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whenever the gospel itself is really believed, it will command the most affectionate regards, and produce the most desirable effects. True faith has always a sweet and powerful influence on the heart and mind. Does the gospel exhibit Jesus as the promised Messiah, the Son of God, the Saviour of sinners, and the King of saints? The believer looks to him alone for pardon, peace, and everlasting salvation. Hath the Father declared, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased? Is it written as with a sun-beam—this is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners? These important testimonies have a reviving influence on his heart; he considers them not as matters of mere speculation, but as truths unspeakably interesting to him; truths, which are the life of his soul.
Should any enquire, why faith is thus denominated saving faith; I would answer, it does not save by its own excellency; but the truth is, faith saves in no other way than as it respects a saving ob ject; and all its influence upon the heart and life is, properly speaking, the influence of the truth believed. This view of the subject is clear. It ascribes salvation to Christ alone; and faith is no more than a free gift, disposing us to receive and enjoy other blessings. It gives us such a discovery of our weakness and misery on the one hand, and of the power and grace of Christ on the other, that it induceth us to give up ourselves entirely to him, to be saved in his own way, in his own time, and on his own terms.
Reliance is the essence of faith; Christ is the object, the word is the food, and obedience the proof; so that true faith is a depending upon Christ for salvation, in a way of obedience, as he is offered in the word. Mason. Faythe, therefore, whereof we doo speake, is a gyft infused and putte into manne's mynde by God, thrugh whiche man without any dowtefulnes doth beleue all thynges to be most true, which so euer God hath taughte and promysed to vs, by the bokes of both Testa-' mentes, the Old and the New. This faythe stretcheth itself to thre maner tymes, that is, to the tyme that is passed, to the tyme that is present, and to the tyme that is to come; that is for to saye, Fyrste,
it beleueth that the worlde was made by God, and whatsoeuer thynges the holy diuine Scripture maketh mentyon to haue been don in olde tyme passed.
Secondarely, that the worlde and the churche is governed of the same God: euen this day also.
And laste of all, that all those thynges shall come to pass and be fulfylled; what so euer the sayde Scriptures doth eyther promyse to good and vertuouse men, or else doth thretten to wicked and ungodly persones. All these thynges we do thorow the gyfte of fayth farre more certainly believe, than we do those thynges, which we do gather by argumentacyon and reasonynge, or els of which we have sure perceyuynge and knowledg by all our outward sences,
This faythe coupleth and joyneth us to God the Father; same dothe associate vs to Christe our hede; this same faythe, by the Spirite of Christe, dotle make us to be chosen and taken into the noumbre of the sonnes of God, This same faythe dothe graffe vs into the eternall company and felowshyppe of aungells and of
all holy sayntes.
lyghte in the This faythe dothe shyne before us, and giue vs darknes of this lyfe; shewyng what is verily to be eschewed, and what to be folowed and desyred. Thys faythe dothe arme vs, and make us bold without any feare, and inuincible agaynst all the engynes, and all the ordiuatince of the worlde and of the deville. This faythe dothe mightely and effectuously coumfort us in tribu lation and aduersite, with the hope of the heauenly goode or felicite; hauing this saying alwayes in her mouth-If God be on our syde, who can be agaynst vs?
Erasmus's Exposycyon of yo Communde Creed. That faith is called precious, which receives the rich provisions of the gospel. We think the man sick, who has lost his appetite; and so it is with our souls; they languish and are in an evil state or case, as long as they are without a spiritual hunger for that food which cometh from God. The worst want is, to be without a sense
of our wants.
The Christian must trust in a withdrawing God. The boldness
of faith ventures into God's presence, as Esther into Ahasuerus's, when no smile is to be seen on his face, no golden sceptre of the promise perceived by the soul. Yea, faith trusts, not only in a withdrawing, but in a killing God. Now, for a soul to make its approaches unto God, by a recumbency of faith, even while God seems to fire upon it, and shoot his frowns like envenomed arrows into it, is hard work, and will try the Christian to purpose. Yet such a masculine spirit we find in that poor woman at Canaan, who (as it were) took up the bullets which Christ shot at her, and, with an humble boldness of faith, sent them back again to him in her prayers. Gurnall.
