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And the believer's, mentioned in the clofe of this chapter, ver. 20. "We know, that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an underlanding to know him that is true; and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jefus Chrift: this is the true God and eternal life."

The method we propofe for illuftrating this propofition, thro' the divine favour, fhall be the following.

I. To enquire what this faith is?

II. What is that evidence and witnefs that it carries along with it?

III. What this witnefs doth depone and atteft?

IV. What is the quality and property of this witnefs that the believer hath in himfelf?

V. Why true faith hath this witnefs along with it?
VI. Make application of the whole fubject.

I. We return then to the firft thing propofed, viz. to enquire, What true faith is? The text would give us ground to enquire into two things, viz. 1. Into the object: 2. The nature of it.

1ft, The object of it is the Son of God. Not the Sn exclufively: God, Father, Son, and Holy Gholt, is the object of our faith; "He that receiveth his teftimony, bath fet to his feal that God is true," John iii. 33. But this God would be as inacceffible to us, as fallen angels, were it not thro' his Son, who took not on him the nature of angels, but the feed of Abraham! therefore it follows, in the last verfe of John iii. "He that believeth on the Son of God hath everlafting life:" and in John v. 12. "He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life." Faith centers on him as the Son of God, as the brightnefs of the Father's glory, and the exprefs image of his perfon. Were he not God, "Look unto me and

faith would want a fure foundation; be faved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and befides me there is none elfe." The falvation that we need, is a falvation that God only could contrive, that God only could purchafe, that God only could adminif ter. This is a frong fupport to the foul in all things. that can difficult it, that he is God, the Son of God, God-man, Mediator.

In a word, I understand here, the Son of God, and all these things in him, on which faith terminates. The object of our faith is the Son of God, as made of God unto us wisdom, righteoufnefs, fan&tification, and redemption: the Son of God, whom God hath fet forth to be the propitiation for our fins. When faith takes him up as the Son of God, it looks on him as a glorious object; "More glorious than the mountains of prey:" as an able Saviour; "Able to fave to the uttermoft," being the Son of God: as one dear and near to God, and in whom God cannot but be well-pleafed; he is well-pleafed with him as his own Son, and well-pleafed with him as our Saviour, and well-pleafed in him: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleafed," Mat. iii. 17.

2dly, As to the nature of faith it is not my defign to enlarge upon it at prefent; only, a fhort account of fuch as believe on the Son of God, you may take in the following particulars.

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1. He that believeth on the Son of God; that is, he who is felf-condemned, and hath the fentence of the law pronounced in his confcience, and thereupon finds himfelf loft and undone without Chrift; The Son of man came to seek and fave that which was loft. The whole need not the phyfician, but they that are fick." For whom then is confolation prepared, but for thefe that are caft down? For whom is wifdom, but for the fool:fh? For whom juflification, but for the guilty? For whom fanctification, but for the filthy? For whom falvation, but for the finner?

2. He that believeth; that is, he that hath no expectation from the law as a covenant of works, whom the Lord hath divorced from that hufband, in order to his efpoufal to Chrift, who fees his own righteoufnefs to be filthy rags, a bed fhorter than that he can ftretch himself upon; a covering narrower than that he can wrap himself into; who finds his best duties and holinefs cannot over-mantle him, and be proof against the confuming fire of God's infinite juftice, which requires infinite fatisfaction; or vindicate God's infinite holiness, which requires perfect obedience.

3. He that believeth; that is, he to whom the Son of God hath been made known and revealed, according to that of our Lord, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou haft hid thefe things from the wife and prudent, and haft revealed them to babes. If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are loft, &c. But God who commanded light to fhine out of darkness, hath fhined into our heart, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, in the face of Jefus." Accordingly, every believer hath got the Spirit of wisdom, and revelation in the knowledge of Christ.

4. He that believeth; that is, he who, from the difcovery of his glory, hath had his heart drawn out toward him as the Lord his righteoufness and ftrength; his righteousness, for juftification; his ftrength, for fanctification. The man having feen his fittedness every way for his Mediatory work, his eye hath affected his heart, and his heart made to go out after Christ, and tò fettle in him as the running river fettles in the ocean. The man before this was unfixed, unfettled, running hither and thither; but now, having come to Chrift, he is at reft, and hath no further courfe: " Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon the earth that I defire besides thee.”

