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Three Restoration Divines: Barrow, South and Tillotson. Volume I

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Irène Simon

Part two

Of Justifying Faith

Rom. V. 1. Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ

Texte intégral

1Therefore; that word implies the text to be a conclusion (by way of inference, or of recapitulation) resulting from the precedent discourse; it is indeed the principal conclusion, which (as being supposed a peculiar and a grand part of the Christian doctrine, and deserving therefore a strong proof and clear vindication) St. Paul designed by several arguments to make good. Upon the words, being of such importance, I should so treat; as first to explain them, or to settle their true sense; then to make some practical application of the truths they contain.

  • 1 [pertinent].

2As to the explicatory part, I should consider first, what the faith is, by which we are said to be justified; 2. what being justified doth import; 3. how by such faith we are so justified; 4. what the peace with God is, here adjoined to justification; 5. what relation the whole matter bears to our Lord Jesus Christ; or how through him being justified we have peace with God; in the prosecution of which particulars it would appear, who the persons justified are, and who justifies us; with other circumstances incident1

3I shall at this time onely insist upon the first particular, concerning the notion of Faith proper to this place, in order to the resolution of which inquiry, I shall lay down some usefull observations: and

  • 2 Top. IV, v [126 b, 18].
  • 3 Aut proba esse quae credis; aut si non probas, quomodo credis? Tertul. Adv. Marc. V, 1. [Migne, Pat (...)
  • 4 [has this meaning].

41. First, I observe, that Faith, or belief in the vulgar acception doth signifie (as we have it briefly described in Aristotle’s Topicks) a σφοδρ πóληψις2, an earnest opinion or persuasion of mind concerning the truth of some matter propounded. Such an opinion being produced by, or grounded upon some forcible reason (either immediate evidence of the matter; or sense and experience; or some strong argument of reason, or some credible testimony; for whatever we assent unto, and judge true upon any such grounds and inducements, we are commonly said to believe)3 this is the popular acception of the word; and according thereto I conceive it usually signifies4 in holy Scripture; which being not penn’d by Masters of humane art or science; nor directed to persons of more than ordinary capacities or improvements, doth not intend to use words otherwise than in the most plain and ordinary manner.

  • 5 Rom. IV, 21; Heb. XI, 19.
  • 6 Heb. XI, 11.
  • 7 Ps. CVI, 24; LXXVIII, 32.
  • 8 2 Thess. II, 12.
  • 9 Ps. CXIX, 66.
  • 10 Mark I, 15; Phil. I, 27.

5Belief therefore in general, I suppose, denotes a firm persuasion of mind concerning the truth of what is propounded; whether it be some one single proposition (as when Abraham believed, that God was able to perform what he had promised5; and Sarah, that God, who had promised was faithfull)6 or some systeme of propositions, as when we are said to believe God’s word7 (that is all, which by his Prophets was in his name declared) to believe the truth8 (that is all the propositions taught in the true religion as so) to believe God’s commandments9 (that is the doctrines in God’s Law to be true, and the precepts thereof to be good) to believe the Gospel10 (that is to be persuaded of the truth of all the propositions asserted, or declared in the Gospel.)

  • 11 [reasoning].
  • 12 John IV, 39.
  • 13 John XX, 29.
  • 14 John II, 23.
  • 15 Exod. XIV, 31; XIX, 9; John V, 45; etc.
  • 16 2 Chron. XX, 20.
  • 17 Luke XXIV, 25.
  • 18 Acts XXIV, 14.
  • 19 Ps. LXXVIII, 32.
  • 20 Jet. XVII. 5; XLVI, 25.
  • 21 Ps. CXVIII, 8, etc.
  • a true] T. ; B. veracious
  • b short] T.; B. curt.

62. I observe Secondly, that whereas frequently some person, or single thing is represented (verbo tenus) as the object of faith, this doth not prejudice, or in effect alter the notion I mentioned; for it is onely a figurative manner of speaking, whereby is always meant the being persuaded concerning the truth of some proposition (or propositions) relating to that person or thing: for otherwise it is unintelligible how any incomplex thing (as they speak) can be the complete, or immediate object of belief: beside simple apprehension (or framing the bare Idea of a thing) there is no operation of a man’s mind terminated upon one single object; and belief of a thing surely implies more than a simple apprehension thereof: what it is, for instance, to believe this, or that proposition about a man, or a tree (that a man is such a kind of thing, that a tree hath this, or that property) is very easie to conceive; but the phrase believing a man, or a tree (taken properly, or excluding figures) is altogether insignificant, and unintelligible: indeed to believe (πιστεύειν) is the effect το πεπεσθαι (of a persuasive argument,) and the result of ratiocination; whence in Scripture it is commended, or discommended, as implying a good or bad use of reason. The proper object of Faith is therefore some proposition deduced from others by discourse11; as it is said, that many of the Samaritans believed in Christ, because of the woman’s word, who testified that He told her all that ever she did12; or as St. Thomas believed, because he saw13 or as when it is said, that many believed on our Lord’s name, beholding the miracles which he did14; when then, for example, the Jews are required to believe Moses15 (or to believe in Moses, after the Hebrew manner of speaking) it is meant, to be persuaded of the truth of what he delivered, as proceeding from divine revelation; or to believe him to be what he professed himself, a messenger or prophet of God. So to believe the Prophets16 (or in the Prophets, כִנְכִיאָיו) was to be persuaded concerning the truth of what they uttered in God’s name (that the doctrines were true, the commands were to be obeyed, the threats and promises should be performed, the predictions should be accomplished: to believe all which the Prophets did say, as our Saviour speaks17 to believe all things written in the Prophets, as St. Paul.)18 So to believe God's works (a phrase we have in the Psalms)19 signifies, to be persuaded, that those works did proceed from God, or were the effects of his good providence: to believe in man20 (that which is so often prohibited, and dissuaded) denotes the being persuaded, that man in our need is able to relieve and succour us; lastly to believe in God21 (a duty so often injoyned, and inculcated) is to be persuaded, that God isa true in whatever he says, faithfull in performance of what he promises; perfectly wise, powerfull and good; able and willing to doe us good; the being persuaded, I say, of all these propositions, or such of them as sute the present circumstances and occasion, is to believe in God: thus, in fine, to believe on a person, or thing, is onely ab short expression (figuratively) denoting the being persuaded of the truth of some proposition relating in one way, or other to that person, or thing (which way is commonly discernible by considering the nature, or state of such a person, or such a thing) the use of which Observation may afterward appear.

  • 22 Rom. IV, 20.
  • 23 fas. II, 23.
  • 24 1 Tim. I, 5; 2 Tim. I, 5.
  • 25 Jas. III, 17; Rom. IV, 20.
  • 26 Rom. XIV, 1: 1 Cor. VIII, 10; Rom. IV, 19.
  • 27 Matt. VI, 30; VIII, 26; etc.
  • 28 fas. II, 17, 20; Gal. V, 6.
  • c reproof. But] 1683 reproof, but B. reproofe. but
  • 29 Rom. IV, 19.
  • 30 Rom. IV, 20.
  • 31 Heb. XI, 8.

73. I observe thirdly, that (as it is ordinary in like cases concerning the use of words) the word belief is by a kind of synechdoche, (or metonymie if you please) so commonly extended in signification, as together with such a persuasion as we spoke of to imply whatever by a kind of necessity (natural, or moral) doth result from it; so comprehending those acts of will, those affections of soul, and those deeds, which may be presumed consequent upon such a persuasion: for instance, when God commanded Abraham to forsake his country, promising him a happy establishment in the land of Canaan, with a perpetual blessing upon his posterity; Abraham was persuaded concerning the power, and fidelity of God; and concerning the truth of what was promised and foretold; in that persuasion his faith, according to the first, proper and restrained sense, did consist: but because from such a persuasion (being sincere, and strong enough)22 there did naturally, and duly result a satisfaction, or acquiescence in the matter injoyned as best to be done; a choice, and resolution to comply with God’s appointment; an effectual obedience; a cheerfull expectation of a good issue thereupon; therefore all those dispositions of soul, and actions concurring become expressed by the name of faith (that first persuasion being the principle, and root of them:) for it is for his faith that he is highly commended; it is for it that he obtained so favourable an approbation and acceptance from God: Yet supposing Abraham to have had such a persuasion concerning God; and yet to have disliked what God required, or to have resolved against doing it, or to have indeed disobeyed, or to have disregarded the happy success; it is plain that Abraham as to the whole matter deserved rather much blame, than any commendation; and would not upon that account have had righteousness imputed to him, and have been called the friend of God23: when therefore his faith is so magnified, that word comprehends not his bare persuasion onely, but all those concomitants thereof, which if they had not gone along therewith, it had been a proof, that such a persuasion was not sincere (not ἀνυπόϰριτος πίστις ς, an undissembled faith; such as St. Paul commends in Timothy24 or not strong enough (not ἀδιάϰριτπίστις, an undoubting faith)25 but a weak26 a small27, a dead28 an ineffectual faith; which come under blame, andc reproof. But the effect shewed, that he did not (as St. Paul says) ἀσθενεν τ πίστει, had not a weak, or sickly faith29; nor staggered at the promise of God; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God30 which he did not onely in believing his word, but in suting his affections, and yielding obedience thereto: (πίστει πήϰουσεν ξελθεν, by faith he obeyed, so as to forsake his country, says the Apostle to the Hebrews31;) And Faith thus taken is not onely a single act of a man’s understanding, or will, but a complex of many dispositions and actions, diffused through divers faculties of a man, denoting the whole complication of good dispositions, and actions relating to one matter; which attend upon a true and earnest persuasion concerning it; right choice, submission and satisfaction of mind, firm resolution, dutifull obedience, constant and cheerfull hope; or the like.