There is a general faith which all that be christened, as well good as evil, have; as to believe that God is, that he is the Maker and Creator of all things, and Christ is the Saviour and Redeemer of the world, and for his sake all penitent sinners have remission of their sins, &c. All those things even the devils also believe, and tremble for fear and grievousness of God's indignation and torments, which they endure, and ever shall do. But they have not the right Christian faith, that their own sins by Christ's redemption be pardoned and forgiven, that themselves by Christ are delivered from God's wrath, and be made his beloved children and heirs of his kingdom to come. The other faith have all devils, and wicked Christians that be his members; but this pure Christian faith have none but those that belong to Christ, and be the very members of his body, and endeavour themselves to persevere in his precepts and laws; although many pretend to have the said pure faith, which nevertheless have it not, but only in their mouths. For as there is a love in the mouth and a love in the heart, even so there is a faith in the mouth and a faith in the heart. Archbp. Cranmer.
By faith we are justified from the guilt and punishment of sin; clothed in Christ's righteousness; having our nature healed, and our hearts purified ; .we draw virtue from him, to die to sin and live to righteousness. By faith, we are admitted into the family of Abraham; become the children of light; are the adopted sons of God; and made acceptable to him as heirs of glory. By faith we abide in
Christ, and have communion with him. By faith we receive of Christ's fulness, live in him, and are so refreshed by him, that we shall never wither, or feel scarcity. By faith, Christ dwelleth and ruleth in our hearts; we have access to the throne of grace; the temporal gifts of God are sanctified to us; and all spiritual blessings are continued and increased in us. Faith overcometh the world, quencheth all the fiery darts of the devil; putteth Satan to flight; and keepeth us safe from the mighty adversaries of our souls and salvation. Faith obtaineth of God what we ask agreeable to his will; maketh the ordinances of God sweet and refreshing; receiveth what is offered in the word and sacraments; and maketh that we shall never be ashamed, nor confounded. Faith increaseth knowJedge; knowledge inflameth the heart with love stronger than death; crucifieth the flesh with the affections and lusts; it armeth with pa tience and invincible constancy; giveth peace of conscience and joy unspeakable; maketh valiant in fight, striving against sin; courageous in difficulties; confident in dangers; and is accompanied with holy security, concerning the grace, protection, and love of God, with a certain expectation of eternal life, and an assurance that all things work together for good. It seasoneth pros perity; receiveth earthly blessings as pledges of God's fatherly love, and useth them to spiritual ends. It sweetens afflictions; supporteth under them; teacheth to profit by them; beareth them meekly; expecteth deliverance; triumpheth before victory. It seeth things to sease and to reason invisible. It resteth word of promise, and is confident of things in nature impossible, because God has said them. It preserveth from evil; labours con seientiously in the duties of our calling, yet without covetousness; and obtaineth many temporal blessings and deliverances; also spi ritual privileges for ourselves, our offspring, and for others. Faith preserveth from falling, and raiseth us again when fallen; maketh itself; it sweeteneth the communion of saints; uniteth the heart courageous in the profession of the gospel, even to the loss of life in love to them that fear God; seeketh the conversion of them that go astray; the building up of them who are called, and the com fort of them who are distressed in body or soul. These are the
fraits of faith. Who can but say that faith is an excellent grace. a rich jewel; a pearl of price; the Christian's treasure? The merchandise thereof is better than silver, and the fruit thereof than fine gold. Without faith, there is no plenty to man on earth: with faith there can be no want of any thing that is good; for how can he want any good thing, who hath God for his Father; Christ Jesus for his Saviour; the Holy Ghost for his Comforter; the Angels to guard him; Heaven for his inheritance; who hath God's faithful promises, confirmed by oath and seal, to secure to him all things needful, and who is kept by the power of God unto salvation? Faith is the gift of God, wrought in the heart by the Holy Ghost. Reader, art thou a partaker of the grace without which it is impossible to please God, or to have a personal interest in the blessings of Christ? If thou art a stranger to this grace of faith, pray the Lord to give thee his Holy Spirit to work it in thee.
Divine grace produces faith. Faith is the belief of the gospel, a firm and lively persuasion of the truth of the record that God hath given of his Son, accompanied with acquiescence, dependance, and application. It will lead me to have recourse to him for all I want. It will induce me to make use of him for every purpose he is revealed to accomplish; to enter him as my refuge; to build on him as my foundation; to follow him as my guide; to regard him as my prophet to teach me; as my high-priest to put away my sin by the sacrifice of himself; my king to rule me, and my shepherd This representation will hardly satisfy those, whose minds are nicely speculative; but it is scriptural. The sacred writers describe faith rather than define it. They hold it forth, not in the nakedness of abstraction, but in attributes and actings, by which it is more subject to apprehension. It is, in their language, looking to Christ, coming to him, committing the soul into his
to feed me.
Many and excellent are the fruits of faith. Hence it is called the gift of gifts-the soul of our soul-the root of an honest life— the character of the sons of God-the key whereby the treasures which are in Christ are open to us-the mother of sound joy, and