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1. Because it is here called a witnefs, and that dif tinct from the Spirit and the water.

2. Because this blood and righteoufnefs of Chrift is the ground of our boldness and confidence; " "Having boldness to enter into the holieft of all by the blood of Jefus," Heb. x. 19.

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3. Becaufe the application of this blood of Chrift is by faith, which makes it witneffing blood; for, the blood cannot witnefs unless it be appropriated and applied: now, it is the office of faith to make that general. propofition of Chrift's fhedding his blood, for the redemp-, tion and reconciliation of finners, to be of a particular advantage to the foul: for, God is the juflifier of him that believeth in Jefus. Thus "He that believeth hath the witness in himfelf." Now, the blood feems to be a clearer evidence than that of the water, which many times is fo muddy that its teftimony cannot well be perceived: for, though a man, that hath no fanctification at all, which is the witnefs of water, cannot have the witnefs of the Spirit or the blood; yet fanctification may ly dark, and yet the Spirit and the blood may. witnefs within him: as in a dark day, a man may conclude the fun is up, though he cannot fee it; fo a man, acting faith on the blood of Chrift, may conclude his fanctity, though he cannot fee his own fanctification: and the not drawing this conclufion, is the occasion of many fears, doubts, and difquietments in the fouls of

believers.

III. What doth the witnefs, that the believer hath within him, depone and atteft? For, we may fpeak of thefe three as one, because they agree in one, as it is

ver. 8.

We reply to this in general. This threefold witness that the believer hath within him, doth testify, that Chrift is the Son of God, which is the general scope of the preceding part of the chapter: they teftify that he is the true Meffiah, the only Saviour, whom God the Father hath fealed and authorized to be our Redeemer: that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. More particularly,

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1. The

"I am perfuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things prefent, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, fhall be able to feparate us from the love of God, which is in Chrift Jefus our Lord," Rom. viii. 38, 39. The witnefs doth atteft that his market is made for ever; that he fhall be for ever with the Lord; that his Redeemer liveth, and tho' after his fkin, worms deftroy this body, yet in his flesh fhall he fee God; that this corruption fhall put on incorruption; and that death fhall be fwallowed up in victory.

In a word, the witneffes do fometimes depone, that all things fhall work together for his good; that tho' the Lord fhould hide his face, yet he will return with everlafting kindness; yea, that tho' he fall he fhall arife; and tho' he fit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to him; that his grace fhall be fufficient for him; that the lines are fallen to him in pleasant places, and that he hath a goodly heritage; that this God is his God for ever and ever, and will be his guide even unto death; that he will never leave him, nor forfake him, but keep him by his power, thro' faith unto falvation; that the God of peace will bruife Satan under his feet; that he fhall overcome thro' the blood of the Lamb; that when he fhall appear he fhall be like him, for he fhall fee him as he is; that tho' he walk thro' the valley of the fhadow of death, yet he needs fear no evil, for his rod and his ftaff fhall comfort him; that he fhall come to Zion with fongs, and with everlasting joy upon his head; that he fhall obtain joy and gladness, and forrow and fighing fhall flee away.-Thefe, and many fuch things of the like nature, doth the witnefs atteft and depone, when it fpeaks but though the believer hath the witness in himself, yet this witnefs doth not always fpeak within him; but when it fpeaks, its depofition and teftimony make one or other of these things as clear as day-light to the believer. A waff of the Spirit's teftimony, either by himself, or by the water and blood, is fufficient to affure him of all this. I come now,

IV. To the fourth thing, namely, The QUALITIES of this witnefs which the believer hath within himself. What fort of a witness is it?

1. It is a credible witnefs that the believer hath in himself, that cannot go about to deceive us. The Spirit cannot deceive; for, the Spirit is truth, ver. 6.; he is the God of truth; one God with the Father and Son. The water cannot deceive; for fan&tification is the very image of God, and holiness cannot lye. The blood cannot deceive; for, it is the precious blood of Chrift, as of a Lamb without blemish, and without fpot. Befides, that water and blood do not witnefs without the Spirit, which makes the witnefs of undoubted credibi lity; yea, there was never fuch a credible witnefs in the world, as the believer hath within him..