  • 32 Rom. III, 3, 22, 26; Gal. II, 16.20; III, 22; Phil. III, 9; Apoc. [Rev.] II, 13; XIV, 12.
    εἰς Acts X (...)
  • 33 Matt. I, 15: Phil. I, 27; 1 Pet. IV, 17.
  • 34 2 Thess. II, 12, 13.
  • 35 * 1 Tim. IV, 3; II, 4; Tit. I, 1; Heb. X, 26; 1 Tim. II, 4; etc.
  • 36 [implying].
  • 37 a John V, 46, 47.
  • 38 b John XII, 47.
  • 39 c John XII, 48; XVII, 8: Acts XI, 1.
  • 40 d John III, 33.
  • 41 *John I, 12; XIII, 20; V, 43.
  • 42 f John VI, 37, 44, 65; V, 40; Matt. XI, 28.
  • 43 g John XVII, 8; V, 24; VI, 29; XI, 42; XVI, 30; XVII, 21.
  • 44 k I John IV, 2, 15; John IV, 42; 1 John V, 1,5; John, I, 49; XX, 31; Acts VIII, 37.
  • 45 John VIII, 24; XIII, 29.
  • 46 1 Rom. X, 9; John VI, 45: ἀϰoύσας παρτoῦ πατρὀς ϰαμαθὼν.

84. I observe more nearly to our purpose, fourthly, that the Faith here spoken of (being here, and otherwhere put absolutely, or by it self, without any adjunct of limitation or distinction) is often set down with terms annexed thereto, explaining and determining it; being sometimes styled the faith of Christ, of Jesus, of God (τοῦ χριστοῦ, τοῦ ἰησοῦ, τοῦ θεοῦ) sometimes faith upon Christ (εἰς χριστὀν, and ἐπὶ χριστὀν) faith in Christ (ἐν χριστῷ) faith to Christ, to the Lord, to God (πιστεύειν τῷ χριστῷ, τῷ ϰυρίῳ, τῷ θεῷ) faith upon the name of Christ (εἰς ὄνομα) faith of his name (πίστις τoῦ ὀνóματoς) faith to his name (τῷ ὀνóματι;)32 which phrases, all questionless denoting the same thing, do imply this faith to consist in being persuaded concerning the truth of some propositions chiefly relating to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, either as grounded upon his Authority, or appertaining to his Person: Now what such propositions are we may learn from other expressions, descriptions, or circumlocutions declaring the nature and quality of this faith: it is sometimes called the belief of the Gospel (that is of the whole systeme of doctrines, and laws, and promises, and prophecies taught, delivered, or declared by Christ, and his Apostles. Repent, said St. John the Baptist, and believe the Gospel)33 the belief of the truth34, (that body of truth, signally so called, which was taught by the same Authours) the acknowledgment of the same truth (*πιστòς, and ἐπεγνωϰὼς τήν λήθειαν are in St. Paul the same:)35 equivalent to those descriptions of this faith are those expressions, which set it out by yielding assent (generally) to what our Lord Christ, and his Apostles taught, or to some chief points of their doctrine, inferring36 the rest; thea believing37,b hearing38,c receiving the word of God, of Christ, of the Apostles39,d the receiving Christ’s testimony40, and (which is the same) * receiving Christ himself41;fcoming unto Christ42 (that is as disciples to their Master, as servants to their Lord, as persons oppressed and enslaved to their Deliverer)g The believing (and knowing) that Jesus was sent by God, and came from him43; The believing, that Jesus was, what he professed himself to be1; k the confessing, that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh; that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, He which should come into the world; the King of Israel; that God raised him from the dead44; by the belief of which one point, as involving the rest, St. Paul expresseth this faith:45 If thou (saith he) shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe with thy heart, that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved46.

  • d doth follow] T.
  • 47 [Hor., Ep. I, i, 45-6.]
  • 48 [unidentified, but cf. Ovid: Rem. Amoris, 229: ut corpus redimas, ferrum patieris et ignes].
  • 49 1 John V, 1, 12.
  • 50 1 John IV, 15.
  • 51 1 John II, 23, 24.
  • 52 John XVI, 27; 2 Thess. II, 13; Eph. I, 13; Acts XV, 7, 9.
  • 53 1 John V, 5.
  • 54 John VIII, 31, 32.
  • 55 John V, 24.
  • 56 John XX, 31.
  • 57 2 John 9.
  • 58 John VI, 47; III, 36, 15, 16.
  • 59 Col. II, 12.
  • 60 Rom. X, 9.
  • e mentioned] probably T. ; B. touched
  • 61 Rom. X, 10
  • f a] T.
  • 62 John XI, 26, 27.
  • 63 Matt. XVI, 16; John VI, 69.
  • 64 Acts II, 41. οἱ [μὲν οὖν] ἀσμένως ἀποδεξάμενοι τòν λόγον.
  • 65 Acts VIII, 12.
  • 66 Acts VIII. 37, 38.
  • 67 Acts XVI, 14, 15.
  • 68 Acts XVII, 3, 4; IX, 20; XVI, 32; XVII, 11, 12.
  • 69 Apol. [Apologia Prima Pro Christianis, cap. 61. Migne, Patrol. gr„ t. 6, col. 419].
  • 70 Matt. XVI, 17.
  • 71 1 Cor. XII, 3; 1 Cor. II, 10; 2 Cor. IV, 6; 2 Pet. I. 19.
  • 72 1 John IV. 2; Eph. I, 17, 18.
  • 73 2 Cor. IV, 13.
  • 74 Gal V, 22.
  • 75 Eph. II, 8; Phil. I, 29.
  • 76 John VI, 44, 45.
  • 77 Acts XVI, 14.

