Imagens das páginas

lovely, than to endeavour after it, to the utmost of its power; it paints in such lively colours, the most shining holiness of the Lord Christ, that while the soul beholds it with supreme affection, it is tranfformed into its image, 2 Cor. 3. 18; it so pathetically represents the love of a dying Christ, that the believer accounts nothing dearer, than, in return, both to live and dic to him, Gal. 2. 20; the meditation of the promised happiness is so deeply engraved on his mind, that he is ready, for the sake of it, to try all things, to bear all things, 2 Cor. 4. 16, 17, 18; and thus it purifies the heart itself, Aets 15. 9, in order to the practice of a fincere and constant piety; which, in consequence of a more lively or more languid faith, is itself either more lively or more languid.

XXXIV. Having considered these things con- One may cerning the nature of a living faith, and how it differs be confrom that which is presumptuous, let us now further scious of

his faith. enquire, how a person may be conscious of his own faith. Now that it is both possible and frequent for believers to have a consciousness of their own faith, Paul not only teacheth us by his own example, 2 Tim. I. 12, I know whom I have believed, but also by that admonition directed to all, 2 Cor. 13. 59 examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith, prove your own selves. Which admonition would have been in vain, was it impossible for them, by examining and proving themselves, to attain to the knowledge of what they search after. Yea, that it is possible, he expressly enough insinuates, by adding, know ye not your own selves, bow that Jesus Christ is in you !

XXXV. Nor is it difficult to understand, how this How we consciousness of faith may arise in believers : for first come to it becomes them to be well instructed, from the the knowword of God, about the nature of saving faith. Nor this.

ledge of is it necessary to harrass the minds of the weak with a multiplicity of marks : only let the principal and effential acts of a true faith be explained to them in

a simple


[ocr errors]

a simple and clear manner; let the difference between a strong and weak faith be inculcated , between a lively and a languid; between a calm faith, and that hiaken by many temptations ; and let them be

put in mind, that not only a weak, a languid and a fhaken faith is nevertheless genuine and true; but also that, in examining themselves, a weak faith is not to be tried by the idea of a strong faith; nor a languid by that of a lively; nor that which is shaken by the idea of a calm and quiet faith; but that each is to be compared with its own proper idea. This being well observed, let every one examine himself, whether he puts forth acts agreeable to what we have now described. Which none, who ar ads to him, self, can be ignorant of: au every one is immediately conscious to himself of what he thinks and ills, for this very reason that he thinks and wills it: for faith

is an act of the understanding and will. Whence XXXVI. But one perhaps may reply, if it is fo the diffi

very easy to have a consciousness of one's own faith, culiy fome whence it, that very many believers are tortimes of knowing

mented with such troublesome waverings about this it. matter? There is nuore than one reason for this:

vít, It often happens, that they have either formed to themselves a wrong notion of saving faith, or unadvisedly taken up with what others have as uncautiouly drawn up to their hand. Thus, we have learned by experience, that not a few afflicted souls have thought, that the essence of faith canlifts in the assured persuasion, and delightful sense of divine love, and in the full assurance of their own salvation. And not observing these things in themselves, they have, by an unfavourable sentence, crossed themselves out of the roll of believers. But these very persons being better informed of the nature of faith, and taught that these things were rather glorious fruits of an establithed, than essential acts of a true faith, have gradually returned to a more composed mind. 2dly, It also sometimes happens, that believers being


toffed with fo many storms of temptations, do but little, nay, are unable to distinguish the proper acts of their own souls: for, while they are in that case, they perform every thing in such a confused, such a feeble and inconsistent manner, that, during that dist order, they cannot clearly discern the state and frame of their own heart; while the thoughts of their mind, and the emotions of their will succeed and cross each ocher with a surprising variety. 3dly, Sometimes too it is difficult, especially in an amicted state of foul, to compare their own actions with the discription of true faith, or, to speak more clearly, to conpare

the rule with that which they want to bring to it, especially when one has proposed to himself the idea of a lively faith, and finds in himself only a languid one. In that case, it can scarcely be otherwise, but that, when he 'fees fo little agreement, nay, the greatest difference between the two, he must form a less favourable judgment of his own faith.

