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may fafely and boldly say that they are his. So must the soul hearken to the tenor of the Gofpel, understand both the precious offer, and the peculiar conditions of Christ; then he must consent unto chem, and accept of Christ to be Lord and Saviour, and resolve to forsake every sin, and to yield up his heart and life to the obedience of Christ, and carnestly seek the Lord by his Spirit, to per/wade bim of his particular interest in Christ, and look up stedfaftly, and waite upon the Lord in the use of the ordinances, and other consecrated' meanes; Thus is the assurance of faith wrought in the soul, and upon these grounds doch it (eccle che miod.
5. Lastly, Asurance of faith ( concerning which we speake) direAs man, even to a personal evidence of his particular interefts in Cbrift and bis benefiis.
There is you know a double evidence. One is real, and respeas the ching, or obje&t to be believed;
Another is personal, and respects the state of him who doch beJieve;
Now assurance of faith, consists in the determining of che miode, about the particular goodnesse of that thing, which is alfents unco in the general as most true, viz. That Jelus Corist is my Lord, and my God, that he is salvacion for me; it opens the eyes as it were to see, whar Christ is to me, and what he hath done for me, and what he will do to me. :
And thus briefly have you had a shore expl cation of che pas Cure of this affurance : a most heavenly thing it is, and only be. lievers have it, though all reach not yet unto it; I now proceed to anorber enquiry.
Queft. 2. V V Hether such an assurance of faith may
Sol, The Papists will not hear of it by any meanés, (some of them ) unlesse in an extraordinary way : They conceive chat faith is norable to raise the minde beyond a moral hope, and
conjecture, conje&ure, and many lewd and lazy Protestants fhake hands . with them in that opinion. But I will cleare is unto you, sbat e. very believer may come to this affurance : It is a poffible thing, I dare not say that every believer de facto is assured, yet be may be asured of his particular intereft, and this I will evidence ea. bly.
1. The believing fout is not uncapable of perfuafion: They say that faith dorh not deftroy, buc elevate the onderstanding, and chat fame is a truch, for it doth new temper the understanding, and the will, but not overchrow their substantial natures and sbilicies. Now this is undeniable, that the power of reflexion is natural to the understanding: It is such a faculty which is able to look upon its own adings, and ics own state; pea, and per. (wasion by way of certainty, the understanding is capable of it; forasmuch as it is by knowledge, and fense, and experience made most afsuredly certain, abow many objects and conclufions;
Now because faith doth not destroy, but clevate the minde, it may by faith come to a perswafion and reflexion.
2. Againe, to urge chings ( as yet) in a rational way; Farbe saw fee as frong realon, and argument to perfmade and settle the minde, and affure it as the Phylofopher can co raise the minde co a certainty of his conclusions ; The mindes perswalion depending naturally upon strong evidence and the power of argament;
Now faith can bring as strong arguments to convince and perfwade the minde: for its arguments depend upon two strong testimonies, One of the infallible Word of God, the other on the voice of a renewed conscience; Ergo,
3. God would not promise that to a believer in this life, which is imposible for the believer torise unto: Forasmuch as promises are of things as future, they are the undertaking of good things, which shall
come to pasle, and be performed, now every fucore thing is a poffible thing, that which shall be, we may confidenely affirme of it that it may be; But this personal evidence or al surance, it is a thing which God hath promised, Ezek. 34. 30. They fall know that I the Lord their God am wisbobem, and that abey, even the house of Hrael are my people, Hof. 2.19. I will be troth the unto me for ever, jea, I will, &c. Verse 23. 1; will say unto them, tbox art my people, and they fall say, thon art our God.
4. I spare to adde the strength of the divine Spirit in its reflections on the foule , as also chat perswafive vertue in a renwed conscience ; and the many experiences in many Chrio fians who bave atrained unto this assarance; all which dotb clearly evidence that it is a thing possible : That which the Spirit is able to force in a beleeving fool; that which many a beleeving foul bath attained onto; that same is a possible thing, but, &c. Erge.
Hither every Beleever soonld Arive to the afw
rance of faith? Sol. I will promise onely a thing or two. One is, that some duties concerve all men at all times, and immediately, as to repent and to beleeve.