9The result upon considering all which expressions declaratory of the nature of this Faith (for this surely is not different from that, which is so commonly otherwhere represented in our Saviour, and his Apostles discourses and writings, as a great duty required of us; as a vertue (or act of vertue) highly commendable, as an especial instrument of our salvation, as a necessary condition prerequisite to our partaking the benefits, and privileges by divine favour conferred on Christians) the result I say is this, that by this Faith (as to the first, and primary sense thereof) is understood the being truely and firmly persuaded in our minds, that Jesus was what he professed himself to be, and what the Apostles testified him to be; the Messias, by God designed, foretold and promised to be sent into the world, to redeem, govern, instruct and save mankind; our Redeemer and Saviour; our Lord and Master; our King and Judge; the Great high Priest, and Prophet of God; the being assured of these, and all other propositions connexed with these; or in short, the being thoroughly persuaded of the truth of that Gospel; which was revealed and taught by Jesus and his Apostles. That this notion is true those descriptions of this faith, and phrases expressing it, do sufficiently shew; the nature and reason of the thing doth confirm the same; for that such a faith is, in its kind and order, apt and sufficient to promote God’s design of saving us; to render us capable of God’s favour; to purge our hearts, and work that change of mind, which is necessary in order to the obtaining God’s favour, and enjoying happiness; to produce that obedience, which God requires of us, and without which we cannot be saved; these things are the natural results of such a persuasion concerning those truths; as natural, as the desire and pursuit of any good doth arise from the clear apprehension thereof, or as the shunning of any mischiefd doth follow from the like apprehension; as a persuasion that wealth is to be got thereby, makes the merchant to undergo the dangers and pains of a long voyage; (verifying that, Impiger extremos currit mercator ad Indos, Per mare pauperiem fugiens, per sax a, per ignes)47 as the persuasion that health may thereby be recovered, engages a man not onely to take down the most unsavoury potions, but to endure cuttings and burnings ut valeas ferrum patieris, et ignes)48 as a persuasion, that refreshment is to be found in a place, doth effectually carry the hungry person thither: So a strong persuasion that Christian Religion is true, and the way of obtaining happiness, and of escaping misery doth naturally produce a subjection of heart, and an obedience thereto; and accordingly we see the highest of those effects which the Gospel offers, or requires, are assigned to this faith, as results from it, or adjuncts thereof: Regeneration; Whosoever, saith St. John, believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God49; Spiritual union with God; Whosoever shall confess, that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God50; if what ye have heard from the beginning, abide in you, ye shall also abide in the Father and the Son51. The obtaining God’s love; The father loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed, that I came from God52; Victory over the world: Who is he, that overcometh the world, but he who believeth that Jesus is the Son of God53? Freedom from spiritual slavery; and becoming true disciples of Christ; If ye abide in my word, ye are truly my disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free54. Obtaining everlasting life; He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me (that is, who believeth my word, which is indeed the word of God, who sent me, and in whose name I speak) hath everlasting life55. And, These things were written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing it, you may have life in his name56. Interest in God and Christ, He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, He (oὗτoς) hath the Father and the Son57. Verily verily I say unto you, he that believeth upon me, hath eternal life58. Rising with Christ (that is as to capacity and right:) Buried with him in baptism, wherein you are risen with him through faith of the operation of God; who raised him from the dead59. Being saved: Whoever confesses with his mouth the Lord Jesus to be the Son of God; and in his heart believes that God raised him from the dead, shall be saved60. Lastly being justified; for (St. Paul adjoins) a man believeth (in the manner beforee mentioned) to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation61. So we see, that the chief of those excellent benefits, to the procuring of which faith (however understood) is any-wise conducible, or requisite, do belong to the persuasion concerning Evangelical truths. We may also observe in the history concerning our Lord, and his Apostles proceedings toward persons, whom they had converted to Christianity, and did admit tof a participation of the privileges thereof, that no other faith was by them required in order thereto; upon such a persuasion appearing they received them into the Church, baptized them, pronounced unto them an absolution from their sins, and a reception into God’s favour: This was the faith of Martha, which gave her interest in the promise of eternal life: Every one (said our Saviour to her) living, and believing in me, shall never die: dost thou believe this? she saith unto him: Yes Lord, l have believed, that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world62: this was the faith, for which our Saviour commends St. Peter, and pronounces him happy63: Upon appearance of this faith St. Peter baptized and admitted into the Church the three thousand persons whom he had converted (Then, says the Text, they who gladly (or willingly) received his word (that is, were persuaded of the truth of that doctrine, which is before set down concerning our Lord) were baptized; and the same day were added (to the Church) about three thousand souls)64 Upon the like faith the Samaritans were baptized (ταν πίστευσαν τψ Φιλίππψ, when they gave credence to Philip’s doctrine-.)65 and upon the same account did the same Evangelist say it was lawfull to baptize the Eunuch, and accordingly did perform it: If, saith Philip, thou believest with thy whole heart, it is lawfull (or thou mayst be baptized) He answering said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; so he baptized him66: This was the faith, upon which St. Paul baptized Lydia, when she had yielded assent unto (so προσέχειν doth import in the Acts; not onely προσέχειν νον to yield attention, but προσέχειν πίστιν to give assent unto) the things spoken by St. Paul67; thus also of those Jews in another place of the Acts, when St. Paul had opened, and alledged, out of the Scriptures, that Christ was to suffer, and to rise again from the dead, and that Jesus was the Christ, it is said, τινς ατν πείσθησαν, ϰαί προσεκληρώθησαν, were persuaded, and consorted with Paul, and Silas68 (that is, were received into Christian communion with them.) The same is intimated in other passages of the Apostolical history; by all which it appears, that the Apostles method was to declare, and inculcate the main points of the Christian history and doctrine, attesting to the one, and proving the other by testimonies and arguments proper to that purpose; and whoever of their hearers declared himself persuaded of the truth of what they taught, that he did heartily assent thereto, and resolved to profess and practice accordingly, him without more to doe, they presently baptized, and instated him in the privileges appertaining to Christianity; or (in St. Paul's language) did justify them, according to their subordinate manner, as the ministers of God. And thus did the Primitive Church practise after the Apostles; as Justin the Martyr fully relates of it: — δσοι ν πεισθῶσι, ϰα πιστεύωσιν ἀληθῆ τᾶuτα τἀ φἡμῶν διδασϰόμενα, ϰα λεγόμενα εἶναι, ϰαὶ ποιεῖν οὕτως δύνασθαι ὑπισχνῶνται, etc. — ἄγονται ὑφ'ἡμών ἔνθα ὕδωρ ἐστί, ϰαὶ τρόπον ἀναγεννήσεως, δν ϰαὶ ήμεῖς αὐτοὶ ἀνεγεννήθημεν, ἀναγεννῶνται69. Whoever (saith he) are persuaded, and do believe these things by us taught, and said to be true, and undertake that they can live so according to them;—are brought thither, where water is, and are regenerated after the same manner as we have been regenerated. I farther add, that even this faith is expressed to be the effect of divine grace, and inspiration; for, when St. Peter had confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, our Saviour tells him, That flesh and blood had not revealed that unto him, but his Father in heaven70; and, No man (St. Paul tells us) can call Jesus Lord, but by the holy Ghost71; And, Every Spirit, which confesseth Jesus Christ to have been come in the flesh, is of God (saith St. John)72. So that even, this is a faith, in respect to which the holy Ghost is called the spirit of faith73, which is the fruit of the spirit74; and the gift of God75; that which no man can have without God's drawing him; and teaching him; No man can come unto me except the Father that hath sent me shall draw him (κλύσ ατόν.) Every one that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me76: to which it is ordinarily required, that God should open the heart, as he did Lydia’s heart, to attend, and assent unto what St. Paul taught77: Neither doth the Scripture (as I conceive) attribute any thing unto faith, which doth not agree to this notion.

10We might lastly adjoin, that this was the common, and current notion of Faith among the ancient Christians; neither do we, I suppose, meet with any other in their Writings; all which things do abundantly confirm the truth thereof.

  • 78 Cum [ut diximus] hoc sit hominis Christiani tides, fideliter [Christum credere, et hoc sit Christum (...)
  • 79 Acts XI, 21; IX, 35; XIV, 15; XXVI, 18.
  • 80 Acts V, 32; 1 Thess. I, 8; Rom. I, 5; VI, 17; XVI, 17.
  • 81 2 Cor. IX, 13.
  • 82 Acts XI, 23.
  • 83 /Pet III, 21.
  • 84 Luke XXIV, 47.
  • 85 Acts II, 38.
  • 86 Acts III, 19; XVII, 30.
  • 87 Acts XI, 18.
  • 88 Acts XV, 9.
  • 89 Rom. X, 9.
  • 90 Acts VIII, 37.
  • 91 [fullness of assurance].
  • 92 Heb. X, 22, 23; VI, 11, 12; 1 Thess. 1, 5; Col. I, 23; II, 5, 7; IV, 12; 2 Cor. VIII, 7.
  • 93 Matt. VIII, 26.
  • 94 Matt. XIV, 31.
  • 95 Matt. XIII, 20, 21.
  • 96 John XII, 42.
  • 97 Acts VIII, 12, 21.
  • 98 Acts XXVI, 28.
  • 99 Matt. X, 38; XI, 29; Luke IX, 23; XIV, 26, 27: XVI, 24.
  • 100 Matt. XIII, 44, 45; Luke XIV, 28, 31.
  • g as St. Paul teaches us] possibly T.
  • 101 2 Thess. II, 10; 1 Cor. XIII, 2; Gal. V, 6.
  • 102 Credere se in Christum quomodo dicit, qui non facit quod Christus facere praecipit? Cypr. De Unit. (...)

