Imágenes de páginas

and nature--it is a strong argument, that it is not a thing of mere human imagination. When we experience its fitness to answer its end, this is the third of the three that bear witness on earth. The Spirit bears witness, by discovering the divine glory, and those stamps of divinity that are in the gospel. The water bears witness; that is, the experience of the power of the gospel to purify and sanctify the heart, witnesses the truth of it: and the blood bears witness by delivering the conscience from guilt. Any other sort of faith than this sense of the sufficiency of Christ's salvation, does not give such immediate glory and honour to Christ, and does not so necessarily and immediately infer the necessity of Christ's being known. Nothing besides makes all Christianity so to hang upon actual respect to Christ, and centre in him. Surely the more the sinner has an inward, an immediate, and sole dependence upon Christ, the more Christ has the glory of his salvation from him. In order to this sort of sense of the congruity of our sins being forgiven, and of punishments being removed, by the satisfaction of Christ, there must of necessity be a sense of our guiltiness. For it is impossible that any congruity should be seen, without comparison of the satisfaction with the guilt. And they cannot be compared, except there be a sense of them both. There must not only be such a sense of God's being angry, and his anger being very dreadful, without any sense of the reasonableness of that anger; but there must be a proper sense of the desert of wrath, such as there is in repentance. Sinners, under conviction of their guilt, are generally afraid that God is so angry with them, that he never will give them faith in Christ. They think the majesty and jealousy of God will not allow of it. Therefore, there goes with a sense of the sufficiency of Christ, a sense of God's sovereignty with respect to mercy and judgment, that he will and may have mercy in Christ, on whom he will have mercy, and leave to hardness whom he will. This eases of that burden.

$ 17. For a man to trust in his own righteousness, is to conceive hopes of some favour of God, or some freedom from his displeasure, from a false notion of his own goodness or excellency, and the proportion it bears to that favour; and of his own badness, and the relation it bears to his displeasure. It is to conceive hopes of some favour of God, from a false notion of the relation which our own goodness or excellency bears to that favour ; whether this mistaken relation be supposed to imply an obligation in natural justice, or propriety and decency, or an obligation in point of wisdom and honour. This excellency we speak of, is either real or supposed; either negative, in not being so bad as others and the like, or posi.

Whether it be natural or moral excellency, is immaterial: also, whether the sinner himself looks upon it as an ex

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cellency, or supposes God looks upon it as such. For men to trust in their own righteousness, is to entertain hope of escaping any displeasure, or obtaining any positive favour from God, from too high a notion of our own moral excellency, or too light a notion of our badness, as compared with or related to that favour or displeasure.

§ 18. The difficulty in giving a definition of faith is, that we have no word that clearly and adequately expresses the whole act of acceptance, or closing of the soul or heart with Christ. Inclination expresses it but partially ; conviction expresses it also but in part; the sense of the soul does not do it fully. And if we use metaphorical expressions, such as embrace, and love, &c., they are obscure, and will not carry the same idea with them to the minds of all. All words that are used to express such acts of the mind, are of a very indeterminate signification. It is a difficult thing to find words to exhibit our own ideas. Another difficulty is to find a word, that shall clearly express the whole goodness or righteousness of the Saviour and of the gospel. To be true, is one part of the goodness of the gospel. For the Saviour to be sufficient, is one part of his goodness. To be suitable, is another part. To be bountiful, is another part, &c. The idea of a real good, or lovely object, that is conceived to be real, possesses the heart after another manner, than a very lovely idea that is only imaginary. So that there is need of both a sense of goodness and reality, to unite the heart to the Saviour. There is implied in believing in Christ, not only that exercise of mind, which arises from a sense of his excellency and reality as a Saviour : but also that which arises from the consideration of his relation to us, and of our concern in him, his being a Saviour for such as we are ; for sinful men; and a Saviour that is offered with his benefits to us. The angels have a sense of the reality and goodness of Christ as a Saviour, and may be said with joy to embrace the discovery of it. They cannot, however, be said to believe in Christ. The Spirit that they receive, the notice that they have of Christ the Saviour is the same; but there is a difference in the act, by reason of the different relation that Christ, as a Saviour, stands in to us, from what he doth to them.

$ 19. That case of mind which arises from a sense of the sufficiency of Christ, may well be called a trusting in that sufficiency. It gives a quietness to the mind, to see that there is a way wherein it may be saved, to see a good and sufficient way, wherein its salvation is very possible, and the attributes of God cannot be opposite to it. This gives ease, though it be not yet certain that he shall be saved. But to believe Christ's sufficiency, so as to be thus far easy, may be called a trusting in Christ, though it cannot be trusting in him that he will save Vol. VII.



To be easy in any degree, on a belief or persuasion of the sufficiency of any thing for our good, is a degree of trusting. There is in faith not only a belief of what the gospel declares, that Christ has satisfied for our sins, and merited eternal life; but there is also a sense of it; a sense that Christ's sufferings do satisfy, and that he did merit, or was worthy that we should be accepted for his sake. There is a difference between being convinced that it is so, and having a sense that it is so. There is in the essence of justifying faith, included a receiving of Christ as a Saviour from sin. For we embrace him as the author of life, as well as a Saviour from misery. But the sum of that eternal life which Christ purchased, is holiness; it is a holy happiness. And there is in faith a liking of the happiness that Christ has procured and offers. The Jews des. pising the pleasant land, is mentioned as part of their unbelief, It must be as the gospel reveals, or in the gospel notion of him, the soul must close with Christ. For whosoever is offended in Christ, in the view that the gospel gives us of him, cannot be said to believe in him; for he is one that is excluded from blessedness, by that saying of Christ, Matt. xi. 6. " Blessed is he whosoever is not offended in me.”

