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embly; we cannot, however they may be explained into an orthodox meaning, look upon them as wholesome words, since they have at least an appearance of evil, being such a way of expression as Protestant churches and divines, knowing the strong natural bias in all men towards seeking salvation, not by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, but by works of righteousness done by themselves, and the danger of symbolizing with Papists and other enemies of the grace of the gospel, have industriously shunned to use on that head; they choosing rather to call holiness and good works necessary duties of the persons justified and saved, than conditions of salvation ; consequents and effects of salvation already obtained, or antecedents, disposing and preparing the sub. ject for the salvation to be obtained, than any sort of causes, or proper means of obtaining the possession of salvation ; which last honcur, the Scripture, for the high praise and glory of sovereign grace, seems to have reserved peculiarly unto faith ; and rather to say, that holiness is necesary in them that shall be saved, than necessary to salvation ; that we are saved, not by good works, but rather to them, as fruits and effects of saving grace; or that holiness is necessary unto salvation, not so much as a meau to the end, as a part of the end itself; which part of our salvation is necessary, to make us meet for the other that is yet behind.

Wherefore, since this way of speaking of holiness with respect to salvation, is, we conceive, without warrant in the Holy Scripture, dissonant from the doctrinal standards of our own and other reformed Churches, as well as from the chosen and deliberate speech of reformed divines treating on these heads; and since it being at best but propositio male sonans, may easily be mistaken, and afterwards improved, as a sbade or vehicle, for conveying corrupt sentiments, anent the influence of works upon salvation; we cannot but reckon preaching the necessity of holiness in such terms to be of some dangerous consequence to the doctrine of free grace. In which apprehension we are the more confirmed, that at this day the doctrine of Christ and bis free grace, both as to the purity and efficacy of the same, seems to be much on the wane, and Po. pery, with other dangerous errors and heresies destructive of it, on the waxing; which certainly calls aloud to the churches of Christ, and to his ministers in particular, for the more zeal, watchfulness, and caution, with reference to the interests of truth; and that especially at such a time, cum hereticis nec nomina habeamus communia, ne eorum errori favere rideamur.

If in any case, certainly in framing acts and standards of doctrine, there is great need of delicacy in the choice of words ; for the words of the Holy Ghost in Scripture, under which we include such as in meaning and import are equivalent to them, being an ordinance of divine institution, for preserving the truth of the gospel, if these be once altered or varied, all the wisdom and vigilance of men will be ineffectual to that end. And it is well known, by costly experience to the churches of Christ, that their falling in with the language or phrase of corrupt teachers, instead of serving the interest of truth, which never looks so well as in its own native simpli. city, does but grieve the stable and judicious, stagger the weak, betray the ignorant, and, instead of gaining, harden and open the mouths of adversaries. And that it is said in a text, “ They do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible," will not warrant the manner of speech in the query: for the word, in the original, signifies only to receive or apprehend, being accordingly rendered in all Latin versions we have seen, and in our own translation in the verse immediately preceding, viz. One receiveth the prize ;" and though the word did signify to obtain, in the most strict and proper sense, it could not make for the purpose, unless it were meant of the believer’s obtaining the incorruptible crown, not by faith, but by works. And that an ill chosen word in a standard may prove more dangerous to the truth, than one not so

justly rendered in a translation, with several other things on this head, might be made very evident, were it not that we have been, we fear, tedious on it already.


QUERY VIII. Is knowledge, belief, and persuasion that Christ died for me, and that he is mine, and that whatever he did and suffered, he did and suffered for me, the direct act of faith, whereby a sinner is united to Christ, interested in him, instated in God's covenant of grace? Or, is that knowledge a persuasion included in the very essence of that justifying act of faith ?

Ans. The query, it is evident, exceedingly narrows the import and design of the representation in the place referred to; for there we assert nothing positively conceroing the passages relating to faith, but remonstrate against condemping them, as what to us seemed to hurt the appropriating act of faith, and to fix a blot upon the reforma. tion, reformed churches and divines, who had generally taught concerning faith, as in the condemned passages; all which we might say, without determining whether the persuasion spoke of in the query was the very direct and formal act of justifying faith, yea or no.