115. But I must farther observe particularly (in correspondence to what was before more generally observed,) that this Faith doth not onely denote precisely, and abstractedly such acts of mind, such opinions and persuasions concerning the truth of matters specified, but doth also connote, and imply78 (indeed comprehend according to the meaning of those, who use the word) such acts of will, as, supposing those persuasions to be real and complete, are naturally consequent upon them, and are in a manner necessarily coherent with them; a firm resolution constantly to profess, and adhere unto the doctrine, of which a man is so persuaded; to obey all the laws and precepts, which it contains; forsaking in open profession, and in real practices all principles, rules, customes, inconsistent with those doctrines and laws; that which is called conversion, or returning to the Lord (that is, leaving a course of rebellion, and disobedience to those laws, which the Lord in the Gospel commands, and resolvedly betaking themselves to the observance of them) πολύς τε ὄχλος πιστεύσας ἐπέστρεφεν ἐπί τὀν Κύριον, a great multitude (it is said) believing, did return unto the Lord79; their faith did carry with it such a conversion. Hence this faith is styled πειθαρχεῖν θεῷ (to obey God's command,) παϰούειν τῷ εύαγγελίῳ, to obey the Gospel, παϰούειν τῇ πίατει, to obey the faith80; ὑποταγὴ τῆς ὁμολογίας εἰς τò εὐαγγέλιον (subjection of professing the gospel of Christ)81 with purpose of heart to adhere unto God82; stipulation of a good conscience toward God83 (that which St. Peter intimates, as a necessary concomitant of baptism, it being a sincere undertaking, and engaging ones self to obey God’s commandments) in fine, to repent; which is either adequately the same thing with faith, or included therein, according to the Apostolical meaning of the word; for that remission of sins, which is sometime made the consequent of faith, is otherwhere expresly annex’d to repentance: The summe of the Gospel our Saviour himself expresses by the preaching in his name repentance, and remission of sins in all nations84: and Repent (St. Peter preached,) and let every one of you be baptized85: And, Repent, (said he again) and return, that your sins may be blotted out86; and, Then to the Gentiles (say those in the Acts) hath God given repentance unto life87; which signifies the same with that other expression concerning the same persons, God’s having purified their hearts by faith88; in which places I take repentance to import the same thing with faith; being in effect nothing else, but sincere embracing Christian Religion. Now the word faith is thus extended (beyond its natural and primary force) to comprehend such a compliance of will, or purpose of obedience, because this doth naturally arise from a persuasion concerning the truth of the Gospel, if it be real and strong enough, in that degree, which Christianity requires, and supposes to the effects mentioned in the Gospel; if it be n τῇ ϰαρδίᾳ in the heart (or a hearty faith) as St. Paul speaks89; if it be such, as Philip exacts of the Eunuch, a belief ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ϰαρδίας, from the whole heart90; if it have that due plerophorie91, that stability, that solidity, which the Apostles speak of92: for a weak, faint, slight, ill-grounded, ill-rooted opinion concerning the truth of the Gospel (such as those in another case had, whom our Saviour rebuked with a τί δειλοί ἐστε, ὀλιγόπιστοι; why are ye fearfull, O ye small in faith93? such as St. Peter had, when our Saviour said to him, ὀλιγόπιστε τί ἐδίστασας; O thou of small faith, why didst thou doubt94? which faith could not keep them, nor him from sinking; not such as those had, who heard the word, and gladly received it; but wanted root, so that, when persecution, or affliction did arise for the word; they were presently scandalized95; not such a faith, as those many Rulers had, who are said to have believed in Jesus, but for fear of the Pharisees, did not confess him96; not such, as Simon Magus had, who is said to have believed Philip, but to no good effect, because his heart was not right before God97; he having not thoroughly resolved to obey the Gospel; not such as Agrippa had, whom St. Paul had almost persuaded to be a Christian)98 these sorts of faith are in comparison to that we speak of but equivocally so called; it includes a firm resolution to perform carefully all the duties injoyned to Christians, to undergo patiently all the crosses incident to Christianity; it is the same with becoming a disciple of Christ, which a man cannot be without renouncing all other interests and concernments, without denying ones self, forsaking all and following him; without taking his yoke upon him. going after, and bearing his cross99: it supposes (as our Saviour also teaches us,) that a man hath cast up with himself the gain and loss he is like to receive by the bargain; and being satisfied therein to contract bona fide with God; that a man hath weighed all the pains and dangers he shall be put upon by entering into this warfare100; and so resolvedly to adventure upon it; it is productive of love to the truth, yea of love to God, and charity to men; without which all faith is unprofitable, and ineffectual,g as St. Paul teaches us101. In short, this Faith is nothing else but a true, serious, resolute embracing Christianity; not onely being persuaded that all the doctrines of Christ are true, but submitting to his will and command in all things102.

12But to prevent mistakes, and remove objections, I shall yet further observe,

  • 103 [restoration].
  • 104 2 Cor. V, 18, 19.
  • 105 Luke XXIV, 47.
  • 106 Acts V, 31.
  • 107 Acts X, 43.
  • 108 Acts XIII, 38, * ϰαταγγέλλεται.
  • 109 Rom. III, 25.
  • 110 [tending to draw towards],
  • 111 Rom. III, 26; XV, 9; Eph. I, 6.
  • 112 [being brought back to their previous state].
  • 113 Acts VIII, 37; Rom. X, 9.

136. That this Faith hath, although not an adequate, yet a peculiar respect unto that part of Christian truth, which concerns the mercifull intentions of God toward mankind, and the gracious performances of our Saviour in order to the accomplishing them; the promises of pardon to our sins, and restoral103 into God’s favour upon the terms propounded in the Gospel, of sincere faith and repentance; whence, the Gospel is called λόγος καταλλαγς (the word of reconciliation) and this is expressed as a summary of the Apostolick ministery or message; that God was in Christ reconciling the world, not imputing their sins104; And, this our Saviour did order, in especial manner to be preached in his name105; this accordingly they did mainly propound and inculcate; that God had exalted Jesus to his right hand as a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel, and remission of sins106; that he should receive remission of sins, whoever did believe in his name107; Let it be known unto you, brethren, that by this man remission of sins is * denounced unto you108, (so did they preach.) Whence this faith is (signanter) called belief in the blood of Christ109: Indeed of all Christian doctrines this is most proper first to be propounded and persuaded; as the most attractive110 to the belief of the rest; most encouraging and comfortable to men; most apt to procure glory to God by the illustration of his principal attributes, his justice and his goodness111; most sutable to the state of things between God, and man; for men being in a state of rebellion and enmity toward God, in order to their reducement112 and recovery thence it was most proper that in the first place an overture of mercy and pardon should be made; an act of oblivion should be passed and propounded to them: Yet are not these propositions and promises the adequate or entire object of this faith; for other Articles of faith are often propounded in a collateral order with those, yea sometimes (as in the case of the Eunuch) others are expressed, when that is not mentioned; but onely understood113: neither if any one should believe all the doctrines of that kind; if he did not withall believe that Jesus is his Lord, and shall be his Judge; that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, and a judgment to come, with the like fundamental verities of our Religion, would he be a believer in this sense.

  • 114 Fides dicit, parata sunt magna et incomprehensibilia dona a Deo fidelibus suis; dicit spes mihi ill (...)
  • 115 [truthful].
  • h Say.]; B, 1683 say
  • 116 Jer. XVII, 9.
  • 117 Qui perseveraverit usque ad finem, hic salvus erit; quicquid ante finem fuerit, gradus est, quo ad (...)
  • 118 Luke XV, 19.
  • 119 Matt. VIII, 8, 10.
  • 120 Matt. IX, 28, 29; XV, 27, 28.
  • 121 Rom. IV, 2l, 11; Heb. XI, 19.
  • 122 [fullness of assurance].
  • 123 Rom. IV, 20 πληροφορηθεὶς, 21.
  • 124 Cot. I, 23; Heb. III, 6.
  • 125 1 John III, 21.
  • 126 Cor. IV, 4.
  • 127 1 Sam. XVI, 7.
  • 128 2 Cor. X, 18.
  • 129 Ps. XIX, 12.
  • 130 Prov. XX, 9.
  • 131 Ps. CXXXIX, 24.
  • 132 μὴ ὑψηλοφρόνει, ἀλλἀ φοὅοῦ. Rom. XI, 20.
  • 133 Prov. XXVIII, 14.
  • 134 Nunquam est de salute propria mens secura sapientis. Salv. ad Eccl. Cath. II [Adv. Avaritiam, Migne(...)
  • 135 2 Pet, I, 10.
  • 136 Quem censeas digniorem, nisi emendatiorem? Quem emendatiorem, nisi timidiorem? Tertull. de Poenit. (...)
  • 137 Luke XVIII, 14; X, 29.
  • 138 Luke XVI, 15.
  • 139 Luke XVIII, 14; 2 Sam. XXII, 28; Ps. XXXIV, 18.
  • 140 [Matt. XXIII, 12.]
  • 141 Isa. LXVI, 2; LVII, 15.
  • 142 Gen. XXXII, 10.
  • 143 Ps. CXIX, 120.
  • 144 1 Pet. I, 17; Phil. II, 12; 2 Pet. I, 10.
  • 145 [sometimes].
  • 146 Ps. CII, 6.
  • 147 Ps. XXXVIII, 3.
  • 148 Ps. CXLIII, 4.
  • 149 Jet. V, 25.
  • 150 Matt. XXVII, 46; Ps. XXII, 1.
  • 151 Ps. XXX, 7; LXXXIX, 46; LII, 5; LXIX, 16.

