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and that is a great while after the end of the Revelation. You think it a long while betwixt God's first promise, and his last performance; but it is nothing with him, in the point of promise. Saith the apostle, One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, 2 Pet. iü. 8. and Isa. liv. 8. There are a great many ten thousand days in a thousand years ; there is a great inequality betwixt these, but both alike to God. We measure time, i as it were, by our own duration ; but he that inhabiteth eternity does not so. The wise God, I say, hath made all his promises in wisdom. In his eye, betwixt the making of them and the performance of them, there is no kind of distance
3. Lastly, The name of his love is a great encouragement to faith in his faithfulness. Love made the promises, and love will see to the fulfilling of them; therefore the Psalmist says, I will praise thy name, for thy loving-kindness, and for thy truth, Psal. cxxxviii. 2. The more love there be in making the promise, the more certainty there is of the fulfilment of it. Surely promises of love, free love, rich and eternal love, are made in love, Jer. xxxi. 3. and will be fulfilled.
III. The third thing now that I would speak upon, and that I observed froin th:se words, He is faithful that proinises, is, That the believer's faith should answer God's faithfulness. The stedfastness of our believing should answer the faithfulness of God in promising ; for this is the apostle's argument, Let us held fast the profession of our faith, or the confession of our hope, without wavering; for he is faithful that promised. Your hope is fixed upon his promises : hold fast your faith therefore, for he will hold fast his word: He is faithful that promises. Be you stedfest in believing; the promise is a strong promise ; it is the promise of a strong God; that faith that should be given to it, should be a strong faith. This is the glory of believing. Abraham gave glory to God.
What way? He was strong in faith ; and he was fully persuaded that the promise would hold good, for God was able to perform it, Rom. iv. 20. From this truth I would speak a little
to these two things. 1. Why our faith must answer God's faithfulness. 2. How it can do it.
First, Why the believer's faith must answer God's faithfulpess.
1. The first reason is, because faith and God's faithful. ness are relatives; they are necessarily related one to another. There were no use for divine faithfulness declared, no promise in time had been made, unless for some that should believe, John xvii. 20.; there were no use in this world for faith, if there were not some appearance of divine faithfulness for faith to act upon.
God's faithfulness is revealed on purpose that it may be believed. Faith is given on purpose, that divine faithfulness may be trusted in, and rested on, and applied. They relate one to another as necessarily as the eye and light do, and these are mighty like. If God had created creatures with eyes, and colours, or any other visible things, and no light to see by, it might be said, Wherefore gave he them eyes ? The case is just so here : All the breakings forth of divine faithfulness are for faith's sake, that it may work upon it; and all the giving of faith is for faithfulness sake, that it may act upon it.
2. Divine faithfulness is the ground of faith, and the only ground of faith, therefore faith must answer it. All the expectations of good from God, all the warm applications made to God, are all bottomed upon, Thus saith the Lord. If God's faithfulness be the ground of faith, surely then faith should answer the ground. If so be a person could believe as firmly, and build as strongly as the ground will bear him, he might do great things.
3. God's faithfulness is the author of faith; it is not only the ground of faith, that lays us under an obligation to believe when he speaks, but the very author and worker of faith. I do not mean only that God grants and works faith in his faithfulness; but my meaning is more strict, that all faith is wrought in the soul by some discovery of divine faithfulness at first, and in all the after-actings of it. We see that there are great multitudes that have the word of God alike, they have the same Bible, and the same ministers, and the same sernions; some beliers, and some do not believe; some cb
believing, before he give them that satisfaction that they exshouldst see the glory of God? « Did not I tell thee before, that
issue, thou shouldst see the glory of God, for all the
pearance to the contrary?". faithfulness? Here sone things must be premised for caution, sanctuary will admit.
