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common concerns of life, and so much above them, some words should be used in somewhat of a peculiar sense. The languages used among the nations of the world, were not first framed to express the spiritual and supernatural things of the gospel of Christ, but the common concernments of human life. Hence it comes to pass, that language in its common use, is not exactly adapted to express things of this nature: so that that there is a necessity, that when the phrases of common speech are adopted in the gospel of Christ, they should some of them be used in a sense somewhat diverse from the most ordinary use of them in temporal concerns. Words were first devised to signify the more ordinary concerns of life: Hence, men find a necessity, even in order to express many things in human arts and sciences, to use words in something of a peculiar sense; the sense being somewhat varied from their more ordinary use; and the very same words, as terms of art, do not signify exactly the same thing that they do in common speech. This is well known to be the case in innumerable instances; because the concerns of the arts and sciences are so diverse from the common concerns of life, that unless some phrases were adopted out of common language, and their signification something varied, there would be no words at all to be found to signify such and such things pertaining to those arts. But the things of the gospel of Christ are vastly more diverse from the common concerns of life, than the things of human arts and sciences those being heavenly things, and of the most spiritual and sublime nature possible, and most diverse from earthly things. Hence the use of words in common language, must not be looked upon as an universal rule to determine the signification of words in the gospel: but the rule is the use of words in the scripture language. What is found in fact to be the use of words in the Bible, by comparing one place with another, that must determine the sense in which we must understand them.
2. The words in the original, translated faith, and believing, such as πίςις, τις ενω, πείθω, and πεποιθησις, as often used in common language, implied more than the mere assent of the understanding. They were often used to signify affiance or trusting; which implies an act of the will, as well as of the understanding. It implies, that the thing believed is received as good and agreeable, as well as true. For trusting always relates to some good sought and aimed at in our trust; and therefore evermore implies the acceptance of the heart, and the embracing of the inclination, and desire of the soul. And therefore, trusting in Christ for salvation, implies, that he and his redemption, and those things wherein his salvation consists, are agreeable and acceptable to us.
3. Supposing saving faith to be what Calvinistical divines
have ordinarily supposed it to be, there seems to be no one word in common language, so fit to express it, as faith, or 71515, as it most commonly is in the original. Orthodox divines, in the definitions of faith, do not all use exactly the same terms, but they generally come to the same thing. Their distinctions generally signify as much as a person's receiving Christ and his salvation as revealed in the gospel, with his whole soul; acquiescing in what is exhibited as true, excellent, and sufficient for him. And to express this complex act of the mind, I apprehend no word can be found more significant than faith, which signifies both assenting and consenting. The object of the act is wholly supernatural, and above the reach of mere reason, and therefore exhibited only by revelation and divine testimony; and the person to be believed in, is exhibited and offered in that revelation, especially under the character of a Saviour, and so, as an object of trust and the benefits are all spiritual, invisible, wonderful and future. If this be the true account of faith, beware how you entertain any such doctrines, as that there is no essential difference between common and saving faith; and that both consist in a mere assent of the understanding to the doctrines of religion. That this doctrine is false, appears by what has been said; and if it be false, it must needs be danger ous. Saving faith is abundantly insisted on in the Bible, as in a peculiar manner the condition of salvation; being the thing by which we are justified.
How much is that doctrine insisted on in the New Testament! We are said to be "justified by faith, and by faith alone: By faith we are saved; and this is the work of God, that we believe on him whom he hath sent: The just shall live by faith: We are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ: He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned." Therefore, doubtless, saving faith, whatsoever that be, is the grand condition of an interest in Christ, and his great salvation. And if it be so, of what vast importance is it, that we should have right notions of what it is: for certainly no one thing whatever, nothing in religion is of greater importance, than that which teaches us how we may be saved. If salvation itself be of infinite importance, then it is of equal importance that we do not mistake the terms of it; and if this be of infinite importance, then that doctrine that teaches that to be the term, that is not so, but very diverse, is infinitely dangerous. What we want a revelation from God for chiefly, is, to teach us the terms of his favour, and the way of salvation. And that which the revelation God has given us in the Bible teaches to be the way, is faith in Christ. Therefore, that doctrine that teaches something else to be saving faith, that is essentially another thing, teaches entirely another way of salvation: and therefore such doctrine does in effect make void the revelation we have
in the Bible; as it makes void the special end of it, which is to teach us the true way of salvation. The gospel is the revelation of the way of life by faith in Christ. Therefore, he who teaches something else to be that faith, which is essentially diverse from what the gospel of Christ teaches, he teaches another gospel; and he does in effect teach another religion than the religion of Christ. For what is religion, but that way of exercising our respect to God, which is the term of his favour and acceptance to a title to eternal rewards? The scripture teaches this, in a special manner, to be saving faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, he that teaches another faith instead of this, teaches another religion. Such doctrine as I have opposed, must be destructive and directly tending to man's damnation; leading such as embrace it, to rest in something essentially different from the grand condition of salvation. And therefore, I would advise you, as you would have any regard to your own soul's salvation and to the salvation of your posterity, to beware of such doctrine as this.
END OF VOL. VII.