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$77 mother of faith and devotion, contrary to Col. ii. 16. for we can by no means believe what we are quite ignorant of, Rom. x. 14. And all should strive to have their faith as little ime plicit, and as much distinct as possible; as becometh those who are filled with all knowledge, Rom. xv. ; 14. For the more distinctly a person sees by the light of the Spirit a truth revealed by God, and the rays of divinity - shining therein, the more firm will be his belief of that truth. Those very martyrs, who, in other respects, were rude and ignorant, most clearly and distinctly saw those truths for which they made no scruple to lay down their lives, to be most certain and din vine; though perhaps they were not able to dispute much for them.
· X. Moreover those things which are necessary to be known by the person who would believe, are in general, the divinity of the scriptures, into which faith must be ultimately resolved; mcre especially, those things wbich regard the obtaining of salvation in Christ; which may summarily be reduced to these three heads : 1st. To know, that by sin thou art estranged from the life of God, and art come short of the glory of God, Rom. iii. 23. That it is not possible, that either thou thyself, or an angel from heaven, or any creature in the world, nay, or all the creatures in the universe, can extricate thee from the abyss of misery; and restore thee to a state of happiDess. 2dly. That thou shouldst know Christ this Lord to be. full of grace and truth, John i. 14. who is that only name given under heaven, whereby we can be saved, Acte. iv. 1. and in the knowledge of whom consists eternal life, John xvii. 3. Sdly. That thou shouldst know, that, in order to thy obtaining salvation in Christ, it is necessary that thou be united to Christ, by the Spirit and by faith, and give up thyself to him, not only to be justified, but also sanctified, and governed by his will and pleasure, proving what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God, Rom. xi. 2
XI. To this knowledge must be joined assent, which is the second act of faith, whereby a person receives and acknowledges as truths those things which he knows, receiving the testimony of God, and thus setting to his seal, that God is true, John üi. 33. This assent is principally founded on the infallible veracity of God, who testifies of himself and of bis Son, 1 John v. 9, 10. On which testimony revealed in scrip ture, and shedding forth all around the rays of its divinity, the believer relies with no less safety than if he had been actually present at the revelation of these things. For when the soul, enlightened by the Spirit, discerns those divine truths,
and in them a certain excellent theoprepy, or beauty worthy of God, and a most wise and inseparable connection of the whole, it cannot but assent to a truth that forces itself
him with so many arguments, and as securely admit what it thus knows, for certain, as if it had seen it with its own eyes, or handled it with its own hands, or had been taken up into the third heavens, and heard it immediately from God's own mouth. Whatever the lust of the flesh may murmur, whatever vain sophists may quibble and object, though perhaps the soul may not be able to answer or solve all objections, yet it persists in the acknowledgment of this truth, which it saw too clearly, and heard too certainly, as it were from the mouth of God, ever to suffer itself to be drawn away from it by any sophistical reasonings whatever : “For, I have not followed, says. the believing soul, cunningly devised fables, when I be lieved the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but in the Spirit was eye witness of his majesty, and heard his voice from heaven," 2 Pet. i. 16, 18. And thus faith is accompanied with 'UTOSQois, substance, and Beynos, evidence, Heb. xi. 1. and aingodogía, full persuasion or assurance, Rom. iv. 21. It will not be unprofitable to consider a little the meaning of these words.
XII. The apostle speaks more than once of mangopogáce plerophory or full assurance ; as Col. in 2. rangopogía ouvedews, the full assurance of understanding; Heb. vi. 11. Tangopogía ons tha sídos, the full assurance of hope, Heb. x. 22. ringopogía vístws,
full assurance of faith. According to its etymology the word plerophory, denotes a carrying with full sail, a metaphor, as it should seem, taken from ships when all their sails are filled with a prosperous gale. So that here it signifies the vehement inclination of the soul, driven forward by the Holy Spirit, towards an assent to the truth it is made sensible of. Hesychius, that most excellent master of the Greek language, explains it by BBaiornta, firmness. And in that sense, Tampocogías rissws, plerophory of faith, is nothing but sigéwa sñs éis Xeisdu TISEWS, the stedfastness of faith in Christ, as the apostle varies those phrases, Col. č. 2, 5.; and senangopognuéva rgáypala, are things most surely or firmly believed, Lukei. 1. So firm therefore must the believer's assent be to divine truth.
