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pendence of these acts upon one another, is such, that the last cannot exist without the former; the third cannot exist without the second, nor the second without the first. When therefore, the command to believe is announced, the first act is demanded of the sinner; not that he may halt there, but that having performed it, he may go on to the second. But in case he has not performed the first, he is by no means required to go on to the second. He cannot, nay he ought not to believe, that Christ is his Redeemer, who does not believe that Christ is the Son of God, and the Redeemer of men. This would bind a man to believe that Christ redeems him, while yet he does not believe that there is any Christ a Redeemer: but, when a man finds in himself the preceding acts, which are the foundation of the last, then, and not till then, let him go on to exercise that last consolatory act.
A second objection, equally unsubstantial, is, “that as many as are commanded to believe in Christ, are commanded to have justifying faith, as no other can be saving; but justifying faith necessarily imports a particular application, that we believe not only that Christ died in common for men, but for us in particular: that otherwise, this faith would not differ from the mere historical faith of reprobates, nay, it would not differ from the faith of devils who can believe the same thing.” To this I reply, that justifying faith which is commanded in the gospel, does indeed embrace the various acts of which we have spoken, but every one in its own order. First, the direct and formal act, which consists in the last judgment of the practical intellect, or that by which the will is immediately impelled to volition. The understanding, the will co-operating with it, decides concerning Christ, that he is the sole and only Redeemer of all those who believe, repent, and seriously fly to him. This is called justifying faith. In it the light let into the understanding, powerfully impels the will, and the whole soul flies for refuge to Christ and finds rest. The second and reflex act, spontaneously in some cases, and in others by serious examination, follows this first appropriating and justifying act. From the time that I feel myself powerfully persuaded by the gospel
call and promises, seriously to fly to Christ, seek righteousness, and expect life from him alone, from that moment I can iafer, and have a right to infer, that Christ has died for me; because, from the gospel I learn, that he has died for all who believe and repent. Hence the answer to the argument is easy. Whosoever is bound to have justifying faith, is bound to believe that Christ died for him. This is the argument, Now I deny that this is true of the first act of faith. In the second reflex act, I admit it to be true. Presuppose the first, then we are bound to believe that Christ died for
exclude the first and direct act, then I deny that any man is so bound. After all, the faith of believers is entirely different from that of reprobates and devils. For although reprobates may believe theoretically, that Christ is the Son of God and Saviour of men, yet they are never so truly and really persuaded by a fiducial and cordial assent to the word of God, that they fly to him and rest upon him for salvation. If they were truly and practically persuaded, that Christ is the only, and perfect Saviour of all who believe and repent, and that out of him there is no salvation, it would be impossible for them not to fly to him and embrace him for salvation with their whole heart. This necessity arises from the will's always obeying the last practical dictate of the understanding, and from all creatures seeking their own happiness. Hence also it appears, that the faith of devils has nothing in common with that of the elect. Devils know that Christ is offered to men alone, and that they have no interest in him; and it is utterly impossible for them to place any fiducial reliance upon him.
Again, it is objected, “ that no one can place his trust and reliance upon Christ, unless he knows that Christ has died for him, and is his Saviour. For man always hesitates, and is anxious about his salvation, until he knows the intentions of God and will of Christ; and that by the purpose of God the death of Christ was destined for him.” To this I reply, that there are two acts, or parts, in the fiducial reliance of the Christian. The one consists in his receiving and taking refuge in Christ; the other, in the rest and consolation which
arise from a sense of having fled to and received Christ. The former is the act of faith, by which we fly to Christ as the only Saviour, cleave to him, apply, and appropriate him to ourselves for salvation. It is by the latter act that, flying to Christ and resting on him, we believe and trust that we have, and to eternity will have communion with him in his death and its benefits; and in him joy fully acquiesce, certainly persuaded that he died for us, and that by his death we are reconciled to God. Some divines have called the former faith on Christ, and the latter faith respecting Christ. This respects Christ as having died for us; not so the former; for no one can know that Christ has died for him, unloss he has first believed on him. As Christ is promised to those only who believe and repent, I must first fly to him and embrace his merits with genuine repentance, before I can on good grounds decide, that the death of Christ belongs to me by the decree of God, and the intention of Christ. My faith however, does not cause that Christ died for me; for his death was antecedent to any regard had to faith as its meritorious cause, and the grace of faith is a fruit and effect of the death of Christ. But it is an evidence in all those who possess it, that Christ died for them. We infer the existence of the cause from the effect. And though I cannot yet assure myself that Christ has died for me, it does not follow that I must always remain in a state of doubt and anxiety, and that my faith must be weak and unstable. My faith may firmly rest upon those general promises of the gospel, which promise salvation to every believing and penitent sinner. Hence by certain consequence, when I find that I possess faith and repentance, I may assure myself that these promises belong to me.
