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to understand the general Nature of it.
1, Secondly, To confirm the Truth of the Proposition.
Thirdly, Draw fome Inferences from hence.
First, To settle and fix the true Notion of Faith, whereby we may come to understand the general Nature of it. I find that most who write upon this Subject have marvellously, puzzled themselves with the various Acceptations of this word higis, and the verb
içévev, insomuch that some have undertaken to enumerate above twenty distinct significations of this word. I cannot find so
be others may: but hereby, instead of clearing the notion of Faith, they have involved it, and made it more intricate, and have made men believe, that it is a Notion very remote from common Understanding: whereas there is not any Word that is in common use, that is more plain and easie, and which any one may understand better than this of Faith and Believing
Therefore in the Explication of it, XII. I shall attend to the use of it in com
mon speech, and in all Authors as well Prophane as Sacred; and I shall not guide my self by Terms of Art, which have been received in the Schools, and have confounded the meaning of Words, by distorting them from the common and received use of them; but shall govern my self by the nature of things to which this Word in common use is apply'd.
I shall remove two Acceptations of it which are less usual, and then fix the common and general Notion of it, to which all the other more particular Significations may be referrd. The two less usual Acceptations are these.
First, It is sometimes put for the particular Grace or Virtue which is call’dFidelity,or Faithfulness in our Promises and Contracts; and in this sense it is sometimes used in common Discourse, and in all sorts of Writers. I shall only mention a Text or two where it is so taken. Matt. 23. 23. And have omitted the weightier things of
the law, judgment, and mercy, and faith, that is, fidelity. And Rom. 3. 3. with Sermon relation to God, Shall their unbelief I. make the faith of God of none effect? that is, his faithfulness in his Promises. Tit. 2. 10. Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity, nigy moser, all Faith.
Secondly, It is sometimes put for spiritual Gifts, and particularly the Gift of Miracles, which were wrought by the power of Faith. Rori. I 2. 3. Ac cording as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith; that is, of spiritual Gifts, of Prophefying, or Ministry, or Exhortation, as it is explain'd afterward.
1 Cor. 12.9, To another is given faith by the Same Spirit, that is, a power of Miracles in general, as learned Interpreters think, Nor doth that which is added afterward, that to another is given the working of miracles, prejudice this Interpretation; for évepγήματα δυνάμεων, he operation of powers, which we render of miracles, seems to signifie fome special sort of Miracles, not the power of Miracles in general, And this seems to be favourd by the acceptation of it in the next Chapter, ver. 2. And though I have all faith, so
that I could remove Mountains; where
Faith is a Perswafion of the mind concerning any thing; concerning the truth of any Propolition, concerning the Existence, or Futurition, or Lawfulness, or Convenience, or Possibility, or Goodness of any thing, or the contrary; or concerning the Credit of a Person, or the contrary. And this notion is not only agreeable to the proper notion of the word miss, which comes from mátw to perswade, but is warranted from the common use of it in this latitude. It is ordinary for men to say, they believe or are perswaded such a Proposition is true or false, such a thing is or is not, such an Event will be or will not be, that such an Action is lawful or unlawful, such a thing is good or bad, convenient or inconve
nient, possible or impossible to be done;
Sermon or that they believe such a Person, or
I do not believe him. And I could shew from Scripture that believing is apply'd to all these matters, and many more; I will only instance in one or two.
That Faith is frequently used for the perswasion of the Truth of a Doctrine, or of the Veracity of God or Christ, I shall not need to produce any Texts, there are
That Faith is used for a Perswalion of the lawfulness of an Action, the 14th Chap. to the Romans doth abundantly testifie. Ver. 2. One believeth that he may eat all things; that is, is per. swaded in his mind that all sorts of Meat are lawful without distinction. Ver. 22. Hast thou faith that is, art thou perswaded or satisfied in thy mind of the lawfulness of those indifferent things he had been speaking of. Ver. 23. He that doubteth is damned
if he eat, because he eateth not of faith:
for whatsoever is not of faith, is fin;
that is, whatever is not done with the Perswafion and Satisfaction of our Minds that we may