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First, Generally. . For the generall nature of believing, observe these propofiti:ons
Fiift, that believing is an assent to such matters as are known, orly by revelation from another; there are in the soul of man three qualities by which we came to finde out or perceive
First, one quality is Scientia, or knowledge, which is a firme assent unto a thing which may be evideoced to the understand. ing by solid demonstration of infallible principles, or else by the undeniable evidence of senc, and experience; as thus, that every natural body hath power to move, or that the Moon will suffer an Eclipse, or that che fire is naturally apt co ascend, and the wa. cer to moisten, &c.
Thele cbiogs have both a naturalf certainty and truch in them. felves, and there is an undoubeed evidence and certainty in the minde of the person, truly knowing chem; and fo certaine and full is the perswasion of the minde, about them, that chere is no scruple of doubt remaining to discuss, as any uncercainty whether the things be so or no.
Another is opinion, which is an iacvident evideot aliens, if I may fo phrase ir:My meaning is, che understanding doch so af. sent, and yield roibe things, as that get it fees fome contrary rcafon to fufpcct and question whether the thing be so er no; for as much as (in opinion ) the grounds are not fully evident to the mindc, bus they are only probable, and therefore the ar. sent by opinion, is but conje&tural. As, cake a man in a case of a scrupulous conscience, there is to cbat man fome evidence of argument which doch seem to warranc his adion or attempt, and yes that argumentis not to entirely convincing of his judge ment, but on che other side, there starts up a medium or argument, which renders the pradice probably finful; whereupon, if you come to demand of him; May you do such a thing? he answers, I do not certainly know (that is ) I am not entirely and absolutely resolved of it, yet I think I may, I think it is lawful; and this thinking (which is opinion ) is alwayes accompanied with some fear and suspicion; fo chat the minde is like a paire of Scales tottering and tilting to either side. Things are partly cleare, and partly obscure, partly, evident, aod partly inevidenc,
and therefore the affent of opinion is alwayes doubcful.
Another is beliefe, which is an assent unto things not from a. ny evidence of ebechings themselves, but only from the relacion, or testimony of another.
if I feel the fire to burne my hand, I do not call this a believing, but a sensitive knowing, if Abimaaz comes and cells David, tbar bis Son Absolom is banged and paine, though this be know. ledgin bim who saw it, yet it is belief in Divid, wbo did heare and credit the ridings; so that ( to be brief belief differs from: knowledge in this, thac knowledge depends on the evidence of things themselves; but belief, chough the things be certainly truc to which it doib assenc, yet ic assents unto them for the teftimomy of authority of him who relates and reports them. Though this be most true, Thac Jefus Cbrift was borne of the Virgin Mory,and that be is the Melfins and Saviour, yet I beleeve it.co be truc becaule God barbe given teftimony or report thereof in lois Word una Romi.
Again, Belief differs from opinion in this, that opinion is an indifferent, probable, bazarding, and difficultly inclinable affent, bus in believing the affent is forme, certaine and fixed especially where teftimony and authority is sufficient. :
Believing as it is restrained to a theological and divine confideration, that is ( in the generall) an asent of tbe foul to the truth, and goodnese, of all divine revelations upon divine teftimony.. Here much might be faid, as for instance.
First, that all divine revclations are the object of belief, as Supernaturally inspired. .
Secondly, chat the ground of believing them is Gods own: testimony. Faith hath sufficiene reason to believe all things there co be crue, in their relacion; because of his truch and authority. who doch say so ( viz.) God himfelf.
Thirdly, of the generall nature of believing; which is an assent unto all spoken by God as most true and credible.
Secondly, particularly, of justifying Faith, - Faith ( as you well know ) hath a double afpe&, one is to the whole revealed Word of God, another is to God in Cbritor to Jesús Christ..
I am not now to speak of it, as an eye which may see all coTours, but as an eye fixing ie self on lome singular and special objedt (vig, ) on Jesus Christ, in respect of whom it is called juftifying falch: The believing on whom may be thus - described.
