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a trusting in Christ, though it cannot be trusting in him that he will save us. To be
in any degree, on a belief or persuasion of the sufficiency of any thing for our good, is a degree of trusting. There is in faith not only a belief of what the gospel declares, that Christ has satisfied for our sins, and merited eternal life ; but there is also a sense of it; a sense that Christ's sufferings do satisfy, and that he did merit, or was worthy that we should be accepted for his sake. There is a difference between being convinced that it is so, and having a sense that it is so.
There is in the essence of justifying faith, included a receiving of Christ as a Saviour from siu. For we embrace him as the author of life, as well as Saviour from misery. But the sum of that eternal life which Christ purchased is holiness; it is a holy happiness. And there is in faith a liking of the happiness that Christ has procured and offers. The Jews despising the pleasant land, is mentioned as part of their unbelief. It must be as the gospel reveals Christ, or in the gospel notion of him, the soul must close with Christ. For whosoever is offended in Christ, in the view that the gospel gives us of him, cannot be said to believe in him; for he is one that is excluded from blessedness, by that saying of Christ, Matth. xi. 6. “Blessed is he whosoever is not offended in me.”
$40. There is implied in faith, not only a believing of Christ to be a real, sufficient, and excellent Saviour for me, and having a complacency in him as such; but in a complete act of faith, there is an act of the soul in this view of him, and disposition towards him, seeking to him, that he would be my Saviour; as is evident, because otherwise prayer would not be the expression of faith. But prayer is only the voice of faith to God through Christ : And this is further evident, as faith is expressed by a coming to Christ, and a looking to him to be saved.
$41. There is hope implied in the essence of justifying faith. Thus there is hope, that I may obtain justification by Christ, though there is not contained in its essence a hope that I have obtained it. And so there is a trust in Christ contained in the essence of faith. There is a trust implied in seeking to Christ to be my Saviour, in an apprehension that he is a sufficient Saviour; though not a trust in him, as one that has promised to save me, as having already performed the condition of the promise. If a city was besieged and distressed by a potent enemy, and should hear of some great champion at a distance, and should be induced by what they hear of his valour and goodness, to seek and send to him for relief, believing what they have heard of his sufficiency, and thence conceiving hope that they may be delivered; the people, in sending, may be said to trust in such a champion; as of old the children of Israel, when they sent into Egypt for help, were said to trust in Egypt. It has by many been said, that the soul's immediately applying Christ to itself as its Saviour, was essential to faith; and so that one should believe him to be his Saviour.
Doubtless, an immediate application is necessary. But that which is essential, is not the soul's immediately applying Christ to itself so properly, as its applying itself to Christ.
$42. Good works are in some sort implied in the very nature of faith, as is implied in 1 Tim. v. 8, where the apostle, speaking of them that do not provide for their parents, says, “ If any provide not for bis own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith."
$ 43. Faith is that inward sense and act, of which prayer is the expression; as is evident, 1. Because in the same manner as the freedom of grace, according to the gospel covenant, is often set forth by this, that he that believes, receives; so it also oftentimes is by this, that he that asks, or prays, or calls upon God, receives; Matth. vij. 7, 8, 9, 10; Luke xi. 9. “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Mark xi. 23, 24. To the same purpose with that last mentioned place in Matthew. John xv. 7. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.” Psalm cxlv. 18. “The Lord is nigh unto all that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth." Joel ii. 32. The prophet, speaking there of gospel times, says, " And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” Rom. x. 12, 13. “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek : For the same Lord over all, is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved ;" quoting the forementioned place in Joel.
2. The same expressions that are used in scripture for faith, may be well used for prayer also; such as coming to God or Christ, and looking to him. Eph. iii. 12. “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.”
3. Prayer is often plainly spoken of as the expression of faith. As it very certainly is in Rom. x. 11, 12, 13, 14. “For the scripture saith, whosoever believeth on him, shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: For the same Lord over all, is rich unto all that call upon him; for whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed ?" Christian prayer is called the prayer of faith, James v. 15. And believing is often mentioned as the life and soul of true prayer, as in the forementioned place. Matth. xxi. 21, 22. 1 Tim. ii. 8. “I will that men every where lift up holy hands, without wrath and doubting." And Heb. x. 19. 22. “Draw near in full assurance of faith.” James i. 5, 6. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask it of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering."
Faith in God, is expressed in praying to God. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, is expressed in praying to Christ, and praying in the name of Christ; John xiv. 13, 14.
And the promises are made to asking in Christ's name, in the same manner as they are to believing in Christ. John xiv. 13, 14. “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” Chap. xvi. 23, 24. “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name: Ask, and receive, that your joy may be full.”
§ 44. Trusting in Christ, is implied in the nature of faith : as is evident by Rom. ix. 33. “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling stone, and rock of offence; and whosoever believeth on him, shall not be ashamed." The apostle there in the context is speaking of justifying faith; and it is evident, that trusting in Christ is implied in the import of the word believeth. For being ashamed, as the word is used in Scripture, is the passion that arises upon the frustration of truth or confidence. There is implied in justifying faith, a trusting to Christ's truth and faithfulness, or a believing what he declares and promises; as is evident, in that it is called not only believing in Christ
, and believing on Christ, but believing Christ; John iï. 36. “He that believeth not the Son, shall not see life.” Trusting in Christ is often implied in faith, according to the representations of Scripture ; Isa. xxvii. 5. “Or let him take hold of my strength that he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me."
