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satisfy his soul, and cause him to believe on the name of the Son of God. He will not wait for any new revelation or assurance that God speaks to bim; nor will he go about to make this truly believing it; what is written sufficiently satisfies him that he is not excluded. But if the indefinite extent of the gospel report be denied ; (and this every one denies who excludes himself) the truth is called in question, and the common salvation is disbelieved..
Further : there is sufficient evidence in the dis : pensation of grace, that God in the distribution of his favors is just and merciful in perfection--that in the grand exhibition of mercy, through the obedia ence and atonement of Christ, his law is fufilled, honored, magnified, and established as holy, just and good-finis demonstrated to be an infinite eviljustice, in all its tremendous forms, a lovely attribute of Deity; and all his ways are founded in righteousness, holinefs, and truth. To believe a gospel that does not set forth these things, is to believe a lie; and to manifest enmity against this gospel of the kingdom, is a full proof that such are'alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them. But to believe the truth, in its glorious connection, is the sovereign gift of heaven; those on whom it is bestowed will not be heard saying, “My fins are too great to be pardoned;" because they believe upon unchanging authority, that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanleth' from all fin. Nor will they be diftreffed for want of something as a prerequisite, to distinguith them from the profane world, because they are perfuaded that Jesus Christ came into the 'woild to save the CHIEF of sinners. Nor will they
be perplexing themselves with fruitless fears, leit they should not be elected ; because they know and believe that he is faithful and true who hath faid, that I'hosoever believeth in him fhall not perish, but have everlasting life.?
The believing view of this falvation, or rather The truth in the love of it, dwelling in us, begets every evangelical motion of heart towards God in Christ... It leads to love the Lord Jesus Christ in fincerity--to receive him as the free gift of God to trust in him as the sure mercies of David, and, in a way of meditation and prayer, daily to be coming to him as unto a living stone. But the neceffary fruits and happy effects of faith will be considered in the next Effay. To conclude this Section; that faith which is like precious with that of all the apos. tles, has for its immediate object, The righteousness of our God and Saviour; 2. Peter ii. l--for its ground and foundation The testimony of God, 1. Thef. ii. 13. is obtained through divine teaching, as the sovereign gift of God, Eph. ii. 8. Pbil. i. 29---its peculiar effects are Joy and peace, 1. Peter i. 8--and its genuine evidence is good works, James ii. 14-26.
Wherein are considered, fome QUESTIONS which
may arise; and OBJECTIONS that may be started : upon the foregoing VIEW of Faith.
O the scripture account of falvation by faith,
it has been objected, that, “. This is a very eafy way of going to heaven : nothing more easy than to believe. And if believing will take us to heaven, the greater part of mankind are going there.” The objector, it would seem, has no other notion of the way to heaven than by doing some great thing. And it must be acknowledged that nothing can be more NATURAL. However the objector is one inItance, easy as this way may seem, that all do not believe the gofpel, or expect to be saved through the righteousness of Jesus. - Instead of all men believing the gospel, it is but too manifeft that very few in
reality reality do: and that “ the greater part of mankind" Night the gospel way of salvation as weak and foolith, (among whom our objector must be ranked) or else think nothing at all about it: while others, profeffing that they know God in works deny him, and turn the grace of God into wantonness. And there are not wanting others who, while they profefs to be saved by Christ, either in plain or more ambiguous terms and ways, establish their own righteousness. But can it be strictly said that either of these classes believe that very gospel which Chrift and his apoftles preached ? Rather, is it not manifeft, that they are sporting themselves with their own deceivings, and that, if sovereign mercy does not prevent, by giving them to understand and know the Lord, they will perish in their delusions. It is readily acknowledged that many will say they “ Believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,” &c. when in truth they do not believe it, but some falfe representation thereof which the god of this world has impressed upon their mind, to blind them, left the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God should fine into them. It has been juftly observed, that most men, who live under the difpenfation of the gospel, do wofully deceive their own souls in this matter. They do not belieux what they profess themselves to believe, and what they think they believe. Men talk of fundamental errors ; this is, to me, the most fundamental error that we can fall into. This mistake is in the foun. dation, and ruins the souls of those who die in it. Nothing is more common than for men to deceive themselves in this point, felf-love, reputation among the religious, &c. makes them reft secure. Such will avoid the clear preaching of the truth, because if fome of its light break in, it discovers their error, and fills them with torment-alas for them, for they have found out a way to go quickly down into the pit But still in whatever way it is supposed the objection has weight; it will remain a truth eftablished for ever that, HE THAT BELIEVETH SHALL, BE SAVED.
“ But a person may have the clearest perception, and the most just views of the person and work of Christ in his head, who does not believe on him in his heart.” It is acknowledged that all who profess. to know the Lord do not so in truth, John viii. 54; yet, This is life eternal to know the true God and Jesus Chrif whom he hath sent. John xvii. 3. Such as know him are directed to glory only in this, Jer. ix. 24, and such are in a blefled state. Pl. lxxxix. 15. As to the above notion, it needs no other confutation, than for every thinking person to make the experiment, upon any point of knowledge that he has ob. tained ; and I am of opinion that the greatest adepts in metaphysical fubtilties, will find themselves puzzled to make out the distinction: though all will at once perceive that it is posible, yea, very common, for persons to say that with their mouths, which they do not understand or believe in their hearts; and, without doubt, this is what Paul would lead our thoughts to, Rom. X. 10. The faith of the operation of God is very different from every other kind of faith, but that difference does not consist in the manner of believing; but in the nature of the thing believed, and in the evidence which supports that belief; an hypocrite may have feigned faith, which from various motives, and to various ends he inay sce it prudent to retain ; and many very sincere persons, in their way, may have a false faith, by which they may deceive themselves and others: that is, they may believe a falsehood, or hold wrong notions of the truth. But then if they are fincere, it fupposes that they believe it with their hearts to be true. There is no reason to doubt that there are many fincere Papifts, Arians, Socinians, &c. who believe in their hearts that the doctrine which they fee
verally profess, are true. Even as there were many very sincere in their opposition to Christ in the days of his flesh, and in the first preaching of the gospel, Acts xxvi. 9. Would it not then be talking more intelligible to say, that when a person's profession is not productive of suitable fruits, it is plain he is not taught of God, and so does not know the truth as it is in Jesus; than to make the above idle distinction, which is void of foundation either in fcripture or common sense? Eph. iv. 206-24. 2. Peter i. 8-10.
“But a person may believe the doctrine of Christ, who yet does not believe on the perfon of Chrift.” It is true when fáith relates fimply to the exiftence of a person, the distinction is ever to be preserved. Many believe there were fuch persons as Paul, and James, who do not believe iheir doctrine. But this weighs on the contrary fide to that on which the objection would place it, for it fupposes a person may believe all that is written about Jesus Chrift; and yet not believe on him or in him. But Christ says, Mat. x. 10. compared with Luke x. 16. And how jhall we believe in him of whom we have not heard? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. And what can we know of Chrift, or what benefit can we receive from him but by and through his word? It is not the arrangement of letters or words of Scripture barely that we believe, but the mind and truth of God contained therein. There is no other use, therefore, for the distinction, than to entangle and perplex persons, and to promote and cherish fome kind of blind enthusiasm.
“ But if faith is nothing more than a simple belief of the truth, it is only what Devils believe: and can the faith of Devils profit us?” Such an objection as this coming from one whose person is held in admiration, will have much more influence upon the minds of his adherents (who without doubt hate every thing that they believe belongs to the Devil) than found argument or positive fcripture.--Those