T is a fingular Grace of God, whereby the heart and
will of a sensible finner, dorb lake and embrace 9 Jesus Christ in his person and offices, and dotb
wholly or only reft on him for pardon of fin, and e
ternal life. :: s : There are many things to be opened in this
description, forasmuch as all the force of true faith, cannot at once in a few short words be clearly express ked.
n Onlider therefore, the spring or fount aine of this faith is ac U heaven: Gods eternall decree, is the radicall cause of it : so Ads 13. 48 As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed. And the instrumental cause of it is the Word of God, Rom, 10. 17. Faith comes by hearing, and bearing by the Word of God. And the immediate and fingular canle of it is the Spirit of God, Gal. 5. 22. there it is an expresse fruit. So Joh. 1. 12. speaking particularly of believing on the Name of Christ, he addeth verse 13. men come to this not being borne of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of max, but of God,
Tbar the will or heart of man should be brought off from it self, and co abhor its own condition and sufficiency, and to cake Christ as God propounds him, to be the only rock upoo which I must built my salvation, to be the only Lord to whole Law and Will I must resigne up my whole foul, and to cleave unto bim in a conjugall union and affection; This I lay arisech,not from naturall principles, nor from the wildome of a mans free will, nor from any endeavour or action which can find foocing in man himself. It is observed that there are two sorts of habits.
Two Corts 1. Some which are acquired by the industry of the person , Habics. and through a right use of a legacious and understanding mina, and such may be purchased by pra&tise, and use; as che Scholar by writing, geische habit of writing, and the Apprentise by his wise and honest observation, and industry,gets into the skill of his trade and calling ; Now faith is no such qualicy, we can send forth no such fingular acts or operations, which are able in time to ripen or beger so excellenc a Grace in the soul.
2. Others are plainly and entirely infused. Faich is not water in the Earth, which a man may pump out, but ic is even in the fulnesse or littlenessc of it, in the allnesse of it,as the drops or showers of raine, which come from heaven : Though cho subject of it be below, yet the cause of it is above, it is man who doch believe, buc it is Gods Spirit alone who gives him thas faich to believe; it is the will of man which doch cake and receive Christ; but it is Gods Spirić who doth beltow thac grace' of faich, by which he doch take and receive.
That a man hach a will,none can deny, who know that they are men; Nay, and that the will is able to send out its own a&i. ons, it is willingly confessed; buc infinice is the difference 'cwixt the naturall adions of the will, and the supernacural qualities and operation of Gods Spiric in the will : It is true,a dead car. case is able of ie self to send forth a stinking smell, but it is not able to quicken and enliven it self. Thac che will can, will I grant, but that the will can (of it self) enliven it self, to char great part of life, I meane believing, it is not only a vehementinjury and dishonour to the fountaine and freenesse of grace, buç also a most foolish, and senselesse error; the will of man being
water in the le or littlenech come from
naturally lo oppohle and disproporc faith in God come
es being an act so
will. No Toportionable
naturally so opposite to believing, and believing being an act so every way unsorable, and disproportionable to che inclination and ability of the will. No verily, faich in God comes from God, and fo faith in Chrift, from Christ; none ever could see Christ in a justifying and saving way, who had not that ere of faith pur into him by the Spirit of Christ : No giace comes from any,but the God of Grace. Vnio jou it is given to believe, Phil. 1. 29.
* He føbject of this faith, is a sensible finner; I do not as yet ubje&tum. I speak of the immediate subject of inhesion, which respects
those parts of the soul, wherein this grace is leated; of this I shall speak anon, Eut of the subject of denomination, and this
fubje&t is a sensible sinner. Two sorts of There are two sorts of finners. nners,
• 1, Some generally corrupted both in their narures, and in their lives, and they are as volentible as ibey ere finfall. They do not know in any powerfull degree of true refe&tion and feeling their own vilenesse, arcursed nese and miserablenesle of persons being so,and remaining so in an unserisible condition of sinfulneffe, i dare confidently affirme, that though they may have most able and strong pre'umptiors, ret they have not (as jer ) the least degree of justifying and laving faich. How can any manby Faith look ?:pon Jesus Christ as his Phyfitian, wbo is mbole in kis own opinion. The unfinible finner, as he cannot close with Christ so be will not care for Chrift; for what thould now move such an heart, is it this holinesle of Christs person! Good Lord ! How ridiculous is thai motive to a profane and grace life heart, or, is iċ the lusableneste of Christs Office; Why?what is Salvation to him by another, who as yet Tees no ground or reason of condemnation in bimself??
2. Others sensibly experienced, who know thus much, that they in particular are finful, 203 there is no Salvation, no hope of it from them elves, but it is co Le found onely in Jesus Christ.