Great Quotes

“What shall we do that we may work the works of God?” Naturally, men are upon doing to get; when we talk upon matters of religion, it is doing gets everything; therefore, they will be doing, that they may have something. Now, though Christ doth not answer the question they made, being a silly one, yet he gives them another answer that was to the purpose; “This is the work of God, to believe in him whom he hath sent.” Never look to get it by doing; look to get it from him, and not from yourselves, and your own doings.

You must not imagine that our motion of coming is the prime mobile that gives motion to Christ to open and entertain; as if our coming did stir him up to set open, and give entrance. Christ hath not any such thought in him that we must come, and therefore will own us for his own; for it is certainly true, the very motion of our coming to Christ, is from himself, and from his coming to us, before we do so much as move. It is a common principle known to all divines, and most people; we are first acted, and then we act. First, Christ gives to us to come, and then, by his gift, we come to him; we must not imagine, by coming to Christ, he is moved and invited towards us, and is stirred up to open to us, and give entertainment to us; but his first coming to us, and living in us, stirs us up to motion: “You that were dead in sins and trespasses, (Ephesians 2:1,) hath he quickened?’ Beloved, is there death till Christ quickens? Where then can there be this motion of ours, before he himself be come with his life? Where there is no life, you know there is no motion; and till the fountain of life communicates it, there can be none; therefore it is Christ that gives this coming unto men, and he having given it, they come to him.

Believing is, in sum and substance, but a yielding to the mind of the Lord revealed; while persons are contradicting, they are not believing, in respect of those things that they contradict. To believe and to contradict the same thing, is a contradiction; for to believe, is to sit down satisfied with the thing that is related. Finally, suppose it should be, that coming is believing, and that this life, spoken of here, is not in persons till they believe. What is meant by life here? The apostle tells us, “Our life is hid with Christ in God; and Christ is the life of the world,” that is, of the elect. It seems then, that the life of every elect person hath a being in Christ, before he believes; believing, therefore, doth not produce a new life that was not before, only it manifests that which was before; and it makes that life, which was before, an active life; or is an instrument by which that life that is hid in Christ, after believing, becomes an active and appearing life in this person. So that all that can be made of it, is but this; till believing, there is no activeness of the life of Christ in the person that is elected; his life is in Christ, and was reserved in him till the time of believing for him; and then doth he, the elect person, become active in life, when Christ gives him to believe actually: but to say, that this believing should give the first being of that life in persons, is to say, there is not that life of the elect in Christ, before they believe.

Elect persons have a participation and share in Christ himself, even before they believe; and let none conceive that this takes away, or diminisheth from the prerogative of believing neither. For there are glorious things done by faith unto believers; God hath honoured it above all mere creatures in the world; he hath made it the conduit-pipe for the conveyance of all that peace and comfort; nay, of all that strength which believers have all their lives; no faith, no comfort, no peace of conscience, no pleasure to walk with God. Through faith, Christ conveys himself in speaking peace to the soul, in bidding the soul be of good cheer; the soul lies in darkness, while it lies in unbelief. But still that which is proper and peculiar to Christ alone, is not to be ascribed unto believing.

Christ nor his promises must be divided, for men to pick and choose what they list, and leave the rest; men must take him and them one with another. I know licentious persons would be glad of salvation from wrath by Christ, and of temporal good; and they are apt to assume a liberty from this point, that their faith is good, and the promises shall be performed to them, though they have no goodness; but have they any heart to believe other promises as well as these, those of mortification of sin, and holiness of life, that God in the attendance on his ordinances will subdue their iniquities, and cause them to walk in his testimonies? These are no bits for their palate. How they that truly believe, having no spiritual sense, embrace all sorts of promises, and as eagerly pursue mortification and holiness promised, as deliverance from wrath. They would as gladly have Christ to reign in and over them, as to blot out their transgressions. The text imports so much in the generality of the expression, not believing some few culled things out of Christ and his promises, leaving the rest, but believing in whole Christ, and all sorts of his promises. (Tobias Crisp, Christ Alone Exalted)

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