tain grace to believe, and others not. Whence comes it? Wherefore is it, that ever at any time a poor self-condemned sinner trusts Christ Jesus with his salvation upon the warrant of the gospel-promise? When is it he does so ? Always then, and never till then, that he gets a discovery of the faithfulness of God in the contrivance of the gospel. When God stamps his own faithfulness and truth upon the gospel, then the man believes it, and trusts it: This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief, 1 Tim. i. 15. What is the reason there is so great difference amongst believers at one time and another, that the same promise of God at one time is strong under them like a pillar of brass ; at another time it is weak, or they think it weak as a broken reed? The true reason is this: At all times they have the word of the promise ; but it is not at all times they see the glory and faithfulness of the speaker. When the promise appears in the glory of the truth of the speaker, it is impossible but it must be believ
When God takes his own word in his own hand, and Stamps it down as the word of God upon the heart, then that mark is faith. Believing is another sort of business than a great many pretended professors of it know, or take it
The faithfulness of God is the cause of believing, 4. Lastly, Faith is God's appointed way for the performance of his promise. He will have glory by his people's pect, and desire in his performance. That rebuke our Lord gave to Martha, John xi. 40. is of lasting use in the church of Christ, Said I not unto thee, that if thu wouldst believe, thou
« I , " if thou wouldss but trust in me, and wait quietly to see the
apThe second thing is, How ought our faith to answer God's
do not carry the matter farther than the balance of the
1. You must not imagine, that any man's faith can answer
God's faithfulness fully: that is impossible. God's faithfulness is an infinite perfection in itself; our faith is a finite grace, given to a poor shallow creature. Our faith can answer his faithfulness no more, than our holiness can answer his holiness, though we are commanded to be holy, as he is holy. We are to take the pattern of our holiness from his holiness; and we are to study conformity to his holiness: but perfect conformity is impossicle; and even sinlessness, which is impossible here, would not bring us to perfect conformity to God's holiness. We must not think to answer God's faithfulness with our faith in a perfect equality.
2. Neither doth a believer answer God's faithfulness with faith as he ought. We do not pay all the faith that we owe to the truth of God. It is as impossible for a believer to perform the obedience of faith required in the gospel periccoly, as it is for an unbeliever to perform obedience to the luw percccdly. Indeed an unbeliever can obey 1.0:ling. Even the ebedince of faith, the obeying of the gospel, by believing of it, nee! gespel grace for the forgiveness of the sin of believing, or 2 sia in believing. There is never a believer that beved at tirst, but there was sin in that believirg: there are nore that do rely upon the word of God so Ermiy, as that rcele sure foundation deservesh.
3. There is no believer believes so firmly as he would: he 25 nut answer God's faithfulness by his faith so weil as he would. Whoever they be that think they believe as they des.re to budere, I dare say they never beliered, and never will leam to believe as long as they are of that mind. That poor man spoke 25 if he understood faith well, Mark ix. 24. L:r!, I belie; he'p thu mine unbelief. Believers are called to answer God's faithfulness by their faith, but they must nu: thirs that they shall ever attain to so much as they would: they mest still go on growing in believirg, as well as in any other grace. Tie righteousness of G:1 is rarealed from faith to at, Rom. i. 17. We must go on beii ving daily.
4. Fuith in all believers does not equally answer God's fahisess. True faith is built upya it, but every cne's faith does Cuidqually answer it. There are some siring
in faith, and some weak in faith. These are words in the scripture. Abraham is called strong in faith, young believers are called weak in faith, Rom. xiv. I. Nay, the same man is not alike strong in faith, or weak in faith, at all times; sometimes the strong may grow weak, and the weak may grow strong, though they have both true faith, and that built upon God's faithfulness.
These things I premise, for the preventing any mistake in the resolving this question, what way our faith is to answer God's faithfulness ? Our trust in believing, is to answer God's trustiness in promising.
Ist, It is to answer it by a sudden taking of God's word of promise, and resting on it. There is no delay for this. There is no time, no moment of time wherein a man is allowed to toss this question, Is God to be trusted, or no? This is an abomination to conceive that the Lord will ever suffer a man to spend one moment in making this question, Shall I take God's word, or no? Does he deserve to be trusted? This is wickedness to think of, or to put it to the question. Sudden receiving of God's word is the glory we owe to the faithfulness of it. Our Lord found fault with the disciples, that they were fools, and slow in heart to believe : they would take time to consider, before they would believe. This is sin. The apostle commends the Colossians for their faith, for their hope laid
in heaven. Wben began it? Since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth, Col. i. 6. “That
very day ye heard the word with pover, the grace of God " came along with it.” Our Lord takes notice of this, in John i. 50, 51. So runs the promise, Psal. xviii. 44.
2dly, By taking the least hint of God's word for our encouragement. This is to give glory by our faith to his faithfulness. The least appearance of his faithful word should be enough to engage our hearts. The great faith our Lord commends so highly, I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel, is exemplified by this, Matth. viii. 8. Lord, says the centurion, I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. As if the good man would say, “ Lord, I know that thou dost use to
go to some mens houses, and visit the sick, and heal them;