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asserted to be justifying saving faith, which is peculiar to those who are born of God.
The same description of saving faith is found in the words of St. Paul, “ If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be sav. ed."* To believe that Jesus was raised from the dead, is the same with believing that Jesus is the Christ: And this is here asserted to be saving faith. This same faith the Eunuch professed, upon which he was baptized by Philip, and admitted among the number of true believ. ers in Christ.
“ And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”+ Agreeably to this Christ says,
“ This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” Here eternal life is connected with having a true idea or knowledge of God and the Saviour ; or seeing their true character and believing them to be such as they are. This therefore must be the same with that faith to which our Saviour so often promises salvation ; and without which he repeatedly says, men cannot be saved.
In all these passages faith is represented as that by which the truth is seen, so that the truths of the gospel become present and real to the mind, attended with an assurance of their truth and reality : And that this belief of the truth, with what it necessarily includes, is the whole of saving faith : And is the same thing which is elsewhere called— Coming to the light. Being in the light.|| Knowing the truth. Coming to the knowledge of the truth.** A belief of the truth.tt A being illuminat
The light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ, shining in the heart.js Beholding as in a glass, the glory of the Lord.||||
II. Saving faith, in a number of places, is represented in a light, which to some, especially at first view, may appear different from the description of it in the forementioned passages, if not contrary to it. sidered and represented, as consisting in the exercise of
It is con
* Rom. x. 9.
† Acts viij. 37. # John xvij. 3 John iii. 31. 11 John ü. 9. John viii. 31.
** 1 Tim. ii. 4. tt Thess. ii. 13. ## Heb. x 32. $S 2 Cor. iv. 6.
Hill Chap. ii. 18.
the heart, and choice of the will ; this being essential to it, and including the whole.
Believing on the name of Christ, and receiving him, is mentioned as being one and the same thing, “But to as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his
Here receiving Christ, and believing on him, are synonimous expressions, and must mean the same thing. But receiving Christ is an exercise of will or choice, and is the same thing with voluntarily embracing him, as he is offered in the gospel. Faith in Christ, or believing on him, is termed coming to him, as being one and the same.
“ He that cometh to me, shall never hunger ; and he that believeth on me, shall never thirst.”+ Ås hungering and thirsting are the same mental exercise, so are believing on Christ, and coming to him. This is farther evident from the words following. “But I said unto you, that ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me ; and he that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." Here Christ speaks of coming to him, as the condition of salvation by him, and as directly the reverse to not believing on him, with which he charges the Jews; and therefore by coming to him he can mean nothing but saving faith, even the same which he, in this discourse, repeatedly calls believing on him. It may be also ob served, that what Christ here calls not believing, he in another place denotes by not coming to him.
" Ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life.” | The charge of not coming to him, and not believing on him, is evidently the same. And that coming to Christ, is the same with believing on him, is confirmed from the evident synonimous use of those phrases in the words which fol. low those which have been mentioned. " And this is the will of the Father, that every one that seeth the Son and believeth on him, may have everlasting life. No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me, draw him. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, hath everlasting life.”* And we find him speaking' again after the same manner. “ If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living waters.”+
* John i. 12. John vi. 35. Sv. 35, 40, 47.
a Chap. v. 40.
# v. 36, 37.
Faith in Christ is denoted by eating his flesh, and drinking his blood.
“ Whosoever eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” It is not only evident from the words themselves, that by eating his flesh, and drinking his blood, that uniting act of the soul to Christ is expressed, which is necessary in order to enjoy what he has obtained for men, which must be saving faith : But this is yet more evident by comparing them with the foregoing words, of which these are evidently designed as an explanation. Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” And again, “ This is the will of him that sent me, that every one that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life ; and I will raise him up at the last day."|| Here eternal life, and to be raised up by Christ at the last day, is promised in one place to believing on Christ, and in the other to eating his flesh and drinking his blood : therefore it is certain that these are not two different things, but one and the same, which is connected with eternal life, and the condition of enjoying it. But eating the flesh of Christ, and drinking his blood, can mean nothing less than voluntary exercise, by which, from a taste and relish for the character of Christ, and his excellence, the heart receives and embraces him as a suitable and all sufficient Saviour.