But now, since the query is put so close, and since the matter in question is no other than the old Protestant doctrine on that head, as we shall endeavour to make appear, the Reverend Commission, we humbly conceive, cannot take it amiss, we, in the first place, inquire into the true sense and meaning of this way of speaking of faith, that we are now questioned about.

The main of the condemned passages the query refers to, runs not in the order therein set down, but as follows: “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved;" that is, “Be verily persuaded in your heart that Christ Jesus is yours, and that you shall have life and salvation by him ; that whatever Christ did for the redemption of mankind, he did it for you :"-being in matter the same with what has been commonly taught in the protestant churches, and, in the words of the renowned Mr. John Rogers of Dodham, (a man so noted for orthodoxy, holiness, and the Lord's cnuntenancing of his ministry, that no sound Protestants in Britain or Ireland, of wbat denomination soever, would, in the age wherein he lived, bave taken upon them to condemn as erroneous) definition of faith, which we have as follows: "A particular persuasion of my heart that Jesus Christ is mine, and that I shall have life and salvation by bis means; that whatsoever Christ did for the redemption of mankind, he did it for me :" Where one may see, though the difference in words be almost done at all, yet it runs rather stronger with him than in the Marrow,

In which account of saving faith, we have, first, the general nature of it; viz. :-) real persuasion, agreeing to all sorts of faith whatsoever; for it is certain, whatever one believes, be is verily persuaded of. More particularly, it is a persuasion in the heart, whereby it is distinguished from a general, dead, and naked assent in the head, which one gives to things that no way affect him, because he reckons they do not code Cern him. But with the heart man believes here; “ If thou believest with all thine heart,” says the Scripture. For as a man's believing in bis heart the dreadful tidings of the law, or its curse, imports not only an assent to them as true, but a borror of them as evil; so here, the being persuaded in one's heart of the glad tidings of the gospel, bears not only an assent unto them as true, but a relish of them as good.

Then we have the most special nature of it, viz. an appropriating persuasion, or a persuasion, with application to a person's self, that Christ is his, &c. The particulars whereof are, first, that Christ is yours; the ground of which persuasion is the offer and grant of Christ as a Saviour in the word, to be believed in for salvation, by all 10 whom the gospel is made known. By which offer and setting forth of Christ as a Saviour, though before we believe, we wanting union with him, have no actual or sa ving interest, yet he is in some sense ours, namely, so it is lawful and warrantable for us, not for fallen angels, to take possession of him by faith ; without which, our common interest in him as a Saviour, by virtue of the offer and grant in the word, will avail us nothing. But though the call and offer of the gospel, being really particular, every one, both in point of duty and in point of interest, ought to appropriate, apply, or make his own the thing offered by believing, they having good and sufficient ground and warrant in the word so to do; yet is it either neglected and despised or the truth and sincerity of it suspected and called in question, until the Holy Spirit, by setting home the word of the gospel, with such a measure of evidence and power as is effectual, satisfies the convinced sioner, that, with application to himself in particular, “it is a faithful saying, worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came to save sinners," and enables him to believe it. Thus the persuasion of faith is begot, wbich is always proportioned to the measure of evidence and power from above that sovereign grace is pleased to put forth for working of it.

The next branch of the persuasion is, “ That you shall have life and salvation by him, namely the life of holiness as well as of bappiness ; salvation from sin as well as from wrath, not in heaven only, but begua, carried on here, and completed hereafter ;the true notion of life and salvation, according to the Scriptures, and as Protestant divides are wont to explain it. Wherefore this persuasion of faith is inconsistant with an unwillingness to part with sin, a bent or purpose of heart to continue in it. There can be little question, we apprehend, whether this branch of the persuasion belongs to the nature of justifying faith ; for salvation being above all things in a sensible sinper's eye, he can never believe any thing to his satisfaction, without he sees ground to believe comfortably concerning it. Few therefore will, we conceive, differ from Dr. Collins' laying it down as a conclusion on this very head, namely, that " a Christian capnot have true, saving, justifying faith, unless he doth, (I do not say, unless he think he doth, or unless he saith be doth, but, unless he doth) believe, and is persuaded that God will pardon his sins.” Further, this being a believing on the Son for life and salvation, is the same with receiving of him, (as this last is explained by the Holy Spirit himself, John i. 12.) and likewise evidently bears the soul's resting on Christ for salvation ; for it is not possible to conceive a soul resting on Christ for salvation, without a persuasion that it shall have life and salvation by bim namely, a persuasion of the same measure and degree as resting is.