2. It is a competent witnefs. As the witnefs the believer hath cannot deceive, neither can it be deceived. Other witneffes may be, and have been deceived, either when he witneffes immediately, or by the water and blood. People may deceive themfelves with a vain. confidence, and false affurance, because their blind mind, and erring confciences may be deceived; but the believer, that hath this witness in himself, may be fure that as his witnefs cannot be deceived, fo he may depend upon the teftimony thereof, because it is truth, and no lye is of the truth, 1 John ii. 21,-27. The fame anointing teaching all things, and is truth, and is no lye, &c. And fo,

3. It is a true and faithful witnefs. This is plain from what is faid. If it be a credible witnefs, that will not deceive; and a competent witnefs, that cannot he deceived; then it is a true and faithful witnefs.--This is a title that is given to Chrift; and it may be gi ven to his witneffes alfo, that witnefs for him: the three that bear record on earth witnefs truly for him, as well as the Three that bear record in heaven. The witness that the believer hath in himfelf is fleady, will not fay and gainfay; it will not atteft the truth, and then retract. It is true, the believer himfelf may draw back; when the light of the Spirit is gone, he may be ready to throw all the witneffes depofitions away, faying, Alas!

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Alas! I thought I had feen God in fuch a way, and heard his voice, and felt his love; but now I fear I was mistaken: But the witnefs itfelf will not retract; for, whenever the Spirit fhines on his own work again, then he attefts the fame thing again, and makes the foul that remembered God, and was troubled, now to remember again the years of the right-hand of the moft High.

4. It is a concurring witnefs that the believer hath in himself. The Spirit witneffeth together with the water and the blood; and "Thefe three agree in one:" and, you know, "By the mouth of two or three witneffes every word fhall be eftablished." It is true, the Spirit may witness by water, or by graces and experiences, when he does not witnefs by his own immediate teftimony; and, perhaps, may witnefs by his own immediate teftimony, when his witnefs by blood and water is not fo clear: but yet, as these three may witnefs conjunctly all at once; fo, though they witnefs feverally, yet, whenever any of them witnefs, they concur in attefting the fame thing: the one never witneffes the contrary of what the other witneffed.

5. It is an evident and clear witnefs that the believer hath in himself, it is not dark, but clear; therefore called the witnefs, by way of eminency and evidence. It is true, the witneffing of the Spirit admits of degrees; as the operations of the Spirit are at one time more pow. erful and manifeft than at another; fo may the foul's perfuafion of its adoption by it be, which is one of the great things that I told you the witnefs doth depone. At one time he acts fo powerfully, as that all fears and doubts are banished; at another time it may not be fo clear, but much overclouded, and yet accompanied with fee degrees of perfuafion that Chrift is theirs, even though faith be weak. A rich man's window may be wider than a poor man's, and fo the fun may make his house the more light, that the things within it may be the better difcerned; but the poor man may really enjoy the beams of the fun, and fee what is in his houfe fo the pooreft, the weakest believer may know the Spirit hath fhined into his heart, as well as others,

that

that enjoy brighter beams than he hath been acquainted with.

6. It is an internal witnefs; he hath the witness in himself. You will fay, In what court doth this witnefs depone? Why, it is even in the court of confcience; he hath the witnefs in himfelf: and he ftill hath the witness in himself, though the witnefs be not ftill actually deponing in that court: fee 2 Cor. i. 12. The believer may not only fay with Job, "My witness is in heaven, and my record is on high;" but alse, my witness is on earth, and my record is in my bofom. He hath the witnefs in himfelf.

V. The next thing was the REASONS why it is that the believer hath the witnefs in himfelf? Why doth true faith carry its witnefs along with it? It doth fo for the following reafons.

1. To diftinguifh it from falfe faith, which hath no fuch witnefs. The Spirit of God will not give witnels to a lye. Falfe and delufory faith is a lye; and none bear witnefs to it but the devil, who is the father of lies. Some will fay, "God forbid, but we believe in "the Son of God; we never made a fcruple about be"lieving that." Well, we may tell fuch perfons, that they are deceiving themfelves: but they will not believe us as long as the devil is confirming them in their lye. But herein true faith is diftinguifhed from falfe; the man hath the witnefs in himself.

2. True faith hath the witnefs to demonftrate it to be true faith, and to put honour on this workmanship of God. God's work muft have God's witnefs; and this is the mark and feal that God puts upon the forehead of all the followers of the Lamb. This mark diftinguishes it from falfe faith, and demonftrates it to be true faith God appends his feal to his own grace of faith" In whom, after ye believed, ye were fealed with the holy Spirit of promife," Eph. i. 13.

3. True believers have the witnefs in themfelves, because true faith receives the witnefs; this is the office of faith, Gal. iii. 14." That the bleffing of Abraham might

come

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