5. He that believeth; that is, he that lives upon him, who by faith draws virtue from him, for every thing that appertains to life and godlinefs. The man hath caft himfelf into his arms, to fink or fwim with him he is fwallowed up wholly in Chrift as his all in all; his all, for light, life, ftrength, joy, grace, and glory.


6. He that believeth; that is, he whofe faith works by love, and draws out love. See verfe first of this chapter. But these things I do not infist upon.

II. What is that witnefs that the believer hath in himfelf? This, according to the explication I give, is threefold, in verfe 8th, namely, the Spirit, the Water, and the Blood.

1ft, The Spirit, by his own immediate teftimony; The Spirit beareth witness with our fpirits, Rom. viii. 16. The Spirit, by himself, witneffes in a diftinct way from


that which is by water and blood, by fhedding abroad the love of God upon the heart, in a foul-ravishing way : and ordinarily he makes the word ufeful in this way of witneffing; or, if not an exprefs word, yet some fcriptural confideration. Now, that the Spirit doth witnefs in believers this way, diftin&t from the water and blood, is evident,

1. From the apoftle's afcribing it to the Spirit himfelf, in that forecited Rom. viii. 16. It is not faid, the Spirit, but the Spirit bimfelf. The graces of the Spirit are witneffes; for, every effect is a witnefs of its caufe: but the Spirit himfelf doth it, fays Paul: A man does many things by his fubftitute: but when he is faid to do it himfelf, it argues his doing in his own perfon.

2. It is evident from the fitnefs of many words and promiles to witnefs immediately to a man, when the Spirit applies them; fuch as that, "Fear not, for I am with thee: Son, be of good chear, thy fins are forgiven thee." Now, the Spirit doth apply fuch words to particular fouls; for, they are ordained on purpofe for the believer's ftrong confolation: and the believer hath a right to them, being in Chrift, "In whom all the mifes are Yea and Amen:" and the Spirit is promifed to take of the things of Christ, and fhew them to his people.


3. It is evident from the number of the witnesses that are here owned in the context; there are Three that bear witness on earth. Now, if the Spirit fhould not be a diftinct witnefs from the water and blood, then there would not be three. The water and blood are not fufficient of themselves to witnefs: but the Spirit witnefling by water, is but one witnefs; and the Spirit witnefling by the blood, is but one witnefs; and therefore, if the Spirit had not a distinct way of witneffing from its concurrence with thefe, there would be but two not three witneffes. The Spirit witneffes with the blood and water; but befide, he hath a diftinct way: enlarging the foul with the joy of God's falvation, in a more immediate way.

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4. It is evident from the experience of the faints.Many of them have been brought to affurance in this immediate way; and not merely by reflection upon marks, and figns, and qualifications within, which is the Spirit's witneffing by water, or fanctification. It is true, that light that is darted in into the foul, doth dif cover grace, infomuch, that when the Spirit doth fufpend his operations, the remembrance of the graces, that were then acted, may confirm and evidence to the foul, that it was really the Spirit himfelf that was witneffing within the man.

2dly, Another witnefs is the Water; that is, fanctifi cation, which was, under the law, typified by washing; and it is called the wafhing of regeneration, Titus iii. 5. Now, that the Spirit doth witnefs in the believer by water, or by fanctification, is evident,

1. Because it is exprefly here called a witnefs; and there could not be three, if this were not one.

2. Because it is reckoned amongst the peculiar favours that believers receive from Chrift, that he is made of God unto them fanctification, 1 Cor. i. 30.

3. Because there is a neceflary connexion betwixt it and falvation; "We are chofen to falvation, thro' fanctification of the Spirit," fays the apoftle, 2 Theff. ii. 13. therefore they are faid alfo to have inheritance amongst them that are fanctified by faith, Acts xxvi. 18. Whatever hath falvation coupled with it, being difcovered, muft needs have a witneffing power with it. And yet fanctification cannot witnefs our intereft in Chrift, without the Spirit irradiating and fhining on us, and upon his own work, because this water is many times muddy, through the ftirring and prevailing of corrup


3dly, The third witnefs is the Blood; that is, the blood of Chrift, by which we have redemption, remis fion, and juftification. The blood of Chrift, and the righteousness of Christ, are all one; therefore we are faid to be justified by the righteousness of God, and alfo by the blood of Chrift, Rom. v. 9. 18. Now, that this blood is a witnefs, is evident,

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