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the phrase used by Philip, of believing with all the heart is parallel to that in Proverbs iïi. “ Trust in the Lord with all thine heart." And believing with the heart, is a phrase used in the New Testament to signify saving faith....Rom. X. 9, 10. « If thou shalt believe in thine heart, that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved ; for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness." The same is signified by obeying the form of doctrine from the heart, Rom. vi. 17, 18. « But God be thanked that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you ; being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Here it is manifest, that saving faith is intended by obeying the form of doctrine from the heart. And the same is signified as if it had been said, ye have believed with the heart the form of doctrine. But Philip uses a yet stronger expression, he does not only say, if thou believest with the heart, or from the heart, but with ALL thine heart. And besides, for any to suppose, that those same persons which the Scriptures represent in some places as under the power of an evil heart of unbelief ; and as double minded with regard to their faith (James i. 6, 7, 8) and as those who though they believe for a while, yet have their hearts like a rock, in which faith has no root, (Luke viii.) and yet that this same sort of persons are in other Scriptures spoken of as believing with all their heart ; I say, for any to suppose this, would be to make the sound or voice of God's word not very harmonious and consonant to itself. And one thing more I would observe on this head, there is good reason to suppose that Philip, while he sat in the chariot with the eunuch, and (as we are told) preached unto him Jesus, had shewed to him the way of salvation, had opened to him the way of getting an interest in Christ, or obtaining salvation by him, viz. believing in him, agreeably to Christ's own direction, Mark xvi. 15, 16. And agreeably to what we find to be the manner of the first preachers of the gospel : And therefore now when after this discourse he puts it to the eunuch, whether he believed with all his heart ; it is natural to suppose, that he meant whether he found his heart acquiescing in the gospel way of salvation, or whether he sincerely exercised that belief in Christ which he had been inculcating ; and it would be natural for the eunuch so to understand him.
Here if it be objected that the eunuch's answer, and the profession he hereupon made (wherein he speaks nothing of his heart, but barely says) I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, shows that he understood no more by the inquiry than whether he gave his assent to that doctrine : To this I answer; we must take this confession of the eunuch's together with Philip's words, which they were a reply to, and expound the one by the other. Nor is there any reason but to understand it in the same sense in which we find the words of the like confession elsewhere in the New Testament, and as the words of such a confession were wont to be used in those days, as particularly the words of Peter's confession, Matth. xvi. 16. “ And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God :” Which was a profession of saving faith, as appears by what Christ says upon it. And we read, I Cor. xii. 3. “ No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” Not but that a man might make a profession in these words without the Holy Ghost, but he could not do it heartily, or WITH ALL HIS HEART. So 1 John iv. 15. “ Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” i. c. Whoever makes this Christian confession (this profession which all Christians were wont to make) cordially, or with his whole heart, God dwells in him, &c. But it was thus that the eunuch was put upon making this confession. .
VIII. It is apparent by the epistles of the apostles to the primitive Christian churches, their manner of addressing and treating them throughout all those epistles, and what they say to them and of them, that all those churches were constituted of members so qualified as has been represented, haying such a visibility of godliness as has been insisted on ; those who were reputed to be real saints, were taken into the church under a notion of their being truly pious persons, made that profession, and had this hope of themselves ; and that natural and graceless men were not admitted designedly, but unawares, and beside the aim of the primitive churches and ministers ; and that such as remained in good standing, and free from an offensive behavior, continued to have the reputation and esteem of real saints, with the apostles, and one with another.
