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There are these two Things, especially in the Doctrine of our Justisication by Faith, which are to be condemned as most dangerous Errors in the sects you speak of. The first is, their Notion of the Nature of a saving Faith. The second i«, the Part which they assign to Faith in our Justification. It is necessary, in order to set the Affair in a proper Light, that I be something particular upon each of thele.
The first Thing then to be considered is their Notion of the Nature os a saving Faith : This they fuppoleto consist in a joysul Persuasion of our Interest in Christ, and of our Title to his purchased Salvation. And accordingly Count Zinzendorjs frequently gives us this View of a saving Faith. Believe then (says he) that Jesus has attoned and payed a Ransom for you all; and that you may experience it this very Moment; and know that ye MM been healed by his Wounds and by his Stripes. — And the Antinomians in general agree with him in this, that saving Faith consists in a comfortable Persuasion of our personal Interest in the Lord Jeso» Christ.——But then, on the contrary, you may perceive, by what I have written to you on this Subject, that I do not suppofe this Persuasion to enter into the Definition of a saving Faith; nor to be any Part of it. It is what a true Believer may want; and an unbelieving and impenitent Sinner may entertain in an high Degree.
This is an Afsair of vast Consequence, and therefore deserves a more distinct and particular Consignation than I can now have Opportunity •for. I shall however attempt to set it in as plain and samiliar a Light as I can. In order to this, it will
be proper (previous to my Reasoning against this wild Opinion) to premise these Observations:
r. That Believers may have good Satissaction of their sase Estate, and full Perfuasion of their Interest in Christ, from their Experience of a Work of Grace in their Hearts; and from the Fruits of Faith in their Affections and Conversations. It is just Reasoning, from the Nature of the Fruit, to the Quality of the Tree that bears it. If therefore a Man sinds in himself an habitual, predominant Desire aster the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Portion of his Soul, and the Foundation of his Hope; if he seels his Sins to be the Burthfn of his Soul, what he hates without Reserve, what he strives, watches, and prays against, and never willingly and deliberately indulges; if he delights himself in the Lord, in near Approaches to him, and Communion with him in 1 is Ordinances; if he knows it to be the Bent and Disposition of his Soul, to approve himself to God in a Lise ot Spiritual Mindedness, and in all holy Conversation and Godliness, in Selfdenial, in Piety towards God, in Righteousnefs, and Charity towards Men: Though he may yet groan under many disallowed Impersections, he nevertheless may be, and ought to be perfuaded of his Interest in Christ ; and give the Praise and Glory of these divine Influences upon his Soul to the blessed Author of them; this is the ordinary and standing Evidence to the Children of God, of the Sasety of their State.—By this they have a comfortable and joysul Persuasion, that he who has begun a good Work in them, will perform it to the Day of Christ.—By this the Children of God are manifests both to themselves and others. In this Sense, then, I do not deny to Believers a Perfuafion or Manisestation of their own good Estate. This Perfuafi4n is what they should by no Means contentedly
rest /hort of. It is greatly needsul, not only t° their Comfort and Hope, but to their serving God with the Dispositions becoming Children, with Enlargement of Soul, and with Chearsulness and Delight.—But then you must remember, that thisPersuasionh not Faith; but arises from the Fruits and Efsects of Faith upon the Soul, and is what may (sometimes at least) be wanting in the best of the Children of God.—I must still surther observe,
2. That God is fometimes pleased, in a more ficcialznd peculiar Manner, toshedabroad his Lovs in the Hearts of Believers, by his Holy Spirit, with such superior Light and Evidence, that their gracious Sincerity, fo consequently their Interest in Christ, and their Title to the eternal Inheritance, can at such Times be no Ways doubtful and questionable to them.—The Spirit of God witnejj«th with their Spirits, that they are his Children; and they are sealed with the holy Spirit of Promife.—In this Cafe, as in the other before mentioned, their comfortable Persuasion of their Interest in Christ arises from an evident Discovery of the Exercise of the Graces of his blessed Spirit. Herein this joysul Persuafton in both Cases agrees, that it is reasonable and well-grounded. The Spirit of God never persuades the Soul to believe a Truth without its proper Evidence; nor causes the Believer to rejoice without rational Grounds and Motives.
