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beauty and glory. This, then, is faith; to see in Christ our ornament, and our covering, and defence. These hide the deformity of sin, and satisfy the soul.
Sixth. To believe is to receive Christ. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.' Sometimes the same is expressed in the idea of having sin remitted through faith in Christ. “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” And again : “We also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement," or reconciliation. Here we see, that one who is to believe is one who needs Christ, and needs righteousness; one who is condemned to die, and wants pardon. And in receiving Christ, he receives all his benefits, for they are inseparable. Here, too, we see what faith is; it is the acceptance of Christ's gifts, for the end for which they are offered.
Seventh. To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, is to lean upon him; to stay ourselves upon him. “ Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness leaning upon her beloved ?” “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obey
eth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light ? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God." Here, too, as before, we see what the sinner's state is before believing. He is oppressed with a burden which he cannot bear; he is facing a storm which he cannot endure. He must have a support, or he will fall; and if he fall, he will be dashed in pieces. He is on the brink of the pit, ready to plunge into its fiery abyss; and if his foot once slide, there will be no deliverance. He sees his peril, and sees that Christ is able to support and save him. He leans upon his Saviour, and finds the expected relief.
Eighth. To believe in Christ, is to lay hold of him ; to take hold of his strength. “Let him lay hold of my strength, that he may make peace
with me, and he shall make peace with me.”
« Thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant.” In the New Testament it is called apprehending Christ. “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which I also am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” In another passage, we are said “to lay hold upon the hope set before us." Like
Peter attempting to walk upon the sea, the sinner is ready to sink and perish; but he lays hold on Christ, and thus is saved.
There are many other ways of expressing faith employed in the Bible, such as cleaving to the Lord, submitting to the righteousness of God, and opening the door to Christ; but those already given will be sufficient for our present purpose.
SECTION V. The nature of Faith continued. First. If we bear in mind what has been offered in the foregoing section, we shall not find it difficult to understand what is implied in the duty of believing. We can easily see that it implies a distinct understanding of sin and misery. The Israelite, bitten by the fiery serpents, knew his wound and his danger, before he looked to the remedy. The prodigal knew his want, before he thought of returning to his father's house. The manslayer understood his danger, before he fled to the city of refuge. The burdened sinner is sensible of the weight of sin, before the Lord relieves him of it. The sinner will never flee to Christ till he well knows the evil of sin.
This sense of sin and misery is also deep, as well as distinct. Many who live under the
Gospel, have the latter without the former. But in the mind of the believer, it has a deep root. It moreover affects his heart, and takes hold of his affections. Fear, grief, hatred, and revenge, take their turn in the soul; grief for the offence done to God; hatred against sin; and self-revenge for the folly of incurring the guilt of sin. Indeed, those who have never been affected on account of sin, are strangers to saving faith. Half-awakened sinners hope to have their wound cured, without applying in earnest to the great Physician. They stop short of believing, and employ some remedy less disagreeable to them than to lay aside their easily besetting sins. If their eye offend them, they will not pluck it out, and if their hand or foot offend them, they will not cut it off. They want salvation on their own terms. But with a deep and abiding sense of the guilt of sin, nothing but a saving work will satisfy. And this feeling must not only be presupposed to the first actings of faith, but will continue in some measure in the soul, during the whole life of faith on earth.
Second. Saving faith also implies some knowledge of Jesus Christ. Hence faith is sometimes called knowledge. “By his know
ledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities ;” that is, by the knowledge of him, or, in other words, by faith in him, shall my righteous servant justify many.
And three things in particular must be known of Christ. First. The excellence of his person must be known. The eye of faith must fix on him; for him we receive; on him we lean; on him we stay ourselves; on him we cast our burdens. In order to do this, we must know who he is. We must know that he is God and man in one person;
6. God manifest in the flesh.' Second. His power to save must be known; for we cannot have faith in him, or rely on him, without a knowledge of his sufficiency for his work. Therefore he must be known
“the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth ;” as the Word made flesh, and dwelling among us. Third. His suitableness to the sinner's case must be known. There may be fulness and sufficiency, without suitableness. God manifest in the flesh is indeed sufficient to accomplish the work of · our salvation; but in order to receive him, we must know that there is a way of conveyance, by which that fulness may become ours.