« FöregåendeFortsätt »
1. Elect sinners; they only obtain it, Tit. i. 1. And they all do obtain it sooner or later, before they go off the world, Acts xiii. 48. As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.' The subjects of it are those of the Old Testament, as well as those under the New. Hence the apostle to the Hebrews, speaking of the former, says, chap. xi. 13. 'These all died in faith.' The subjects of it also are elect infants dying in infancy, though they have not actual faith; who, though they know nothing of the matter, like the Israelitish infants, Deut. i. 29. have the seed or spirit of faith. This is the general character of the subject. But,
2. More particularly, elect convinced sinners are the sub, jects of it, John xvi, 8, 9. When he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement: Of sin, because they believe not on me.' The plough of the law goes through the heart, in some measure, before this seed be cast into it, Gal. iii. 23, 24. Before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith, which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.' So that an unconvinced, insensible sinner, is an unbeliever. But,
3. Yet more particularly, elect, convinced, quickened sinners, are the subject thereof, as appears from the text and the following verse. Regeneration in the order of nature goes before believing, and faith is the first vital motion of the regenerated soul. There is first a passive reception of Christ into the soul, whereby Christ comes into the dead soul, and quickens it, and then actual believing, or active receiving of Christ, is the first motion of the new creature. But most particularly,
4. Lastly, Not only the understanding, but the heart and will of such a one, is the subject of faith, where it has its seat; the understanding knowing and assenting, and the will embracing and consenting, Isa. liii. 11. By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many.' Rom. x. 10. • With the heart man believeth unto righteousness.'
IV. I proceed to consider the object of faith.
1. The real object in general is the whole word of God, and therefore no falsehood can be under faith, Tit. i. 2. But the special real object of it is the promise of the gospel, Acts
xvi. 31. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,' &c. for therein Christ the Saviour is held forth to a poor sinner. Faith looks to the whole word; it is persuaded of a divine authority in the commands, and an immoveable truth in the threatenings and promises. Every promise of the word it looks to, and comes wrong to none, while the believer lives in this world, and it lasts: it is a bee that roves through all these flowers in the garden of God's word. But as it is saving and justi fying, it settles on the promise or offer of Christ in the gospel. And,
(1.) The testimony of the word, concerning Christ's ability to save, is a special object of faith in this case, Mark ix. 33. If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that be lieveth. Sin is a dead weight, which the soul findeth itself unable utterly to hoist up; but the gospel holds out Christ to be able to remove it, Heb. vii. 25. 'He is able to save unto the uttermost.' Faith assents to this too, Psal. lxv. 3. * Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.'
This assent in both cases may be mixed with doubting, yet true, Mark ix. 24. I believe; help thou mine unbelief." If the soul have as much faith of both, as to venture itself on Christ, though the bride sign the contract with a trembling heart, though the doubting will never be commended, the subscription will be sustained.
2. The personal object of faith is,
(1.) General: God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as we profess in the creed, John xiv. 1. Ye believe in God, believe also in me.'
(2.) Special; Jesus Christ, as in the text. He is the object of faith, as it saves and justifies the sinner, typified by the brazen serpent in the wilderness, to which the wounded Israelites were to look, and the look was healing, John iii. 14, 15. And Christ's person is the primary object of justifying faith, Isa. xlv. 22. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.' And his benefits, merits, righteousness, &c. are the secondary objects thereof, Phil. iii. 8, 9. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which
is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."
V. I proceed to consider the saving and justifying acts of faith. These are,
1. Receiving him as he is offered in the gospel, as in the text; cordially closing with him, and heartily consenting to take him as he is offered. Hereby the spiritual marriage-tie betwixt Christ and the soul is made. Christ gives his consent in the gospel-offer, and the sinner gives his by faith closing with the offer. Now, he is offered in the gospel in all his offices. So faith is a receiving of Christ,
(1.) As a Prophet to be our Teacher, Guide, and Leader, renouncing our own wisdom, Matth. xvii. 5.