147. I observe farther, that this Faith doth relate onely to propositions revealed by God114 (or at least, deduced from principles of reason, such as are, that there is a God; that God is good, veracious115 and faithfull; that our religion is true in the gross; that the holy Scriptures were written by divine inspiration; which propositions we believe upon rational grounds and motives) not unto other propositions concerning particular matter of fact, subject to private conscience or experience; nor to any conclusions depending upon such propositions: For instance, it is a part of this faith to believe that God is mercifull and gracious; that he bears good will unto, and is disposed to pardon every penitent sinner; or (which is all one) that supposing a man doth believe, and hath repented, God doth actually love him, and doth forgive his sins; this is, Ih say, indeed a part of the faith we speak of, its object being part of the Gospel revealed unto us: but the being persuaded that God doth love me, or hath pardoned my sins, or that I am in a state of favour with God, may, as my circumstances may be, not be my duty; however it is no part of this faith, but a matter of opinion, dependent upon private experience: For such a persuasion must be grounded upon my being conscious to my self of having truly and thoroughly repented (this being required by God, as a necessary condition toward my obtaining pardon and his favour) of having performed which duty I may presume, when it is false (and therefore cannot then be obliged to believe it) and may doubt, when it is true, and that not without good reason; considering the blindness and fallibility of man’s mind, and that man’s heart is deceitfull above all things116 as the Prophet tells us; upon which account, then a man may not be obliged to have such a persuasion: it is indeed a great fault to doubt, or distrust on that hand, which concerns God; about his goodness, his truth, his wisedom, or power; but it is not always (perhaps not commonly) blameable to question a man's own qualifications, or his own performances, whether in kind, or degree they be answerable to what God requires117; that is inconsistent with true faith, but this not: We cannot have any good religious affections toward God, if we do not take him to be our gracious father; but we may have in us such affections toward him, and he may be favourably disposed toward us, when we suspect our selves to be untoward children, unworthy (as the prodigal Son in the Gospel confessed himself) to be called the sons of God118; the Centurion, in the Gospel did confess himself unworthy that Christ should enter under his roof; but he declared his persuasion, that if Christ should onely speak a word, his child should be healed; and our Saviour thereupon professes, that he had not found so much faith in Israel119: to the blind men imploring his relief our Saviour puts the question, Do ye believe that I can doe this? they answered, Yes Lord; he required no more of them; but said thereupon, according to your faith, let it be done unto you120. And that for which Abraham the Father of believers his faith is represented so acceptable, is, his firm persuasion concerning God’s power121; because (saith St. Paul) he had a plerophory122, that what was promised, God was able to perform; by doing thus, he was a believer, and thereby gave glory to God (as the Apostle there adds;)123 if we do not then distrust God, we may have faith, although we distrust our selves. It is true (generally, and absolutely speaking) we should endeavour so fully and clearly to repent, and to perform whatever God requires of us124; that we may thence acquire a good hope concerning our state; we should labour, that our hearts may not condemn us125 of any presumptuous transgressing our duty; and consequently that we may become in a manner confident of God's favour toward us; but when we have done the best we can, even when we are not conscious of any enormous fault or defect, yet we may consider with St. Paul, that we are not thereby justified126; but abide liable to the more certain cognisance and judgment of God, who seeth not as man seeth127; that we are not capable, or competent judges of our selves; nor are ever the better for thinking well of our selves; since (as St. Paul tells us again) he is not approved that commends himself, but whom the Lord commendeth128: for that, delicta sua quis intelligit? who can thoroughly understand and scann his own errours129? who can say I have made my heart clean, I am purged of my sin130? who can know (if the Psalmist implieth that he could not) untill God hath searched him and discovers it, whether there be any secret way of wickedness in him131; whether he be sufficiently grieved for having offended God, fully humbled under the sense of his sins, thoroughly resolved to amend his life? however it often happens that true faith and sincere repentance are in degree very defective; in which case we may, without prejudicing the truth of our faith, suspect the worst, yea I conceive it is more safe, and commendable so to doe132: if in any, then chiefly, I suppose, in this most important and critical affair, the Wise-man’s sentence doth hold, Blessed is he that feareth always133,-so feareth, as thereby to become more solicitous and watchfull over his heart, and ways134; more carefull and studious of securing his salvation finally; to render his calling and election in the event more firm135, and in his apprehension more hopefull. I dare say of two persons otherwise alike qualified, he that upon this ground (fearing his own unworthiness, or defect of his performances) is most doubtfull of his state, doth stand really upon better terms with God136; as the Pharisee, who justified himself, and took himself to be in a very good condition, was indeed less justified (somewhat the less for that conceit of his) than the poor Publican, who was sensible of his own unworthiness, and condemned himself in his own opinion137: the great danger lies on that hand of being presumptuous, arrogant and self-conceited, which God hates; and on this hand there usually lies humility, modesty and poverty of Spirit, which God loves. As every high thing (every elevation of mind) is abominable in God’s sight138; and he depresseth him that exalteth himself139; so lowly thoughts are gracious in God’s regard; he raiseth him, that humbleth himself, and is lowly in his own eyes140: he hath an especial respect to him, that is of a poor and contrite heart, and trembleth at his word141. It is a property of good men (being such as often reflect upon their own hearts and ways, and thence discern the defects in them) with Jacob, to think themselves less than the least of God’s mercies142; with David to be afraid of God’s judgments143; it is their duty to pass the time of their sojourning here in fear, to work out their salvation with fear and trembling144. I may add, that sometime145 a person much loving God, and much beloved of him, may be like a Pelican in the wilderness, and an Owle of the desert146; from an apprehension of God’s anger may have no soundness in his flesh, nor rest in his bones by reason of his sin147; may have his spirit overwhelmed, and his heart within him desolate148: may fear that his sins have separated between him and his God149; and that he is forsaken of God150; God hiding his face, and withdrawing his light of his countenance, he may be troubled; may have his soul cast down and disquieted within him151; may be ready to say, I am cut off from before thine eyes1; even such a man in such a state of distress and doubt, may continue a believer; he retaining honourable thoughts of God (in which the worth and vertue of true faith consisteth) although dejected by the conscience of his own infirmities, by suspicion of his own indispositions, and consequently by the fear of God’s displeasure.

  • 152 Ps. XXXI, 22.
  • 153 Sed tide hoc beneficium accipiendum est, qua credere nos oportet, quod propter Christum nobis donen (...)
  • 154 [antecedent].
  • 155 [precedes].
  • 156 Heb. XI, 6.
  • 157 John XVI, 27.
  • 158 Jas. II, 23.
  • 159 [means, intercessor, mediator].

15Farther, that this faith doth not essentially include a respect to such particular propositions, or does not (as many in these two latter ages have deemed and taught) consist152 in our being persuaded that our sins are pardon’d, or our persons just in God’s esteem153; that we are acceptable to God, and stand possessed of his favour, it appears from hence, that faith is in holy Scripture represented in nature precedaneous154 to God’s benevolence (especial I mean, not general benevolence, for that prevents155 all acts and dispositions of us, or in us) to his conferring remission of sins, accepting and justifying our persons; it is a previous condition, without which (as the Apostle teaches us) it is impossible to please God156; it is a reason of God’s love (The Father, saith our Lord, loves you, because ye have loved me, and believed that I came from God)157 it is a ground of divine acceptation and good-will (Abraham believed God, saith St. James, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, and he was called the friend of God)158 it is a mean159, or instrument (so it is constantly represented) by which we are justified, obtain God’s favour, and the remission of our sins; and therefore is in order of nature previous and prerequisite thereto; it is therefore required before baptism, in which remission of sins is consigned: God justifies, accepts and pardons him, that hath been impious, but not him that is an infidel: This is the method plainly declared in Scripture; wherefore if faith implyes a persuasion that God hath remitted our sins, it must imply an antecedent faith (even a justifying faith, antecedent to it self,) or that we believe before we believe, and are justified before we are justified. I add, that by this notion many, or most (I will not after the Council of Trent say all) humble and modest Christians are excluded from being believers; even all those who are not confident of their own sincerity and sanctity, and consequently cannot be assured of their standing in God’s favour: and on the other side, the most presumptuous, and fanatical sort of people are most certainly the truest and strongest believers, as most partaking of the most essential property thereof, according to that notion; for of all men living such are wont to be most assured of God’s especial love unto them, and confident that their sins are pardoned; Experience sufficiently shews this to be true, and consequently that such a notion of Faith cannot be good.

  • 160 Nunc justa fidei definitio nobis constabit, si dicamus esse divinae erga nos benevolentiae firman c (...)
  • 161 ... firmus assensus... quo certa fiducia in Deo acquiescens, firmiter unusquisque fidelis statuit, (...)
  • 162 Heb. XI, 6.
  • 163 Eph. II, 8; Rom. X, 9.
  • 164 [circular argument].
  • 165 [the cause of its taking place].
  • 166 Jas. II, 23.
  • 167 John XVII, 3, 8.
  • 168 2 Pet. I, 10.
  • 169 [overthrown].

