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fatisfy his foul, and caufe him to believe on the name of the Son of God. He will not wait for any new revelation or affurance that God fpeaks to him; nor will he go about to make this truly believing it; what is written fufficiently fatisfies 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 falvation is difbelieved.
Further there is fufficient evidence in the dif penfation of grace, that God in the distribution of his favors is juft and merciful in perfection-that in the grand exhibition of mercy, through the obedience and atonement of Christ, his law is fufilled, honored, magnified, and established as holy, juft and good-fin is demonftrated to be an infinite eviljuftice, in all its tremendous forms, a lovely attribute of Deity; and all his ways are founded in righteoufnefs, holinefs, and truth. To believe a gofpel that does not set forth these things, is to believe a lie; and to manifeft enmity against this gofpel of the kingdom, is a full proof that fuch 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 fovereign gift of heaven; those on whom it is bestowed will not be heard faying, "My fins are too great to be pardoned;" because they believe upon unchanging authority, that the blood of Jefus Chrift cleanfeth from all fin. Nor will they be 'diftreffed for want of fomething as a prerequifite, to diftinguish them from the profane world, because they are perfuaded that Jefus Chrift came into the 'world to fave the CHIEF of finners. Nor will they be perplexing themfelves with fruitlefs fears, left they fhould not be elected; because they know and believe that he is faithful and true who hath faid, that Whofsever believeth in him fhall not perish, but have everlasting life. 53
The believing view of this falvation, or rather The truth in the love of it, dwelling in us, begets
évery evangelical motion of heart towards God in Chrift. It leads to love the Lord Jefus Chrift in fincerity to receive him as the free gift of Godto trust in him as the fure mercies of David, and, in a way of meditation and prayer, daily to be coming to him as unto a living ftone. But the neceffary fruits and happy effects of faith will be confidered in the next Effay. To conclude this Section; that faith which is like precious with that of all the apof tles, has for its immediate object, The righteousness of our God and Saviour, 2. Peter ii. -for its ground and foundation The teftimony of God, 1. Thef ii. 13. is obtained through divine teaching, as the fovereign gift of God, Eph. ii. 8. Phil. i. 29-its peculiar effects are Joy and peace, 1. Peter i. 8-and its genuine evidence is good works, James ii. 14-26.
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Wherein are confidered. fome QUESTIONS which may arife; and OBJECTIONS that may be started upon the foregoing VIEW of FAITH.
O the fcripture account of falvation by faith, it has been objected, that, "This is a very eafy way of going to heaven: nothing more eafy than to believe. And if believing, will take us to heaven, the greater part of mankind are going there." The objector, it would feem, has no other notion of the way to heaven than by doing fome great thing. And it must be acknowledged that nothing can be more NATURAL. However the objector is one inftance, eafy as this way may feem, that all do not believe the gofpel, or expect to be faved through the righteoufnefs of Jefus. Inftead of all men believing the gospel, it is but too manifeft that very few in
reality do: and that "the greater part of mankind" flight the gospel way of falvation as weak and foolifh, (among whom our objector must be ranked) or elfe think nothing at all about it: while others, profeffing that they know God in works deny him, and turn the grace of God into wantonnefs. And there are not wanting others who, while they profefs to be faved by Chrift, either in plain or more ambiguous terms and ways, eftablifh their own righteoufnefs. But can it be ftrictly said that either of thefe claffes believe that very gospel which Chrift and his apostles 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 delufions. It is readily acknowledged that many will say they " Believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jefus Chrift his only Son our Lord," &c. when in truth they do not believe it, but fome falfe reprefentation thereof which the god of this world has impreffed upon their mind, to blind them, left the glorious gofpel of Chrift, who is the image of God fhould fine into them. It has been justly obferved, that most men, who live under the difpenfation of the gospel, do wofully deceive their own fouls in this matter. They do not believe what they profefs 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 foundation, and ruins the fouls 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 fecure. Such will avoid the clear preaching of the truth, becaufe if fome of its light break in, it difcovers 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 fuppofed the. objection has weight; it will remain a truth eftablished for ever that, HE THAT BELIEVETH SHALL,
"But a perfon may have the cleareft perception, and the most juft views of the perfon and work of Chrift in his head, who does not believe on him in his heart." It is acknowledged that all who profefs to know the Lord do not fo in truth, John viii. 54; yet, This is life eternal to know the true God and Fefus Chrift whom he hath fent. John xvii. 3. Such as know him are directed to glory only in this, Jer. ix. 24, and such are in a blessed state. Pf. lxxxix. 15. As to the above notion, it needs no other confutation, than for every thinking perfon to make the experiment, upon any point of knowledge that he has obtained, and I am of opinion that the greatest adepts in metaphyfical fubtilties, will find themselves puzzled to make out the diftinction: though all will at once perceive that it is poffible, yea, very. common, for perfons 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 fupports that belief; an hypocrite may have feigned faith, which from various motives, and to various ends he may fee it prudent to retain; and many very fincere perfons, in their way, may have a falfe faith, by which they may deceive themselves and others: that is, they may believe a falfehood, or hold wrong notions of the truth. But then if they are fincere, it fuppofes that they believe it with their hearts to be true. There is no reafon to doubt that there are many fincere Papifts, Arians, Socinians, &c. who believe in their hearts that the doctrine which they fe
verally profefs, are true. Even as there were many very fincere in their oppofition to Chrift 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 fay, that when a perfon's profeffion is not productive of fuitable fruits, it is plain he is not taught of God, and fo does not know the truth as it is in Jefus; than to make the above idle distinction, which is void of foundation either in fcripture or common fenfe? Eph. iv. 20-24. 2. Peter i. 8-10.
"But a perfon may believe the doctrine of Chrift, who yet does not believe on the perfon of Chrift." It is true when faith relates fimply to the existence of a perfon, the diftinction is ever to be preserved. Many believe there were fuch perfons as Paul, and James, who do not believe their doctrine. But this weighs on the contrary fide to that on which the objection would place it, for it fuppofes a perfon may believe all that is written about Jefus Chrift; and yet not believe on him or in him. But Chrift fays, Mat. x. 10. compared with Luke x. 16. And how Shall 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 diftinction, than to entangle and perplex perfons, and to promote and cherish fome kind of blind enthusiasm.
But if faith is nothing more than a fimple 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 whofe perfon 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 pofitive fcripture.-Thofe