Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thomas Shepard: True faith closes with Christ as he is.

And there are four sorts of them that spin the finest thread of deceit to themselves, that think they believe, when yet they have not the Son.
3. Those that close not with promises only, but with Christ himself, but it is only with the image and fancy of him, which, they think, is himself. In true faith, the Father reveals the Son as he is, or the Son reveals himself as he is, and faith hence closes with him as he is. John vi. 40. But some there be that hear of him, hence think what he is. Hence a carnal mind imagines of him as it imagines of a king in a far country, and falls down to his image, and trusts to it, and depends on it, and joys in it, until a man comes to be converted or die, and then he sees the deceit. Or if he did see him, yet he can see no beauty in him to desire him. There is many a man in this case that trusts to, and joys in Christ, whom, if he did know, he would loathe. John came preaching the gospel to show them Christ; they all came to him, and rejoiced in his light, but it was but for a season; for when he came to show them "there he is," (John i. 29,) not one man stirs when he shows them Christ, and Verse 35, "only two;" and chap. iii. 32, "No man received his testimony." This is, beloved, the great sin and cause of all the rest, if they had known they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. Christ is not seen, hence not thought of, hence not esteemed, hence men boast not in him. Nay, it is the great plague, under means, that in seeing they see not. "Lord, how long?" You say, Christ is never so clearly true, but thou in seeing mayst not see; and if it be seen thus, then look for ruin. Is. vi. 9-12. We say, Christians want not light, but life and affections. O, beg for light that will bring affections, else all affections will dry up, if not fed with this spring. John v. 37. What people had such means as they? yet they had not eyes to see.
—Thomas Shepard