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ply myself, according to my Capacity, in my accustomed Methods of Address, to answer your Desires.
You observe, " that I insinuate as if Men may "believe the Truth of the Gofpel, without a Iav"ing Faith in Christ, without an Interest in him, "or a Claim to the Benesits of his Redemption. "You therefore desire I would give you the di"stinguishing Characters of a 'aving Faith, and "shew you wherein the Disserence lies, between a "true Faith, and that which is common to y"pocrites, as well as to Christians indeed."
I do indeed insist upon it, that M n may notionally and doctrinally believe the Truth of tha Gofpel, without a saving Faith in Christ, and without an Interest in him, or a Claim to the Benesits of his
Redemption '— This is a Truth clearly taught
in the Scriptures, and abundantly evident from the
Reason and Nature of Things -If any therefore
should expect Salvation from a nvre doctrinal and historical Faith in Christ, they will, in the Conclusion, find themselves disappointed, and ashamed of their Hope.
We read (Joh. xii. 42, 43.) of many os the chief Rulers who believed in. Christ, but dared not consess him; for they loved the Praife of Men, more than
the Praife of God And will any Man imagine,
that such Believers who dare not consess Christ besore Men, fhall be consessed by him before his Heavenly Father and his holy Angels, in the great Day of Retribution ?—Will any Man imagine, that our blessed Lord will own such for his sincere Disciples and Followers, who love the Praife of Men, inore than the Praife of God ?—Here then is a clear Instance of a doctrinal and historical Faith, which was not saving, and could give no Claim to the Promise made to true Believers.—We have this MatIs. 2 ter
ter surther illustrated and consirmed by the Apostle James, in the second Chapter of his Epistle; where we are fhewn, that ruch a Faith is dead, being alone; that it is but a Carcase without Breath: As the Body without the Spirit is dead, fo Faith without Works, is dead alfo. Of such a Faith we may therefore say with the lame Apostle, What doth it profit, though a Man fay that he has Faith? Can Faith save him?
But I need not multiply Scripture Quotation* hi this Case. It is what is continually consirmed to us by our own Observation.——How many do we see every Day, who acknowledge the Truth of the Guspel, and yet live worldly, sensual and vic%6« Lives; whe profefs they inow Chrify hut in Wirks deny him; who call themselves by his Name, and yet value their Lusts and Idols above all the Hopes of his Salvation ; and even run the Venture of eternal Perdition, rather than deny themfelves, take up their Crofs, and follo-ai him ? —Now there can be nothing more certain, than that these Men are utterly unqualisied for the Kingdom of God; and that they can have no special Interest in him who gave himselffor us", that h: might redeem us from all Iniquity, and purify unto himfelf a peculiar People, zealous of good Works.
As, on the one Hand, there is a gracious Promife of sinal Salvation to all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ: He that believeth, and is baptized shall be faved: He that believeth on the Son hath everlafing Life So, on the other Hand, there is a Sort of Believers, who can have no Claim to this Promise, nor any Interest in the Salvation by Christ.—It must theresore be os insinite Consequence, that we have indeed the Faith of God's Efecl, that we may become the Children of God by Faith in Jefus Christ; and theresore that our Faith
be be distinct, in its Nature and Operations, from such an empty, liseless, and fruitless Belies, with which the formal, worldly, and sensual Prosessor may deceive and destroy hi, own Soul. From whence
it appears, that your Question is most important, and deserves a most careful and distinct Answer; which 1 shall endeavour in the following Particulars.