Other duties concern some men, and those in an order and mediately: As to be assured of a mans particular interest in Chrift, it is not an immediate duty, it doch not concern a man meerly as an absolute finner : for a man who is unconverted and yet unbeleeving is not bound to be perswaded that he is Chrifts, and Christ is his, unlesse we will say that be is bound to be perlwaded of a lie ; no, but he must first be a beleever, he muft accept of Jesus Christ -upon bis own termes, and be ing a beleever, I say, be is bound to labour for particular assurance: Not to let the real inséreft of Christ in him, and of his soal in Chrift, co hang hovering and in dispute but to decermine them by particular and personal evidence.
Againe, promise this, it is one thing to speed de faktoi whacevery beleever hath, and it is another thing to speak ide jure what every beleever (hould have : It is true, that every one
M m 2
who hath Christ, conot be yet assured, and lay, that Christ is nire, but then, as Christ is really bis (as cercainly he is thine, as thy husband i thy husband) so the Christian is obliged co assure bis beari thereof.
Which I shall easily clearoy Argument.
1. We are bound co draw neer unto God in the full affurance of fasch, Heb. 10 22. Which is, as I conceive, in a fcleare perswa. lion that we (hall noc faile, but enjoy the good which he promileth; now this cannot be, unlesse a man be assured and perswaded that God is his God, and Christ is his Chrift: for as much as perswafion of andience doth always arise from a presap. posed perfuafion of personal and murnal intereft;I cannot by faith be perlwadegithat God wil give such a good thing, or luch,unless I am first perswaded, that he is my God, that God is my God, or Christ is my Christ; luis a fundamental perswafon, upon which all others are built; for this gives life and settlement to my doubting soul; I many times doubt, but shall I have this zhing which I ask?yes, layes the beleving heart? but how are you assured of it? I reply, because God is my God, he hach given himself unto me, Engo he will give this, but how know you: hat God is your God? Upon good ground; why; faith the beleeving soul, of that I am abundantly perswaded, I doubc ic not, hereupon the soul raisech it selfco chat other allurance, of acceptance and audience, why; then I will not doubt of this, I will be confident that then the Lord will heare , for he is my God; and David goes this way very of
2. We are bound (all our dayes) to give God thanks for bis greatest mercies, now I think that the bestowing of Christ upon the soule is as great a mercy as ever poore finners. bad.
Obj. It is so, but what of this?
Sol. But we cannot give God hearty thanks whiles we are doubtful of our particular interest in Chrift: Can'lt thou go unto the Lord, and say?O Lord, I blesse thee from my soul lor. all the mercies' wbich thou hast conferred on me; bealth I bave , and I know it, for which I do thank thee; riches L bave, and friends, aod this I know.coo, and for them I thank
I thank thee also exceedingly from the bottome of my soul, for that thou hast given thy own Sonne to me, Jesus Christ, but truly, I know not whether thou hast given bim to me, or no :I thank thec exceedingly for cbe pardon of my vile Sinnes in this blood, but verily I am not sure of this, I rather think they are not pardoned. Nay, this will not runne smooth, and the reason is, because so much particular evidence as God gives a man of his personal interest in himself, or Christ, or his merits, so much (and no greater ) thankfulnesle will the soul be brought unto.
Queft. 4 W Hat Arguments to move beleevers to labour for
faith Sol. There are many.
!. As he said to fob, Do obe confolations of God seem small unio ebee? That I say here, doch affurance seeme a small sbing into tbee?
Consider (seriously) the matters and things about which this aflucance is converlant, and thou shalt finde.them of the greater consequence in the world.
What doelt chou think of Jefus Christ for a finner Can there be a more excellent good chen Christ? I conn all things bus drosfe and dung for the excellency of Christ, said Paul, Phil 3. or can there be a more necelary good for the then Chrift? Tell me in sad thoughes, that if thou hadft all the pleasures of the world, and all the honours ours of the world, and all the riches of the world, and yet wat Christieffe, chao is, thou hadît no portion in Christ; why; what avails all this, as long as thou are Christless? as Abrabum said, fecing I am childlesseIn whom is God rem conciled unto thee but in Chrift? and how wilt dbou fand before God, if thou have not Chrift?by whom canst thou get falvas tion, but by Christ? and why then wilt not chou force thy soulco give all diligence to make thy parein Christ sure to thy foul, ebar