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ph.0.0. CHAP. XIII.
Rules for the discovery of faith.
Irst, some Rules of Direction, for the manner of evidence and testifying of faith, that you may neither be deceived by presumption, nor perplexed by error and doubring:
Secondly, some lively instance of true faith ,
as the Word of God doth clearly represent them.
The Rules of discovery and finding out faith, which are these.
Here are some things without which faith cannot be in the beart, and yet they do not necessarily and infallibly
conclude that a man hath faith. They do well distinguish in the Schools 'cwixt an Antecedent, and a Cause, a Cause is such a thing as is before the effe & , and which being put , the effect allo is put, one will not go with. out the other; But an Antecedent is that which muit before another thing; yet it is not necessary that if it be, that the other thing should follow. The rifing of tbe Sunne is
a cause of day, and therefore this will alwayes hold; If the Simile. Sunne be up, it is day; Bat chis now; Learning, is (or should
be ) an Antecedent to prefermens, it should go before it, yet it is not an infallible truth, that every one who gaines learning, Tould enjoy preferment: Thus is it in the nature of faieb.
There ftance ;
There are some Antecedents, there are lome things which must of neceffity go before faitb , yer they alone do not formally and assuredly conclude that a man hath faith, as for in.
A man cannot beletve in Cbrift, he cannot receive fefors Christ with all his heart, he hath some historical evidence of Christ, he must have some knowledge of Christ, what be is, and what he hath done, or elfe he cannot cake bim to be his Lord and Saviour ; Yet this knowledge doth not infallibly conclude justifying and saving faith; for as much as the Devils and Hypocrites may see much of Christ, they may have a high degree of intellectual apprehension.
Again, a man cannot by faith take Chrift to be his Lord and Saviour, unlesse he hath fome sensibleness of his Goful condition ; our heart will not look towards Christ, it cannot con. ceive of his excellencies, nor of his own necefficy, until we feel our sinfulnesse, and loftnesse, and vilenesse ; The whole neither need, nor look for a Physician, yet a person may sible of his fenful condition; he may not only by the light of natural consoience apprehend some broader and ftirring enormities, but be may by a smart and quick light let in by the Ministry of the Word, discern heaps of wickednesse in bis life and beart, for which his conscience may sting him with wonderfully bitter accusations, and get fuch a person (possibly) may not rise from trouble to faith, as is evident in Cain and Judas. So then remember this, that in the searchings and trials for faich , you do not conclude the presence of the habit from the common antecedents of faith, for as much as faith is buc a contingent consequent of them, sometimes it doth follow, fomecimes ic doch not. As in Marriage, sometimes it doch follow the niotion which is made , and somecimes it doch not; so the efponfing of our foules to Chrift by faith, fometimes it doth follow knopea ledge, sometimes it doch noc, fomecimes it doth follow the preaching of the Word, and yet sometimes it doth not; for all have heard, yet toho barb beleeved, said the Apostle ? Rom. 10. sometimes it doth follow the motions, and inward excitations of the Spirit, and sometimes it doth nor.
2. There are fome things which faith only dorb produce, yet because it doth not produce them alwayes, a man therefore must
not negatively conclude from the abseoce of them, the absence of faith.
You know.chat holy and spiritwal joy, it is the sole fruit of faith, therefore faith the Apostle, 1 Pet. 1.8. Beleeving, he rejoyce with joy unspeakable and glorious. There is nothing which can prelent to the heari of a Christian, such full cause of joy as faich, such a God, loch a Christ, such a love, such a blood, such a mercy, such happinesse, such unmixe, and proper, and sucable good. There is a carnal joy which sparkles from the cup of pleasure, and there is a gliftering joy which the raies of gold may produce, and there is a beasily joy, which the ful. filling of finful lults may send forth, and there is a flashing and transient joy, which the pride of hypocriccs may dart out, but found, and weighey, and holy, and pure and fpiritual joy,which is a well grounded, and not to be repented, affce ng of the heart, that comes only from faith:Yet it comes from faith as a. separable effe&t; look as trouble and sorrow is a Contingent an. tecedent, so evn in a&tu imperato,true joy is a separable fruic of faith. Though the branches and green leaves de sprout out of the living root only, yet this color doch not appeare at all times; Though the blade comes only from the graines cast into the carth, yet you cannot alwayes observe the blade. Though the Acth and natural complexion flows only from health, sec there may be sad occasions, which though they do not extinguilh healch, may yer fowle and blubber the complexion. So even the beleving person may sometimes have a cear in his eye, an handkercheif in his hand, a sigh in his breast, and yet have faith in his heart. He may fie down in asies, and feed on tears, as David did, and for all this be may be a true belesver: He is not alwayes able to see the causes of his joy, nor to break through the contrarieties to his faith, nor to remove the quafhings of his comforts. Therefore when you are so try your felves about your faith, do not make a negative in. ference from separable evidencos.