§ 20. There is a hope implied in the essence of justifying faith. Thus there is hope, that I may obtain justification by Christ, though there is not contained in its essence a hope that I huwe obtained it. And so there is a trust in Christ contained in the essence of faith. There is a trust implied in seeking to Christ to be my Saviour, in an apprehension that he is a sufficient Saviour; though not a trust in him, as one that has promised to save me, as having already performed the condition of the promise. If a city was besieged and distressed by a potent eneny, and should hear of some great champion at a distance, and should be induced by what they hear of his valour and goodness, to seek and send to him for relief, believing what they have heard of his sufliciency, and thence conceiving hope that they may be delivered; the people, in sending, may be said to trust in such a champion ; as of old the children of Israel, when they went into Egypt for help, were said to trust in Egypt.

$ 21. Faith is that inward sense and act, of which prayer is the expression; as is evident.--1. Because in the same manner as the freedom of grace, according to the gospel covenant, is often set forth by this, that he that believes, receives; so it also oftentimes is by this, that he that asks, or prays, or calls upon God, receives; Matt. vii. 7-10; Luke xi. 9. Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receive eth; and he that seeketh, findeth ; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. Or what man is there of vou, whom, if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or, if he ask a fish, will be give him a serpent? How much more shall your Father which is in heaven, give the holy Spirit to them that ask him ?" Matt. xxi. 21, 22. - Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, if ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree; but also, if ye shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea : it shall be done; and all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." Joel ii. 32. The prophet speaking there of gospel times, says, “ And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call." Rom. x. 12, 13, " For the is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all, is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved;" quoting the forementioned place in Joel. The same expressions that are used in scripture for faith, may be well used for prayer also; such as coming to God or Christ, and looking to him. Eph. ii. 12. “ In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him." Prayer is often plainly spoken of as the expression of faith. As it very certainly is in Rom. x. 11–14." For the scripture saith, whosoever believeth on him, shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek : for the same Lord over all, is rich unto all that call upon him ; for whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Llow then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed ?" Christian prayer is called the prayer of faith, James v. 15. And believing is often mentioned as the life and soul of true prayer, as in the forementioned place. Matt. xxi. 21, 22, Heb. X. 19, 22. “ Draw near in full assurance of faith." James i. 5. 6. “ If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask it of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith nothing wavering."- Faith in God, is cxpressed in praying to God. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, is expressed in praying to Christ, and praying in the name of Christ ; John xiv. 13, 14. And the promises are made to asking in Christ's name, in the same manner as they are to believing in Christ. John xiv. 13, 14. “ And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." Chap. xvi. 23, 24, “ Verily I say unto you, Wbatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and receive, that your joy may be full."

§ 22. The condition both of the first and second covenant is a receiving compliance with, or yielding to a signification

or declaration from God; or to a revelation made from God. A receiving or yielding to a signification of the will of God, as our sovereign Lord and Lawgiver, is most properly called obedience. The receiving and yielding to a strange mysterious revelation, and offer which God makes of mercy to sinners, being a revelation of things spiritual, supernatural, invisible, and mysterious, through the infinite power, wisdom, and grace of God, is properly called faith. There is indeed obedience in the condition of both covenants, and there is faith or believing God in both. But the different name arises from the remarkably different nature of the revelation or manifestations made. The one is a law, the other a testimony and offer. The one is a signification of what God expects that we should do towards him, and what he expects to receive from us: the other a revelation of what he has done for us, and an offer of what we may receive from him. The one is an expression of God's great authority over us, in order to our yielding to the authority: the other is a revelation of God's mysterious and wonderful mercy, and wisdom, and power for us, in order to a reception answerable to such a revelation.

§ 23. Faith is not all kind of assent to the word of God as true and divine. For so the Jews in Christ's time assented to the book of Moses, and therefore Christ tells them, that they trusted in Moses; John v. 25. • There is one that aceuseth you, even Moses in whom ye trust." Yet the very thing that Moses accuses them for, was not believing in him, i.e. believing so as to yield to his sayings, and comply with him, or obey him, as the phrase in the New Testament is concerning Christ. And therefore Christ says in the next verse,

For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me : for he wrote of me." There may be a strong belief of divine things in the understanding, and yet no saving faith ; as is manifest by 1 Cor. xiii. 2. Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have no charity, I am nothing." Not only trusting in Christ, as one that has undertaken to save us and as believing that he is our Saviour, is faith ; but applying to him, or secking to him, that he would become our Saviour, with a sense of his reality and goodness as a Saviour, is faith ; as is evident by Rom. xv. 12. "In him shall the Gentiles trust.” Compared with the place whence it is cited, Isa. xi. 10. “To it shall the Gentiles seek ;" together with Psalm ix. 10. " And they that know thy name, will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee." Which agrees well with faith's being called a looking to Christ, or coming to him for life, a flying for refuge to him, or flying to him for safety. And this is the first act of saving faith. And prayer being the expression of faith, confirms this. This is further confirmed by Isaiah xxxi. 2. “Wo to them that go


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