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by any other. A true belief of the record which God hath given of his Son is accompanied with all this; but the term belief does not of itself necessarily convey it. When Jacob's sons brought the coat of many colours to him, he credited their story; he believed Joseph to be torn in pieces: but he could not be said to trust that he was so. When the same persons on their return from Egypt declared that Joseph was yet alive, Jacob at first believed them not; but on seeing the waggons, he was satisfied of the truth of their declaration, and trusted in it too, leaving all behind him on the ground of it.
But whatever difference there may be between credit and trust, they agree in those particulars which affect the point at issue; the one no less than the other has relation to revealed truth as its foundation. In some cases it directly refers to the divine veracity; as in Psalm cxix. 42, I trust in thy word. And where the immediate reference is to the power, the wisdom, or the mercy of God, or to the righteousness of Christ, there is a remote relation to veracity: for neither the one nor the other would be objects of trust were they not revealed in a way of promise. And from hence it will follow, that trusting in Christ, no less than crediting his testimony, is the duty of every sinner to whom the revelation is made.
If it be asked, What ground could a sinner, who shall at last prove to have no interest in the salvation of Christ, ever possess for trusting in him?
Let it be considered what it was for which he was warranted or obliged to trust? Was it that Christ would save him, whether he believed in him or not? No, there is no such promise; but an explicit declaration of the contrary. To trust in this, therefore, would be trusting in a falsehood. That for which he ought to have trusted in him, was the obtaining of mercy in case he applied for it. For this there was a complete warrant in the gospel declarations, as Mr. BOOTH, in his Glad tidings to perishing sinners, has fully evinced. There are principles in that performance which the writer of these pages, highly as he respects the author, cannot approve. The principal subjects of his disapprobation have been pointed out, and he thinks scripturally refuted, by Mr. SCOTT: * but with respect to the warrant which every sinner has to trust in Christ for salvation, Mr. B. has clearly and fully established it. I may add, If any man distrust either the power or willingness of Christ to save those that come to him, and so continue to stand at a distance, relying upon his own righteousness, or some false ground of confidence, to the rejection of him, it is criminal and inexcusable unbelief.
Mr. Booth has, to all appearance, designedly avoided the question, Whether faith in Christ be the duty of the ungodly? The leading principle of the former part of this work, however, cannot stand upon any other ground. He contends for the
* See his Warrant and Nature of Faith.
gospel affording a complete warrant for the ungodly to believe in Jesus; and surely he will not affirm, that sinners are at liberty either to embrace the warrant afforded them, or to reject it? He defines believing in Jesus Christ, "A receiving him as he is exhibited in the doctrine of grace, or depending upon him only." But if the ungodly be not obliged as well as warranted to do this, they are at liberty to do as the Jewish nation did, to receive him not, and to go on depending upon the works of the law for acceptance with God. In the course of his work he describes the gospel message as full of "kind invitations, winning persuasions, and importunate entreaties; and the messengers as commissioned to persuade and entreat sinners to be reconciled to God, and to regard the vicarious work of Jesus as the only ground of their justification." * But how if they should remain unreconciled; and continue to disregard the work of Christ? How if they should after all, make light of this "royal banquet ;" and prefer their farms and merchandizes to these "plentiful provisions of divine grace?" Are they guiltless in so doing; and free from all breach of duty? I am persuaded, whatever was Mr. Booth's reason for being silent on this subject, he will not say they ar..
* P. 36, 37. Second Edition.
ARGUMENTS FOR FAITH BEING A DUTY.
GOSPEL OF CHRIST
WORTHY OF ALL ACCEPTATION.
CONTAINING ARGUMENTS TO PROVE FAITH IN CHRIST THE DUTY OF ALL MEN WHO HEAR, OR HAVE OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR THE GOSPEL.
WHAT has been already advanced on the nature of faith in Christ may contribute to the deciding of the question, Whether it be the duty of the ungodly; but in addition to this, the Scriptures furnish abundance of positive evidence. The principal part of that which has occurred to me may be comprehended under the following propositions :—
I. UNCONVERTED SINNERS ARE COMMANDED, EXHORTED AND INVITED TO BELIEVE IN CHRIST FOR SALVATION.—It is here taken for granted, that whatever God commands, exhorts, or invites us to comply with, is the duty of those to whom such language is addressed. If therefore saving faith be not the duty of the unconverted, we may expect never to find any addresses of this nature directed
to them in the holy Scriptures. We may expect God will as soon require them to become angels as christians, if the one be no more their duty than the other.
There is a phraseology suited to different periods of time. Previous to the coming of Christ, and the preaching of the gospel, we read but little of believing: but other terms fully expressive of the thing are found in abundance. I shall select a few examples, and accompany them with such remarks as may shew them to be applicable to the subject.
Psalm ii. 11, 12. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling: kiss the Son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little: blessed are all they that put their trust in him. The psalm is evidently a prophecy of the resurrection and exaltation of the Messiah. Whatever reference may be had to Solomon, there are several things which are not true of either him or his government; and the whole is applicable to Christ, and is plentifully applied to him in the New Testament.
The kings and judges of the earth who are here. admonished to serve the Lord Messiah with fear, and to kiss the Son lest he be angry, are the same persons mentioned in verse 2, which words we find in the New Testament applied to Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel:*
* Acts iv. 27.