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stantia;' because it is too general, and not limited unto the way of salvation by Christ, his elect in whom he will be glorified; yet hath it much of the nature of faith in it. Wherefore, I say, that hence we may both learn the nature of faith, and whence it is that faith alone is required unto our justification. The reason of it is, because this is that grace or duty alone, whereby we do or can give unto God that glory which he designeth to manifest and exalt in and by Jesus Christ. This only faith is suited unto, and this it is to believe. Faith, in the sense we inquire after, is the heart's approbation of, and consent unto, the way of life and salvation of sinners by Jesus Christ, as that wherein the glory of the righteousness, wisdom, grace, love, and mercy of God is exalted, the praise whereof it ascribes unto him, and resteth in it, as unto the ends of it, namely, justification, life and salvation. It is to give 'glory to God;' Rom. iv. 20. to 'behold his glory as in a glass,' or the gospel wherein it is represented unto us; 2 Cor. iii. 18. To have in our hearts the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ;' 2 Cor. iv. 6. The contrary whereunto makes God a liar, and thereby despoileth him of the glory of all those holy properties, which he this way designed to manifest; 1 John v. 10.

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And, if I mistake not, this is that which the experience of them that truly believe, when they are out of the heats of disputation, will give testimony unto.

4. To understand the nature of justifying faith aright, or the act and exercise of saving faith in order unto our justification, which are properly inquired after, we must consider the order of it; first the things which are necessarily previous thereunto, and then what it is to believe with respect unto them. As,

1. The state of a convinced sinner; who is the only subjectum capax justificationis.' This hath been spoken unto already; and the necessity of its precedency unto the orderly proposal and receiving of evangelical righteousness unto justification, demonstrated. If we lose a respect hereunto, we lose our best guide towards the discovery of the nature of faith. Let no man think to understand the gospel, who knoweth nothing of the law. God's constitution, and the nature of the things themselves, have given the law the

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precedency with respect unto sinners; for by the law is the knowledge of sin.' And gospel faith is the soul's acting according to the mind of God for deliverance from that state and condition, which it is cast under by the law. And all those descriptions of faith which abound in the writings of learned men, which do not at least include in them a virtual respect unto this state and condition, or the work of the law on the consciences of sinners, are all of them vain speculations. There is nothing in this whole doctrine, that I will more firmly adhere unto, than the necessity of the convictions mentioned previous unto true believing, without which not one line of it can be understood aright, and men do but beat the air in their contentions about it. See Rom. iii. 21-24.

2. We suppose herein a sincere assent unto all divine revelations, whereof the promises of grace and mercy by Christ are an especial part. This Paul supposed in Agrippa when he would have won him over unto faith in Christ Jesus. King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest;' Acts xxvi. 27. And this assent which respects the promises of the gospel, not as they contain, propose, and exhibit the Lord Christ and the benefits of his mediation unto us, but as divine revelations of infallible truth, is true and sincere in its kind, as we described it before under the notion of temporary faith. But as it proceeds no farther, as it includes no act of the will or heart, it is not that faith whereby we are justified. However, it is required thereunto, and is included therein.

3. The proposal of the gospel according unto the mind of God is hereunto supposed. That is, that it be preached according unto God's appointment. For not only the gospel itself, but the dispensation or preaching of it in the ministry of the church, is ordinarily required unto believing. This the apostle asserts, and proves the necessity of it at large, Rom. x. 11-17. Herein the Lord Christ and his mediation with God, the only way and means for the justification and salvation of lost convinced sinners, as the product and effect of divine wisdom, love, grace, and righteousness, is revealed, declared, proposed, and offered unto such sinners. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith unto faith; Rom. i. 17. The glory of God is represented

as in a glass; 2 Cor. iii. 18. and life and immortality are brought to light through the gospel ;' 2 Tim. i. 10. Heb. ii. 3. Wherefore,


4. The persons who are required to believe, and whose immediate duty it is so to do, are such who really in their own consciences are brought unto, and do make the inquiries mentioned in the Scripture; What shall we do? What shall we do to be saved? How shall we fly from the wrath to come? Wherewithal shall we appear before God? How shall we answer what is laid unto our charge? Or such as being sensible of the guilt of sin, do seek for a righteousness in the sight of God; Acts ii. 38. xvi. 30, 31. Micah vi. 6, 7. Isa. xxxv. 4. Heb. vi. 18.

On these suppositions the command and direction given unto men being, 'believe, and you shall be saved,' the inquiry is, what is that act or work of faith, whereby we may obtain a real interest or propriety in the promises of the gospel, and the things declared in them unto their justification before God.