: XXXVH. It is not, indeed, absolutely necessary Thoʻ.not to falvation, that one should know that he believes :


to salvafor, the promise of salvation is annexed to the fin-tion, yet cerity of faith, Mark 16. 16. John 3.-16, not to the expedient knowledge one may have of his faith. Yet it is to have a

conscious nevertheless expedient, that every one should, by an nefs of accarate scrutiny, enquire into the sincerity and truth one's faith. of his faith. ift, In order to render due thanks to God for this invaluable gift. For, if Paul did so often return thanks to God for the faith of others, Epb. 1. 15, 16. Phil. 1, 3. Col. 1. 3, 4. 1 Thes:1.2, 3. 2 Tbel. 1. 3. How much more incumbent is it to do fo for one's own faith? But he cannot do this, unless he knows that he does believe. 2dly, That he may have strong consolation in himfelf: for, the consciousness of our faith gives us affureance of falvation ; thus the Apostle joins these two together, 2 Tim. 1. 12, I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded be is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 3dly,


That, with the greater alacrity, he may run the race of piety : for, he, who is assured, that he acts from faith, is also assured, that his labour sall not be in vain in the Lord; and this assurance makes the believer stedfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, 1 Cor. 15. 58.

[blocks in formation]



Of Justification. The doctrine of

I. HAT faith, which we have in the last justifica

chapter treated of, as saving, is usually also tion of the called justifying in the divinity fchools. And since greatest

JUSTIFICATION is its first memorable effect, it will import

by no means be improper to speak of it now, and
that with the greater accuracy, as it so nearly con-
cerns the whole of religion, that we stumble not in
explaining this article. The doctrine of justification
difuseth itself thro' the whole body of divinity, and
if the foundation here is well laid, the whole building
will be the more folid and grand; whereas a bad
foundation or superstructure threatens a dreadful
ruin. The pious Picardians, as they were callid in
Bohemio, and Moravia, valued this article, at its true
price, when, in their confeffion of faith, Art. 6,
speaking of justification, they thus write: this fixth
article is accounted with us the most principal of all, as.
being the sum of all christianity and piety. Wherefore
our divines teach and handle it with all diligence and
application, and endeavour to instil it into all.
to the utmost of our power imitate them in this,

beginning with its name. The term : II. To justify, in hebrew porn, in greek diratõr, is justify ge- very frequently and ordinarily used in a declarativa nerally fenfe, and signifies to account, declare, prove any


Let us

one juft. Which is manifest from those places of taken in *

declarascripture, where it occurs, as the act of a judge, as

tive sense. Pf. 82. 3, pyyn do justice to (justify) the afflicted and needy; and this is especially the case, when it is opposed to condemnation, as Deut. 25. 1. Prov. 17. 15. Ifa. 5. 22, 23.

III. And doubtless this word has such a signifi- Applied cation, when God is said to be justified as Pf. 51.4, God. that thou mightest be justified wben thou speakest ; that is, that thou mightest be declared, proved, acknowledged to be juít, when thou pronouncest sentence. In like manner, Mat. 11. 19, wisdom is justified of ber children, that is, they who are truely regenerated of God, by the Gospel, have accounted the wisdom of God, which the Scribes and Pharisees, falsely accounted foolishness, to be, as it really is, the most consummate wisdom, and cleared it from the calúmny of folly, with which it was branded. In the fame sense it is said Luke 7. 29, all the people and the publicans justified God.

IV. Nor can this word have any other than a And to forenfick signification, when Christ is said to be

Chrift, justified, 1 Tim. 3. 16, and still more fully Ifa. 50. 8, where the Lord himself thus fpeakech : be is near that justifieth me, who will contend with me? Let us stand together; who is mine adversary? Almost in the same manner as the apostle speaks of the elect, Rum. 8. 33, 34: How was Christ justified? Ift. When the father declared, that he was holy and without spot, according to his mind and will, and even such in whom he was well pleased, Mat. 3. 17, and 17. 5. 2dly. When he pronounced him innocent of all the crimes, with which he was falsely accused, and for which he was unjustly condemned. 3dly. When he declared, that he had made full satisfaction to his justice, and was no longer under the guilt of those fins which, as surety, he took upon himself. The two former acts of justification respect Christ as man; the last as mediator. And in this view, he is called


« AnteriorContinuar »