XIII. The term utosa015, hypostasis substance, is also very emphatical, which the apostle makes use of when be speaks of faith, Heb. xi. 1. Nor have the Latins any word that can fully express all its force and significancy. 1st. 'Trósaris hypostasis denotes the existence, or, as one of the ancients has said, the extantia, the standing up of a thing; in which sense philosophers say that a thing that really is has an imbasis, that is, real existence, and is not the fiction of our own mind. And indeed faith makes the thing hoped for, though not ac, tually existing, to have, notwithstanding, an existence in the believer's mind, who so firmly assents to the promises of God, as if the thing promised was already present with him Chrysostom had this in his mind when he thus explained this passage : ή ανάτασις και παραγέγονεν, εδέ εςιν 'εν υποφάσει, αλλ' η ελπίς upisnosv dusolu ev mjuesiga yuxñ, the resurrection does not yet exist in itself, but hope (let us say faith) presents it to, and makes it extant in our soul. A Greek scholiast, cited by Beza, has most happily expressed the same thing: 'Επειδή γαρ τα εν ελπίσιν αν υπόσαΤα έσιν ως τέως μή παρόνια, η πίςις εσιά τις αυσών Και υπόςασις γίνεται έιναι αυτά και παρείναι τρόπον τίνα παρασκευάζεσα, διά τύπισεύειν έ'νναι, ας things hoped for, are not yet extant, as not being present, faith becomes a kind of substance and essence of them, in some measure, extant and present with us, in that it believes them to be. Adly, Twósaois also signifies a base or forindation, in which sense Diodorus Siculus, quoted by Gomarus, has said, úrósaols på rápe, that is, the foundation of the Sepulchre. And Calvin's interpretation looks this way; faith, says he, is hypostasis, that is, a prop or possession on which we für our feet. 3dly. It also denotes subsistence, or constancy, without yielding to any assault of the enemy. Thus Plutarch in Demetrius, voeds upisuave των εναντίων, αλλά φευγόντων, none of the enemy standing their ground, but all giving way. And Polybius in bis description of Horatius Cocles, they feared, sx' STW sou dúvaji, ws TNU imosaon åurš, not so much his strength, as his firmness and resolution, not to give way. And indeed there is something in faith that can with intrepidity sustain all the assaults of temptacions, and not suffer it to be moved from an assent to a truth once known. Now if we join all this together, we may assert, that faith is 80 firm an assent to divine truth, as to set things future before us as if they were present, and that it is a prop to the soul on which it fixes its foot without yielding to any assault what
XIV. Nor ought it to be omitted that the apostle calls faith éneyxos, ' BASTOLEWY the evidence of things not seen. But & syxos denotes two things. 1st. A certain demonstration. Aristotle, Rhetoric. c. 14. says, theynos de ésiv, o ulo per duvard's άλλως έχειν, αλλ' έτως ως ημείς λέγομνε ; demonstration και τοhat cannot possibly be otherwise, but must necessarily be as we affirm. 2dly. Conviction of soul arising from such a demonstration of the truth: as Aristophanes in Pluto, σύγ ελέγξαι μ' έπω δύνασαι παρ'
thry, you cannot convince me of that. There is therefore in
XV. All this tends to instruct us that the assent which is in faith has a most certain assurance, which no certainty of any mathematical demonstration can exceed. Wherefore they speak very, incautiously who maintain there may be falsehood in divine faith, since the proper object of faith is the testimony of God, which is necessarily true and more certain than any demonstration. Nor can any places of scripture be brought in which any thing that is not true can be man's belief.
XVI. But we are here to remove another difficulty: if faith is such a certain and firm assent, are those then destitute of true faith who sometimes waver even with respect to fundamental truths ? I answer, 1st. We describe faith, considered in the idea, as that Christian virtue or grace, the perfection of which we all ought to aspire after : and not as it sometimes subsists in the subject." 2dly. There may at times be waverings, staggerings, and even inclinations to unbelief in the best of believers, especially when they are under some violent temptation, as is evident from the waverings of Asaph, Jeremiah, and others, about the providence of God: but these are certain defects of faith arising from the weakness of the flesh. 8dly. Faith presently wrestles with those temptations, it never assents to those injections of the devil, or the evil desires of the carnal mind, nor is ever at rest, till having entered the sanctuary of God, it is confirmed by the teaching Spirit of faith in the contemplation and acknowledgment of those truths about which it was staggered. There at length, and no where else, it finds rest for the soles of its feet.
XVII. That which follows this assent is the love of the truth thus known and acknowledged; and this is the third act of faith, of which the apostle speaks, 2 Thes. ii. 10. For since there is a clear manifestation of the glory of God, in saving truths, not only as he is true in his testimony, but also as his wisdom, holiness, justice, power, and other perfections shine forth therein, it is not possible but the believing
soul, viewing these amiable perfections of the deity in those truths, should break out into a flame of love to exult in them and glorify God. Hence the believer is said to give glory to God, Rom. iv. 20. and to love his praise (glory), Joho xii
, 43. Above all, the soul is delighted with the fundamental truth concerning Christ. Loves it as an inestimable treasure, and as a pearl of great price; it is precious to believers, i Pet. ïi7. yea, most precious. It is indeed true, that love, strictly speaking, is distinguished from faith ; yet the acts of both virtues, or graces, are so interwoven with one another, that we can neither explain nor exercise faith without some acts of love interfering ; such as is also that of which we now treat: this also is the observation of some of the greatest divines before me; as, not to mention others at present, Chamierus, Panstrat. T. 3. lib. 12. c. 4. No. 16. Wendelin, Theol. lib. 2. c. 24. ad Thes. 8. And both of them cite Aus gustine in their favour, who asking what is it to believe in God? answers, It is by believing to love. See also le Blanc, a divine of Sedan, in Thes. de fidei justificantis natura, &c. 8 95. But if any will call this love, according to the gloss of the schools, an imperate, or commanded act of faith, he is indeed welcome to do so for us; if he only maintain that it is not possible but the believing soul, while in the exercise of faith, must sincerely love the truth as it is in Christ, wben known and acknowledged, rejoicing that these things are true, and delighting itself in that truth: far otherwise than the devils and wicked men, who, what they know to be true, they could wish to be false.
XVIII. Hence arises a fourth act of faith, a hringer and thirst after Christ. For the believing soul knowing, acknowledging and loving the truths of salvation, cannot but wish that all those things which are true in Christ may also be true to him, and that he may be sanctified and blessed in and by those truths: And he seriously desires, that having been alienated from the life of God through sin, he may
be again sealed unto the glory of God by free justification, and in that by sanctification. This is that hunger and thirst af. ter righteousness mentioned Mat. v. 6. And pray what reason can be given why he who believes and feels himself a most miserable creature, and is fully persuaded that he can be delivered from his misery by nothing either in heaven or on earth ; who sees, at the same time, the fulness of that salvation which is in Christ; and is assured he can never obtain salvation unless he be united to Christ; who from his very soul loves that truth that treats of the fulness of salvation