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be considered as properly distinct, because they involve each other. They suppose, that faith implies love, and love implies faith; that faith implies repentance and repentance implies faith; or rather that faith implies all the christian graces. But this seems to be an absurd supposition. For, all holy exercises are really distinct; and though in a certain sense connected, cannot be exercised at one and the same moment. Some who allow, that faith, repentance, and love are really distinct exercises, and take place in succession; yet say it is of no importance to determine in what order they follow one another; because they have no fixt order of succession, but take place sometimes in one order, and sometimes in another. Sometimes the renewed person may exercise love in the first instance; sometimes faith in the first instance; and sometimes repentance in the first instance. The Spirit, they suppose, operates differently upon different persons. In one person,

first produce faith; in another person, he may first produce repentance; and in another person, he may first produce love. He observes, they imagined, no certain order in his special operations, and consequently those who are the subjects of his special grace, are not conscious of the same order in their first gracious affections. One person may say, that he was first conscious of love; another, that he was first conscious of faith; another, that he was first conscious of repentance; and another, that he was conscious of no distinct order in his new affections, but only that they were new, and different from any that he ever was conscious of before. It is readily granted, that all these subjects of special grace, may speak the truth according to the best knowledge they have of their first gracious exercises; and yet it may be equally true, that the first gracious exercises in each of them, took place in a certain order, and in the same certain order that we have mentioned. For, no person, perhaps, at the very time of his spiritual change, ever attended to the particular order of his holy affections, because his mind was first fixed upon the great objects of his love, his repentance, and his faith. Besides, though all true believers know that they have had different affections since they became believers from what they had before; yet very few know how to distinguish and describe their holy exercises according to their specifick difference, and proper names. Notwithstanding, therefore, this variety of opinions among real christians, respecting their first christian exercises, it must be certain, that the Spirit of God never acts inconsistently in converting sinners; or in other words, that he never produces repentance towards God, before he produces love to God; nor faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ, before love to Christ. There is no room to doubt but that he always produces love before repentance, and repentance before faith. This is the only order, in which we can conceive it to be possible, for the holy Spirit to produce the first holy affections in the human heart, whether believers are, at the time of their conversion or afterwards, conscious of this order or not. Hence it is of great importance in describing a saving change, that the first exercises of grace should be represented in that very order in which they always take place. For,

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1. Unless we place love before faith and repentance, we cannot reconcile regeneration with the divine law, which requires all men to love God immediately and supremely. If we say, that faith is the first gracious exercise, then we virtually say, that men ought to believe the gospel, before they love God; which is the same as to say, that it is not the duty of sinners to obey

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be considered as properly distinct, because they involve each other. They suppose, that faith implies love, and love implies faith; that faith implies repentance and repentance implies faith; or rather that faith inplies all the christian graces. But this seems to be an absurd supposition. For, all holy exercises are really distinct; and though in a certain sense connected, cannot be exercised at one and the same moment. Some who allow, that faith, repentance, and love are really distinct exercises, and take place in succession; yet say it is of no importance to determine in what order they follow one another; because they have no fixt order of succession, but take place sometimes in one order, and sometimes in another. Sometimes the renewed person may exercise love in the first instance; sometimes faith in the first instance; and sometimes repentance in the first instance. The Spirit, they suppose, operates differently upon different persons. In one person, he may first produce faith; in another person, he may first produce repentance; and in another person, he may first produce love. He observes, they imagined, no certain order in his special operations, and consequently those who are the subjects of his special grace, are not conscious of the same order in their first gracious affections. One person may say, that he was first conscious of love; another, that he was first conscious of faith; another, that he was first conscious of repentance; and another, that he was conscious of no distinct order in his new affections, but only that they were new, and different from

any

that he ever was conscious of before. It is readily granted, that all these subjects of special grace, may speak the truth according to the best knowledge they have of their first gracious exercises; and yet it may

be equally true, that the first gracious exercises in each of

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them, took place in a certain order, and in the same certain order that we have mentioned. For, no person, perhaps, at the very time of his spiritual change, ever attended to the particular order of his holy affections, because his mind was first fixed upon the great objects of his love, his repentance, and his faith. Besides, though all true believers know that they have had different affections since they became believers from what they had before; yet very few know how to distinguish and describe their holy exercises according to their specifick difference, and proper names. Notwithstanding, therefore, this variety of opinions among real christians, respecting their first christian exercises, it must be certain, that the Spirit of God never acts inconsistently in converting sinners; or in other words, that he never produces repentance towards God, before he produces love to God; nor faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ, before love to Christ. There is no room to doubt but that he always produces love before repentance, and repentance before faith. This is the only order, in which we can conceive it to be possible, for the holy Spirit to produce the first holy affections in the human heart, whether believers are, at the time of their conversion or afterwards, conscious of this order or not. Hence it is of great importance in describing a saving change, that the first exercises of grace should be represented in that very order in which they always take place. For,

1. Unless we place love before faith and repentance, we cannot reconcile regeneration with the divine law, which requires all men to love God immediately and supremely. If we say, that faith is the first gracious exercise, then we virtually say, that men ought to believe the gospel, before they love God; which is the same as to say, that it is not the duty of sinners to obey

the first and great command, until they become true believers in Christ. And this consequence is allowed by those, who place faith before love. They maintain, that no man can or ought to love God, until he believes, that he is freed from the condemning power of the law, and shall escape the everlasting displeasure of a damning God. They suppose, therefore, that faith produces both love and repentance. But this is totally inconsistent with the first precept of the divine law, and virtually dissolves the obligations of sinners to love God, until he gives them faith in Christ. But, on the other hand, if we represent love as the first fruit of the Spirit, then the doctrine of regeneration will appear entirely consistent with the divine law. For the law requires love as the first exercise of holy affection; and this is the first affection, which every renewed person exercises. Such is the consistency between the law of God and the special influences of his holy Spirit in regeneration. And in order to make this consistency appear, it is very important to represent love, as hefo re repentance and faith, and not faith, as before love and repentance in the renewed heart. The experience of christians must be represented according to the doctrines of the gospel, and not the doctrines of the gospel interpreted and represented according to the various and inconsistent experiences of supposed christians.

2. It is of importance to represent love, as before repentance and faith, in order to make it appear, that sanctification is before justification, and the only proper evidence of it.

Those, who place faith before love and repentance, suppose that men are justified before they are renewed or sanctified. They suppose, that saving faith consists in a man's believing that he is justified and entitled to eternal life, without any evi

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