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SERM. 3. That no metaphorical defcriptions of juftifying CCXXVII. faith are allowable any farther than as they ferve to

illustrate the plain, and proper, and fimple notion of faith. My meaning is, he that would teach men what faith is, he must first acquaint men with the thing, and defcribe it in as proper and fimple words as can be, and not by figurative and metaphorical phrafes. Indeed after a man hath delivered the fimple notion of a thing in proper words, he may afterwards illuftrate it by metaphors: but then these are not to be infifted upon, and. ftrained to the utmost extent of the metaphor, beyond what the true notion of the thing will bear: for if confequences once come to be drawn from metaphors, and doctrines founded, and theories built upon them, inftead of illuftrating the thing, they blind and obfcure it, and ferve to na other purpose, but to feduce and mislead the understandings of men, and to multiply controverfies without end and (as I told you before) I do the rather take notice of this abufe of metaphors upon this fubject, because I do not know any other head of divinity which hath fuffered fo much by them, as the doctrine of justifying faith, whereby the plain truth hath been very much darkened, and occafion minister'd to many endless difputes. But this will best appear by fome particular inftances. Juftifying faith hath ufually been defcribed by these metaphors, resting, and relying, and leaning upon CHRIST, appre hending, and laying hold, and applying of CHRIST, "receiving of CHRIST, and coming to him." Now concerning thefe, I fhall briefly speak thefe three of four things.

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(1.) That none of these metaphors, except the two laft," receiving of CHRIST, and coming to him,” are any where used in fcripture, to describe justifying


faith by; and therefore there is no reason why they SER M. fhould be fo much ufed and infifted on. Let any man, fhew me where justifying faith is any where in fcripture described by "refting, and relying, and leaning "upon CHRIST, by apprehending and laying hold, "and applying of him."

(2.) If these metaphors were explained and turned into proper and plain words, they can fignify nothing elfe, but that faith which I have been all this while defcribing. For what can any man understand by "refting, and relying, and leaning upon CHRIST," but to trust in him as the author of our eternal falvation, under which word all the benefits which CHRIST hath purchased for us are comprehended? Now can any man be faid to truft in CHRIST, as the author of his falvation, otherwife than by affenting to the truth of the gofpel, and complying with the terms and conditions of it? and what can any man understand by "apprehending, and laying hold on, " and applying CHRIST," other than this, to make ufe of him for all thofe ends and perpofes for which God hath appointed him? and what thofe are, the fcripture tells us, that "he is made unto us of God, wisdom, and righteousness, and fanctification, and "redemption."

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(3.) As for thofe feripture metaphors of "receiv"ing CHRIST, and coming to him," the fcripture ufeth them but fparingly, and I dare fay, for once that it useth thefe metaphors, it doth twenty times defcribe faith by plain and proper words; and where it does make use of these metaphors, it doth fufficiently explain them. So you find coming to CHRIST is explained by learning of him, Matt. xi. 28, 29. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy "laden, and I will give you reft. Take my yoke 66 upon



upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye fhall find rest unto your fouls. That is, come to me as scholars and difciples to be taught by me; in order to which it is requifite that we should believe him. Oportet difcentem credere," he that will learn, muft believe him "that teacheth him," and truft his fkill. And fo for receiving him, left the metaphor should seduce 'men, St. John had no fooner used it, but he tells what he means by it, John i. 12. "But as many as "received him, to them gave he power to become "the fons of GOD, even to them that believe on his "name;" that is, believed him to be the perfon promised to be the Meffias, and SAVIOUR of the world; as appears by the oppofition in the verse before, he came to his own, and his own received "him not;” that is, rejected him, did not own him to be the true Meffias. But now if we will strain fuch a metaphor as this beyond the intention of it, and becaufe believing is called a receiving of CHRIST, and we receive things with the hand, and the hand is an inftrument, will from hence infer, that faith is an înftrument of our juftification; what may not men make of the scripture at this rate.

(4.) I will add this concerning fcripture metaphors in general, that where the fcripture useth metaphors, which were very familiar in those languages in which the scripture was writ, and well understood by those who spoke that language, but are very obfcure and uncouth to us, and not at all ufed in our language, as most of the fcripture metaphors are, the proper work of a minifter is not to infift in fuch cases upon fcripture metaphors, to darken his discourse by them, but to explain them, and make them intelligible, to tranflate them into english, and instead


of instead of them to use fuch phrafes as people are SER M. more familiarly acquainted with, and are used in our own language. For a man may be "a barbarian" that speaks to people in unknown phrases and metaphors, as well as "he that speaks in an unknown

tongue;" and the very fame reason that obligeth us to put the fcripture into a known language, doth oblige men to explain the doctrines contained in it by fuch phrases and metaphors as are known and used in that language.

(5.) That if this plain and fimple notion of justifying faith were admitted, it would fupercede all those controverfies about juftification, which have fo much troubled the reformed churches. Those who have been curious to enquire into these matters, have reckoned up at least twenty feveral opinions among the Proteftants concerning juftifying faith. I do not defire to acquaint myself with those differences; he that would know what juftification, and justifying faith are, fhall fooner come to understand the nature of them, by diligent reading of the fcriptures, than by reading over all the controverfial writings of divines about them; and if men would but content themselves with thofe plain and fimple defcriptions which the fcripture gives us of faith, there could not be any great difference about it; this would cut off moft of those disputes which have been commenced upon metaphors and figurative fpeeches. And here I had thought to have defcended to a particular confideration of the controverfies about juftifying faith; but I am weary of the work, and therefore fhall only make fome brief reflections upon this whole difcourfe, and then apply it to our own ufe. But this, GoD willing, the next opportunity.






The condition of the gospel-covenant, and the merit of CHRIST, confiftent.

JOHN xx. 31.

But thefe are written, that ye might believe that JESUS is the CHRIST, the Son of GOD, and that believing ye might have life through his name.


HAVE in my former difcourfes on thefe words treated largely of the nature of christian faith, The fourth particularly as it fanctifies, juftifies, and faves men. All fermon on that I farther propofe is, to make fome reflections upon this whole discourse, particularly that which relates to juftifying faith, and then apply all to our own ufe.

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I have already taken notice of two objections, to which my difcourfe may feem liable; and if yet there remain any prejudice upon any man's spirit against this doctrine, I would defire fuch calmly to confider it, and the agreeableness of it not to the opinions of men, but to the word of God, and the fuitableness of it to the great defign of chriftian religion, every where expreffed in the gofpel, which is to bring men to holinefs and obedience. And what argument and confideration can be more powerful to take men off from fin, and to excite them to the practice of holiness than this, that repentance and obedience are an indifpenfable condition of our juftification and pardon? And this is the very point in difference, whether the gofpel do not make repentance and obedience conditions of our pardon and juftification, as well as an affent to the truth of the gofpel, and a truft in CHRIST as the meritorious


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