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Q. What is a sincere faith?
A. It is a sure knowledge of God and his promises, revealed to us in the Gospel, and a hearty confidence, that all my sins are forgiven, for Christ's sake.
Dutch Protestant Church,
Faith in Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive Christ, and rest upon him alone for salvation. The soul doth then truly rest upon Christ, when, being convinced of its own sinfulness and miserable condition by reason of sin, and seeing nothing in itself, no righteousness of its own, whereon it can safely bottom its hope of salvation, but hearing of a fulness of merit in Jesus Christ; what an all-sufficient Saviour he is, able to save to the uttermost; and how willing to receive and embrace all poor sinners who will adventure their souls upon bim; doth thereupon cast itself into bis arms, rest wholly upon his perfect righteousness and meritorious death, saying, Thereto will I trust; if I perish, I will perish in his arms: if I die, I will die believing. This I conceive to be the great act of faith, which giveth us an interest in Christ, and which doth engage all the attributes of God-bis justice, truth, mercy, power—and all to do us good.
Having considered its general nature, let us attend to its peculiar character. What office does it perform in relation to the Redeemer? It believes the gospel testimony concerning him. When faith is imparted, the mental eye is so opened, and the truth revealed in so clear a manner as to produce correspondent conviction in the understanding ; doubts are removed, and the soul is satisfied. It is convinced that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and that he hath perfected the work of redemption. As the eye discerns corporeal objects, faith discerns those that are spiritual.
The faith of wbich I am treating, is not the belief of any truth, but the belief of the truth ; 2 Thess. ii. 13. has a special regard to the atonement made by Christ. It is a full and permanent persua. sion of the truth, value, and importance of the gospel, and of its suitableness to our case, as fallen, lost, ruined, helpless creatures. Whenever these qualities of the gospel are seen and felt, that is,
whenever the gospel itself is really believed, it will command the most affectionate regards, and produce the most desirable effects. True faith bas always a sweet and powerful influence on the beart and mind. Does the gospel exbibit Jesus as the promised Messiah, the Son of God, the Saviour of sinners, and the King of saints? The believer looks to hiin 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; be 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 object; 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 tinie, and on his own terms.
Anon, 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
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 ener God hath taughte and promysed to vs, by the bokes of both Testamentes, 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,
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it beleueth that the worlde was made by God, and whatsoever thynges
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 thyoges, which we do gather by argumentacyou and reasonynge, or els of wbich we have sure perceyuynge and knowledg by all our outward sences.
This faythe coupleth and joyveth us to God the Father ; this same dothe associate vs to Christe our bede; 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.
This faythe dothe shyne before us, and give vs lyghte in the 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 ordivaunce of the worlde and of the deville. This faythe dothe mightely and effectuously coumfort us ia 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 agayost vs?
Erasmus's Exposycyon of y' 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 languishi 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,
Bp. Fenelau. 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 bave 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 bave 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 hìm as heirs of glory. By faith we abide in
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Cbrist, and have communion with him. By faith we receive of Christ's fulpess, live in him, and are so refreshed by him, that we sball 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 fight; and keepeth us safe from the mighty adversaries of our souls and salvation. Faith obtaineth of God what we ask agreeable to bis will; maketh the ordinances of God sweet and refresbing; receiveth what is offered in the word and sacraments; and maketh that we shall never be ashamed, nor confounded. Faith increaseth know. Jedge; knowledge in flameth the heart with love stronger than death; crucifieth the flesh with the affections and lusts; it armeth with patience 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 prosperity; 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 sense and to reason invisible. It resteth upon
the word of promise, and is confident of things in nature impossible, because God has said them. It preserveth from evil; labours cone scientiously 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 prescrveth from falling, and raiseth us again when fallen; maketh courageous in the profession of the gospel, even to the loss of life itself; it sweeteneth the communion of saints; uniteth the heart 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 comfort of them who are distressed in body or soul. These are the