(2.) As a Priest, renouncing all merit and confidence in one's self, duties, and sufferings, and betaking one's self to Christ, his obedience and death, for all, Isa. xlv. 24. Surely shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength.'
(3.) As a King, renouncing all strange lords, and receiving him for absolute Governor in the soul, and over the whole man, yielding to bear the yoke of his commands, and the yoke of his cross. Isa. xxvi. 13. O Lord our God, (says the church), other lords besides thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.'
2. Resting on him as he is offered in all his offices too, Isa. xxvi. 3, 4. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.' 2 Chron. xvi. 8. Thou didst rely on the Lord.' The soul has a burden of weakness and ignorance, and therefore rests on him as a Prophet; a burden of guilt, but rests on him as a Priest, laying the weight on his blood; a burden of strong lusts and temptations, but rests on him as a King.
This receiving and resting has a most special eye to the priestly office of Christ, faith in his blood. It is a looking to him as lifted up on the cross, Isa. xlv. 22; eating of his flesh, and drinking of his blood, John vi. 53; and submitting VOL. III.
to his righteousness, Rom. x. 3.* This receiving and resting upon Christ for salvation is in many places called believing in, or trusting on, Christ as our Saviour †.
VI. I am to shew, what is the end of these acts of faith.
* See the nature and acts of faith more largely opened and illustrated in the author's View of the Covenant of Grace, head 6. The way of inftating finners perfonally and favingly in the Covenant of Grace.
+ Now, in order to illuftrate the nature of faith, confidered as believing in or trusting on God, and the way of a finner's juftification in his fight, it may not be improper to infert here the two following notes on Gen. xv. 6. And he believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness,' taken from the author's manufcript work on the first tweaty. three chapters of Genefis, above referred to, p. 232.
Now he trusted in Jehovah, i. e. Now Abram trufted in Jehovah (who was the Lord promifing, as well as the Lord promifed), not only believing his word spoken to him at this and other times, but also refting in him, and relying upon him, for all contained in the promife, and especially the falvation of the Meffias, which was the chief thing in it. The whole verfe is a parenthefis, in which Mofes occafionally fhews how Abram entertained the promife, from the first time it was made to him. Now, faith he, Abram trufted in Jehovah, viz. all along, and fo at this time, Rom. iv. 3. Gr. For, what faith the fcripture? Now Abraham believed God. Jam. ii. 2. And the fcripture was fulfilled, which faith, Now Abraham believed God. Comp. the preceding and following verfe of this chapter. This is the first place wherein faith is exprefsly fpeken of. V'he'min, and he trufted. The formal fignification of H'min, is to truft: for fo it may be rendered every where; and fo our translators do render it, Judg. xi. 20, Job iv. 18. xv. 15. 31. & xxiv. 22 marg. Mic. vii. 5. All believing is trufting; but all trufting is not believing, as will appear anon, Accordingly H'min is more extenfive than believing; for the object of it is a thing; as well as a rational agent, the only proper object of believing. Thus, wonderful works, Pfal. lxxviii. 32. one's life, Deut. xxviii. 66. & Job xxiv. 32. and a beast, Job xxxix. 12. are, by this word, faid to be trusted in, which cannot well be faid to be believed in. The conftruction of the word natively leads to this notion of it. It is ordinarily conftructed with to, as Gen. xlv. 26. He trusted not to them, or in, as here. He trufted in Jehovah : fometimes with a noun fimply, and an infinitive, as Judg. xi. 20. Shion trufted not even Ifrael to pafs in his bounds.' And finally, as H'min, Emeth, Omnah, Emun, &c. are akin, as branches of one root; fo are the words, he trufted, truth, a truth, truenefs, &c.; anfwering unto them, in our language. The Greek pileuo, in the New-Teftament use of it, is of the fame import, fignifying to truft: for fo it may be rendered every where; and fo it mult be rendered in feveral texts, as John ii. 24. Jefus did not truft himself to them. Rom. iii. 2. They were trufted the oracles of God, i. e. trufted with them, So 1 Cor. ix. 17. 1 Theff. ii. 4. 1 Tim. i. 11. How H'min, being in Hiphel, comes to fignify to truft, is beft accounted for by allowing the phrafeology to be elliptical, the conjugate
