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the understanding, because it is called obeying the gospel. Rom. x. 16. “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report ?" 1 Pet. iv. 17. « For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end he of them that obey not the gospel of God?" Rom. xv. 19. “ For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed." It is obeying the doctrine from the heart; Rom. vi. 17, 18.
66 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin; but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness," &c. This expression, “ obeying the gospel,” seems to denote the heart's yielding to the gospel in what it proposes to us in its calls: it is something more than believing the truth of the gospel. John xii. 42. “ Nevertheless, among the chief rulers also, many believed on him; but, because of the Pharisees, they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.
$ 6. It is a trusting in Christ. Psal. ii. 12. “ Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little: blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Eph. i. 12, 13. “ That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ : in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” Many places in the Old Testament speak of trusting in God as the condition of his favour and salvation; especially Psal. Ixxviii. 21, 22. “ Therefore the Lord heard this, and was wroth : so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel; because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation.” Rom. xv. 12. “ And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse; and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in him sball the Gentiles trust." 1 Tim. iv. 10. “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe.
$ 7. It is a committing ourselves to Christ; 2 Tim. i. 12. “ For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless, I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.' This is a Scrip
ture sense of the word believe, as is evident by John ii. 24. “ Jesus did not commit himself to them.” In the original it is ουκ επιτευεν εαυτον αυτοις. .
$ 8. It is gladly receiving the gospel; Acts ii. 41. “ Then they that gladly received his word, were baptized : and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." It is what may be well understood by those expressions of coming to Christ, of looking to him, of opening the door to let him in. This is very evident by Scripture. It is taking the waters of life, eating and drinking his flesh and blood, hearing Christ's voice, and following him. John x. 26, 27. '“ But ye believe, not; because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Isaiah xlv. 22. “ Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” It also consists in being persuaded of, and in embracing the promises; Heb. xi. 13. « These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”
$ 9. There is contained in the nature of faith a sense of our own unworthiness. Matth. xv. 27, 28. “ Truth, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith.” See concerning the centurion, Luke vii. 6—9: the woman which was a sinner, ib. ver. 37, 38. and especially 50; the prodigal son, Luke xv.; the penitent thief, Luke xxiii. 41. Consult also Hab. ii. 4. “ Behold, his soul which is lifted up, is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.” Prov. xxviii. 25; Psal. xl. 4. and Psal. cxxxi. And love either arises from, or is included in faith, John iii. 18, 19.“ He that believeth not, is condemned already ; and this is their condemnation, that men loved darkness rather than light.” 2 Thess. ii. 10, 12. “ And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.—That they all might be dumned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Faith is being a-thirst for the waters of life. Rev. xxi. 6. It is a true cordial seeking of salvation by Christ; and heartily joining ourselves to Christ and to his party. It is to hearken to hini as a propbet; to yield ourselves subject to him as a king; and to depend upon him as a priest. Desiring Christ, is an act of faith in him, because he is called the desire of all nations, Hag. ii. 7; that is, he that is to be the desire of all nations, wben all nations shall believe in him and subject themselves to him, according to the frequent promises and prophecies of God's word; though there are other things included in the sense, yet this seems to be principally intended. There belongs to faith a sense of the ability and sufficiency of Christ to save, and of his fitness for the work of salvation : Matth. ix. 2, 21, and 28, 29. Rom. iv. 21. “ And being fully persuaded, that what he had promised, he is able to perforin.” And a sense of his readiness to save, Matth. xv. 22, &c. It is what may be well represented by fleeing for refuge, by the type of fleeing to the city of refuge. Heb. vi. 18. “ That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God io lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge, to lay hold upon the bope set before us." I'he heart must close with the new covenant hy dependence upon it, and by love and desire. 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. “ Although my house be not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure. This is all my salvation and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.”
§ 10. Upon the whole, the best and clearest, and most perfect definition of justifying faith, and most according to the scripture, that I can think of, is this, faith is the soul's entirely embracing the revelation of Jesus Christ as our Saviour. The word embrace is a metaphorical expression; but I think it much clearer than any proper expression whatsoever : It is called believing ; because believing is the first act of the soul in embracing a narration or revelation; and embracing, when conversant about a revelation r thing declared, is more properly called believing, than loving or choosing. If it were conversant about a person only, it would be more properly called loving. If it were only conversant about a gift, an inheritance or reward, it would more properly be called receiving or accepting, &c.
The definition might have been expressed in these words, faith is the soul's entirely adhering to, and acquiescing in the revelation of Jesus Christ as our Saviour.-Or thus, faith is the soul's embracing that truth of God, which reveals Jesus Christ as our Saviour.-Or thus, faith is the soul's entirely acquiescing in, and depending upon the truth of God, revealing Christ as our Saviour.
