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Mr. James Melvil, in his Catechism published in the year 1598, asks, “What is thy faith?” and gives for answer, “ My sure belief that God both may and wil.

save me in the blood of Jesus Christ, because he is all “ mighty, and has promised so to do *.”

Mr. John Davidson in his Catechism published anno 1602, asketh, “ What is faith?” and answereth, “ It is an hearty assurance, that our sins are freely forgiven us in Christ t.”

Mr. John Rogers of Dedham, so noted for ortho. doxy, holiness, and success in his ministry, describes faith thus, “ A particular persuasion of my heart, that “ Christ Jesus is mine, and that I shall have life and sale “ vation by his means; that whatsoever Christ did for “ the redemption of mankind, he did it for me 1."

Dr. Owen tells us in his Catechism, that “ Faith is “ a gracious resting upon the free promises of God in “ Jesus Christ for mercy, with a firm persuasion of “ heart, that God is a reconciled Father to us in the + Son of his love."

Marshall on Sanctification (a book so precious to holy Hervey, that he declared, if he had been banished to an island, and allowed no more books besides his Bible but two, it should have been the one of them) says, “ We “ must get some assurance of our salvation, in that

very faith whereby Christ himself is received into - our hearts: therefore we must endeavour to believe “ on Christ confidently, persuading and assuring our“ selves, in the act of beligving, that God freely giv" eth to us an interest in Christ and his salvation, ac

cording to his gracious promise ll."

Boston in his View of the Covenant of Grace, (a book of which I would say, as Hervey of Marshall) teaches the same doctrine S. The trust of faith, says he, im

ports an affiance, confidence, or trust on Christ and “ his righteousness, that he will save us from sin and

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Boston's Notes on the Murrow, p. 166. † Bost. ubi supra, page 168. Answers to the Commiss. Queries, p. 50. Direct. 10th page (mihi) 117. § Head 6th, Sect. 4th. page (mihi) 321, 322.

« wrath, according to his promise set before us in the

gospel. Whosoever trusts in a person for any thing, “ hath a persuasion of the same degree of firmness « with the trust, that that person will do that thing for " him. He that believeth on Jesus Christ for salvation, * doth trust that he will save him."

From these testimonies it is evident that we teach no novel doctrine in saying, that to believe on Christ for salvation, is to believe that we shall be saved by him. But from the testimonies of individuals let us go on to those of Churches in their public Confessions and Catechisms.

The Catechism of the Reformed Church of France, bound up with the French Bible, speaks to this purpose. “ Since' we know the foundation upon & which faith is grounded, cannot we easily from " thence conclude what true faith is? Yes, namely, " that it is a sure and certain knowledge of the love “ which God hath to us, according as he declares him“ self in his gospel, our Father and our Saviour by " means of Jesus Christ.” Similar to this, is the last Question of their Shorter Catechism. Minister, “ And 6 how can we have this faith?" Child, “ We have it " by the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts, and “ makes us sure of the promises of God which are " made to us in the gospel.”

The Palatine Catechism used by the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands, and bound up with the Dutch Bible, bears witness to this doctrine. For Quest. 21st. It asks “ What is sincere faith?" and returns for answer, “ A sincere faith is not only a sure under“ standing or knowledge; whereby I hold all that for " true which God hath revealed to us in his word, but “ also a sure trust, which the Holy Ghost worketh in

heart by the gospel, that forgiveness of sins, ever“ lasting righteousness and salvation is given of God, “ not only to others, but also to me, from pure grace “ only, for the sake of Christ's merit."


Dimanche 18th.

In the brief Compend of Religion following the PaJatine Catechism, as our Shorter does the Larger, It is asked, Quest. 19th. “ What is a sincere faith?” to which is answered, “ It is a sure kuowledge of God, and his “ promises revealed to us in the gospel, and a hearty “ trust that all my sins are forgiven me for Christ's 66 sake."

In the Articles of Religion agreed upon in the Convocation at Dublin, anno 1615, No. 37th. They say, “ By justifying faith we understand not only a per“ suasion of the truth of God's word in general, but “ also a particular application of the gracious promises “ of the gospel to the comfort of our own souls, hav“ing an earnest trust and confidence in God, that he “ will be merciful to us for his only Son's sake *."