Another objection is offered to this effect, “ that, from our hypothesis, the foundation of the sinner's consolation is taken away, as we reason from a particular to a universal; thus, Christ died for some, therefore, he died for me. But by the rules of good reasoning, we should proceed from a universal to a particular;-Christ died for all men and and every man, therefore, he died for me.” But this is gra
taitous, that is, every one knows that it is foolish and ab. surd to reason in this manner. We deny that we do so. We reason from a universal to a particular, but in a certain order. Christ died for all who believe and repent, but I believe and repent, therefore, he died for me. It is false that any ground of consolation can be drawn from the absolute universality of Christ's death; for that which is common to the godly and ungodly, to those who shall be saved, and the innumerable multitudes, who have been and shall be damned, can surely afford no solid comfort to any one. If it be supposed that Christ died for Judas and Pharaoh, who have perished notwithstanding, how will, how can this free me from the fear of damnation? If you reply, that this fear may be taken away by faith, you recur to the same chain of reasoning upon which our consolation rests. You will say, all who believe and repent shall be saved; I believe, and therefore I shall be saved; “ for whosoever believeth on the Son shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” This is our mode of reasoning. It does not elicit comfort from the universality of the atonement, but from faith's laying hold of the atonement by an act of appropriation. No solid peace can be extracted from that which is insufficient for salvation, from an atonement which avails not, and which of itself cannot prevent damnation. And such is that universal grace for which our opponents contend,-a grace which is never effectually applied to the sinner. What will it avail the sinder to know that Christ hath died for all, while it is certain, that, without faith, no one will ever become a partaker of the fruits of his death? Will he not be in a state of doubt and anxious hesitation, to know whether he belongs to the number of those to whom faith will be given. He knows it will not be given to all, and he will be anxious to know, whether he shall be made a partaker of it. May not the same difficulties and scruples which can be urged against special grace, and a special atonement, be also urged against a special decree of bestowing faith? If, therefore, solid peace of conscience can never be attained but by the mercy of God the Father towards all, and a universal atonement
by the Son, neither can this peace of conscience be attained, but by a universal calling, and a universal operation of the Sirit, effectually applying the universal salvation. If the sinner anxiously doubt and say, who knows whether Christ, since he has not died for all, has died for me; may he not also doubt and say, who knows and can tell me, whether Go.I will give me faith, and whether I am of the number of the elect or of the reprobate? Besides all such scruples originate from a desire to know what is not given to man to know, at least, not in the way in which these people seek to know it. It becomes no mortal to institute a scrutiny, a priori, into the secrets of the divine decree, relative to election and reprobation. In such enquiries as these into a man's present state, and future prospects, he should proceed a posteriori, by examining himself, in order to discover whether he has truly repented of his sins or not. If he has, he may, and ought to assure himself of the grace of God, and his own election. If he find that he has not repented, he ought, without delay, to apply himself to the use of the means which God has appointed; he ought to hear and read the word, and pour out ardent prayers to God, to bestow upon him the gifts of faith and repentance; and in all those duties he should engage with profound meditation. Nor can any scruples occur on this subject, which our learned opponents are not as much bound to remove as we; except the Armi. nians, who maintain, that every man has, of himself, through the universal grace of God, sufficient power to believe and repent. But from this Pelagian dogma, those against whom we have reasoned in this chapter, have, through the grace of God, professed themselves free. The foundation of consolation therefore, is to be sought, not from the universality of the atontment, but from the universality of the promises to all who believe and repent.
Although the reprobates who do not believe the gospel, will be deservedly condemned for their unbelief, yet it does not follow, that they were commanded to believe that Christ had died for them. There are various kinds of unbelief besides that of not believing that the atonement was made for