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Christ gives him wisdom to escape the snares, and to know the depths of Satan. Third. These adversaries fall upon him with a force which he cannot resist; but he is made more than a conqueror through Christ strengthening him.
VII. That there may be nothing wanting, the Lord Jesus Christ can satisfy the mind, the conscience, and the heart. He fills the mind with light; he pacifies the conscience; and presents an object suited to the holiest desires of a renewed heart. As a prophet, he opens blind eyes, and pours light upon dark minds. As a priest, he stops the mouth of an awakened and accusing conscience. As a king, he bestows what is sufficient to content the heart, even himself, and every other needed blessing.
For all these glorious purposes is Christ offered in the Gospel to all who need him. He invites the weary and heavy laden to mansions of everlasting rest. He is proposed in the everlasting Gospel as the object of faith, on whom the sinner is to believe in order to salvation.
SECTION IV. Faith, or believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, considered.—The duty of believ
ing, or of exercising faith, is the foundation of all duties. Hence its nature and evidences are set forth in the sacred Scriptures in a multitude of passages, and by a very great variety of illustrations and forms of expression.
First. Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ is looking to him.
“ Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God and there is none else.” In the Epistle to the Hebrews is a similar passage : “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” Perhaps here is an allusion to the brazen serpent, which Moses erected on a pole in the wilderness, to which those who were bitten with the fiery serpents were to look, and be healed. He who is led to believe, then, is one who feels the smart of the sting of sin. And if he wish to be cured of its deadly venom, he must look to Jesus, the author and finisher of faith. As it was with those stung by the fiery serpents, if he will not look he cannot live. A sense of present pain, and an apprehension of future danger, give rise to faith. The sinner looks to Christ as God, who has made provision for salvation. He looks to him as ordained by divine appointment for this very end. He looks to him, and trusts in him
alone, as an all-sufficient remedy for the malady of sin.
Second. To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, is to come to him. So faith is expressed both in the Old and New Testament. Surely shall one say:
- In the Lord have I righteousness and strength; even to him shall men come.” “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.” To this the people answer: “ Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God.” And by the same expression is faith spoken of in the New Testament. "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” “He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." “ Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” Here are several things to be noticed in regard to this manner of expressing faith. First. Persons, before believing, are at a distance from God. Like the prodigal, they are away from their father's house in a far country, hungry, thirsty, and destitute. Second. On the sinner's part it is a painful conviction of present want and future wrath, which occasions his believing. He is hungry, and without food;
he is thirsty, and can find no drink. The starving prodigal would have been glad of the meanest pittance of food; but where he then was, he could not have it. So it is with sin
When the Lord opens their eyes to see their condition, they find themselves far away from Christ; and then a pressing sense of want follows, which is the spring of their turning towards the Lord. On the Lord's part, that which causes their coming to him, is his calling and drawing them: • Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 6 No man can come to me except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him."
“ Third. To believe in Christ is, to flee, to run to him.
He is “a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” Here we may have “a strong consolation, who have fed for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before uş." The awakened sinner is like the manslayer of old; he was nowhere safe but in the city of refuge. The avenger of blood had a commission to slay him, if found out of this city. So justice has a warrant against sinners, and pursues them. Death, the officer and executioner, closely follows the guilty, and executes his commission, if he overtake them
before they reach the city of refuge, the Lord Jesus.
Fourth. To believe in Christ is to cast our burden upon the Lord. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee." Sin is the heaviest of burdens. The Psalmist found it so. “ Mine iniquities are gone over mine head ; as an heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.” They were so heavy a burden to the fallen angels, as to press them down into the bottomless pit. They have always been so heavy, that “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” Even those who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, and so have this burden greatly lightened, while “in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened." Nothing but a Saviour can remove this burden.
Fifth. To believe is to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. “ Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Man by nature, like Adam, is naked. The fig-leaf garments of his own righteousness will not shelter him from the storm of deserved wrath. No robe can cover him, but that of a Saviour's righteousness. And to believe is to put on Christ for righteousness. Without Christ, man has no ornament, no covering. He needs to go to Christ for white ruiment of