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Fiift, what believing is an asent to such matters as are known, orly by revelation from another; there are in the soul of man three qualities by which we came to finde oue or perceive things.
First, one qualicy is Scienria, or knowledge, which is a firme assent unto a thing which may be evidenced to the understand. ing by folid demonstration of infallible principles, or else by the undeniable evidence of senc, and experience: as thus, that every natural body hath power to move, or that the Moon will suffer an Eclipse, or that che fire is naturally ape co ascend, and the water to moisten, &c.
Thele tbiogs have boch a naturalf certainty and truch in them. felves, and there is an undoubeed evidence and cerrainty in the minde of the person, truly knowing them; and fo certaine and full is the perswasion of the minde, about chem, that there is no scruple of doubt remaining to discuss, as any uncertainty whether the things be so or no.
Another is opinion, whicb is an inevident evideot affens, if I
may fo phrase it:My meaning is,che understandiog dosh so af. sent, and yield rothe shings, as that get it fees fome contrary rcafon co sospect and question whether the thing be so or no; for as much as (in opinion. ) the grounds are not fully evident to the mind, box they are only probable, and therefore the afsent by opinion, is but conjectural. As, cake a man in a case of a scrupulous conscience, there is to that man fome evidence of argument which doch seem to warranc h's action or attempt, and yes that argumentis noc fo entirely convincing of his judge ment, but on the other fide, there starts upa medium or argument, which renders the pra&ice probably finful; whereupon, if you come to demand of bim; May you do such a thing? he aniwers
, I do not certainly know (that is ) I am not entirely and absolutely resolved of it, yet I think I may, I think it is lawful; and this chinking (which is opinion ) is alwayes accompanied with some fear and suspicion; fo chat the minde is like a paire of Scales tottering and tilting to either side. Things are partly cleare, and partly obscure, partly, evident, and partly inevidenc,
and therefore the assent of opinion is alwayes doubc
Another is beliefe, which is an assent unto things not from 2. ny evidence of the chings themselves, but only from the relation, or testimony of another.
If I feel the fire to barne my hand, I do not call this a believing, but a sensitive knowing, if Abimaaz comes and tells David, that his Son Absolom is banged and paine, though this be knowledgin him who saw it, yet it is belief in David, who did heare and credit the tidings; so that(to be brief ) belief differs from knowledge in this, thac knowledge depends on the evidence of things themselves; but belief, though the things be certainly crue to which it doth assenc, yet it affents unto them for the teftimony or authority of him who relates and reports them. Though this be most true, I hat Jesus Christ was borne of the Virgin Mary,and that he is the Melfius and Saviour, yet I beleeve it to be true because God barbe given teftimony or repor: thereof in bis Word wr
Again, Belief differs from opinion in this, that opinion is an indifferent, probable, hazarding, and difficultly inclinable eflent, bus in believing the affene is forme, certaine and fixed especially where testimony and authority is fufficient.
Believing as it is reftrained to a theological and divine confideration, that is (in the generall) an alent of ebe roul to the truth, and goodnese, of all divine revelations upon divine teftimony. Here much might be faid, as for instance.
First, that all divine revelations are the object of belief, as Supernaturally inspired.
Secondly, that the ground of believing them is Gods own: reftimony. Faith hacho sufficiene reason to believe all things there to be true, in cheir relacion; because of his truch and authority who doth lay so ( viz. ) God himfelf.
Thirdly, of the generall natare. of believing, which is an affent unto all spoken by God as most true and credible.
Secondly, particularly, of justifying Faith,
Faith ( as you well know ) hach a double afpe&; one is to the whole revealed Word of God, another is to God in Cbrit or to Jesus Christ..
I am not now to speak of it, as an eye which may see all colours, but as an eye fixing it self on lome singular and special objeđ (visi) on Jesus Christ, in respect of whom it is called justifying fatch : The believing on whom mag: bc thus defcribed.
T is a singular Grace of God, whereby the heart and
will of a sexsible finner, dotb lake and embrace Jesus Christ in his person and offices, and detb deholly or only reft on him for pardon of fin, and eternal life. :
There are many things to be opened in this
description forasmuch as all the force of true faith, cannot at once in a few short words be clearly expresked.
Onsider therefore, the spring or fount aine of this faith is at
heaven : Gods cternall decree, is the radicall cause of it : lo 8&ts 13.48 As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed. And the instrumental cause of it is the Word of God, Rom. 10. 17. Faith comes by hearing, and bearing by obe Word of God. And the immediate and fingular canse of it is the Spirit of God, Gal. 5. 22. there it is an exprefle fruit. So Job. 1. 12. speaking particularly of believing on the Name of Christ, he addeth verse 13. men come to this not being borne of blood, nor of the will of the fles, nor of the willot max, but of God.
That the will or heart of man should be brought off from
Two Corts o
2. Others are plainly and entirely infused. Faich is not water in the Earth, which a man may pump out, but it is even in the fulnesse or littlenessc of it, in the alloesse of it, as the drops or showers of raine, which come from heaven: Though cho subject of it be below, yer the cause of it is above, it is man who docb believe, buc it is Gods Spirit alone who gives him that faith to believe; it is the will of man which doch cake and receive Christ; but it is Gods Spicić who doth beltow that grace' of faich, by which he doth cake and receive.
That a man hath a will,none can deny, who know that they are men; Nay, and that the will is able to send out its own a&i. ons, it is willingly confessed; but iofinice is the difference 'cwise the nacurall actions of the will, and the supernacural qualities and operation of Gods Spirit in the will : It is true,a dead carcase is able of it self to send forth a stinking smell, but it is not able to quicken and enliven it self. That the will can, will I grant, but that the will can (of it self) enliven it self, to that great part of life, I meane believing, it is not only a vehemenc injury and dishonour to the fountainc and freenese of grace, but also a most foolish, and senselesse error; the will of man being
naturally fo opposite to believing, and believing being an a& ro every way unsurable, and disproportionable to the inclination and ability of the will. No verily, faith in God comes from God, and so faith in Chrift, from Chrift; none ever could see Christin a justifying and saving way, who had not that eye of faith put into
him by the Spirit of Chrift: No giace comes from any, but the God of Grace. Unto you it is given to believe, Phil. 1, 29.
2. He (mbje Et of this faith, is a sensible finner; I do not as yet Subje&tum.
Speak of the immediate subject of inhesion, which respe&s those parts of the soul, wherein this grace is feated; of this I shall speak anon. Fut of the subject of denomination, and this
subje& is a fenable sinner. Two forts of There are two sorts of finners. anners,
1. Some generally corrupted both in their natures, and in their lives, and they are as unfensible as 'ibey ere sinfull
. They do not know in any powerfull degree of true refle&tion and feeling their own viienesse, arcui sednesse and miserablenelle of persons being so,and remaining roin an unsersible condition of linfulnesse, i dare confidently affirme, that though they may have most able and strong p:e'umptiors, yet they have not (as j'ét) the least degree of justifying and laving faich. How can any man by Faith look ?: pon Jesus Christ as his Phyfitian, who is wbole in kisoun opinion. The unfinfible finner, as he cannot close with Christ, so be will not care for Chrift; for what should now move such an heart, is ie çhis holinesle of Christs person! Good Lord! How ridiculous is thai motive to a profane and gracelife heart, or is it the fu ablenesle of Christs Office : Why? what is Salvation to him by another, who as yet Tees no ground or reason of condemnation in himself?
2: Others (ensibly experienced, who know thus much, that they in particular are sinful, and there is no Salvation, no hope of it from them elves, but it is co Le found onely in Jesus Christ.