There were numbers indeed in these churches, who after their admission fell into an offensive behavior ; some of which the apostles, in their epistles, speak doubtfully of; others that had behaved themselves very scandalously, they speak of in language that seems to suppose them to be wicked men. The Apostle Paul in his epistles to the Corinthians, oftentimes speaks of some among them that had embraced heretical opinions, and had behaved themselves in a very disorderly and schismatical manner, whom he represents as exposed to censure, and to whom he threatens excommunication ; and upon occasion of so many offences of this kind appearing among them that for a while had been thought well of, he puts them all upon examining themselves, whether they were indeed in the faith, and whether Christ was truly in them, as they and others had supposed, 2 Cor. xiii. And the same apostle speaks of great numbers among the Galatians, who had made a high profession, and were such as he had thought well of when they were first admitted into the church, but since had given him cause to doubt of their state, by giving heed to se. ducers, that denied the great gospel doctrine of justification by faith alone : Yet notwithstanding, the apostle speaks of them in such language as shews surprise and disappointment, and implies that he had looked upon them as true Christians, and hoped that his labors among them had had a saving effect upon them. Gal. i. 6. “ I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel." Chap. iv. 11. “ I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain.” And ver. 20. “I desire to be present with you now, and change my voice ; for I stand in doubt of you.” As much as to say, “ I have heretofore addressed you with the voice of love and charity, as supposing you the dear children of God ; but now I begin to think of speaking to you in other language.” In the same chapter, to shew them what little reason he had to expect that they would come to this, lie puts them in mind of the great profession they had made, and the extraordinary appearances there had formerly been in them of fervent piety. Ver. 15. “Where is the blessedness you spake of ? For I bear you record, that if it had been possible ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them unto me." The Apostle James in his epistle, speaks of scandalous persons among the twelve tribes that were scattered abroad ; some that were men of unbridled tongues ; some that seem to have been a kind of Antinomians in their principles, and of a very bitter and violent spirit, that reproached, condemned, and cursed their brethren, and raised wars and fightings among professing Christians, and were also very unclean in their practice, adulterers and adulteresses, chap. iv. 4. And in the 5th chapter of his epistle, he seems to speak to the unbelieving Jews, who persecuted the Christians, ver: 6. And the apostles are also often speaking of some that had once been admitted into the church, crept in unawares, who had apostatized from Christianity, and finally proved notoriously wicked men. But otherwise, and as to such members of the visible church as continued in the same good standing and visibility of Christianity, wherein they were admitted, it is evident by the epistles of the apostles, they were all in the eye of a Christian judgment truly pious or gracious persons. And here I desire the following things may be particularly observed.
The apostles continually, in their epistles speak to them and of them, as supposing and judging them to be gracious persons. Thus the Apostle Paul, in his epistle to the church of the Romans, chap. i. 7, speaks of the members of that church as beloved of God. In chap. vi. 17, 18, &c. he “ thanks God, that they had obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which had been delivered them, and were made free from sin, and become the servants of righteousness," &c. The apostle in giving thanks to God for this, must not only have a kind of negative charity for them, as not knowing but that they were gracious persons, and so charitably hoping (as we say) that it
was 30; but he seems to have formed a positive judgment that they were such : His thanksgiving must at least be founded on rational probability ; since it would be but mocking of God to give him thanks for bestowing a mercy which at the same time he did not see reason positively to believe was bestowed. In chap. vii. 4, 5, 6, the apostle speaks of them as those that once were in the flesh, and were under the law, but now delivered from the law, and dead to it. In chap. viii. 15, and following verses, he tells them, they had received the Spirit of adoption, and speaks of them as having the witness of the Spirit that they were the children of God, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. And the whole of his discourse, to the end of the chapter, implies, that he esteemed them truly gracious persons. In chap. ix. 23, 24, he speaks of the Christian Romans, together with all other Christians, both Jews and Gentiles, as vessels of mer. cy. In chap. xiv. 6, 7, 8, speaking of the difference that then was among professing Christians, in point of regard to the ceremonial institutions of the law, he speaks of both parties as acting from a gracious principle, and as those that lived to the Lord, and should die unto the Lord : “ He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord, &c. For none of us live ,eth to himself, and no man, [i. e. none of us] dieth to himself.
For whether we live, we live unto the Lord, or whether we die, we die unto the Lord : Whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord's.” In chap. xv. 14, he says, “ I myself also, am porsuaded of you, my brethren, that ye are full of goodness.” His being thus persuaded implies a positive judgment of charity. And the same apostle in his first epistle to the Corinthians, directs it to “the church at Corinth, that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call on the name of the Lord Jesus ;" i.e. to all visible Christians through the world, or all the members of Christ's visible church every where : And continuing his speech of these, chap. i. 8, he speaks of them as those 6 that God would confirm to the end, that they may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ :" Plainly speaking of them all, as persons, in Christian esteem, savingly converted. In the next verse, he speaks of the faithfulnces of God as engage