And, 1. It is evident from what hath been discoursed, that it doth not consist in, that it is not to be fully expressed by, any one single habit or act of the mind or will distinctly whatever. For there are such descriptions given of it in the Scripture, such things are proposed as the object of it, and such is the experience of all that sincerely believe, as no one single act, either of the mind or will, can answer unto. Nor can an exact method of those acts of the soul which are concurrent therein be prescribed. Only what is essential unto it is manifest.

2. That which in order of nature seems to have the precedency, is the assent of the mind unto that which the psalmist betakes himself unto, in the first place for relief, under a sense of sin and trouble; Psal. cxxx. 3, 4. If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquity, O Lord, who shall stand?' The sentence of the law and judgment of conscience lie against him as unto any acceptation with God. Therefore, he despairs in himself, of standing in judgment, or being acquitted before him. In this state, that which the soul first fixeth on as unto its relief is, that there is forgiveness with God.' This as declared in the gospel, is that God in his love and grace will pardon and justify guilty sinners

through the blood and inediation of Christ. So it is proposed, Rom. iii. 23, 24. The assent of the mind hereunto as proposed in the promise of the gospel, is the root of faith, the foundation of all that the soul doth in believing. Nor is there any evangelical faith without it. But yet consider it abstractedly as a mere act of the mind, the essence and nature of justifying faith doth not consist solely therein, though it cannot be without it. But,

2. This is accompanied in sincere believing with an approbation of the way of deliverance and salvation proposed, as an effect of divine grace, wisdom, and love, whereon the heart doth rest in it, and apply itself unto it, according to the mind of God. This is that faith whereby we are justified; which I shall farther evince by shewing what is included in it, and inseparable from it.

1. It includeth in it a sincere renunciation of all other ways and means for the attaining of righteousness, life and salvation. This is essential unto faith, Acts iv. 12. Hos xiv. 2, 3. Jer. iii. 23. Psal. lxxi. 16. I will make mention of thy righteousness, of thine only.' When a person is in the condition before described, (and such alone are called immediately to believe; Matt. ix. 13. xi. 28. 1 Tim. i. 15.) many things will present themselves unto him for his relief; particularly his own righteousness; Rom. x. 3. A renunciation of them all as unto any hope or expectation of relief from them, belongs unto sincere believing; Isa. 1. 10, 11.

2. There is in it the will's consent, whereby the soul betakes itself cordially and sincerely, as unto all its expectation of pardon of sin and righteousness before God, unto the way of salvation proposed in the gospel. This is that which is called 'coming unto Christ,' and 'receiving of him,' whereby true justifying faith is so often expressed in the Scripture; or as it is peculiarly called 'believing in him,' or 'believing on his name.' The whole is expressed, John xiv. 6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.'

3. An acquiescency of the heart in God, as the author and principal cause of the way of salvation prepared; as acting in a way of sovereign grace and mercy towards sinners; 'Who by him do believe in God, who raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope

might be in God;' I Pet. i. 21. The heart of a sinner doth herein give unto God the glory of all those holy properties of his nature which he designed to manifest in and by Jesus Christ. See Isa. xlii. 1. xlix. 3. And this acquiescency of the heart in God, is that which is the immediate root of that waiting, patience, long-suffering, and hope, which are the proper acts and effects of justifying faith; Heb. vi. 12. 15. 18, 19.

4. Trust in God, or the grace and mercy of God in and through the Lord Christ as set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, doth belong hereunto, or necessarily ensue hereon. For the person called unto believing, is 1. convinced of sin, and exposed unto wrath. 2. Hath nothing else to trust unto for help and relief. 3. Doth actually renounce all other things that tender themselves unto that end; and therefore, without some act of trust the soul must lie under actual despair, which is utterly inconsistent with faith, or the choice and approbation of the way of salvation before described.

5. The most frequent declaration of the nature of faith in the Scripture, especially in the Old Testament, is by this trust, and that because it is that act of it which composeth the soul, and brings it unto all the rest it can attain. For all our rest in this world is from trust in God. And the especial object of this trust, so far as it belongs unto the nature of that faith whereby we are justified, is 'God in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.' For this is respected where his goodness, his mercy, his grace, his name, his faithfulness, his power, are expressed, or any of them, as that which it doth immediately rely upon. For they are no way the object of our trust, nor can be, but on the account of the covenant which is confirmed and ratified in and by the blood of Christ alone.

Whether this trust or confidence shall be esteemed of the essence of faith, or as that which on the first-fruit and working of it we are found in the exercise of, we need not positively determine. I place it therefore as that which belongs unto justifying faith, and is inseparable from it. For if all we have spoken before concerning faith, may be comprised under the notion of a firm assent and persuasion, yet it cannot be so, if any such assent be conceivable exclusive of this trust.

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