16Much less is that notion of faith right, which defines faith to be a firm and certain knowledge of God’s eternal good-will toward us particularly, and that we shall be saved; which notion (taught in the beginning of the Reformation by a man of greatest name and authority)160 was thus lately expressed by the Professours of Leyden in their Synopsis purioris Theologiae: Faith (they say, in their definition thereof) is a firm assent—by which every believer with a certain trust resting in God, is persuaded not onely that remission of sins is in general promised to them who believe, but is granted to himself particularly, and eternal righteousness, and from it life, by the mercy of God, etc.161 which notion seems to be very uncomfortable, as rejecting every man from the company of believers, who is either ignorant or doubtfull, not onely concerning his present, but his final state; who hath not, not onely a good opinion, but a certain knowledge of his present sincerity and sanctity; yea not onely of this, but of his future constant perseverance therein; so that if a man be not sure he hath repented, he is (according to this notion) sure that he hath not repented, and is no believer: how many good people must this doctrine discourage and perplex? to remove it, we may consider, 1. that it altogether inverts and confounds the order of things declared in Scripture, wherein Faith (as we observed before) is set before obtaining God’s good-will, as a prerequisite condition thereto; and is made a means of salvation (without faith it is impossible to please God162; By grace we are saved, through faith163). And if we must believe before God loves us, (with such a love as we speak of) and before we can be saved; then must we know that we believe before we can know that God loves us, or that we shall be saved; and consequently we must indeed believe before we can know that God loves us, or that we shall be saved. But this doctrine makes the knowledge of God’s love and of salvation in nature antecedent to faith, as being an essential ingredient into it; which is preposterous: Consider this circle of discourse164: A man cannot know that he believes, without he does believe (this is certain) a man cannot know that he shall be saved, without knowing he doth believe (this is also certain, for upon what ground, from what evidence can he know his salvation, but by knowing his faith.) But again backward, A man (say they) cannot believe (and consequently not know that he believes) without being assured of his salvation: What an inextricable maze and confusion is here? this doctrine indeed doth make the knowledge of a future event to be the cause of its being future165; it supposes God to become our friend (as Abraham was by his faith)166 by our knowing that he is our friend; it makes us to obtain a reward by knowing that we shall obtain it; it supposes the assurance of our coming to a journeys end to be the way of getting thither; which who can conceive intelligible, pr true? Our Saviour doth indeed tell us, that it is the way to life everlasting (or conducible to the attaining it) to know (that is, to believe, as it is interpreted in the 8th verse of that chapter; for what upon good grounds we are persuaded of, or judge true, we may be said to know) the true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent167; but he doth not say it is life everlasting (or conducible to the obtaining it) to know, that we shall have life everlasting: that were somewhat strange to say. St. Peter exhorts us to use diligence to make our calling and election sure168 (or firm, and stable) but he doth not bid us know it to be sure; if we did know it to be so, what need should we have to make it so; yea how could we make it so? he doth not injoyn us to be sure of it in our opinion, but to secure it in the event by sincere obedience, and a holy life; by so impressing this persuasion upon our minds, so rooting the love of God and his truth in our hearts, that no temptation may be able to subvert our faith, or to pluck out our charity. 2. This notion plainly supposes the truth of that doctrine, that no man being once in God’s favour can ever quite lose it; the truth of which I shall not contest now (nor alledge the many clear passages of Scripture, nor the whole tenour of the Gospel, nor the unanimous consent of all Christendom for fifteen hundred years against it) but shall onely take notice, that their notion of faith necessarily presupposing the truth of this doctrine is yet thereby everted169: for it follows thence, that no man, who doth not assent to that doctrine, is, or can be a believer: for he that is not assured of the truth of that opinion (although we suppose him assured of his present sincerity, and being in a state of grace) cannot know that he shall be saved: So that onely such as agree with them in that opinion can be believers, which is somewhat hard, or rather very absurd; and to aggravate this inconvenience I adjoyn; 3. that according to their notion scarce any man (except some have had an especial revelation concerning their salvation) before the late alterations in Christendom, was a believer; for before that time it hardly appears, that any man did believe, as they do, that a man cannot fall from grace; and therefore scarce any man could be assured, that he should be saved; and therefore scarce any man could be a believer in their sense.

  • 170 De Core, et Gr„ cap. ix, xiii; [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 44]; De Dono Persev., cap. viii, xiii [ibid (...)
  • 171 [assumption].
  • 172 [not identified].
  • i own] probably T.
  • 173 [cap. i; Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 45, col. 993].
    .... nec sibi quisque ita notus est, ut sit de sua c (...)

17St. Augustine himself (whose supposed patronage stands them in so much stead upon other occasions) hath often affirmed170, that divers have had given them that faith, that charity, that justification, wherein if they had dyed, they should have been saved; who yet were not saved: which persons surely, when they were in that good state, (admitting them according to St. Augustine’s supposal171 to have been in it) were as capable of knowing their salvation, as any other man can be, yea St. Augustine himself (considering that Accidere cuiquam quod potest, cuivis potest172 what was another man’s case might be his, there being no ground of difference) could not be more sure of hisi own salvation at any time, than such persons were at that time: According to St. Augustine s judgment therefore no man could know that he should be saved (his salvation depending upon perseverance, which in his opinion not being given to all, must as to our knowledge (whatever it might be in respect to God’s decree) be contingent and uncertain) it follows I say upon his suppositions, yea he expresly affirms it; (lib. 2. de dono pers.) Itaq; (says he) utrum quisq; hoc (perseverantiae) munus acceperit, quamdiu hanc vitam ducit, incevtum est: Whether any have received this gift of perseverance while he leads this life is uncertain173. Wherefore St. Augustine could not be assured of his own salvation; and therefore (according to these mens sense) he was no believer, no Christian; which I suppose yet they will not assert, though it be so plainly consequent on their own position. I might, 4. ask of them, if a man should confess ingenuously, that although he did hope for mercy from God in that day, yet that he was not assured of his salvation, whether such a person should be rejected from Christian communion, as no believer: it seems, according to their notion of faith, he should; since by his own (in this particular infallible) judgment it is notorious that he (as being no believer) hath no title unto, or interest in the privileges of Christianity; but this proceeding would very much depopulate the Church, and banish from it, I fear, the best (the most humble and modest, yea the wisest and soberest) members thereof.

18But so much I think suffices for the removal of that new harsh notion, to say no worse of it.

  • 174 Ames Med. I, xxvii. Christus adaequatum objectum [Guiliel. Amesii: Medulla Theologica, Amstelod,, 1 (...)
  • 175 [reclining on, reliance upon; as Barrow intimates the exact meaning is far from clear].
  • 176 [attachment (see recumbency)].
  • j reach. There]; 1683 reach, there B. reach, there
  • 177 [recline on; see recumbency above].
  • k enough;)]; B. 1683 enough)
  • 178 [op. cit. § 18, p. 119].
  • l that, I say,]; B. 1683 that I say
  • 179 [imagine].

19There is another more new than that, devised by some174 (who perceived the inconveniences of the former notions, yet it seems did affect to substitute some new fine one in their room) which if it be not so plainly false, yet is (it seems) more obscure and intricate: it is this; that Faith is not an assent to propositions of any kind, but a recumbency175 leaning, resting, rolling upon, adherency176 to (for they express themselves in these several terms, and others like them) the person of Christ; or, an apprehending and applying to our selves the righteousness of Christ; his person it self, and his righteousness, as simple incomplex things; not any proposition (that they expresly caution against) are the objects, say they, of our faith: they compare our faith to a hand that lays hold upon Christ, and applyes his righteousness; and to an eye that looks upon him, and makes him present to us; and by looking on him (as on the brazen Serpent) cures us: but this notion is so intricate, these phrases are so unintelligible, that I scarce believe the devisers of them did themselves know what they meant by them; I do not, I am sure: for what it is for one body to lean upon, or to be rolled on another; what for one body to reach at, and lay hold upon another; what it is to apply a garment to one's body, or a salve to one’s wounds, I can easily understand; but what it is for a man’s mind to lean upon a person (otherwise than by assenting unto some proposition he speaks, or relying upon some promise he makes) to apply a thing, otherwise than by consenting to some proposition concerning that thing, I cannot apprehend, orj reach. There is not (as we noted before) any faculty or operation of a man’s mind, which answers the intent of such notions or phrases. Let me put this case: suppose a great Province had generally revolted from its Sovereign, whereby the People thereof had all deserved extreme punishment sutable to such an offence; but that the King moved with pity, and upon the intercession of his onely beloved Son (together with a satisfaction offered and performed by him) should resolve to grant a general pardon to them, upon just, and fit, and withall, very easie terms; And that for the execution of this gracious purpose toward them, he should depute and send his Son himself among them to treat with them, by him declaring his mercifull intentions toward them, with the conditions, upon complyance wherewith all, or any of them should be pardon’d their offence, and received into favour; those conditions being, suppose it, that first they should receive and acknowledge his Son for such as he professed himself to be (the King’s Son indeed, who truly brought such a message unto them from his Majesty) then that they should seriously resolve with themselves, and solemnly engage to return unto their due allegiance; undertaking faithfully for ever after to observe those laws, which the said Prince in his Father’s name should propound unto them. Suppose farther, that the Prince in pursuance of this commission and design, being come into the Country, should there send all about Officers of his, injoyning them to discover the intent of his coming, what he offered, and upon what terms; withall, impowering them in his name to receive those, who complyed, into favour, declaring them pardoned of all their offences, and restored to the benefit of the King’s protection, and all the privileges of loyal subjects; suppose now, that these Officers should go to the people, and speak to them in this manner: The King makes an overture of pardon and favour unto you upon condition, that any one of you will recumbe177 rest, lean upon, or roll himself upon the person of his Son (rest upon his person, not onely rely upon his word, that you are to understand) or in case you will lay hold upon, and apply to your selves his Son’s righteousness, by which he hath procured of the King his Father, this mercy and favour for you (not onely being persuaded that he hath performed thus much for you, this is notk enough;) do you think these messengers should thus well express themselves, or perform their message handsomely and with advantage? should not they do much better, laying aside such words of metaphor and mystery, to speak in plain language; telling them, that their King his Son (by plain characters discernible to be truely such) was come among them upon such an intention; that if they would acknowledge him, and undertake thereafter to obey him, they should receive a full pardon, with divers other great favours and advantages thereby? the case is apparently so like to that which stands between God and man, and doth so fully resemble the nature of the Evangelical dispensation, that I need not make any application, or use any more argument to refute that notion; I shall onely say that I conceive these new phrases (for such they are, not known to ancient Christians, nor delivered, either in terms, or sense in Scripture, for the places alledged in favour or proof of them by Ames178, one of the first broachers of them, (all we may presume that they could find anywise seeming to favour their notion) doe not, as if time would permit might easily be shewed, import any such thing, but are strangely misapplyed)l that, I say, these phrases do much obscure the nature of this great duty, and make the state of things in the Gospel, more difficult and dark than it truly is; and thereby seem to be of bad consequence, being apt to beget in people both dangerous presumptions and sad perplexities: for they hearing that they are onely, or mainly bound to have such a recumbency upon Christ, or to make such an application of his righteousness, they begin (accordingly as they take themselves to be directed) to work their minds to it; and when they have hit upon that posture of fancy, which they guess to sute their Teachers meaning, then they become satisfied, and conceit179 they believe well, although perhaps they be ignorant of the principles of the Christian faith, and indisposed to obey the precepts of our Lord: sometimes, on the other side, although they well understand, and are persuaded concerning the truth of all necessary Christian doctrines, and are well disposed to observe God’s commandments, yet because they cannot tell whether they apprehend Christ’s person dexterously, or apply to themselves his righteousness in the right manner, as is prescribed to them (of which it is no wonder that they should doubt, since it is so hard to know what the doing so means) they become disturbed and perplexed in their minds; questioning whether they do believe or no: Thus by these notions (or phrases rather) are some men tempted fondly to presume, and other good people are wofully discouraged by them; both being thence diverted, or withdrawn from their duty: whereas what it is to believe, as Christians anciently did understand it, and as we have assayed to explain it, is very easy to conceive; and the taking it so, can have no other than very good influence upon practice, as both reason (as we have insinuated) shews, and the Scripture largely and plainly affirms. But let thus much suffice for the enquiry concerning the genuine nature and notion of Faith proper to this place (that faith by which in this Text we are said to be Justified) the other particulars I cannot so much as touch upon at this time.

