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Once more: the person who is seeking faith, or defiring to believe, must either be a believer or an unbeliever ; for between these there is no consistent medium. He cannot be a believer; or else what he professes to believe, would give rest to his soul. For we who have believed do enter into reft, and cease from those fruitless works, &c. He must therefore be an unbeliever : and as such is in a carnal state. But the carnal mind is enmity against God.

Therefore, though it is natural enough, for one under the alarms of conscience fincerely to desire peace; it is neither fcriptural nor rational to say, he desires to believe the truth of Christ, or is seeking faith in him. He does not understand or know what faith in Christ is; how then can he seek it? His heart rises in enmity when the pure gospel is preached ;--how then can he defire it? Would it not much better become christian teachers, when they have to deal with such persons as those under consideration, to copy after the example of Christ in his treatment of the like characters ? Matt. xix. 16--21. &c.

Faith has also been defined a condition of justifica. tion; or that act of the mind which God requires us to exert instead of obeying the whole law;

and is frequently called obedience to the new low. This sentiment has been sufficiently exposed by those who have engaged in the Arminian controversies; and stands fo much opposed to salvation by grace, that no one can receive it, but he whole mind is blinded by the god of this world, and who is under a strong delusion to believe a lie. It indeed comes under the specious recommendation of that doctrine, which would seem to wear the face of more than ordinary holiness; but is in fact an abominable Antinomian tenet, and aims at making void the law.

As to faith, it is as foreign to the scripture view of it as darkness is to light. I all therefore offer no other refutation of this notion, than Paul's words, Rom.


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iv. 4, 5. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Again : it has been said that." Faith is not simply the believing of any fentence that is written, or that can be thought upon!"-It is seldomexpreffed in these very words, though the same thing is to be understood, when we are told that " Faith is a faving grace, implanted in the heart at regeneration (and must therefore be previous to una derstanding and believing the gospel) by the Spirit of God, and is a disposition or readinefs in the human mind, to believe the gospel.”-But this faith, whatever it be, cannot be the faith of the operation of God; because that comes by hearing the word of God. It is admitted, that unfeigned faith is a work of the Spirit, and that salvation is inseparably connected with it; yet scripture and common sense forbid us thinking, that faith can exist without a teftimony, The absurdity of this notion, about a disposition in the mind towards the gospel, previous to a true understanding thereof, has been shown in the sixth Section of the first Efsay.

By others faith has been defined, a belief that we have a right to salvation in preference to others a belief that we are the elect of God-or a persuasion that Chrift shed his blood for me in particular, or that I shall go to heaven, &c. That believers do come to a knowledge of their personal interest in Chrift, and the things that they believe and hope in, is granted ; and will be considered in its proper place. But it is most certain, that carnal men may and do embolden themselves, upon false notions, to use the most confident expressions about their personal interest in the favor of God. Such as, " I know so surely as that there is a God in heaven, that he is my God, and that I shall as surely


go to heaven as if I were there,” &c. Who more confident than the Pharisees ? they had no doubt of. God being their father; and yet, who more blind to the knowledge of the true God than they? If it be faith, to believe our relation to God, to call ourfelves the dear people af his choice, and appropriate all the blessings of eternal life to ourselves; then the Pharisees had faith in a very eminent degree. But to suppose that faith consists in a firm persuasion of our own interest, is, in effect, the very fame thing as to say, faith is a believing that we believe. To this it will be objected that wicked men. deceiving their own souls in believing a lie, is no argument against the appropriating act of faith upon the grant of the gospel. True, if that were all the ground of objection. But it wants evidence from fcripture to fupport that noticn, that God promises eternal life to every heurer of the gospel, or, which in fact is the same thing, that every hearer has a right to believe that Christ died for him in particular. It is granted that the gospel proclaims falvation indefinitely, and declares that every believer thereof shall be saved, and that whosoever believes on Christ, hath everlasting life; yet


gives no ground for any one to assure himself in his first believing, that Christ and heaven are infallibly his.. Every believer of the gospel is confident that whosoever believeth on Christ shall be sayed, and that it may be said of every one who is saved that Christ loved him and gave himself for him in particular, while yet he is not confident that this is true of himself, because it remains to be proved that he has believed, and that it is the gospel of Christ which he does believe. And since it is not any thing, about ourselves that we are immediately called to be . lieve, but the testimony that God has given of his Son ; our confidence, if it be that which the gospel produces, is not in ourselves, nor of the goodness of our state, but in the fufficiency of that falvation which the scriptures. indefinitely proclaim. Besides,


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some have rejoiced in the word of the gospel, who have afterwards revolted from their profession--many think they believe the truth who are at the same time holding some fatal delufion-and it is no where ascertained in the word of God, that Christ died for the actual transgressions of any person in particuJar. But the MYSTERY of this fort of faith is set before us in the following lines. 66 Let it be well obferved, that the reason why we are to assure ourselves in our faith, that God freely giveth Christ and his falvation to us particularly, is not, because it is a truth before we believe it, but because it becometh a certain truth when we believe it, and because it will never be true except we do, in some measure persuade and assure ourselves that it is fo. We have no absolute promise or declaration in the fcripture, that God certainly will or doth give Christe and his salvation to any one of us in particular; neither do we know it to be true already either by scripture, or sense, or reason, before we allure ourfelves absolutely of it: yea, we are without Christ's. salvation at prefent, in a state of fin and misery, under the curse and wrath of God. Only I shall prove, that we are bound, by the command of God, thus to affure ourselves : and the scripture doth sufficiently warrant us, that we shall not deceive ourfelves in believing a lie: but according to our faith, so shall it be to us. This is a ftrange kind of alfurance, far different from ordinary kinds ; and therefore no wonder if it should be found weak and imperfect, and difficult to be obtained, and assaulted with many doubtings. We are concerned to believe other things on the clear evidence that they are true, and would remain true, whether we believe them or no; so that we cannot deny our affent without rebelling against the light of our senses, reason or conscience. But here our assurance is not imprefled on our thoughts by the evidence of the things; but we inuft work it out in ourselves by the assistance of


the Spirit of God, and thereby we bring our own thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ. None but God can justly require of us this kind of assurance, because he only calleth those things that are not, as though they were, he only can give existence to those things that yet are not, and make a thing to be true upon our believing it, that was not true before.” *

It is acknowledged in the above citation, that there is no evidence, of any kind, that God gives Christ and his falvation to any one in particular, before we absolutely afsure ourselves of it--that this is not a truth before we believe it, and moreover, will never be true except we do persuade and assure ourselves that it is fo; but that which was not true before, becometh a certain truth when we believe it ! ! ! Yet it is confeffed this doctrine of faith will not hold good in any

other things; for we are concerned to believe them on the clear evidence we have that they are true, and would remain true, whether we believe them or no. To believe without evidence is not faith but fancy and presumption, whether the thing believed be human or divine. And it is most certain, that the very attempt to persuade persons to believe, without knowing what they are to believe, or without plain evidence that what they are called to believe is true, whether they believe it or no, would be hissed out. of the world as an affront to common sense in any thing but religious matters : in which, grievous to think, nothing is too absurd to be propagated, or. too ridiculous to be received !-Is it then peculiar to the God of heaven, the fource of intelligence, to fet falsehoods before his creatures, to be transforined


* Marshall's Gospel-Mystery of Sanctification, 8th Edita page 173, 174:The very fingular nature of this quotation, will fufficiently apologize for receding from the method I have all along adopted of concealing the autior's naine from whom I have quoted. And unless I had referred to the book in which this very deep sentiment is maintained ; I fould have feared being suspected by some, of having fabricated it my felf.

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