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SERM.

gument whereby this perfuafion is wrought in us. CCXIX. Hence it is, that among the rhetoricians wires are, any kind of argument or proof which orators make ufe of to perfuade men; and there is one place in the new testament, where is feems to be used in this fense, or very near it, Acts xvii. 31. "because he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world, "&c. whereof he hath given affurance unto all men, "in that he hath raised him from the dead, wi « παρασχών πᾶσιν, having offered faith to all men ;” men;" that is, having given us this argument for the proof of it," that he raifed CHRIST from the dead."

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Sometimes it is put for the object of this perfuafion, or the matter or thing whereof we are perfuaded. And thus frequently in the new teftament, the gofpel, which is the object of our faith, the thing which we believe, is called faith. And thus you find it used in that phrase of "obedience to the faith," that is, to the gospel, Acts vi. 7. Rom. i. 5. xvi. 26. And in this fenfe faith, that is, the gofpel, is frequently opposed to the difpenfation of the law, Rom. iii. 27, 31. and x. 16. Gal. i. 23. "he that perfecuted us in "times paft, now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed." Gal. iii. 2. the hearing of the gospel is called "the hearing of faith;" ver. 23. " before faith came," and ver. 25. " but after that faith is "come." Eph. iv. 5. "There is one faith," that is, one gospel, which we believe, 1 Tim. iv. 6. "Nou"rished up in the words of faith, and of good doc"trine."

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The oppofites to faith are unbelief and credulity. Unbelief, which is a not being perfuaded of a thing, is the deficient extreme; or doubting, if it prevail to a degree of unbelief: and credulity, which is an eafinefs to believe things without any probable argument VOL XI.

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8 ER M. to induce our perfuafion, is the redundant extreme. The feat or fubject of faith is the mind, or the heart, as the fcripture ufually calls it. "With the heart man "believes," that is, with the foul: for I do not understand any real distinction of faculties; but if you will diftinguish them, the proper feat of this perfuafion is the understanding; the immediate effect of it is upon the will; by which it works upon the affec tions, and the life.

And faith in this general notion is not opposed to error, and knowledge, and opinion: but comprehends all these under it. For if a man be perfuaded of that which is falfe, he "believes a lie," as the fcripture expreffeth it; a man may be certainly perfuaded of a thing, that is, firmly believe it, which is knowledge; a man may be probably perfuaded of a thing, that is, believe it with fome diffidence and uncertainty, and that is opinion.

But for our better understanding of this general notion of faith, we will take into confideration these four things.

I. The caufe of it, or the argument whereby it is wrought.

II. The degrees of it, and the difference of them.
III. The natural efficacy and operation of it.
IV. The feveral kinds of it.

I. We will confider the cause of faith, or the argument whereby it is wrought. Now all the arguments whereby faith may be wrought in us, that is, a perfuafion of any thing, will I think fall under one of thefe four heads; fenfe, experience, reafon drawn from the thing, or the authority and teftimony of fome perfon.

1. Senfe. Hence it is commonly faid that seeing. is believing, that is, one of the beft arguments to perfuade us of any thing. That faith may be wrought

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by this argument, appears both from the nature of SER M. the thing, nothing being more apt to perfuade us of any thing than our fenfes; and from several expreffions in fcripture. I will inftance in one for all, John xx. 8. then went in alfo the other difciple into the fepulchre, and he faw, and believed." And whereas fcripture oppofeth faith to fight, as 2 Cor. v. 7. "we "walk by faith, and not by fight:" Heb. xi. 15. "it is the evidence of things not feen;" we are to understand that only concerning a belief of the things of another world, which are futurities, and invifible, which the apostle is there fpeaking of; or of things which are of the fame nature with thefe, as things paft not but that a man may very well be induced to believe a thing by his fenfes.

2. Experience; which though it may be fenfible, and then it is the fame argument with fenfe; yet fometimes it is not, and then it is an argument diflinct from it. As for example, a man may by experience be perfuaded or induced to believe this propofition, that his will is free, that he can do this, or not do it; which is a better argument than a demonftration to the contrary, if there could be one.

3. Reasons drawn from the thing; which may either be neceffary and concluding, or elfe only probable, and plaufible.

4. The authority and teftimony of fome credible perfon. Now two things give authority and credit to the relation, or teftimony, or affertion of a perfon concerning any thing; ability, and integrity. Ability, if he can be prefumed to have a competent knowledge of what he relates, or aflerts, or testifies; and integrity, if he may be prefumed to be honeft in his relation, and free from any defign or will to deceive. And to these heads, I think, all arguments of belief may be reduced. II. The

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SERM. II. The fecond thing to be confidered is the degrees CCXIX. of faith, and the difference of them. And that there

are degrees, I take for granted, though I fhall afterwards have occafion to prove it in a divine faith; and thefe depend perfectly upon the capacity of the perfon that believes, or is perfuaded. Now the capacity or incapacity of persons are infinitely various, and not to be reduced to theory; but fuppofing a competent capacity in the perfon, then the degrees of faith or perfuafion take their difference from the arguments, or motives, or inducements which are used to perfuade. Where fenfe is the argument, there is the highest and firmeft degree of faith or perfuafion. Next to that is experience, which is beyond any argument or reason from the thing. The faith or per. fuafion which is wrought in us by reasons drawn from the thing, the degrees of it are as the reafons are: if they be neceffary and concluding, it is firm and certain in it's kind; if only probable, according to the degrees of probability, it hath more or lefs of doubting mixed with it. Laftly, the faith which is wrought in us by teftimony or authority of a perfon, takes it's degrees from the credit of the perfon, that is, his ability and integrity. Now because "all men are liars," that is, either may deceive or be deceived, their teftimony partakes of their infirmity, and fo doth the degree of perfuafion wrought by it: but GoD being both infallible and true, and confequently it being impoffible that he should either deceive, or be deceived, his teftimony begets the firmeft perfuafion and the highest degree of faith in it's kind. But then it is to be confidered, that there not being a revelation of a revelation in infinitum; that this is a divine teftimony and revelation, we can only have rational affuand the degree of the faith or persuasion which

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is wrought by a divine teftimony, will be according SER M. to the ftrength of the arguments which we have to persuade us that such a testimony is divine.

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III. For the efficacy or operation of faith, we are to confider that the things we may believe or be perfuaded of, are of two forts. Either, 1. they are fuch as do not concern me; and then the mind rests in a naked and fimple belief of them, and a faith or perfuafion of fuch things has no effect upon me; but is apt to have, if ever it happen that the matter do concern me or else, 2. the thing I believe or am perfuaded of doch concern me; and then it hath several effects, according to the nature of the thing I am fuaded of, or the degree of the perfuafion, or the capacity of the perfon that believes or is perfuaded. If the thing believed be of great moment, the effect of the faith is proportionable, cæteris paribus; and fo according to the degree of the perfuafion: but if the perfon be indifpofed to the proper effects of fuch a perfuafion by the power of contrary habits, as it often happens, the effect will be obtained with more difficulty, and may poffibly be totally defeated, by cafting off the perfuafion: for while it remains, it will operate, and endeavour, and ftrive to work its proper effect. For example, a man may believe that wine is very pernicious to him; and yet a yet a strong inclination to it may render it very difficult for this persuafion to work it's proper effect upon him, which is to leave off wine, and may at length wholly defeat it, by furnishing him with fome colour of argument that may perfuade him otherwise.

IV. For the kinds of faith they are several, according to the variety of objects or things believed. I fhall reduce them all under thefe two general heads.

1. Faith is either civil or human, under which I

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