3. There are some things which fairlo only derb produce, not as essential properties, but as magnificent testimonies,
The moral Phylosophers distinguish '.wixt che effe&ts and acts of liberality, as it is absolutely considered., and as it is eminently considered, being raised to magnificence. To give a
farcbing according to the rules and circumstances of morality, even this is an act of liberality, but to build a Colledge,chis is now an ad of liberality grown into the greatnesse of magnificence. So isic in the matter of fairl, there are lome fruits of faith which come from it, absolutely considered according to the vital conftitucion ofic: And there be other fruits which come from it eminently considered; faith is come to an height, to a strength, when it sends then forth. Though a child cannot bear a burden of an hundred pound weight, yet he can delire the breast and fuck; che bearing of such a burden belongs to strength, and yec the very fucking fhews that he hach life. Though a Chriftian be not able in all respects,' at all times, with all moderation and filence, to passe presently through every beavy occurrence, which shews sirengih of fairl, yet his heart may most affe Elionately cling about Chrift which shews the rrush of fairb.
3. Eminent Assurance is a fruit of an eminent faith, and so is a more bar
fruits. birual stedfaftreffe of quiet fubmiffion, and confidence in all e states & conditions, and so is the maintenance of the beatt upon Gods promises in the times of strong contrarieries. Now as Divines should warily open their lips, so should you wisely diftin. guilh of the evidences of a true faich, some being (if I' may lo terme them) fenrial, and others being eminext, some there are which discover the truth, others which testifie the strength of faith: It is one thing to shew uoto you the properries of a man, another thing to fhew unto you the properties of a strong man. Many a poore Christian hath been deeply gravelld by others, and extreamly afmixed by his own spirit for want of this distindion of the properties of faith. Because he reades, and haib heard what admirable and singular fruits, and effe&s faich hath sont out as Afurance, and full affwrance, and with these fome glorious acts of selfodenial, as in Abraham and bis unftaggering embracing of a promise against which both realan and sense, and nature might have disputed and urged. O say they, we have no faith, Abrahams faisha wrought fall affurance, removed all ftaggerings, our hearts are still doubting, we can bardly be perswaded,
we reet and Aagger like the waves now on the shore, and then instantly off; now we beleeve, anon we let go our bold, and doubt; And hence they uncomfors
ably conclude against their own souls, the utter absence of fairb from che defe&t of some particular and eminent expressions of faith, not ablolately as faith, but of faith as Strong and exs ceedingly ripened: we must not conclude negatively, from the degrees to the babit :
As if one should conclude that he hath no silver in his purse, because another hath a bank of many thousands; or that he hath no legges to go, because he is not so fwift as Afabel; or that che Sparrow flics not, because he cannot mount up to the Sunne with the Eagle; or that a child is no man, becaule he cannot expreffe che ads of a strong màn.
4. There are and will be many inward contr trieties to the intrinfecal ačts and fruits of faith, norwichftanding faith be truly in the soul, and works ttiere. Fuith, though it bach the preheminence of other graces in respect of its office, being the only Embassador (as ic were) of the soul to Christ, yet it hath no priviledge above them in respect of the subje&i, (that is ) in refpea of the ad and workings of it there ; buc took as every other Grace hath some or other particular corruption opposite to its particular watüre, and its particular actings; Soeven faith it self hath infidelity, and unbelief opposing it, both in the quality, and in the feveral exercising! or aftings of it. There may be flame of the fmoak, and a hand with shaking, and a tree trembling and a faith of doubting.
Yea, if any grace hath the hardhesse of a more general and strong opposition, then faith is it, it being a 'grace of general help and use to fetch in more grace, and more (trength against all finne. Now in our trials for "faith, it will be with us as with the Artificer, in his search for the little raies of gold, It's true, he shail finde much drosle here and there, and yer if he can finde a very little peece of gold, though amidst an heap of droffe) he will say this is gold, and will preciously esteeme of it and lay it up. So when we are searching our hearts by the light of Gods Word for true faith, withour all doubt we shall meet with many doubtings, much unbelief, yet if we can fir.de'any one degree of trụe faith (which is more precious then gold) we may noc cast ic away, because it is found amongst its contraries, but we must cherish and embrace it, because the touchstone of the Word hath approved it co be a precious faith.