20I end with those good prayers of our Church:

  • 180 Fifth Sunday after Easter.

21O Lord, from whom all good things do come. Grant to us thy humble servants, that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that be good; and by thy mercifull guiding may perform the same, through our Lord Jesus Christ180. Amen.

  • 181 14th Sunday after Trinity.

22Almighty and Everlasting Lord, give unto us the encrease of faith, hope and charity, and that we may obtain that which thou dost promise, make us to love that which thou dost command, through Jesus Christ our Lord181. Amen.

Notes

1 [pertinent].

2 Top. IV, v [126 b, 18].

3 Aut proba esse quae credis; aut si non probas, quomodo credis? Tertul. Adv. Marc. V, 1. [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 2, col. 501).
ταν γάρ πως πιστεύη ϰαὶ γνώριμοι αὐτῷ ὦσιν αί ἀρχαί, έπίσταται. Arist. Eth. VI, iii [4].
Ἀριστοτέλης δὲ τὀ ἑπόμενον τῇ ἐπιστήμῃ ϰρῖμα ὡς αληθὲς, τὀ δέ τι πίστιν εἶναι φησὶ. Clem. Strom. II, p. 287. [cap. IV, Migne, Patrol. gr„ t. 8, col. 945.]
ἔνιοι γἀρ πιστεύουσιν οδὲν ἧττον οἶς δοξάζουσιν ἢ ἕτεροι οἷς ἐπίστανται.
Arist. Eth. VII, iii [Eth. Nic., VII, 5, 1146 b, 29-30].

4 [has this meaning].

5 Rom. IV, 21; Heb. XI, 19.

6 Heb. XI, 11.

7 Ps. CVI, 24; LXXVIII, 32.

8 2 Thess. II, 12.

9 Ps. CXIX, 66.

10 Mark I, 15; Phil. I, 27.

11 [reasoning].

12 John IV, 39.

13 John XX, 29.

14 John II, 23.

15 Exod. XIV, 31; XIX, 9; John V, 45; etc.

16 2 Chron. XX, 20.

17 Luke XXIV, 25.

18 Acts XXIV, 14.

19 Ps. LXXVIII, 32.

20 Jet. XVII. 5; XLVI, 25.

21 Ps. CXVIII, 8, etc.

22 Rom. IV, 20.

23 fas. II, 23.

24 1 Tim. I, 5; 2 Tim. I, 5.

25 Jas. III, 17; Rom. IV, 20.

26 Rom. XIV, 1: 1 Cor. VIII, 10; Rom. IV, 19.

27 Matt. VI, 30; VIII, 26; etc.

28 fas. II, 17, 20; Gal. V, 6.

29 Rom. IV, 19.

30 Rom. IV, 20.

31 Heb. XI, 8.

32 Rom. III, 3, 22, 26; Gal. II, 16.20; III, 22; Phil. III, 9; Apoc. [Rev.] II, 13; XIV, 12.
εἰς Acts XX, 21; XXIV, 25; XXVI, 18; Col. II, 5; etc.
πί. Heb. VI, 1; Acts IX, 42; XXII, 19; etc.
ν. Gal. III, 26: 1 Tim. III, 13; 2 Tim. III, 15: Acts XIII, 39: etc.
τχριστ Acts V, 14; XVI, 34; XVIII, 8; XXVII, 25; John V, 24; X, 37, 38; XIV, 11; etc.
Θἰς ὄν α. John I, 12; II, 23; 1 John V, 13; etc.
τoῦ. Acts III, 16.
τῷ. 1 John III, 23.

33 Matt. I, 15: Phil. I, 27; 1 Pet. IV, 17.

34 2 Thess. II, 12, 13.

35 * 1 Tim. IV, 3; II, 4; Tit. I, 1; Heb. X, 26; 1 Tim. II, 4; etc.

36 [implying].

37 a John V, 46, 47.

38 b John XII, 47.

39 c John XII, 48; XVII, 8: Acts XI, 1.

40 d John III, 33.

41 *John I, 12; XIII, 20; V, 43.

42 f John VI, 37, 44, 65; V, 40; Matt. XI, 28.

43 g John XVII, 8; V, 24; VI, 29; XI, 42; XVI, 30; XVII, 21.

44 k I John IV, 2, 15; John IV, 42; 1 John V, 1,5; John, I, 49; XX, 31; Acts VIII, 37.

45 John VIII, 24; XIII, 29.

46 1 Rom. X, 9; John VI, 45: ἀϰoύσας παρτoῦ πατρὀς ϰαμαθὼν.

47 [Hor., Ep. I, i, 45-6.]

48 [unidentified, but cf. Ovid: Rem. Amoris, 229: ut corpus redimas, ferrum patieris et ignes].

49 1 John V, 1, 12.

50 1 John IV, 15.

51 1 John II, 23, 24.

52 John XVI, 27; 2 Thess. II, 13; Eph. I, 13; Acts XV, 7, 9.

53 1 John V, 5.

54 John VIII, 31, 32.

55 John V, 24.

56 John XX, 31.

57 2 John 9.

58 John VI, 47; III, 36, 15, 16.

59 Col. II, 12.

60 Rom. X, 9.

61 Rom. X, 10

62 John XI, 26, 27.

63 Matt. XVI, 16; John VI, 69.

64 Acts II, 41. οἱ [μὲν οὖν] ἀσμένως ἀποδεξάμενοι τòν λόγον.

65 Acts VIII, 12.

66 Acts VIII. 37, 38.

67 Acts XVI, 14, 15.

68 Acts XVII, 3, 4; IX, 20; XVI, 32; XVII, 11, 12.

69 Apol. [Apologia Prima Pro Christianis, cap. 61. Migne, Patrol. gr„ t. 6, col. 419].

70 Matt. XVI, 17.

71 1 Cor. XII, 3; 1 Cor. II, 10; 2 Cor. IV, 6; 2 Pet. I. 19.

72 1 John IV. 2; Eph. I, 17, 18.

73 2 Cor. IV, 13.

74 Gal V, 22.

75 Eph. II, 8; Phil. I, 29.

76 John VI, 44, 45.

77 Acts XVI, 14.

78 Cum [ut diximus] hoc sit hominis Christiani tides, fideliter [Christum credere, et hoc sit Christum fideliter credere], Christi mandata servare, sit absque dubio, ut nec fidem habeat qui infidelis est, nec Christum credat, qui Christi mandata conculcat. Salv. de Provid IV, i [De Gubernatione Dei, Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 53, col. 69].