It is the whole soul assenting to the truth, and embracing of it. There is an entire yielding of the mind and heart to the revelation, and a closing with it, and adhering to it, with the beliet, and with the inclination and affection. It is ad. mitting and receiving it with entire credit and respect. The soul receives it as true, as worthy and excellent. It may be more perfectly described, than defined by a short definition, by
reason of the penury of words : a great many words express it better than one or two. I here use the same metaphorical expressions; but it is because they are much clearer than any proper expressions that I know of. It is the soul's entirely acquiescing in this revelation, fron a sense of the sufficiency, dignity, glory and excellency of its Author. The whole soul's active agreeing, according and symphonizing with this truth; ali opposition in judgment and inclination, so far as he believes, being taken away. It is called believing, because fully believing this revelation, is the first and principal erercise and manifestation of this accordance and agreement of soul.
§ 11. Adhering to the futh and acquirscing in it with the judgment, is from a seme of the glory of the revealer, and the sufficiency and er rotency of the performer of the surts. Adbering to it, an! 2 juiescing in it with the inclination and affection, is from the goodness and excellency of the thing revealed, and the performer. If a parson be pursued by an enemy, and 19.nmit himself to a king or a captain, to defend him, it in pies his quitting other endeavours, applying to him for defence, putting himself under him, and hoping that he will defend him. If we consider it as a mere act of the mind, a transaction between spiritual beings, considered as abstracted from any external action, then it is the mind's quitting all other endeavours, and seeking and applying itself to the Saviour for salvation, fully choosing salvation by him, and delivering itself to him, or a being willing to be his, with a hope that he will save him. Therefore, for a person to commit himseif to Christ as a Saviour, is quitting all other end avours and hopes, and heartily applying himself to Christ for salvation, fully choosing salvation by him, and acquiescing in his way of salvation, and a hearty consent of the soul to be his entirely, hoping in his sufficiency and willingness to save.
From the excellency and sufficiency of the revealer and performir, we believe what is sair? is trus, fully believe it; and from the glorious excellency of the Saviour and his salvation, all our inclination clon's wiih the revelation. To depend upon the word of another perso's, imports two things: first, To be sensible law greatly it concerns us, and how much our interest and happiness really depend upon the tru hotit; and, secondly, To dare to act upon it, as if it were really true. I do not say, that I think these words are the only tru. definition of faith. I have used words that most naturally express it, of any I could think of. There might have been other words used, much of the same sense.
§ 12. Though hope does not enter into the essential nature of faith, yet it is the natural and necessary, and next
immediate fruit of true faith. In the first act of faith, the soul is enlightened with a sense of the merciful nature of God and of Christ, and believes the declarations that are made in God's word of it; and it humbly and heartily applies and seeks to Christ; and it sees such a congruity between the declared mercy of God, and the disposition he then feels towards him, that he cannot but hope, that the declared mercy will be exercised towards him. Yea, he sees that it would be incongruous for God to give him such inclination and motions of beart towards Christ as a Saviour, if he were not to be saved by him.
§ 13. Any thing that may be called a receiving the revelation of the gospel is not faith, but such a sort of receiving it, as is suitable to the nature of the gospel, and the respect it has to us. The act of reception suitable to truth, is believing it. The suitable reception of that wbich is excellent, is choosing it and loving it. The proper act of reception of a revelation of deliverance from evil, and the conferring of happiness, is, acquiescing in it and depending upon it. The proper reception of a Saviour, is, committing ourselves to him and trusting in him. The proper act of reception of the favour of God, is, believing and esteeming it, and rejoicing in it. He that suitably receives forgiveness of his fault, does with an humble sense of his fault rejoice in the pardon. Thus, for instance, he that reads a truth that no way concerns his interest, if he believes it, it is proper to say he receives it. But if there be a declaration of some glorious and excellent truth that nearly concerns him, he that only believes it, cannot be said to receive it. And if a captain offers to deliver a distressed people, they that only believe what he says, without committing themselves to him, and putting themselves under him, cannot be said to receive bim. So, if a prince offers one his favour, he that does not esteem his favour, cannot be said heartily to accept thereof.
Again, if one offended offers pardon to another, he cannot be said to receive it, if he be not sensible of his fault, and does not care for the displeasure of the offended. The whole act of reception suitable to the nature of the gospel, and its relation to us, and our circumstances with respect to it, is best expressed, (if it be expressed in one word,) by the word misis or fides.
§ 14. The word misis, faith, seems to be the most proper term to express the cordial reception of Christ and of the truth, for these reasons. First, this revelation is of things spiritual, unseen, strange, and wonderful, exceedingly remote from all the objects of sense, and those things which we commonly converse with in this world, and also exceedingly alien from our fallen nature: so that it is the first and principal