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a persuasion, that in this way and no other they may be obtained. It is not improbable, that this expreflion alludes to the Ifraelites coming to the tabernacle or temple, where the Son of God in a typical manner manifested his glory. See Pr. xcv. 2 ; c. 2. If. xxvii. 13.
In like manner drawing near to God, coming to the throne of grace, or coming to God thro' Chrift, are not descriptions of faith, but of the believer's application to God thro' the Redeemer for every blessing. Otherwise the exhortation's to come to the throne of grace boldly, i. e. with the confidence of faith, Heb. iv. 16. and to draw near in full asurance of faith, Heb. X. 22. would be fuperfluous.
To this it has been ingeniously objected, * Our Lord faid; ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
If a bare belief that he was the Meilias entituled to eternal life, then
one who believes this has a title to eternal 6. life before he came to him, and if so, he has « no need to come to him that he might have “ life. Our Saviour directed his difciples to " ask all things of the Father in his name. He “ also taught them every day to pray forgive us
our debts. Query, How can we go to God €, in the name of Christ for the pardon of daily “ tranfgreffions, if in this way pardon is not to “ be obtained. If pardon is had by a bare be6 lief of the bare truth, we are not in the be« lief of the truth to ask for pardon in the name " of Christ, because we are pardoned already.” (i).
(j) Bellamy's Glory of the Gospel, p. 75.
If it is indeed absurd, to pray or use means, for that, of which we have a promise, or to which we are already entituled, the above reasoning is unanswerable. But this, the objector has too much acquaintance with the Bible to affert. God had promised to David, 2 Sam. vij. 16. that his house and kingdom should be established for
And yet no sooner did Nathan intimate to David that promise, than we find him praying, as ver. 25. " And now,
O LORD God, the “ word that thou haft spoken concerning thy fer“ vant, and concerning his house, establish it “ for ever, and do as thou has said.” Paul was assured by an angel of God, that there should be no loss of any man's life that failed in the fhip with him. Acts xxvii: 21-25. when the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, Paul tells the Centurion, except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved, ver. 30, 31. The application of these remarks is obvious. Ungodly finners, upon believing in Jesus, are entituled thro' his righteousness, to the pardon of fin, to the influences of the spirit, and to eternal glory ; nay, the final possession of these blessings is ensured to them by the promise of God. Yet this does not hinder, their being put in actual possession of them gradually, and in the use of the prayer of faith, and other means.
S E C TI O N IV.
$1. BUT does the faith of God's elect differ
from that of others, only in the thing assented to? -By no means. The nature and foundation of the affent in him who has saving
faith, is specifically different from the nature and foundation of the assent in self-deceivers.
Self-deceivers may have orthodox sentiments of religion. They may understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and yet want charity, 1 Cor. xiii. 2. And what they thus understand, they may also believe, being convinced by miracles and other external evidences, that these mysteries are indeed a divine revelation. Many believed in Christ's name, when they faw the miracles which he did, to whom Jesus would not commit himfelf, because he knew all men. John ii. 23, 24.
Shall we then fay, that saving faith is not founded upon evidence, and that it aflents to truth it knows not why?
-That would contradict the apostle's assertion, Heb. xi. 1. thac faith is the evidence ency xos of things not seen, i. e. furnifhes the mind with convincing evidence of objects invisible to the bodily eye: and Christ's promise, that the spirit shall convince (52875) the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. John xvi. 8. The word fignifies to convince by way of demonftration, or fo to manifeft the evidence of a truth, that it shall appear unreasonable to entertain the least doubt of it. E17205 de 98719, says Aristotle, Rhet. ad Alex. c. 14. ο μεν μη δυνατος αλλως εχειν, αλλ' ετως ως ημεις asyojler. The spirit takes from the scripture, the grand evidence of faith which he had lodged there, and carries it to the hearts of the elect, and then the light and power of divine truth so apprehends and overcomes the soul, that it can no longer refift.
$ 2. That triumphant evidence, is no other than the glory and excellency of the gospel scheme of revelation, manifefted by the holy spirit in Luch a manner, as produces full conviction, that
a scheme so glorious could have none but God for its author (k). If the gospel be hid, and
(k) That there is an excellency in the gospel, wltich when perceived, produces a saving conviction of its divine original, has been largely proved by President Edwards, in his valuable treatise on religious affections : tho' that great man from his fermons on justification, seems to have placed faving faith in the choice of the will. This is not the only instance in which writers of such diftinguished abiļities in proving one thing, lay the foundation for proving another, not only foreign to their thoughts, but op posite to their sentiments. Professor Lampe of Utrecht, in his differtation on the formal act of faith, places it in the consent or acquiescence of the will in the gospel schenre of salvation. And yet in his commentary on the gospel of John, and other critical writings, has evidently mewn, that the descriptions of faith which are generally thought to imply choice and affection, are used to denote knowledge or affent.
Mr. Glass, in his testimony of the King of Martyrs, Edr. 1729. C. 4. Sect. 2. p. 192, 193, 197, 198, 199. has some very judicious remarks on the foundation of the affent in saving faith." Thé substance of them is. There is an extrinsic evidence for Christianity from miracles, &c. which may stop the mouths of gainfayers, make men attentive to the gospel, and render those inexcusable that openly reject it. This may be, and is clearly perceived by men, that are no ways influenced by the gospel in their practice, having never discerned the glory, or felt the power of divine truth : for many such have as clear wits, and as much thirst for pbilosophical knowledge as other men.
But the faith whereby men are saved, is not begotten by, and does not stand upon this extrinfic evidence, but on the light and evidence which thines in the divine testimony itfelf, and which when beheld, in so far as it is so, will effectually change men, and conform them to itself in heart and life. None can say, it is impossible that God should reveal his mind and will, and give abundant evidence that it is he that speaks in the revelation it. felf. Nor that it is impossible, that by means of this revelation, he Mould form the minds of those, whom he would have to understand it, into a suitableness to this his truth, and make them capable to discern this evidence, in having a true understanding of the truth, which he teltifies, and which carries this evidence in itself.
men perish chro' unbelief, it is bid from those,
Have not " I written unto thee excellent things in council " and in knowledge that I might make thee « know the certainty of the words of truth, " that thou mightest answer the words of truth
to them that fend unto thee.” Here it is plainly afferted, that the excelleney of council and of knowledge, which appears in the written word, was stamped upon it for this very end, that froni' viewing that excellency, men might know the certainty of the words of truth, and be encouraged to trust in the LORD." And that the glory and excellency of divine truth, should actually produce this effect, we learn from Pli çxxxviii.