The third branch of the persuasion, “ that whatsoever Christ did for the redemption of mankind, he did it for you,”—being much the same, in other words, with these of the apostle—“ Who loved me, and gave himself for me;" and coming in the last place, we think none will question but whosoever believes in the manner before explained, may and ought to believe this in the like measure and in the same order. And it is certain, all who receive and rest on Christ for salvation, believe it, if not explicitly, yet virtually and really.

Now, as this account of justifying faith runs in terms much less strong than those of many eminent divines, who used to define it by a persuasion of God's love,—of his special mercy to one's self, of the remission of his sins, &c. ; 80 it is the same for substance and matter, though the words be not the same with that of our Shorter Catechism, viz. “A receiving and resting upon Christ alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the Gospel :" where it is evident the offer of Christ to us, though mentioned in the last place, is to be believed first ; for till the soul be persuaded that Christ crucified is in the Gospel set forth, offered, and exhibited to it as if expressed by dame, there can be no believing on him. And when the offer is brought home to a person by the Holy Ghost, there will be a measure of persuasion that Christ is bis

as above explained. Aod that receiving, or believing in, and resting on him for sal. vation, cannot be without some measure of persuasion that one shall have life and salvation by him, was said already. But more directly to the query,

We answer, Ist, Since our reformers and their successors, such as Luther, Calvio, Melancthon, Beza, Bullinger, Bucer, Knox, Craig, Melvil, Bruce, Davidson, Forbes, &c .-men eminently endowed with the Spirit of truth, and who fetch their notions of it immediately from the fountain of the holy scripture; the most eminent doctors and professors of theology that have been in the Protestant churches, such as Ursinas, Zanchius, Junius, Piscator, Rollock, Danæus, Wendelinus, Chamierus, Sharpius, Bodius, Pareus, Altingius, Triglandii, (Gisbertus and Jacobus) Arnoldus, Maresius ; the four professors of Leyden, viz. Wallaus, Rivetus, Polyander, Thysius ; Wollebius, Heidegerus, Essenius, Turretinus, &c. ; with many eminent British divines, such as Perkins, Pemble, Willet, Gouge, Roberts, Burgess, Owen, &c.; the churches them. selves of Helvetia, the Palatinate, France, Holland, England, Ireland, Scotland, in their standards of doctrine ; all the Lutheran churches, who, in point of orthodoxy op the head of justification and faith, are recond to none; 'the renowned synod of Dort, made up of eminent divines, called and commissionate from seveo reformed states and kingdoms, besides those of the several provinces of the Netherlands ;—since these, we say, all of them stand for that special fiducia, confidence, or appropriating persuasion of faith spoken of in the condemned passages of the Marrow, upon which this query is raised; the sypod of Dort, besides the minds of the several delegates on this head, in their several suffrages anent the Five Articles, declaring themselves plainly both in their final decisions concerning the said articles, and in their solemn and ample approbation of the Palatine Catechism, as agreeable to the word of God in all things, and as containing nothing that ought to be either altered or amended; which Catechism being full and plain as to this persuasion of faith, has been commented upon by many great divines, received by most of all the reformed Churches as a most excellent compend of the orthodox Christian doctrine, and particularly by the Church of Scotland, as the Rev. Mr. Robert Wodrow lately told his Majesty King George. in the dedication of his history: and since we, with this whole church and nation are, by virtue of the awful tie of the oath of God in our national covenant, bound ever to abbor and detest the Popish general and doubtsome faith, with all the erroneous decrees of Trent; among which, in opposition to the special fiducia of faith therein condemned) this is established; being by Protestants, so called, mainly for their denying and opposing the confidence and persuasion of faith, with application to one's self, now in question ; by which renunciation our forefathers, no doubt, pointed at, and asserted to be held and professed as God's undoubted truth and verity, that particular and confident, or assured faith, then commonly known and maintained in this Church, as standing plain and express in her standards, to the profession and defence of which they in the same covenant promising and swearing by the great name of the Lord our God, bound themselves and us: and since the same persuasion of faith, however the way of speaking on that head is come to be somewhat altered, was never by any judi. catory of a reformed Church, until now, denied or condemned :--considering all these things, we say, and of what dangerous consequence such a judicial alteration may be, we cannotwe dare not consent unto the condemnation of that point of doctrine ; for we cannot think of charging error and delusion in a matter of such importance upon so many Protestant divines, eminent for holiness and learning; upon the Protestant churches; and upon our owo forefathers, so signally owned of the Lord; and also on the standards of Protestant doctrine, in this Church, for nigh an hundred years after her reformation : else, if we should thus speak, we are persuaded we would offend against the generation of his children. Nor can it ever enter into our minds, that the famous Assembly of Westminster bad it so much as once in their thought, to depart in this point from the doctrine of their own, and of this Church, which they were all of them by the strongest ties bound to maintain ; or to go off from the Synod of Dort, which bad but so lately before them settled the Protestant principles as to doctrine ; and by so doing yield up to Socinians, Arminians, and Papists, what all of them hav a mortal aversion to, namely, the special fiducia, or appropriating persuasion of faith, which Protestant divines before and since that time contended for to the utmost, as being not only a precious truth, but a point of vast consequence to religion. And we are sure, the Assemblies of this church understood, and received their confession and catecbisms, larger and shorter, as entirely consistent with our confessions and catechisms before that time, as we have already made evident in our representation, from the acts of Assembly receiving and approving the Westminster Cunfession and Catechisms.

