Encouragements to faith Drawn from severall engagements both of Gods Christs heart to receive pardon sinners. By Tho: Goodwin, B.D.
Goodwin, Thomas, 1600-1680.

A Preface.

THere are two Persons whom Faith hath to deal withall in seeking of For∣givenesse, and laying hold of Salvati∣on, God the Father, and God the Son; the holy Ghost being that Person that sets the heart a work to seek out for sal∣vation, and reveales the love of them both. And therefore it is, that Grace and Peace (which are the object of Faiths inquest) are still wisht from God the Father, and God the Son; so generally in all Epistles, excepting that of the Revelation, given immediately by word of mouth from Christ himselfe.

And accordingly when Faith comes to treat with Page  2 these two about the great businesse of Salvation, the first and maine thing that it is inquisitive after, is, What their heart and mind is, and how they stand enclined towards the receiving and pardoning of sinners: it listens most to heare something of that: and when a mans heart, through faith is fully & throughly perswaded of it, then he is fully won.

Hence, because the Scriptures were written for our comfort, and so, fitted to, and for the workings of faith; therefore they were so written, as especially to bring down and lay before us the Heart of God and of Christ: and so the maine thing they hold forth, is, the full intent and purpose both of God and of Christ to pardon and receive sinners: This is a faithfull saying, (sayes Paul with open mouth) that Christ came into the world to save sinners; and this Christ himself every where indigitates; and to hold forth this, is the scope of these words uttered by Christ himself. And such speeches do containe the very heart, marrow, and pith of the Gospel.

And though the heart of a sinner will never be ful∣ly satisfied, till a perswasion be wrought, that God and Christ are purposed and willing to save a mans own self in particular, (which perswasion is that which we call Assurance) yet when once there is a through perswasion setled upon the heart, but of so much indefinitely and in generall; that God and Christ are willing and fully resolved to save some sin∣ners (so that the heart does truly beleeve that God is in earnest) this draws on the heart to come to Christ, and is enough to work faith of adherence, such, as up∣on which Christ will never cast us out (as the Text hath it.)

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The great businesse then for the working faith in men, is to perswade them of Gods good will and gracious inclination unto sinners, to beget in them good opinions of God and Christ this way; Men naturally having hard and suspitious thoughts of both, as that speech of Christ Iohn 3. 17. implies, [God sent not His Son into the world to condemne the world, but that the world through him might be saved.] Christ would never have hinted such a jealousie, nor sugge∣sted such thoughts to mens minds, had they not been in them before, and this, to prevent and take off such jealousies. Men are apt to think, that God had a designe upon them as upon enemies, and laid but an Ambushment for their further condemnation, in his treaty of peace tendred to them by his Son. An ex∣ample of which we have in Luther, who fell into such suspitions as these, for he misunderstanding some words he met with in the Epistle to the Romans, as they were rendred by the vulgar translation then in use, namely, these, that God sent his Son to declare his righteousnesse (as they are by us translated) he thought the meaning of them to have been this, to declare and set forth his judgement on the world, (so he interpre∣ted [adjustitiam suam. &c.]) The truth is, the jea∣lousies of mens thoughts herein were those that have put God to his Oath, [As I live, I will not the death of a sinner, &c.] so also Heb. 6. 17. Men do not so usually question the power of God, he is able enough to save them they think; he is able to engraft them in (as the Apostle speakes to the Jewes, Rom. 11. 23.) but all their doubts are about his Will. Gods will was the Fountaine and spring of our salvation, in the contri∣ving Page  4 of which he wrought all things according to the counsel of his own will, (as the Apostle to the Ephesians speaketh) and in another place it is said, He will have mercy on whom he will, &c. and therefore the great queries in our hearts are concerning the will of God towards us.