But let us return from foreign churches to our own, the Church of Scotland. In her old Confession, chap. 3d. she says, “ The Holy Ghost worketh in the hearts “ of the elect of God an assured faith in the promise " of God, revealed to us in his word; by which faith “ we apprehend Christ Jesus, with the graces and be“ nefits promised in him.” In the National Covenant, subscribed annis 1580 and 1581, she declares her detestation and abhorrence of the Roman Antichrist's general and doubtful faith. In which words there is an eye to that definition of faith which had been given about twenty years before, in the Council of Trent: where also a curse was pronounced on the man who

“ That justifying faith is nothing else but a confidence of the mercy of God, pardoning sins “ for Christ's sake.” Our church detesting the general and doubtful faith, thereby intimates that her own is a particular and a certain faith, viz. a person trusting assuredly for his own salvation.

The same sentiment appears in the Westminster Con. fession and Catechisms adopted by this Church annis 1647 and 1648. There faith is described as that where. by we accept, receive, and rest upon Christ alone for jus.

should say,

• Neal'. Hist. of the Puritans, page (mihi) 833.

who is enabled so to believe over the belly of every difficulty. My soul be with him.

Olject 2d. If we are warranted to believe that we shall be saved by Christ, then we may fold our hands and sit down. Since certain of the event, we may take our ease as to the means.

Answer. It is hard to say whether this objection ex ceeds in malignity, or in folly. Faith is not a believing that we shall be saved in any way, whatever we do, or do not. No: It is a believing not that we shall be saved in our sins, but that we shall be saved FROM them: that we shall be saved by Christ, and therefore in the diligent use of the means appointed by him. It is a believing that we shall obtain the victory by fighting: not without it. . Suppose a General haranguing his army before their engagement with some mighty foe, should tell them that they should surely overcome, and therefore not to be afraid; would they not be fools or worse, who on this should throw away their weapons, and abandon themselves to their ease? Would not this be putting an affront upon their leader, and exposing themselves to destruction, as he promised them the victory not without fighting, but by it? While Asa and his army rested on the Lord for victory, in his name they went against the huge Ethiopian host, and obtained it, 2 Chron. xiv. 11-15. Certain it is that the right faith of the victory will excite the believer to activity, and not sink him in indolence. If there be any weight in the objection, it presses the assurance of sense as much as that of faith. And accordingly, all to whom Christ intimated a pardon in the days of his flesh, might from that date, have lived at their ease. But who that believes the Bible would draw such a consequence? Is not the very reverse the truth?

Object. 3d. To make faith consist in believing that we shall be saved by Christ, is to make it consist in

assurance, which nevertheless many of the saints do not attain.

Answer. In answer to this specious objection, let us observe, 1st. The different kinds. 2dly. The different degrees of assurance. As to the first, it is obvious that there are two different kinds of assurance, viz. the assurance of faith, and the assurance of sense. The first kind of assurance is indeed essential to faith, being just faith itself. It cannot be denied that according to the original word, Ilusti, in the New Testament, faith signifies a persuasion, viz. a persuasion founded on the divine testimony, a persuasion of its truth and goodness, which is nothing else but to be assured of these. My

My being persuaded of any thing because another says it, is just my being assured of that thing, viz. as much assured of it, as I am that his word is true. If in his testimony he assure me of it, it must follow, that, in my faith founded on that tes. timony, I am assured of it. To say that there is as. surance given in the testimony, but no assurance in the faith crediting that testimony, would be most absurd. It would be saying in effect, that though God assures me of a thing, yet in my believing, I am not • sure of that thing: which is much the same as if one should say, faith is doubting. If we take away all assurance from faith, we leave nothing but the empty name behind.

6. This notion of assurance or persua“ sion in faith, is so agreeable to the nature of the " thing called believing, and to the style of the holy “ scripture, that sometimes where the original text “ reads faith or believing, we read assurance, accord“ ing to the genuine sense of the original phrase, “ Acts xvi. 3i. Whereof he hath given assurance;

(orig.) faith, as is noted in the margin of our « Bibles. Deut. xxviii. 66. Thou shalt have none as,

surance of thy life; (orig.) Thou shalt not be“ lieve in thy life*." This assurance in faith is as inseparable from it, as heat from the fire. But it is

Bostop on the Martor, P, 160,

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