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ir is cöitely' on him, to put our trust in him, as one that is able to lave such as come unto God through him.'': 993 ri 37:56 In the words we are to obferve, the encouragement that is given, to engage to a compliance with this directions: and this is twofold, particular, thou shalt be saved; and more general, and thy houle:* In the 9 . 21: Firlt, We have two three things, worthy of our notice, (1.) The thing that is promised, and that is falvation, the very thing that the man was seeking. (2.) The order in which it is to be had; believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved. (1)There is the certain connection betwixt the one- and the other; thou shalt be saved, if once thou believe. Where; by the by, we cannot bur take notice of the different influenče of the Arminiho doctrine of justification, and that of the ac porties doctrine;' upon the comfort' of awakened finners! Had Paul said to him, Believe on the Lord, Fefus'; and if ye mall hold out in faith to the end, then ye hall be faved; if ye hold your will right, then alt Thall be well. If, 'I say, the apostle had made his propofal fo, the poor man might have fien fill upon the ground; and trembled all his days ; fince this would have given him, at best, but à may be for his eternal falvation, and escape froin eternal inisery. But here there is a ground for present and abiding comfort; Believe on the Lord Jefus Christ, and thout Shalt be saved. The
Second branch of the encouragement is general, and thy boufe shall be saved. Which is not so to be understood, as if hereby it were promised that their falvation thould absolutely depend upon his belief: for his faith could not save them; since the fcripture is express, that he that believeth not, evesía
ry, by particular person who doth not believe, thall be damned; and upon the other hand that every particular person that believes thall be saved, tho' there should not one more believe. But thie meaning of the words I shall offer to you shortly thus: when it is added, and thy house, this expression imports, (1.) That all his house had need of falvations as well as himself. One might poffibly think, as for that rude fellow, who treated the fervants of Chrift fo 'ill, he has need to be saved, but his innocent children are guilty of nothing that 'can endanger their eternal happiness; but hereby the apostles intimate that they needed salvation as well as he. "(2.) Iti imports the commonness of this direction ; as if the apostles had faid, This direction is not such as is peculiar to such great, notorious, and Aagitious sinners as thou hast been but it is the common road wherein others walk tol ward happiness: there is one way for you and your. house to be faved in. (3.) It inports the extent of this remedy: as if they had said, This is not only sufficient to reach and benefit you; but it' is such as may reach all in your house, and they may have the fame advantage as. ye inay have. (4.) It imports the certainty of salvation to them upon the fame terms. As if the apostles had fàid, And let thy houfe believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and they likewise shall be saved. (5.) It imports this much, That hereby his family should ob. tain some special advantages in order to their fal. Vation po ' ;? i
Now becaufe I design not to speak any more of this part of the text, I shall here mention fome of these advantages, which the jaylor's children or house had by his faith, and confequently which the children of every believer has by the faith of their parents. Amongst many such advantages the few following ones are remarkable. (i) Hereby such children are taken in within the co«venant; for the promise, fays the apostle, Acts ii. 39, is to you and to your children,and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lard.cur God Thall call. They are allowed hereby to have their names particularly mentioned in the promise. This is the advantage which church members have beyond others, who are not yet taken within the covenants, nor adınitted to these ordinances which are a badge of their reception. The gospel call says in the general to all, If ye believe ye thall be faved, but it, as it were; names every one that is baptized, and says in particular to; himay o..man, thou, who art taken within the covenant, I say to thee, as it were by name, Thou shalt: be saved, if thou believe and this is much more confirming than the other. 62w). The children of real believers have this advantage, That they have their parents pleading for them at the throne of grace, which many cimes has availed much, in order to their falvation, though the Lord sees oot meet always to hear parents in behalf of theio children. If he did always sothen possibly it might iprove a snare both to them and to their children, and might lead them into a dangerous mistakes as if God's grace were not so free as it is; but that many times they are heard this way, is encouragement enough to engage all parents to pray for their children: (3.) The children of godly parents have their counsel and instruction, which is of use to engage them to religion, and to bring them to acquaintă ance with Christ: ând of how much influence this is, the wise man tells' us; Train up a child in the wuy he should go, and when he is old, he will not
i - Hepart depart from it, Prov. xxii: 6" that is, ordinarily he will not do so. (4.) The children of believal ing parents, they have their parents good example; and this many times has more influence than precept and instruction: hence it is that we find the apostle Peter exhorting wives to a holy walk, that their unbelieving husbands might be won by their conversation. Ye wives, says he, be subject to your own husbands, that if any ohey not the word, they also may, without the word, be won by. the conversation of the rives, while they-behold your chäfte conversation coupled avith fear, i Pet. it. I, 2. Faith made visible in a holy walk, has a most attracting and engaging 'appearance; it is beautiful to an high degree. (5.) Hereby chil.' : dren likewise have the advantage of the ordinan. ces, which are the means of salvation. Godly? parents will take care both to bring their children . to the ordinances, and to bring the ordinances to them. (6.) To add no more to this purpose, the children of believers have this advantage as they are theirs, that Cod has a particular respect to: them; which we find him expressing upon seve ral occasions to the children of his servants. So ;Since, as I said before, I design not to return a gain to this part of the ver. I cannot but apply this truth, That the children or house of a believer has great advantages by his believing in order to their falvation. And this I shall do in a few words to four forts of persons, (1.) Believers. (3.) Their childreri. (3.) Unbelievers. (4.) Their children. - To the first fort I fay only a few words. O be.. lievers, is it so that your children as well as ye yourselves have so many advantages in order to their falvation? Then, (1.) Bless the Lord who has given you faith, which not only is the spring of innumerable advantages to yourselves, but ala forentails for many upon your very houses. (2.); Bless the Lord, and be thankful for the extent of the covenant; that it is so wide as to reach not on.. ly yourselves, but even your children. It had been much mercy had God given you your souls for a prey, though he had never given you the least prospect of mercy to your offspring. (3-). Take care that your:children lose none of these advantages by your negligence: some of them, as ye have heard, are of such a nature that depends not pply upon the being of grace in the parents, but upon its exercise. If ye live not holily, and tenderly before then, ye may lay la stumblinge block in their way, which may coft you dear, The negligence of some godly parents this way, hath been heavy to them, when they car je to die, and sometimes even before. (4.)Do not quarrel. God, or repine, if after' all your children shall fall short of salvation. If ye have acquit yourselves faithfully, then ye have and may have peace, though they prove final milimprovers of their own mercies. Christ has no where promised that they shall; be all faved: the word of God gives a contrary: account of the matter; Jacob have I loved, and Elau have I hated, Rom. ix. 13.
Secondly, Are therehere,any who are the children of believers? Then to fuchi lay, (1.) Ye have great advantages, and therefore have an eminent call to thankfulness. Bless God that ye have religious pa- 1, repts. Many have found it not a little relieving to them in their traits and fears, that they could fày, that they were early devoted to God by their parents, and that they had early access to know God, and had prayers early put up for them. (2.) Reft not : upon these advantages; for your parents faith will: