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persuaded that the greatest hurricane cannot hurt him, and that when floods of great waters swell up to the brim, they shall not overwhelm his soul, nor come near to him. United to Christ, he makes his boast in God. Though thousands should rise up against him, he will not be afraid. Assurance that Christ is mine in particular, his righteousness mine for all the purposes of salvation, and that through the grace of the Lord Jesus I shall be saved, is essential to faith. Nothing short of this particular appropriation would answer to the home charge of the law, the particular accusations of conscience, or the pressing calls of the Gospel. But a person may have an appropriating faith who can scarcely adopt Paul's triumphant language in the text. But faith and experience shall increase. They shall know who follow on to know. When, like the apostle, believers have been supported under many troubles, and had ample experience that Christ answers to his precious characters in the word, their confidence and assurance will increase. Like a tree whose roots fasten and spread the more the wind and storms appear to pluck it up, their faith will gradually rise into solid assurances and confidence, till at last it says, with firmness," My beloved is mine and I am his, the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me,-I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better,-to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,-I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor
things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord;" or, as in the text," I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
Such as are suitably impressed with death and eternity, on hearing these things, cannot be altogether unconcerned. They must instantly pronounce them happy who can adopt the apostle's language, and ardently desire they could do it themselves. They are persuaded that no trial can be too heavy for such as know whom they have believed, and that they may meet death itself as a weak and impotent foe, and triumph over it as disarmed and unstinged. They justly conclude that such as are certain of their interest in Christ may rejoice evermore. As for themselves, they are often disconsolate and dejected. They know nothing of that unspeakable and glorious joy which flows from believing. They desire to be interested in Christ, but cannot declare that they are so. They are well acquainted with doubts and fears, but scarcely feel the principle of faith. Death and judgment impress their minds, and they can hardly think of them without terror. Gladly would they commit their souls into Christ's hands. They have often tried it; but are afraid they have not done it in a right manner, because they are still dejected and without comfort. They have often examined their own hearts. They find abundance of sin, but little else. If they had it, they would this moment give a world to be certain of their interest in Christ.
and able on good grounds to say with the apostle, I know whom I have believed, &c. Gladly would we dispel the darkness, and dissipate the clouds so distressing to the disconsolate mind. With joy would we irradiate their hearts, and persuade them that they have believed. The Holy Ghost alone can enlighten the mind, and comfort the heart. His word is power. He is the comforter. He bears witness with our spirits that we have believed. He works by means. Perhaps he may bless what follows to some, and persuade them that on good grounds they may adopt the language in the text.
The man who would comfortably adopt the language in the text must be
Much versant in the Scriptures. They testify of Christ and eternal life. They unfold the method of grace and salvation. They discover and exhibit the object of faith. They reveal the warrant which sinners have to believe. They are the great means of beginning and increasing faith. They 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. By the word sinners are begotten again unto a lively hope." Without an acquaintance with the word, we can never know if our faith be genuine. None who neglect or despise the Scripture, can with the least propriety say, they know whom they have believed.
He must be a careful observer of his own heart, and in some good measure acquainted with it. Paul searched carefully and narrowly into his. Without this it is impossible to know what passes in it. When
implanted in the soul, grace can neither be observed nor maintained without much care and pains. There is such a mass of corruption, such a powerful principle of unbelief and legality, as tend to keep faith out of view. Satan's temptations, like thick clouds, so darken the mind as to render it unfit for observing the workings of faith. The great duty of self-examination is necessary. Without this we can scarcely expect to know ourselves aright. Paul frequently enjoined it, and diligently practised it. Most memorable is his exhortation to the Corinthians, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves: know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" Peter urged the same duty, "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure:" and points out the happy effects of it," for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." We cannot expect the end without using the means. If we would have the apostle's attainments, we should walk in his steps. Our duty and interest, our peace and consolation, loudly call us to strict examination of our own hearts. Habitually neglecting this duty, no one has present evidence that he has committed his soul to Christ, and cannot appropriate the words of the text.
He must be acquainted with Christ. His knowledge of the Redeemer must be in the light of the Scriptures. He must have an inward revelation of him, as well as an outward. He must be acquainted with him in the light of the Holy Ghost. No man can
call Jesus Lord but by the Spirit, or see him worthy of being entrusted with the soul. However much Gospel hearers have heard of Christ, when the Spirit makes a discovery of him, it will be new and astonishing, inviting and refreshing. Then they may say with Job, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee." They will be sensible that flesh and blood could not reveal the Redeemer. Their acquaintance must be experimental. All who have resigned their souls unto Christ, have deep experience that they need him, and that he is suited to their condition; that they are weaned from every other refuge, and ardently desire him. If they are believers of any standing, they will have some experience that he answers to the gracious characters of the Priest and Prophet of his church, and the King and Keeper of his people.
He must presently believe. No man can know in whom he has believed, and be persuaded that Christ was worthy of former trust, without seeing him deserving present trust. He who has formerly resigned his soul to Christ will see present faith to be his highest interest, as well as duty. Former faith lodged the soul in the Saviour's hands, and present believing recognizes the former deed, and, if we might use the phrase, keeps it there.
He must have great gratitude. The man who gives his perishing soul to be kept and saved by the Redeemer, must be thankful that he receives it. Faith never speaks of Christ but in the language of gratitude. It receives him as God's unspeakable gift, and stirs up all that is within the soul to bless the great Giver. Praise is the chief exercise of heaven,