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An Inquiry into the Times that shall be fulfilled at Antichrist's
years of her glory and purity.
First American from the Glasgow Edition of 1829.
PRINTED BY A. JAYNES, FRANKLIN HEAD.
TO THOSE who enjoy Divine Revelation, correct views of saving faith are of the utmost importance.
In the Divine word, many great things are said of 3 it; the necessity of it to our salvation is affirmed;
the misery of those who are destitute of it; and the blessedness of those who are possessed of it, are plainly declared. In the minds of serious Christians, much perplexity is often felt, relative to their knowledge and exercise of saving faith. Many Gospel hearers are totally indifferent about this matter, and care for none of these things. Besides,
many misrepresentations of the nature and operations of this precious grace, have been imposed on Christians, to the injury of their immortal souls. To exhibit the nature of saving faith—to direct and encourage true believers—to rouse the careless to consider their ways—and, above all, to advance the honor of faith's glorious Author and object--must certainly be the duty of every Gospel minister. That we may cast in our mite, to promote these
high ends, the following Doctrinal Observations on Saving Faith, with some practical improvement of them, are most humbly submitted to the consideration of the Christian community.
Obs. 1. Faith, in its nature, is an assent unto, or persuasion of, the truth of any declaration, upon the testimony of another, which is opposed to doubting or uncertainty. This is the general notion of faith as it is used in common language, and is comprehended in the idea of it in the Holy Scriptures.This observation consists in three parts:--Faith is an assent unto, or persuasion of, the truth of a declaration; it is an assent or persuasion founded on the testimony of another; and it is such an assent or persuasion as is opposed to doubting or uncertainty. There is in the nature of faith an assent unto, or persuasion of, the truth of the thing that is believed. When men exercise faith concerning any thing, the mind agrees unto it, and has a conviction of its truth. If that which is proposed to our faith is not thus received, we do not believe it. If the assent of the mind is not given to the verity of the thing, the exercise of faith in it is withheld; and if we are not persuaded of its truth, whatever acts of the mind we have about it, the act of faith concerning it is not exercised at all.
The assent or persuasion of faith, is founded on the testimony of another. We may be persuaded of the truth of things in several ways, in which our faith has no concern. This conviction we may have from our senses. This is not faith, but sight. We may be assured of many truths by infallible demonstration; neither is this certainty that which flows from faith; for the persuasion of faith rests only upon a testimony. This is true of faith, whether
we consider it as human or Divine. A human faith, is that belief of the mind which has a respect to the things of men, and rests upon a human testimony. A Divine faith, is that belief of the mind which is versant about the things of God, and is built upon a divine testimony. We entertain things with a human faith, when we believe they are true, because they are attested unto us by creditable men. The persuasion of the truth of the same thing, may be to one person a matter of sight, and unto another a matter of faith. If one person has an opportunity of seeing any transaction, or examining any object, his persuasion of its truth is not from faith, but from sight or personal observation, and is to him intuitive certainty. If another person has not the opportunity of seeing or examining the matter, but has heard it faithfully reported to him by creditable persons, then his persuasion of the truth of it is strictly faith; because it is built upon a testimony. With respect to things that are Divine, a person's belief of their truth, upon the testimony of God, is a Divine faith. It is an assent unto, or persuasion of, the truth of Divine things, on the warrant of the word of God, and rests upon the veracity of him that cannot lie. There is no assent that we give unto the truth of things in religion, which can properly be called faith, but that persuasion which is built upon the testimony of God in his word. We may be persuaded of the truth of many things in religion, which is not the persuasion of faith. All that persuasion of the truth of these things, which flows from our spiritual sense or experience, is not the persuasion of faith, but is that of sense or feeling; but when our minds are persuaded of their truth, because God hath attested them unto us in his word