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Once more: the perfon who is feeking faith, or defiring to believe, muft either be a believer or an unbeliever; for between thefe there is no confiftent medium. He cannot be a believer; or else what he profeffes to believe, would give reft to his foul. For we who have believed do enter into reft, and cease from thofe fruitlefs works, &c. He must therefore be an unbeliever and as fuch is in a carnal ftate. But the carnal mind is enmity against God. Therefore,

though it is natural enough, for one under the alarms of conscience fincerely to defire peace; it is neither fcriptural nor rational to fay, he defires to believe the truth of Chrift, or is feeking faith in him. He does not understand or know what faith in Christ is; how then can he feek it? His heart rifes in enmity when the pure gofpel is preached ;-how then can he defire it? Would it not much better become chriftian teachers, when they have to deal with fuch perfons as those under confideration, to copy after the example of Chrift in his treatment of the like characters? Matt. xix. 16-21. &c.

Faith has also been defined a condition of juftifica tion; or that act of the mind which God requires us to exert inftead of obeying the whole law; and is frequently called obedience to the new law. This fentiment has been fufficiently expofed by those who have engaged in the Arminian controverfies; and ftands fo much opposed to falvation by grace, that no one can receive it, but he whole mind is blinded by the god of this world, and who is under a ftrong delufion to believe a lie. It indeed comes under the fpecious recommendation of that doctrine, which would seem to wear the face of more than ordinary holiness; but is in fact an abominable Antinomian tenet, and aims at making void the law. As to faith, it is as foreign to the fcripture view of it as darkness is to light. I fhall therefore offer no other refutation of this notion, than Paul's words, Rom.

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iv. 4, 5. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that juftifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteoufnefs.

Again it has been faid that-" Faith is not fimply the believing of any fentence that is written, or that can be thought upon!"-It is feldom expreffed in thefe very words, though the fame thing is to be understood, when we are told that" Faith is a faving grace, implanted in the heart at regeneration (and must therefore be previous to understanding and believing the gofpel) by the Spirit of God, and is a difpofition or readinefs in the human mind, to believe the gospel."-But this faith, whatever it be, cannot be the faith of the operation of God; because that comes by hearing the word of God. It is admitted, that unfeigned faith is a work of the Spirit, and that falvation is infeparably connected with it; yet fcripture and common fenfe forbid us thinking, that faith can exift without a teftimony. The abfurdity of this notion, about a difpofition in the mind towards the gofpel, previous to a true understanding thereof, has been shown in the fixth Section of the firft Effay.

By others faith has been defined, a belief that we have a right to falvation in preference to othersa belief that we are the elect of God-or a perfuafion that Chrift fhed his blood for me in particular, or that I fhall go to heaven, &c. That believers do come to a knowledge of their perfonal intereft in Chrift, and the things that they believe and hope in, is granted; and will be confidered in its proper place. But it is moft certain, that carnal men may and do embolden themselves, upon falfe notions, to use the moft confident expreffions about their perfonal intereft in the favor of God. Such as, "I know fo furely as that there is a God in heaven, that he is my God, and that I fhall as furely

go

Who more

go to heaven as if I were there," &c. confident than the Pharifees? they had no doubt of God being their father; and yet, who more blind to the knowledge of the true God than they? If it be faith, to believe our relation to God, to call ourfelves the dear people of his choice, and appropriate all the bleffings of eternal life to ourfelves; then the Pharifees had faith in a very eminent degree. But to suppose that faith confifts in a firm perfuafion of our own intereft, is, in effect, the very fame thing as to fay, faith is a believing that we believe. To this it will be objected that wicked men. deceiving their own fouls in believing a lie, is no argument. against the appropriating act of faith upon the grant of the gofpel. True, if that were all the ground of objection. But it wants evidence from fcripture to fupport that notion, that God promifes eternal life to every bearer of the gospel, or, which in fact is the fame thing, that every hearer has a right to believe that Chrift died for him in particular. It is granted that the gospel proclaims falvation indefinitely, and declares that every believer thereof shall be faved, and that whofoever believes on Chrift, hath everlafting life yet it gives no ground for any one to affure himself in his firft believing, that Chrift and heaven are infallibly his. Every believer of the gofpel is confident that whofoever believeth on Chrift shall be: faved, and that it may be faid of every one who is faved that Chrift loved him and gave himself for him in particular, while yet he is not confident that this is true of himself, because it remains to be proved that he has believed, and that it is the gospel of Chrift which he does believe. And fince it is not any thing, about ourselves that we are immediately called to believe, but the teftimony that God has given of his Son; our confidence, if it be that which the gospel produces, is not in ourselves, nor of the goodness of our ftate, but in the fufficiency of that falvation which the fcriptures indefinitely proclaim. Befides,