It is for salvation, Christ's whole salvation. (1.) Salvation from sin, Matth. i. 21; "He shall save his people from their sins.' (2.) From wrath, 1 Thess. i. ult. Which delivereth us from the wrath to come; from the guilt, defilement, dominion, and indwelling of sin. So it is for justification and
noun being understood. So it is q. d. H' min emunah, He trufted a truft, or trufting: and the sense of that is, He exercifed truft or faith; as to plant forth plant, and to feed feed, Gen. i. 11; is to bring forth plant, and feed, or to yield them. The ellipfis of the conjugate noun is ufual, as in Hizriang, Hifkil, &c. chap. iii. 6; and of it there is a double indication in this text. One is the pointing of this word with a diftinctive. Comp. 1 Kings xxi. 14; They fent forth (fup. a meffenger) unto Jezebel. Ifa. i. 17; Plead (fup. the plea) of the widow. The other is the pronoun it, in the latter hemistich, which relates to truft or faith. Now, to trust to is to believe and accordingly the object of it is always a perfon, as chap. xlv. 26; forecited; or elfe a word, as 1 Kings x. 7; I trusted not to the fpeeches, Ifa. liii. Į; Who hath trufted to our hearing, i. e. word heard: the which comes all to one; the word or fpeech being always pronounced by a perfon, and the perfon believed in respect of his word. To truft in, is not only to believe a competent object; but to reft in and rely upon, the perfon, word, or thing trufted, as firm and fure, for the effect for which he or it is trufted. Thus Achish trufted in David, 1 Sam. xxvii. 12; not only believing his word, ver. 10; but refting and relying on him, as one trufteth in a friend, (Mic. vii. 5.) "faying he hath made his people Ifrael utterly to abhor him, therefore he fhall be my fervant for ever." So the people brought through the Red Sea, trufted in Mofes, Exod. xiv. ult. relying on, and committing themselves to, his conduct: And on the fame occafion, they trusted in God's fpeeches, Pfal. cvi. 12; relying on them with confidence. And this the unicorn cannot be trusted in (i. e. relied upon) for bringing home one's feed, Job xxxix. 12; That the apoftles Paul and James, in the paffages above cited, retain the Seventy's reading of this text, Now Abraham trusted to God, will not evince a perfect identity of the phrases trufting to, and trufting in God; fince it is undeniable, that the infpired penmen, in many paffages of the Old Teftament, adduced by them in the New, do not act the part of rigid translators: but it will evince them to be one in effect. From what is faid, it appears, that according to the fcripture phrafeology, or language of the Holy Ghoft, (1.) The nature of faith in general lies, in trufting, trufting a perfon, word, or thing. (2.) The nature of faving faith, lies in trufting, that is, refting in, and relying upon the perfon, word, and thing, (propofed to it in the promife,) as firm and fure, for the effect for which it is trufted. (3.) Trufting in the Lord is by the appointment of God, and the nature of the thing, neceffarily connected with trufting to him; comp. 1fa. liii. 1. John iii. ult. (4.) It is not by the habit, but by an act of faith, a finner is justified.
And he reckoned it to him, righteousness, i. e. And God, even Jehovah the Son, fee the note above, p. 183. fig. (1.) in whom Abram trufted, (hem. 1.) did treat that act of faith or trust in him, which Abram exerted, as if it had been fulfilling of the law, in which one could ftand righteous before him, reputing and counting it to him for that effect, and juftifying