I. A true and saving Faith is a realizing and sensible Imprejisiou of the Truth of the Gofpel; whereas a dead Faith is but a mere notional and speculative Belief of it.—Faith is, by the Apostle, described, the Substance of Things l oped for, and the Evidence of Things not seen; that which brings eternal Things into a near View, and represents them unto the Soul as undoubted Realities. Whence it is, that the true Believer, when he has experienced the Desect of his own Purpofes and H ndeavonrs, when he is wearied out of all his salse Resuges,emptied of all Hope in himself, and is brought to see and seel the Danger and Misery of his State 'by Nature, he is then brought in earnest to look to Jesus, as the only Resuge and Sasety of his Soul.— He then sees the incomparable Excellency of a previous Saviour, breathes with ardent D- sire aster him, repairs to him as the only Foundation of his Hope; and, proportionably to the Evidence of his Interest: in him, rejoices in Christ Jesus, having no Confidence
in the Flesh. Now, the blessed Saviour and his
.glorious Salvation is the Subject of his serious, frequent, and delightsul Contemplation.—Now,an Interest in Christ is valued by him above all the World} and he is in earnest to obtain and maintain good E» vidence, that his Hope in Christ Is well founded. —Now, the Favour of God, and the Concern*. of the unseen and eternal World, appear of greater Importance than every Thing else He now mourns
under a Sense of his former Sins; lie groans under K. 3 the ,
the Burden of his remaining Corruptions and Impersections; and with earnest Diligence follows after Holiness, endeavouring to work out his own,
Salvation with Fear and Trembling. And in a
Word, he has such an Impression of these'invisible Realities, that whatever Temptations, Desertions, or prevailing Corruptions he may conflict with, nothing can so banish the great Concern from his Breast, as to make him habitually slothsul and indifferent about it: Nothing can quiet him short of having his Heart and Affections engaged in the Things of God and Godliness; and his Appetites and Passions under the Restraint and governing Influence of the Law of the Spir it of Life.
But now, on the other Hand, if we take a View of the Influence which a dead Faith has upon the Soul, it is visible, that this usually leaves the Subjects of it secure and careless, trifling and indifferent, in the Concerns of the eternal World. These appear to such a Person but distant Futurities, which do not engage his solemn Attention, and make him in earnest solicitous about the Event; nor give any effectual Check to his inordinate Appetites and Passions Or if (as it sometimes happens) any awak
ning Dispensation alarms the Conscience of such a Person to a distressing Apprehension of his Guilt and Danger, drives him to Duties and external Reformations, and makes him more caresul and ,watchsul in his Conduct, he has yet no sensible impressive View oftheWay of Salvation by Jefus Christ. ——He either endeavours to pacify the Justice of God, and his own Conscience, by his Duties and religious Performances, and so lulls himself asleep again in his former Security; or else continues to agonize under most dark, dreadsul and unworthy Apprehensions of the glorious God, as if he were implacable and irreconcilable to such Sinners as he.
—Such —Such a Person would readily acknowledge, but he cannot seel this blessed Truth, that Jesus Christ is a sufsicient Saviour.—He allows it to be Truth; but it is to him such a Truth, as has no effectual Influence upon his Heart ami Lise. Tho' he owns this to be true, yet he can never comfortably venture his Soul and his eternal Interests upon it, unless a Ray of divine Light stiine into his Soul, and give him a lively and sensible View of what he could before have but a flight and supersicial Apprehension of.
Here then you see an apparent Difference between a true and a salse Faith ; the one realizes the great Truths of the Guspel by a lively and seeling Discovery of them, giving the Light of the Knowledge of the Glory of God in the Face of Jefus Christ. The other gives but a liseless and unactive Assent to these important Truths.—The one influences the Heart and Affections, and by beholding with open Face, as in a Clafs, the Glory of the Lord, changes the Soul into the fame Image, from Glory to Glory; the other only swims in the Head, and leaves the Heart in a State either of Security or Despondency.—The one is an abiding Principle of divine Lise, from which there flow Rivers of living Water: The other is transient and unsteady, and leaves the Soul short of any spitftual Principle of Lise and Activity.
2. A faving Faith is an hearty Confent to the Terms of the Gofpel; while a dead Faith is but a cold Assent to the Truth of it.—Accordingly a true Faith is in the Gofpel described to be a receiving of the Lord Jefui Chrifl,—To as many as received him, to them gave he Power to become the Children of Ged.<~—Our blessed Redeemer is freely offering himself, and his saving Benesits, to poor perishing Sinners in the Guspel. Our Compliance with, and