But then this latter Persuasion difsers from that before mentioned, in these following Respects:—It is produced in the Soul with an incomparably ftrongf and clearer Light.—In the other Case, Satissaction is obtained by a Series of Reasoning, Reflectlon, and Selr.examination, distinctly considering the Scripture Rule, and comparing it with the "me, Circumstances, and settled Habit ofthe Soul. WhereiS» va this Case, the Soul has so clear a View, and Q. 2 Consciouind's Consciousness of its present Exercise of Faith in Christ, and Love to God, that all Clouds are dispersed, all Mists and Darkness vanish; and there is no Room left for Doubts and misgivingThoughts: But the Soul sees itself sase in the Hands of Christ; and can rest there with the greatest Alacrity and
pleasure. 'Moreover, as this Perfuafion, which I
am now speaking of, makes its Way into the Soul with much greater Light, so it has a much quicker and more fudden Production. The Soul is not exercised, in this Case, for Months or Years together, with difficult Inquiries into its own State; but at once, before it is aware, overcomes all its Fears, by seeling the Possession and Influence of the Graces and Consolations of the Spirit of God—I may yet add, that this Perfuasion is accompanied with such unspeakable Joy, as thofe (even Believers themseves) cannot have any Idea of, who have not thus tafted that the Lord is gracious. The divine Light shines into the Soul with a transporting and ravishing Energy, till it is as it were loll in a joysul Astonishment. By this the World vanishes out of Sight, and Death itself lofes its Terrors; by this the Martyrs have been enabled to sing in the Flames, and most joysully to triumph over all that is most frightful and distressing to Nature.—To which I may also add, that this joysul Perfuafon, of which I now speak, has a transforming Efficacy on the Soul, who Is the happy Subject of it. It purisies the Heart, and promotes Consormity to God: It humbles the Soul to nothing in its own Eyes; bows it to an absolute Subjection to the Will of God, and excites in it the most vigorous Exercise of the Graces of the Spirit, and the Duties of Christianity: Efsects, which at least are not o sensibly produced, and in such a Degree, by tin Satissaction which the Soul obtains of its own gcod State, in the Method si It
mentioned—I have insisted the longer upon thele Heads, to obviate all Misapprehensions ot' what I have yet to offer : And to the same Purpofe I must add once more,—
3. That we can have no other Claim to Acceptance with God, but by the Righteoufnefs of Christ imputed to us, and received by Faith; and therefore, that we can have no just Perfuafon of our being in Favour with God, but from our interejl in, and Dependence upon, his Righteousness, as the Matter or our Juftification. Jt is only on Account of what Christ has done and suffered for us that we are jujiified before God, and intitled to eternal Salvation It is only by Faith that we arc interested in this Righteoulness.—And 'tis only by the F.vidence of our having a true unfeigned Faith, that we can sasely enjoy tfie Satissaction and Comfort of a justisied State—That we cannot be justisied before God by our own sincere Obedience, either to the Law of Nature, or to any imaginary Law of Grace, or even by Faith itself, as it is an Act of Obedience; or any other Way whatsoever, but by the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ to us, and on the Account of what he did and sufsered for us, will appear from the fallowing Considerations.
This appears evidently true, in that nothing can be the Matter of our Justification before God, but what is a proper and adequate Atonement and Propitiation for our Sins.-—That *ue have all fnned, and come short of the Glory of God, is a Truth evident, both from the Light of Nature and Rfvelation.—-That God will by no Means clear the Guilty, has the same Evidence and Certainty, Insinite justice and Holiness cannot look upon thofe to be just, who are under the Guilt of Sin, and the damning Sentence of the Law,~-There, is therefore a <£3 Necdiuy