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By the way there are many means, some a priori, others a posteriori.
1. For the first; they are those things by which faith is wrought, though they are not so evident, yet they are most sure; when I consider God calls me in my blood, having nothing in me, and will be friends with me, bids me take his Son, and I do not, bids me take his kingdom and glory with him, and I refuse it, though this be a matter not so evident, yet it is most sure.
2. Then there are other arguments which come from the fruits of faith a posteriori ; they are more evident, but
And thus have I declared unto you the first point of justification by faith, it is so sweet a string, that I cannot tell how to leave it, and therefore harp so long
not so sure.
Now let us come from the mother to the daughter; the eldest daughter is peace with God, then this is the first birth; and we are at peace with God.
In this peace we will consider these three particulars. 1. What is that peace which we have. 2. With whom have we it.
3. By whom, and by whose means we have peace with God: It is procured by Jesus Christ.
What we have ; peace.
By whose means? Our Lord Jesus Christ. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1. What this peace is. You know the point of peace is a great matter; it is the apostolical benediction: grace and peace in all the epistles; “Grace" and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ ;” and “Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace by all means always.” This is a thing by all means to be desired, you must labour to get it; this was the angels' song when Christ was born, “ Glory' be to God on high, on earth peace, good will towards men."
Chap. 3. ver. 16.
u 2 Thess. chap. 1. ver. 2. y Luke, chap. 2. ver. 14.
This peace is a thing by all means to be sought after, and what it is, you may know by the contrary; you know what a miserable thing war is; God grant you may not know it too soon; you know what it is to have an enemy among
This is our case, till we be justified, we are at daggers drawing, at point of hostility with God. It is a foolish conceit for a man to think that by reason of God's predestination he is justified before he was; this is a foolish conceit; until thou art justified by faith, thou art not justified at all. God's predestination doth not make a change in the subject; if I intend to enrich a beggar, he is in rags still, for all my intention, till my intention be put in execution. Paul was elected before the foundation of the world; but till he was converted, he was an enemy, and “a persecutor, the chief of sinners," as he speaks of himself, so the Scripture speaks in that point: “ Ify when we were enemies, we were reconciled unto God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Before the time of peace came, we were unbelievers, enemies, in the state of enmity, when as before God was thy enemy, as soon as thou hast touched Christ by a lively faith, presently all the actions he had against thee are let fall; God is friends with thee; this is a high and a deep peace, and this comprehends all kind of blessings; Amasa, one of the valiantest captains that David had, speaks there of peace; one would think it not so proper, it belongs not to them to talk of peace, but because peace comprehends all kinds of blessing, it is said: “Then” the Spirit of the Lord came upon Amasa, who was chief of the captains, and he said, Thine are we, David, and on thy side thou son of Jesse; peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be unto thy helpers, for thy God helpeth thee.” This is a speech from a soldier to a soldier, and this is done in a military way; peace is welcome though coming from a warrior, because it comprehends all manner of blessings, it is said, that “whena Uriah came
2 1 Chron. chap. 12. ver. 18.
Rom. chap. 5. ver. 10, 2 2 Sam. chap. 11. ver. 7.
unto David, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered.” Look unto the margin according to the original, and it is, " He demanded of the peace of Joab, and the people, and of the
peace of the war.” A man would think it a contradiction that he should demand of the peace of the war ; so then this peace which we have with Almighty God, after we are justified by faith, is the comprehension of all manner of good. This having peace with God is the fruit of the Spirit.
But with whom is this peace? with God; it is not peradventure so with thyself: thou mayest have a turbulent conscience, insomuch that thou wouldst give all the world to have it quiet, to be assured that there is peace between God and thee; that is not the point : the thing thou getest by faith is peace with God: when thou art troubled with thyself, and hast but a weak act of faith, yet if thou believest, thou art more afraid than hurt; thou art cocksure, and shalt be calm and quiet in God's good time.
OBJ. But why should Christians be so foolish, so troubled ? what is the reason the children of God do disquiet themselves?
Sol. Because they are fools, they stand in their own light, are straitened in their own bowels. God is liberal and free, but there is some hope of worthiness in us, and we do things we should not do. We are always poring on ourselves, and do not bring a naked hand; and this is the reason we are so full of distractions: for he that seeks justification (I mean remission of sins) by his own performance, will never attain it. Observe what the apostle speaketh upon this point : “Israel which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore ? because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law.” This was their stumbling stone, as he there saith.
Again, it is the nature of many peevish people amongst us, that they will not be comforted; when news was brought to Jacob that Joseph was slain and lost, it is said:
b Rom. chap. 9. ver. 31, 33.
" Alle his sons and daughters rose up to comfort him, but
away. “I have blotted as a thick cloud thy transgressions:" as who should say, it is the tidings of such good things, as all within thee is too little to praise the Lord, and therefore it is not a thing to be slighted over; "blessed' is the man whose sins are forgiven," which is no noun adjective, nor of the singular number neither; it signifieth the blessednesses, as it were an heap of blessings. They commonly call it the eight beatitudes, it is but varied upon divers subjects ; were there eighty-eight, that were all one : to have thy sins forgiven thee, is the comprising of all happiness; and he whose iniquity is covered, hath interest in them all.
Again, when a man sets his eyes too much upon his sins; more upon his sins than upon the mercies of God freely offered in Christ, this is a wonderful hinderance of the peace; thou lookest on the wrong object, looking too
c Gen. chap. 37. ver. 35.
d Matth. chap. 2. ver. 18.
much on thy sins, when thou shouldst look on Christ, that brazen serpent offered unto thee; then it is no wonder that thou seest not Christ though he be near thee: Mary Magdalen complains and weeps (as she thought) to the gardener, that they had taken away her Lord, and she knew not where they had laid him, when as he stood at her elbow; her eyes were so full of tears that she could not behold her Saviour. Now therefore stand not in thine own light, but look
Christ as well as upon thy sins; observe, though there be a peace and a calm, yet presently all turmoils will not cease after humiliation. When there is a great storm at sea which lasts perhaps twenty-four hours, and then ceaseth, what, are the waves presently quiet, as soon as the storm is over? no, there will be tossing and rolling many hours afterwards, because there must be a time of settling: and so though there be peace between God and thee, and the storm over, yet there must be a time of settling.
I should now show you the difference between the peace that wicked men have and this other peace : theirs is not peace: there is no peace to the wicked: it is a truce only, and we must make a great difference between a truce and a peace. A truce when it is expired, commonly ends in more bitter war. With them there is a cessation of trouble, their consciences do not accuse them, but when the time limited is over, and conscience again breaks loose, it will be more unquiet and unsettled than ever before; it will be at open war against them.