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they vary in their temper, yet they agree in their nature ; though they differ in livelihood, yet not in life. So, though the strong and weak faith diff'r cxceedingly in reíped of particular abilities and exercises , yet there is a true Gature of faith in the weakest as well as in the strongest. There is as true a knowledge of the sinful and miserable condition in our selves, and of the blessed condition in Christ, in the one as well as in the other. There is as true an allent co the word of grace, the Gospel of salvation, revealed in the one as well as in the other, I say,as true, though, perhaps noc equal and full. There is as true accepting and embracing of Christ ,to be Lord and Saviour; the will doth as truly receive Christ offered, though perhaps there be not such a strength of adberence at the first.' There is so much in the weakest faith as makes up the match 'cwixc Christ and the soul, nay, there is not any thing in the strongest faith, which is an effc&ual ingredient to cspouse the soul with Christ
, but the same also is in the weakest faith. Doch strong faith take Chrift? so doch be weakest ; doch ic acknowledge him the only Saviour? so doch che weak elt, doch ic embrace him as its Lord ? so doth the weakest ; docb it breed union fo doth the weakeft; doth it make a man a member of Christ, and heire of promises? so doch the weakest.
Thus you briefly perceive the habicual unity of all true faith.
Econdly now a word of the intensive diverfries of faith.
How faith differs from faith, I do not mean a true fastb from a false, but a true faith from true faith. As one man truly living may differ from another truly living, notwithstanding they agree in the common nature of man, and life; Or to use the Apostles Simile, as one ftar may differ from another stat in glory, though all be in the heavens. The rounds in Jacobs ladder are not all at the top, yet are they every one of them steps to heaven; so of faith, every faish is not triumpbing, yet every faith is mounting up to the Lord of life and King of glory.
The severall and particular habits of faith, though they consent in onc cruth of nature, yet they differ in many thiogs,
First, in the strength of the parts and acts:As in the eyes of men, chough the visive faculty be equal in all, yet vision, or the act of seeing, is diverse, one sees the colours more clearly then another.
So is it in faith, (which is the eye of the soul, ) Though the nature be common, and equall, yet the act of beleeving is differenr.
There are three acis of faith, and in respect of all of them, there Three a&s. may be a diversity among believers.
1. Knowledge and apprehension, this is as it were the ground work of faith; for believing is not rooted in ignorance, bue in light. Now every believer hath not so full and distinct a knowledge a's another. Divine revelations ( which are the generall objects of faith) are not clasped alike by all : No, nor yet che promises, ( which are the special objects of faith) they are not so eqaally apprehended. There are feverall promises, and in them severall parts, and degrees of goodnesle and truth; now, it is poffible for some believers, not to be acquainted with all their treasuries; they have not been so long acquainted with the word as to know all the good which doch concerne them; And that special good which they do apprehend, one believer reacherh the large compasse of it more then another: All (e· ven in Christ Jis not equally known by all,who believe in Christ. Hence it is, that age, and time, and communion, and study, and Ofe of meanes, and experience do raise the apprehension and koowledge to farre more degrees and strength chen at the first; and the believing soul, which at first saw things ( as she man whose eyes were touched by Cbrift ) dimly, at length risech by degrees to a more perfect light of the same truthes, and to a more full and enlarged apprehension of other truths, which he was ignorant of before.
2. Afent, even in this also may one beleever differ from another : 1 confeffe, the usual and palpable diversities of faith be most in things as good, rather then in things as true. Neverthelesse, every believer,as so, affents to all revelations
as in particular to those of Christ, as true, yet che affects in ben lievers may very much, not only in the circumstances of the afsent, but also in the immediate workings of the assent. The Judgement is not equally captivated in all, or else why do fcme believers question and scruple more then others? yes, and why else needs chere a farther evidence and demonftration, to establish some indoctrinall truths, if all believers were equally grounded, and rooted in che word?
Yea, and why are some good people more apt to crrors thica others? no plausible error can be taught, or spread with the speciousnesse of taking reason, but presently they are questioning their old truths, for ne bo opinions, which shews, that all affenis to divine truths are not alike in all believers.
Nay, and this appeares to be so by the severall instances of diabolicall semptations, which in some are of that great force, as to make them not only question their particular interefts in God and Cbrift, (which may befall the highest believer ) but also to question the first principles of Religion, whether there be a God, and whether the Scripi mres are his Word, and whether true ** false,
3. Reception, embracing or consent : though it be hearty and sincere in all, yet one believer cannot so reft on Christ as another, nor doth every one take Christ by the hand alike. Like a child who gives out a trembling hand with some thruggings,even to his Fatber;fo che believer may put forth his hand of faith, even to Christ, with many feares and shakings; O that I may have him, that I might receive bim,that he would be mine, that I could lay hold on bim; that God would pardon my finnes, saith one; yet another raiseth up the soul, I will rest on his promise in Christ co pardon all.
