« Prev I. To the FIRST MEMBER I reply: Next »

I. To the FIRST MEMBER I reply:

First. I never uttered this expression; but have, on more occasions than one, taught both in public and private a contrary doctrine. Yet I remember, when a certain minister at Leyden had boasted of the clearness of this article, and was astonished how any persons could be found who entertained a different opinion about it, I told him, that the proof of it would not be a very easy occupation to him if he had to encounter a powerful adversary, and I challenged him to make a trial, which challenge I now repeat. I wish him to prove this assertion by such plain arguments, as will not leave a man just reasons for doubting any longer about the matter. This is a point on which the labours of a divine will be more profitably expended, than on publishing and magnifying the doubts of the infirm, whose confidence in themselves is not equal to that which he manifests.

Secondly. "Faith in Christ" may be received in two acceptations. Either according to promise, which was involved in the types, figures and shadows of words and things, and proposed in that manner: Or, it is according to the gospel, that is clearly manifested. The difference between these two is so great, that with regard to it the Jews are said "to have been detained or kept under the law before faith came, concluded or shut up unto that faith which should afterwards be revealed." (Gal. iii. 23.) And the Apostle says, "the children of Israel were prevented, by the veil placed over the countenance of Moses, from steadfastly looking to the end of that which is abolished," (2 Cor. iii. 13,) that is, to the end of the law, as is evident from the whole chapter, and from Romans x. 4, where Christ is said to be "the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Let the whole description of the faith of Abraham, which the Apostle gives at great length in Romans 4, be attentively considered, and it will appear, that no express mention of Jesus Christ is made in it, but it is implied in such a way as it is not easy for any one to explain.

Let it be added that faith in Jesus Christ seems to some persons to be used by metonymy, for "that faith which is concerning the types and figures which adumbrate and prefigure Jesus Christ," although it has not united with it an understanding of those types, unless it be a very obscure one, and such as appears suitable to the infant Church, according to the economy of the times and ages which God in his wisdom employs. Let a comparison be instituted between that servitude under which the heir, so long as he is a child, is said by the Apostle to be held, (Gal. iv. 1-3,) and that bondage from which the Spirit of the Lord is declared to liberate the man whose heart is converted to Him; (2 Cor. iii. 16-18,) and this doubting will then be considered ascribable to the proper fear of a trembling [scrupulous] conscience, rather than to a disposition that has a powerful propensity towards heresy.

« Prev I. To the FIRST MEMBER I reply: Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |