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ment of our justification through him. I say, Christ for its object. For the Lord Jesus Christ, as a Saviour, who lived and died for sinners, is the peculiar object of a justifying faith. Hence it is that we find faith so frequently defined, in the new testament, by believing in Christ-trusting in Christ-coming to him, &c. And the righteousness, by which we are justified is called the righteousness of faith-the righteousness which is of God, by faith-and the righteous. ness of God is revealed from faith to faith. Or, as Dr. Doddridge renders the words, " The righteousness of God, by faith, is revealed to faith.”
Now from these scriptures, just mentioned, and others which might be adduced, it appears that a justifying faith comprehends these two particulars. first, A believing, with the heart, the truth of the gospel, and particularly the truth of that method of salvation, through Christ, which the gospel reveals. And secondly, A hearty compliance with that method; and a full consent to, and hearty approbation of that method of salvation. With the heart, man be lieveth unto righteousness.
First, justifying faith comprehends a believing, with the heart, the truth of the gospel, and particularly the truth of the
method of salvation, through Christ, which the gospel reveals.
The common acceptation of the word faith, is, that it is the belief of a thing, upon the word, or testimony of another. Thus it is that we have faith ; or belief, in such and such things, transacted during the late war; because they have been transmitted to us, by credible human testimony. In like manner, I believe, or have faith in, the record given concerning Christ, and the plan of salvation through him, in the gospel, upon the testimony of God. The former is called human, and the latter divine faith. So we find that faith is said to be, "a receiving the witness, which God hath testified of his son.” And, on the other hand, unbelief is said to be, “ a not believing the record, which God hath gi. ven of his son.” Now this is bringing the matter from the fountain of intelligence ; whence all useful, saving knowledge and truth are derived : and not launching out into the regions of fancy, or flying on the wings of a sportive imagination. We have the word of God for it, that a divine faith is the belief of a thing on the testimony of · God; and particularly the testimony, which he hath given us of his son, in the gospel. And what that testimony is, you may see
first John v. 11. " This is the record, or testimony, that God hath given to us eternal life ; and this life is in his son.” This is the sum and substance of that gracious and important testimony, the belief of which is faith. The obvious meaning of which is this : “ That it hath pleased God, in compassion to our fallen race, to constitute and reveal a method of bestowing immortal life and happiness upon lost, helpless and guilty creatures, lying in the region and shadow of death, and exposed to everlasting misery. And he further testifies, that this life is in his son : that it is only through his son Jesus Christ, that this life and happiness can be had. It is altogether through him, that they can be hoped for: and no. thing but death and destruction appear from every other quarter.”-Now, what is faith, but a hearty, full and affecting belief and persuasion of the truth of this record, on the credit of God, who has given us this testimony?
I have already observed, in my first let. ter, and the same is implied in this testimo. ny, that the whole scheme of redemption, through Christ, is founded on the fallen and ruined state of man.-It clearly suppo ses that we are all sinners, exposed to the wrath of God, and unable to help ourselves, by any thing we can either do, or suffer. In the same scheme, the Lord Jesus is represented, as substituting himself in the place of sinners, fulfilling the law, which they had broken, and bearing the wrath of God, due to sin. It also represents the offended Sovereign as willing to be reconciled to his guilty creatures, on account of what his Son has done and suffered for them.-But then, in order to be made partakers of the benefits, procured by the Saviour, faith is required on our part. That is, we are required, as helpless and guilty creatures, to renounce all trust in ourselves, and place our whole dependence on the righteousness of our Redeemer, making this the only ground of our justification. Therefore all those, who are the subjects of a saving faith, are so fully persuaded of the truth of God's testimony, respecting life and salvation, through his son, that they can venture their eternal all upon the truth of it. They are heartily convinced, that Christ is the only Saviour, and that his righteousness is alone sufficient, to the ut. ter exclusion of every other righteousness, in point of justification,
But the full persuasion of the truth of this testimony, that there is life in the son of God, is not enough. For, . '
Secondly. There must be a hearty compliance with that method of salvation, by a free consent to, and approbation of, the plan of life, through the righteousness of Christ.
To believe, with a general and customary faith, that the gospel is true, is not that faith, which is saving; and on which the actual possession of the benefits of Christ's death and passion are suspended. We must heartily approve of this way of salvaa tion—we must willingly and delighfully cast ourselves and the everlasting interests of our souls upon this righteousness-we must choose it as all our salvation, andthe ground of all our hopes of acceptance with God; and cheerfully receive Christ Jesus the Lord, as our prophet to teach and guide ; our priest to atone, and our king to rule and govern. In short, there must be a chearful consent to all the terms of the gospel without the least reserve. I say, there must be a chearful reception of, and reliance on Christ, in all his offices, and a hearty consent to all the terms of the gospel. For though necessity first moves a soul to seek after Christ in earnest : because none will do this, till they are well convinced of their own lost and helpless state, and that they must perish for ever, without an in