In the measure of degrees : Hence you read of that by Chrift, I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel, and, women great is thy faith, Abraham Brong in faitb, Paul perswaded, &c. and Job i know that my, &c. Ina comparative opposition to which, you read those phrases, Ore of lutle faith. And why didst obou donbt, Othou of little faith; and of the weak. ixs faith,
The degrees of faith are many viz.) the babitual inclination of the heart toward Chrift, the actual laying hold on him, the
prong embracing of bim; refle&tion of the act, that I know I take him, as Lord and Savsonr;reflection of the obje&, I know that he is my Lord and Saviour; then, a fulne (se of this reflexive assurance, I doube it no!; then the reasons of this full assurance ( which,whether it meane the great continuance, or the great abundance of the measure of assurance, is dispucable ) Againe the longer duran tion of this full and great assurance. Now in all these respects (except the first) faith in one may differ from faith in another: How many hearts are lec only cowards Cbrist; that I could apprebend him, bacl cannot believe : How many souls do apprehend him yet, О chat we were apprebended by him; how many are apprehended by him, (chae is ) know him to be theirs, by fome gracious and firme evidenceyec by and by with Mary weeping, they have taken away my Lord.
Yet some others rise high and stay long in restings, in perfwalions in affirmings, chac ic is heaven with them many dayes cogether.
You may see one Christian look up to heaven with teares of joy, (as fob, I know tbas my redeemer liveth. ) Another look- Job. ing up with teares of grief, (Lord be mercifoll to me a finner ) Publican. You may see one ficcing down wich zbankı ( who gave himselje Paul the fa for me. ) Another falling down in Prayer. ( I believe Lord belp David. my wnbelief.) You may see one triumphing above all fearegi and scruples, (1 amperswaded Ebat nothing shall separate me from abe love of God in Cbrift ) and yet another combating with
many feares, (but will the Lord be favourable unto me? :) One" bleflect God for afførings, anocher cries Mato God against doubtings : one is like Mary rejoycing in God my Saviour,anocher like Hester, in vencring towards the Scepter, and, if I perisa i peris. One faith, thou art myrock.my fortreffe, my strong tower, my portion for ever, and the borne of my alvasion, another sighes and breakes out, shat salvation were come ousaf Sion, Osthac licould believe, Ochat I were once perswaded. Thus it is with severall belie. vers as with severall children: one lies in the cradle, another is led by the nurse, another is going by the chaires, and another can run. Or as it is with a flock of sheep, some are strong and bearing, others are young, and must be gently led or carried ; Or as with an Orchard, some trees are able and well limbed, others are tender plants, and are weakly rising.
&. 3 Causes of it. Reasoni of which diversity may be either che different ages of
faith. In fome it liath had a longer time of strengthening, inoHelps excernal.chers it is but feed newly fowen, or elle different externallbelps ;
some believers are brought up in a more fertill loyle, under powerful ministries, which are cxperimen ally acquainted with inward copf &ts, and therefore are more suited to weak confci. ences to understand and remove their feares and doubts, and to answer obje&tions, either arising from natural unbelief, or from Satans (obtilcies; others live upon a more hard band, and
wane chose directions and counsells. Inward alla, ... Or else different affiftances of Gods Spirit; for as that Spirit itances, breaths where he lifts, so he blowes where he lifts; some he is plea
led to aflift more in a way of combate, others more in a way of conquest; though he be the Spirit of life to all that believe, yet be is the Spirit of assurance, to some of those more then toʻo
thers Services.; Or else the different employments and services; all believers
meet not with equall conflicts, either within or without, they are not put upon the same trialls, the same croffes, the fame difficult duties;Now the Lord is wise as well as good, and therefore proportions different measures of faith, according to the diverse degrees of exigencies : A man can do and suffer much after a day of gracious assurance, whose heart perhaps would have trembled if his doubts and fears had been yet to be answer cd.
Yca, and some hearts are more apt to Pride and forgetfulness, Pride.
which are therefore kept shorter left they should swelīby multi
tude of revelations. Former fino To all which if we adde, that sometimes former finnings nings. may juftly make the soul to cugge long for assurance, be
cause the Lord will not give easie and sweet answer, before we know that it is an evil and bitter thing to fin againft
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