Answer 2d, It is to be considered, that most of the words of the Holy Ghost makes use of in the Old and New Testament, for expressing the nature of faith and believing, do import the confidence or persuasion in question; and that confidence and trust in the Old Testament are expounded by faith and believing in the New; and the same things attributed to the latter, as were wont to be attributed to the former; that diffidence and doubting are in their nature acts and effects contrary to faith; that peace and joy are the native effects of believing; that the promises of the Gospel, and Christ in his priestly office therein held forth, are the proper object of justifying faith; that, faithfulness in God, and faith in the believer being relatives, and the former the ground of the latter, our faith should answer to his faithfulness, by trusting his good word of promise for the sake of it; that it is certain a believer in the exercise of justifying faith does believe something with reference to his own salvation, upon the ground of God's faithfulness in the promise, that no other person whatsoever does or can believe ; which if it be not to this purpose, that now Cbrist is and will be a Saviour to him, that he shall have life and salvation by him, we are utterly at a loss to conceive what it can be ; that persuasion, confidence, and assuredness, are so much attributed to faith in the Scripture, and the saints in Scripture ordinarily express themselves in their addresses to God in words of appropriation ; and finally, that according to our Larger Catechism, faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God, as an instrument, receiving and applying Christ, and his righteousness held forth in the promise of the gospel, and resteth thereupon for pardon of sin, and for the accepting and accounting one's person righteous before God for salvation; the which, how faith can do without some measure of the confidence, or appropriating persuasion we are now upon, seems extreme hard to conceive. Upon these considerations, and others too long to be here inserted, we cannot but think, that confidence, or trust in Jesus Christ as our Saviour, and the tree grace and mercy of God in him as crucified, offered to us in the gospel for salvation (including justification, sanctification, and future glory) upon the ground and security of the divine faithfulness plighted in the gospel promise ; and upon the warrant of the divine call and command to believe in the name of the Son of God; or, which is the same, in other words, a persuasion of life and salvation, from the free love and mercy of God, in and through Jesus Christ, a crucified Saviour offered to us, upon the security and warrant aforesaid, is the very direct, uniting, justifying, and appropriating act of faith, whereby the convinced sinper becomes possessed of Christ and his saving benefits, instated in God's covenant and family; taking this always along, as supposed, that all is set home and wrought by the Holy Spirit, who brings Christ, his righteousness, salvation, and whole fulness,

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