Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

resting upon Christ alone for salvation, find no rest in him, I would challenge men and angels to tell me how it may? and if the Bible be true, they must all be mute. Í grant that the act of resting upon Christ is subject to very different degrees, and according to these will be the rest which we experience. Nay, the actings of faith may be greatly intermitted, and the poor soul, tossed as in a tempestuous ocean, may, in its own apprehensions be ready to perish. The black waves of temptations, doubts and fears, may rise to a terrible height, and roar dreadfully around it. That faith which was once like a cable rope, may be brought to its last thread, but it shall not be broken! And after all, the believer is tossed, only like a ship at anchor. Having by faith cast anchor within the vail, Heb. vi. 19. he can no more be tossed as a wave of the sea. Which suggests

The Third precious effect of believing that we shall be saved by grace, and that is, Support. Long as we trust in Christ for his salvation, we are not without support. When evidences are all obscured, when the destroyer has torn them from us, having caught us in his snare, still the foundation of faith remains the same. Though we can see no traces of a work within us, yet we can see a word without us, even the word of faith, warranting all to trust in Christ for their salvation. And O! what a firm support this! Even when we walk in darkness, and have no light, we may still trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon our God. Now believing that we shall be saved by him, is nothing else but trusting in him, or staying on him. While we do so, all hope that we shall be saved is never taken away. For a poor sinner, harrassed with the temptations of the wicked one, still to believe that he shall be saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, what else is this but to hold fast his confidence, and not to cast it away? Heb. iii. 6, 14. X. 35. Such a supporting thing is this faith, that the man who has it bears up under the frowns and hidings of a holy God. See Job's heroisin in the faith, chap. xiii. 15. Though God slay me, yet

will I trust in him. Trust in him for what? when life itself is gone! Why, for something to be given when life is taken away, viz. for salvation, (which by the by is an irrefragable proof that Job believed the life everlasting) compare verse 16. He also shall be

my salvation, i.e. Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him, that he shall be iny salvation. I will trust in him that he will save me. What a support this in slippery pla- . ces! It makes the man to ride out every storm.

Lastly. To shew that in this our definition of faith we have not affected novelty, but have kept the good old way, we shall adduce the testimonies of a few mar. tyrs, ministers, and churches.

Peter Brulie, burnt at Tournay, anno 1545, when he was sent for out of prison to be examined, the Friars interrogated him before the Magistrate, “ How “ it is that faith bringeth unto us salvation?” He an. swered, “ Faith bringeth unto us salvation when we

trust unto God's promises, and believe stedfastly, that 66 for Christ his Son's sake our sins are forgiven us *."

Mr Patrick Hamilton, burnt at St. Andrew's about the year 1527, saith, “ Faith is a sureness: Faith is

a sure confidence of things which are hoped for, and “ a certainty of things which are not seen. The faith “s of Christ is to believe in him, that is to believe in his

word, and to believe that he will help thee in all “thy need, and deliver thee from all evil +.”

Our famous Scots apostle, Mr Knox, in order to dis. cover the root of faith, asketh, 6 Believest thou that “ Christ is able to deliver thy soul, and that he will do “ the same, according to his promise 1."

Mr. John Craig, in his Catechism, approven by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in the year 1592, having asked Quest. 22d. “ What is faith in Christ?” Answereth, “ A sure persuasion that he is the

“ “ only Saviour of the world, but ours in special, who 66 believe in him S.”

• Boston's Notes on the Marrow, page (Mihi) 162. + Knox's Hist. p. 11. # Knox's Hist. page (Mihi) 577. $ Collection of Confessions, page (Mihi) 100

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 sal“ vation by his means; that whatsoever Christ did for “ the redemption of mankind, he did it for me t.”

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 6 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 believing, that God freely giv“ eth to us an interest in Christ and his salvation,

according 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

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, 522.

“ 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 So which faith is grounded, cannot we easily from 66 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 “ 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

my 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."

C6

• 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 gene" sal 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.

« ForrigeFortsæt »