believing the promise: 2 Tim. i. 12. I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Abraham offered up his son Isaac, accounting that God was able to raise him from the dead. He had a promise, That in Isaac his seed should be called; God bid Abraham cut his throat, and burn (not bury) his body: says Abraham, “ That I will do," accounting that he was able to raise him up from the dead. How frequently do we find faith fixed this way upon divine power? Rom. xi. 23. As to the Jews, they shall be grafted in ; why so ? God is able to graft them in: as to a weak believer, it is far more easy, Rom. xiv. 4. He shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. Sirs, your faith will never behave well, till you have a view of omnipotency.
believers; and it is well for her she was named there, for in
That faith is never soundly tried, till it is brought into that distress that nothing bút omnipotency can relieve out of; and that faith is not cleanly acted, that does not act purely upon omnipotency. Wherefore do I believe the promise ? Because he is the Lord of hosts, for whom nothing is too hard, that promises ; it is with this the Lord chides Sarah's unbelief, Is any thing too hard for the Lord? Gen. xviii. 4. Jer. xxxii. 17, 27.
Lastly, There is something in the very nature of the promises that speaks forth the certainty of their fulfilment. Ye may know by the nature of the promises, that he is a faithful God that made them. One is the absoluteness of the main promise. That I call an absolute promise, wherein the whole of the care and charge is God's. When God says, I will, they shall; I will be your God, and ye shall be my people; and if I will be your God, no man shall
he shall and if thou say, We shall be thy people, none shall say, We shall not be thy people. There is again the wisdom of the order of the promises, that there is some begun performance of the promises ; the performance of the promise of grace is in a
way to the performance of the promise of glory. APPLICATION. 1. Learn to magnify this name. God hath magnified it himself, and so should we; Psal. cxxxviii. 2. I will
praise thy name, for thy loving-kindness, and for thy truth : for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. Magnifying of God's faithfulness stands principally in praising for it. Praise him for all the promises he hath made, and praise him for all the performance he hath given, and praise him for all the performance that shall be given.
s you must praise him for it, so you must count God faithfui, This is a great matter. May I speak it in more plain homely words: Every one of you must count God honest, an honest, faithful
, true God; that never deceived any that trusted in him, that is never worse than his word ; always a great deal better. It is remarked concerning Sarah, Heb. xi. 11. that she judged liim faithful who had promised. She is one
women that are named there in that short catalogue of VOL. III.
deed the account we have of her in Genesis is not so much to her honour; when the promise is made in Genesis, it is said, Sarah laughed, Gen. xvii. 12. and xvii. 17.
When do ye think Sarah believed ? I really think she beJieved when she was reproved for her unbelief, What is her believing called ? Through faith also Sarnh herself received strength to conceive seed, because she judged him faithful who had promised. She accounted the promiser faithful, that is faith; to account the promises faithful, that is believing. Is it not a reasonable thing to crave this of you ? You must account him faithful or unfaithful, there is no medium : if you do not give him the positive testimony of faithfulness, you reflect upon him the blasphemy of unfaithfulness. Now this would bring me to the third thing, viz. That the faith of believers should in some measure answer the faithfulness of God. See that your believing answer the promise, as your believing is bottomed upon the promise. See Acts xvi. 15. Lydia's charge to Paul.
This accounting him faithful craves two things; 1st, That you must learn, in the main matter of salvation, to take his word alone. We reckon always, that that person is jealous of another, that is not willing to take his word. It is true, that, on earth, men may pretend prudence for their distrust; but in dealing with God, it is an abomination, a prudence that comes from hell, James iii. 15. If we account him faithful that promises, we should seek no more, and should crave no more. Believers eliat have their multiplied props from sense for their faith, labour under the disadvantage of a secret charge of unfaithfulness in Gol. Will you offer to bring any ereacure to confirm Goa's testimony. Puly, Account him faithsul that exacts this of us, that as soon as ever we get the promise, we should rejoice i: hope of performance. God hath spoken in his holiness, I av li rojsice, says David; “ I have got "God's word, that is enough of joy to me;" Psal. lx. 6.
HEBREWS X. 23.
For he is faithful that promised. FROM the last words of this verse, which is the apostle's argument to press Christians to hold fast the profession of their faith without wavering, I have spoke already unto two notes that I observed therefrom; as, 1. It is a name here given to God, he that promises; and from this I shewed, that the Christian’s God is a promising God, and he that knows not God by this name of a promising God, does not know the true God; no man can take up God aright, but in the veil of a promise ; no man can draw near to God aright, but in and by the encouragement of a promise.
2. The second note was this, That this promising God is faithful in his promises, this promiser is faithful. To this I spoke last day, and shall add but a little to it, and proceed to the third thing. . I know that there are a great many professors that bear the name of Christians, (God knows how little they deserve it, to him they stand or fall), who wonder, why there should be so much in the word spoken of faith; and that some ministers, in their doctrine should insist so much upon believing : Why not, say they, upon doing? Is not believing doing ? The greatest doing that ever was done by a sinner is believing, and all the right doing of obedience fiows from believing. Whoever they be that know what it is to be a Christian, know that their life is a life of faith; they live by faith, even as we live our natural life by breathing. It is as impossible, that a Christian can preserve his spiritual life, without repeated acts of believing, as it is for us to preserve our natural life, without putting forth and sucking in the air we breathe in. Therefore it is, that such as know what the life of faith is, that is, the Christian's life, never can think enough, they never can hear enough, because they can never do enough about belier:
ing. For this end, I have spoke unto this great name of the Lord our God, That he is fillful in his promises. I did, last day, 1. Shew you that the meaning of this is, what our thoughts of God's faithfulness do contain by the warrant of the word, and I gave you four particulars. Next, I shewed you the grounds, rather of your faith on God's faithfulness, than the grounds of his faithfulness. The Psalmist leads us to this, Psal. cxxxviii. 2. Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. God makes all his name some way serviceable for the advancement of the glory of his word, and his faithfulness in his word is a main part of the glory of it. Several of the names of God that are useful for the strengthening of our faith, as to his faithfulness, I mentioned last day; and shall add two or three more, and go
forward. The first is his holiness. His holiness is a great ground of faith as to his faithfulness : God hath spoken in his holiness, I will rejoice, says the Psalmist, Psal. Ix. 6. Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David, Psalm lxxxix. 35. Holiness is a name of God hateful to all sinners, and very awful to believers. When the purity, the spotlessness of his holiness is seen, what sad reflections usually does it occasion ? But thou art holy : But I am a worm, says the Psalmist, and no man, Psal. xxii. 3, and 6. When God's holiness was proclaimed before Isaiah, Wo is me, says he, for, I am undone, chap. vi. 5. Can there be any encouragement for faith from God's holiness? A great many Christians main fear arises from his holiness. Now I am to show you, that the name of his holiness is a great consideration for strengthening faith. Faithfulness, if I may so call it, is a piece of holiness ; faith-, fulness is a branch of holiness, so that as God cannot do any thing that is evil, so he cannot break his word. Then he swears by his holiness; as if he would say, « Take me for “no holy God, if ever I fall short of
word of promise." 2. The second name of God is his wisdom. He makes promises in wisdom ; he makes promises about blessings that he means to give, and knows, and hath appointed when and how to perform. We, that are poor creatures, that live in time, think a little time a long while, viz. from the bevinning of the promise in Geo. iii. 15. unto the end of time,