79 Acts XI, 21; IX, 35; XIV, 15; XXVI, 18.

80 Acts V, 32; 1 Thess. I, 8; Rom. I, 5; VI, 17; XVI, 17.

81 2 Cor. IX, 13.

82 Acts XI, 23.

83 /Pet III, 21.

84 Luke XXIV, 47.

85 Acts II, 38.

86 Acts III, 19; XVII, 30.

87 Acts XI, 18.

88 Acts XV, 9.

89 Rom. X, 9.

90 Acts VIII, 37.

91 [fullness of assurance].

92 Heb. X, 22, 23; VI, 11, 12; 1 Thess. 1, 5; Col. I, 23; II, 5, 7; IV, 12; 2 Cor. VIII, 7.

93 Matt. VIII, 26.

94 Matt. XIV, 31.

95 Matt. XIII, 20, 21.

96 John XII, 42.

97 Acts VIII, 12, 21.

98 Acts XXVI, 28.

99 Matt. X, 38; XI, 29; Luke IX, 23; XIV, 26, 27: XVI, 24.

100 Matt. XIII, 44, 45; Luke XIV, 28, 31.

101 2 Thess. II, 10; 1 Cor. XIII, 2; Gal. V, 6.

102 Credere se in Christum quomodo dicit, qui non facit quod Christus facere praecipit? Cypr. De Unit. Eccl. [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 4, col. 511].

103 [restoration].

104 2 Cor. V, 18, 19.

105 Luke XXIV, 47.

106 Acts V, 31.

107 Acts X, 43.

108 Acts XIII, 38, * ϰαταγγέλλεται.

109 Rom. III, 25.

110 [tending to draw towards],

111 Rom. III, 26; XV, 9; Eph. I, 6.

112 [being brought back to their previous state].

113 Acts VIII, 37; Rom. X, 9.

114 Fides dicit, parata sunt magna et incomprehensibilia dona a Deo fidelibus suis; dicit spes mihi illa bona servantur; charitas dicit curro ego ad illa. Bern. [Dicit ergo fides: parata sunt magna et inexcogitabilia bona a Deo fidelibus suis. Dicit spes: mihi illa servantur. Nam tertia quidem charitas: curro mihi ait ad illa. Serm. X, in Ps. XC. Migne, Patrol. lat„ t. 183, col. 221].

115 [truthful].

116 Jer. XVII, 9.

117 Qui perseveraverit usque ad finem, hic salvus erit; quicquid ante finem fuerit, gradus est, quo ad fastigium salutis ascenditur, non terminus, quo jam culminis summa teneatur, etc. Cypr. De Unit. Eccl., p. 259. [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 4, col. 532.]

118 Luke XV, 19.

119 Matt. VIII, 8, 10.

120 Matt. IX, 28, 29; XV, 27, 28.

121 Rom. IV, 2l, 11; Heb. XI, 19.

122 [fullness of assurance].

123 Rom. IV, 20 πληροφορηθεὶς, 21.

124 Cot. I, 23; Heb. III, 6.

125 1 John III, 21.

126 Cor. IV, 4.

127 1 Sam. XVI, 7.

128 2 Cor. X, 18.

129 Ps. XIX, 12.

130 Prov. XX, 9.

131 Ps. CXXXIX, 24.

132 μὴ ὑψηλοφρόνει, ἀλλἀ φοὅοῦ. Rom. XI, 20.

133 Prov. XXVIII, 14.

134 Nunquam est de salute propria mens secura sapientis. Salv. ad Eccl. Cath. II [Adv. Avaritiam, Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 53, col, 191].

135 2 Pet, I, 10.

136 Quem censeas digniorem, nisi emendatiorem? Quem emendatiorem, nisi timidiorem? Tertull. de Poenit. VI [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 1, col. 1350],

137 Luke XVIII, 14; X, 29.

138 Luke XVI, 15.

139 Luke XVIII, 14; 2 Sam. XXII, 28; Ps. XXXIV, 18.

140 [Matt. XXIII, 12.]

141 Isa. LXVI, 2; LVII, 15.

142 Gen. XXXII, 10.

143 Ps. CXIX, 120.

144 1 Pet. I, 17; Phil. II, 12; 2 Pet. I, 10.

145 [sometimes].

146 Ps. CII, 6.

147 Ps. XXXVIII, 3.

148 Ps. CXLIII, 4.

149 Jet. V, 25.

150 Matt. XXVII, 46; Ps. XXII, 1.

151 Ps. XXX, 7; LXXXIX, 46; LII, 5; LXIX, 16.

152 Ps. XXXI, 22.

153 Sed tide hoc beneficium accipiendum est, qua credere nos oportet, quod propter Christum nobis donentur remissio peccatorum et justificatio. Aug. Conf.
Quare cum dicit Justificamur fide: vult te intueri filium Dei, sedentem ad dextram Patris, mediatorem, interpellantem pro nobis: et statuere, quod tibi remittantur peccata, quod Justus, id est acceptus reputeris. Melanct. Loc. com., p. 418 [De vocabulo fidei; 1552 ed., Basil., p. 215 (1561, p. 223)].

154 [antecedent].

155 [precedes].

156 Heb. XI, 6.

157 John XVI, 27.

158 Jas. II, 23.

159 [means, intercessor, mediator].

160 Nunc justa fidei definitio nobis constabit, si dicamus esse divinae erga nos benevolentiae firman certamque cognitionem, etc. — Jam in divina benevolentia, quam respicere dicitur fides, intelligimus salutis ac vitae aeternae possessionem obtineri, etc. Calv. Inst. III, [ii], 7 & 28 compar., [Lugd. Batav., 1654, pp. 188(b), 197(a)].

161 ... firmus assensus... quo certa fiducia in Deo acquiescens, firmiter unusquisque fidelis statuit, non solum promissam esse credentibus in genere remissionem peccatorum, sed sibi in particulari concessam, aeternamque justitiam, et ex ea vitam, etc. [Synopsis Purioris Theologiae, Disputationibus quinquaginta duabus comprehensa, Ac conscript a per Johannem Polyandrum, Andream Rivetum, Antonium Walaeum, Antonium Thysium, SS. Theologiae Doctores et Professores in Academia Leidensi, Lugd. Batav., 1658. Disputatio XXXI, De Fide et Perseverantia Sanctorum, Thesis VI, p. 373].

162 Heb. XI, 6.

163 Eph. II, 8; Rom. X, 9.

164 [circular argument].

165 [the cause of its taking place].

166 Jas. II, 23.

167 John XVII, 3, 8.

168 2 Pet. I, 10.

169 [overthrown].

170 De Core, et Gr„ cap. ix, xiii; [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 44]; De Dono Persev., cap. viii, xiii [ibid., t. 45].

171 [assumption].

172 [not identified].

173 [cap. i; Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 45, col. 993].
.... nec sibi quisque ita notus est, ut sit de sua crastina conversatione securus. Aug. Ep. cxxi, ad Probam [Epist. CXXX (alias 121), cap. ii, Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 33, col. 495].
In hoc mundo et in hac vita nulla anima possit esse secura. Ibid. [col. 494].
Quamdiu vivimus in certamine sumus, et quamdiu in certamine nulla est certa victoria. Hier. adv. Pelag. II, 2 [Migne, Patrol, lat., t. 23, col. 565].

174 Ames Med. I, xxvii. Christus adaequatum objectum [Guiliel. Amesii: Medulla Theologica, Amstelod,, 1628. § 17, p. 119: Fides igitur illa proprie dicitur justificans, qua incumbimus in Christum ad remissionem peccatorum et salutem. Christus enim est adequatum objectum fidei, quatenus fides justificat. Fides etiam non alia ratione justificat, nisi quatenus apprehendit illam justitiam, propter quam justificamur: illa autem justitia non est in veritate alicujus axiomatis, cui assendum praebemus, sed in Christo solo, qui factus est pro nobis peccatum, ut nos essemus in ipso justitia. 2 Cor., V, 21].

175 [reclining on, reliance upon; as Barrow intimates the exact meaning is far from clear].

176 [attachment (see recumbency)].

177 [recline on; see recumbency above].

178 [op. cit. § 18, p. 119].

179 [imagine].

180 Fifth Sunday after Easter.

181 14th Sunday after Trinity.

Notes de fin

a true] T. ; B. veracious

b short] T.; B. curt.

c reproof. But] 1683 reproof, but B. reproofe. but

d doth follow] T.

e mentioned] probably T. ; B. touched

f a] T.

g as St. Paul teaches us] possibly T.

h Say.]; B, 1683 say

i own] probably T.

j reach. There]; 1683 reach, there B. reach, there

k enough;)]; B. 1683 enough)

l that, I say,]; B. 1683 that I say

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