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fome

fome have rejoiced in the word of the gofpel, who have afterwards revolted from their profeffion-many think they believe the truth who are at the fame time holding fome fatal delufion-and it is no where afcertained in the word of God, that Chrift died for the actual tranfgreffions of any perfon in particuJar. But the MYSTERY of this fort of faith is fet before us in the following lines. "Let it be well obferved, that the reafon why we are to affure ourfelves in our faith, that God freely giveth Chrift and his falvation to us particularly, is not, because it is a truth before we believe it, but because it becometh a certain truth when we believe it, and because it will never be true except we do, in some measure perfuade and affure ourselves that it is fo. We have no abfolute promise or declaration in the fcripture, that God certainly will or doth give Chrift and his falvation to any one of us in particular; neither do we know it to be true already either by fcripture, or fenfe, or reafon, before we affure ourfelves abfolutely of it: yea, we are without Christ's falvation at prefent, in a state of fin and mifery, under the curfe and wrath of God. Only I fhall prove, that we are bound, by the command of God, thus to affure ourselves: and the fcripture doth fufficiently warrant us, that we fhall not deceive ourfelves in believing a lie: but according to our faith, fo fhall it be to us. This is a ftrange kind of asfrance, far different from ordinary kinds; and therefore no wonder if it fhould be found weak and imperfect, and difficult to be obtained, and affaulted with many doubtings. We are concerned to believe other things on the clear evidence that they are true, and would remain true, whether we believe them or no; fo that we cannot deny our affent without rebelling againft the light of our fenfes, reason or confcience. But here our affurance is not impreffed on our thoughts by the evidence of the things; but we muft work it out in ourfelves by the affiftance of

the

the Spirit of God, and thereby we bring our own thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Chrift. None but God can justly require of us this kind of affurance, because he only calleth those things that are not, as though they were, he only can give existence to those things that yet are not, and make a thing to be true upon our believing it, that was not true before."*

It is acknowledged in the above citation, that there is no evidence, of any kind, that God gives Christ and his falvation to any one in particular, before we abfolutely affure ourselves of it-that this is not a truth before we believe it, and moreover, will never be true except we do perfuade and affure ourselves that it is fo; but that which was not true before, becometh a certain truth when we believe it!!! Yet it is confeffed this doctrine of faith will not hold good in any other things; for we are concerned to believe them on the clear evidence we have that they are true, and would remain true, whether we believe them or no. To believe without evidence is not faith but fancy and prefumption, whether the thing believed be human or divine. And it is most certain, that the very attempt to perfuade perfons to believe, without knowing what they are to believe, or without plain evidence that what they are called to believe is true, whether they believe it or no, would be hiffed out. of the world as an affront to common fenfe in any thing but religious matters in which, grievous to think, nothing is too abfurd to be propagated, or too ridiculous, to be received !-Is it then peculiar to the God of heaven, the fource of intelligence, to fet falfehoods before his creatures, to be transformed

into

*Marthall's Gofpel-Myftery of Sanctification, 8th Edit. page 173, 174.- -The very fingular nature of this quotation, will fufficiently apologize for receding from the method I have all along adopted of concealing the author's name from whom I have quoted. And unless I had referred to the book in which this very deep fentiment is maintained; I should have feared being fufpected by fome, of having fabricated it myself,

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