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great love, free favor and boundlefs compaffion, it is difcovered in the incarnation, life, fufferings, and death of the Lord Jefus Chrift, by whom grace and truth came. If we fpeak of grace as a doctrine, then it is the word of truth, revealing, explaining, and proclaiming the nature, end, and defign of Christ's work, as the Surety of his people. And if we take the term to fignify that vital principle, by which we are partakers of fpiritual life, it is the doctrine of Chrift implanted in the underftanding, poffefling the will and influencing the affections and converfation: and to conforming the foul to Chrift, which was the very end of being chofen in him before the foundation of the world.
I fhall clofe this Effay, with the remarkable words of Dr. Owen, which may be confidered as an epitome of the whole. "As the word is in the gospel, fo is grace in the heart; yea they are the fame things varisufly expreffed, Rom. vi. 17, as our tranflation doth not, fo I know not how, in fo few words, to exprefs that which is emphatically here infinuated by the Holy Ghoft. The meaning is, that the doctrine of the gofpel begets the form, figure, image, or likeness of itfelf, in the hearts of them that believe: fo they are caft into the mould of it. As is in the one, fo is the other. The principle of grace in the heart, and that in the word, are as children of the fame parent compleatly refembling and reprefenting one another. Grace is a living word, and the word is figured, limned grace. As we have heard, fo have we feen and found it; fuch a foul can produce the duplicate of the word and fo adjust all things thereby. The first original expreffion of divine truth is not in the word, no not as given out from the infinite abyfs of divine wifdom and veracity, but it is firft hid, laid up, and expreffed in the perfon of Chrift. HE is the firft pattern of truth, which from him is expreffed in the word, and from, and by the word impreffed on the hearts of believers; fo that as it hath pleafed God that all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge fhould be in him, dwell in him, have their principal refidence in him, Col, ii. 3. So the whole word is but a revelation of the Truth in Christ, or an expreffion of his image and likeness to the fons of men. Thus we are faid to learn the truth as it is in Jefus, Eph. iv. 21. It is in Jefus originally, and really, and from him it is communicated unto us by the word. We are thereby taught, and do learn it; for thereby, as the apoftle proceeds, we are renewed in the spirit of our mind, and do put on the new man which after God is created in righteoufnefs, and true holinefs, ver. 23, 24. First, the truth is in Jefus ; then it is expreffed in the word; this word, learned, and believed, becomes grace in the heart, every way anfwering unto the Lord Chrift his image, from whom this transforming truth did thus proceed. Nay, this is carried by the apoftle yet higher, namely, unto God the Father himfelf, whofe image Chrift is, and believers his, through the word, 2 Cor. iii. 18. "We all with open face beholding as in a glafs the glory of the Lord, are changed into the fame image, from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord," whereunto add, chap iv. 6. "God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath fhined into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jefus Chrift." The first pattern or example of all truth and holiness is God himself: hereof Chrift is the image, ver. 4. Chrift is the image of God, "The brightnefs of his glory and the express image of his perfon," Heb. i. 3: "The image of the invifible God, Col. i. 15. Hence we are faid to fee the glory of God in the face of Jefus Chrift; because he, being his image, the love, grace, and truth of the Father are reprefented and made confpicuous in him. For we are faid to behold it in his face, becaufe of the open and illuftrious manifeftation of the glory of God in him. And how do we behold this glory? in a glafs (as in a glass) that is in the
the gofpel, which hath the image and likeness of Chrift, who is the image of God, reflected upon it, and communicated unto it. So have we traced truth, and grace, from the perfon of the Father, unto the Son as Mediator, and thence transfufed it into the word. In the Father it is effentially; in Jefus Chrift originally and exemplarily; and in the word as in a tranfcript or copy. But doth it abide there? No, God by the word of the gofpel fhines into our hearts. He irradiates our minds with a faving light into it, and apprehenfion of it. And what thence enfues? the foul of a believer is changed into the fame image, by the effectual working of the Holy Ghoft, chap. iii. 18. that is, the likeness of Chrift implanted on the word, is impreffed on the foul itself, whereby it is renewed into the image of God, whereunto it was at first created. This brings all into perfect harmony."
* See Dr. Owen on the 130th Pfalm, p. 168–170.
ESS SAY II.
On the NATURE of FAITH.
-ONE FAITH. Eph. iv. 5.
T has much prevailed as a fashionable sentiment, though it displays great ignorance of human wretchednefs, and the vaft extent of the holy law, that if we walk before God according to that light which is afforded us, either by nature, or religious inftruction; our fervices will be pleafing to God, and without doubt we fhall be happy with him 'for ever, From hence it has been argued, that if it be
true that man can please God here, and enjoy him hereafter, by doing the beft he can, there can be no neceffity for him to trouble himself about thofe matters of opinion, about which even the wife, the learned, and the religious are fo much divided. Yea it has been thought that an attention to thofe things has been the grand caufe of the prefent glaring declenfion in PIETY. But furely fuch are not aware, that this fentiment is immediately opposed, and effectually overthrown by the unerring word of God, which declares that without FAITH it is impoffible to pleafe him and alfo that there is no acceptable worfhip without it; for he that cometh to God muft believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently feek him. Which includes, not only a belief that there is a God, which the devils believe and tremble at, but that he is fuch an one as the fcriptures reprefent him to be. To form ideas of the great God contrary to his true character, and to worship him according to our own falfe imaginations; is to worship we know not what; is to worship, in fact, an imaginary god. All fuch worship, therefore, although attended with the formalities of invocation, adoration, confeffion, petition, fupplication, dedication, &c. and with the most animated harangues, about the excellencies of virtue, and the extenfive rewards of piety, or even of the happiness and comfort of the people of God, is not only unprofitable, being unmixed with faith, but odious and abominable in the fight of God. Ifaiah Ixvi. 3, 4. Rom. xiv. 23. Pfalm 1. 21.
Again true holiness, whether of heart or converfation, cannot poffibly be without faith, for in reality faith is the grand fource from whence it flows. Such is the infeparable connection betwixt faith and fanctification, that where works do not appear, faith is dead; and where faith does not dwell, works are dead alfo. Works, therefore, without faith in Chrift, however fplendid, are of no account at all
in the fight of God; and the heart not being purified by faith, being naturally polluted, cannot but bring forth corrupt fruits, even as a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit.
Further faith is effentially neceffary to falvation. The fcripture teaches us, that there is no other name given under heaven among men, whereby we must be faved, but the facred name of Jefus Chrift, and most folemnly avers, He that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God, John iii. 18-36; and notwithstanding the moft decent appearance among men, unbelievers are ranked in that black lift of characters, that are excluded the kingdom of heaven. Luke xii. 46, Rev. xvi. 8.
The neceffity and importance of proceeding with the greatest care, in our inquiries about faith, will appear, if we add to the above confiderations, that all men have not faith-that there is such a thing as a dead faith-a feigned faith, &c.-that, in reality, there is but one faith that will profit the foul. Yet if we attend to the prevailing cavils in the profeffing world about faith, it will not be wondered at, that men of fenfe, who have not the fear of God before their eyes, reject every fyftem of religion as a mere farce, or that deifm thould fo much prevail in our day. For while they behold that faith, which is in general acknowledged effential to falvation, made a matter of doubtful difputation; by fome made anything, by others nothing; by a third clafs every thing, and by a fourth worse than nothing, they cannot think that all are right; nor can they think it confiftent to fuppofe, that the God of nature, the fountain of all intelligence, would give a revelation to his creatures that was altogether unintelligible; and if perfons were not led more by fashion and custom (for it is become rather indecent to be of no religion) in their religious profeffion, than folid reflec