Calling on the name of Christ, is spoken of as an exercise of faith, or a proper expression of faith in him. For the scripture saith, “ Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek ; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.” No one who attends to these words can suppose
John vi. 40. 44, 45, 47. † John vii. 37, 38. John vi 50.51, 53, 54. 56, 57, 58.
9 Rom. x. 11, 12, 13.
believing on Christ, and calling on his name, are two distinct things, or doubt whether they are one and the same exercise.
To the same purpose are those scriptures which represent faith in Christ by looking unto him, and trusting in him. “Look unto me, all the ends of the earth, and be ye saved."* Here looking to Christ, and salvation, are connected. And this is represented as necessary to salvation, and the only condition of it. But this is the same thing with seeking him, coming to him, and accepting of him. In this passage there is doubtless a reference to the direction which God gave to the Israelites to set a brazen serpent upon a pole, in the wilderness, with a promise that every one who being bitten of a fiery serpent, looked upon it, should live : For this was a designed type of Christ, which our Saviour therefore applies to himself : and at the same time declares that looking upon the exalted serpent, denoted faith in him. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted
that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”+
Trusting in God, is often mentioned in the book of Psalms, and in other parts of the Old Testament, as necessary in order to enjoy his favour, to which prom. ises of all good are made ; in the same manner as faith in Christ is in the New Testament: from whence it may be safely inferred that they are the same. And agreeable to this, believing in Christ is called trusting in him, by St. Paul. “ That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”+ " Isaiah saith, there shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in him shall the Gentiles trust.”ş Trust in Christ, implies the exercise of the disposition or will, even the receiving and embracing of the heart : For men do not trust in any person or object for any thing but that which to them is a good, what is agreeable to them, what they desire and choose. Yea, trusting is commonly used with respect to some great good upon which men set their hearts, and depend upon it for support, satisfaction and happiness. And that trust
* Isaiah xlv. 22. † John iij. 14, 15. Epb. i. 12. § Rom. xv. 12
ing in Christ is the same with looking and coming to him, and seeking him, will be evident from the last mentioned passage, by turning to the words of Isaiah, from which it is taken : For what the Apostle renders, “ In him shall the Gentiles trust," is in the following words in the place quoted, “ To it (that is to Christ) shall the Gentiles seek.”
From these passages of scripture, and many others of the like tenor, it may be determined with certainty, that saving faith implies the consent of the will, accepting of Christ ; choosing and embracing him, as he is revealed in the gospel ; and that this is essential to it; so that where this exercise and consent of heart is not, there is no faith, and no real and proper conviction, knowledge or belief of the truth.
And if what has been said in the foregoing section, on divine illumination, be understood, and kept in mind, the account we have had of saving faith from the scripture, under the two preceding observations, will appear to be consistent and intelligible. It has been there proved from scripture, that a right disposition of mind is necessary in order to have that true discerning in things of a moral and spiritual nature which is implied in saving faith ; and that seeing and understanding the truths of the gospel, implies exercise of heart, and the former cannot be distinguished and separated from the latter, even in idea and conception. Therefore a saving belief of the truth of the gospel, supposes and implies right exercises of heart, in tasting and relishing moral beauty, and embracing it as 'good and excellent ; and thus embracing Christ and the gospel implies all that light, conviction and assurance of the truth, which is essential to saving faith ; and both these, or rather all this, is really but one and the same whole.
The gospel is all of a moral nature; by it is exhibited the plan of the moral government of God, or his moral, spiritual kingdom, to the best advantage, in the clearest and most striking light. In this, is the greatest and most clear manifestation of the Deity ; and it comprises the sum of all the moral beauty and excellence that is to be seen by created intelligences, in the whole universe. In Jesus Christ, the glory of God, his moral beauty and