$ 45. Why is this reception or unition of the soul properly expressed by faith? Answer, Not so much, merely from the nature of the act, more abstractedly considered, which is unition, reception, or closing ; but from the nature of the act, conjunctly with the state of the agent and the object of the act, which qualifies and specifies the act, and adds certain qualifications to the abstract idea of unition, closing, or reception. Consider the state of the receiver; guilty, miserable, undone, impotent, helpless, unworthy; and the nature and worth of the received, he being a divine, invisible Saviour: The end for which he is received, the benefits invisible : The ground on which he is received or closed with, the word of God, and his invitations and promises : The circumstances of those things that are received, supernatural, incomprehensible, wonderful, difficult, unsearchable: The proper act of unition or reception in such a case, is most aptly expressed by the word faith. Fearfulness is opposite to faith, Mark iv. 40. “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith ?” And Rev. xxi. 8. “But the fearful and the unbelieving.” Justifying faith is sometimes called hope in Scripture.
$46. The condition both of the first and second covenant, is a receiving, compliance with, or yielding to, a signification or declaration from God; or to a revelation made from God. A receiving or yielding to a signification of the will of God, as our sovereign Lord and lawgiver, is most properly called obedience. The receiving and yielding to a strange, mysterious revelation and offer which God makes of mercy to sinners, being a revelation of things spiritual, supernatural, invisible, and mysterious, through an infinite power, wisdom, and grace of God, is properly called faith. There is indeed obedience in the condition of both covenants, and there is faith or believing God in both. But the different name arises from the remarkably different nature of the revelation or manifestations made. The one is a law; the other a testimony and offer. The one is a signification of what God expects that we should do towards him, and what he expects to receive from us; the other a revelation of what he has done for us, and an offer of what we may receive from him. The ope is an expression of God's great authority over us, in order to a yielding to the authority; the other is a revelation of God's mysterious and wonderful mercy, and wisdom, and power for us, in order to a reception answerable to such a revelation.
The reason why this was not so fully insisted upon under the Old Testament, under the denomination of faith, was, that the revelation itself of this great salvation, was not thus explicitly and fully made.
It must most naturally be called faith, 1. Because the word that is the object of it, is a revelation which most nearly concerns our interest and good; and that a revelation not of a work to be done by us but an offer made to us only to be received by us.
If it were a manifestation otherwise than by testimony, a receiving of it, and yielding to it, would not so naturally be called faith; and if a mere manifestation of something not nearly concerning us, it would not naturally be called faith. For idle stories, that do not concern us, are not the object of trust or dependence. If it were a manifestation in order to something expected from us; some work to be done by us; a yielding to it would not so properly be called faith. For yielding, then, would imply something more than just receiving the testimony.
2. Because the person that is the object of it, is revealed in the character of a wonderful Saviour. A receiving of a person in the character of a Saviour, is a proper act of trust and affiance. And a receiving a divine, invisible Saviour, that offers to save us by infinite power, wisdom, and mercy, and by very mysterious, supernatural works, is properly faith.
3. The benefits that are revealed, which are the objects of faith, are things spiritual, invisible, wonderful, and future; and
therefore, embracing and depending on these, is properly faith.
§ 47. Faith implies a cleaving to Christ, so as to be disposed to sell and suffer all for him. See John xii. 42, 43. “Neverthe-, less, 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 ; for they love the praise of men more than the praise of God.” John v. 44. “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only ?”
48. Faith is not all kind of assent to the word of God as true and divine. For so the Jews in Christ's time assented to the books of Moses, and therefore Christ tells them, that they trusted in Moses; John v. 45. “ There is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust." Yet the very thing that Moses accuses them for, was not believing in him, i. e. believing so as to yield to his sayings, and comply with him, or obey him, as the phrase in the New Testament is concerning Christ. And therefore Christ says in the next verse,
believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for be wrote of me.”
There may be a strong belief of divine things in the understanding, and yet no saving faith ; as is manifest by 1 Cor. xii. 2. “ Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have no charity, I am nothing." Not only trusting in Christ, as one that his undertaken to save us, and as believing that he is our Saviour, is faith ; but applying to him, or seeking to him, that he would become our Saviour, with a sense of his reality and goodness as a Saviour, is faith ; as is evident by Rom. xv. 12. “In him shall the Gentiles trust." Compared with the place whence it is cited, Heb. xi. 10. “To it shall the Gentiles seek;" together with Psalm ix. 10. “ And they that know thy name, will put their trust in thee: For thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” Which agrees well with faith's being called a looking to Christ, or coming to him for life, a flying for refuge to him, or flying to him for safety. And this is the first act of saving faith. And prayer's being the expression of faith, confirms this. This is further confirmed by Isaiah xxxi. 2. “Wo to them that go down to Egypt for help, and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong: But they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord.” When it is said, Psalm lxix. 6. “ Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord, be ashamed for my sake: Let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake:" it is equivalent to that scripture, “He that believeth shall never be confounded.” And when it is said, verse 32. “And your heart shall live that seek the Lord;" it is equivalent to that scripture, “ The just shall live by faith.” So Psalm xxii. 26. and Psalm lxx. 4. And so Amos v. 4. “For thus saith the Lord unto the house of Israel, VOL. VII.