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and acknowledged truth, makes profession thereof, and stirs up many emotions in the heart, and actions in the life, which exhibit some appearance of piety; but for a time only, while every thing is prosperous under the gospel, but falls off when the storms of persecution assault it. This is wisely called by our Lord eina temporary, or for a while. But as it may, and even does frequently happen, that in the prosperous state of the church, men may persevere to the end of their life in this profession of faith and imaginary joy, and in such a course of life as they suppose to be sufficient for the purposes of piety; so this being a constant, but not saving, is not so properly called temporary faith, that being the title which our Lord only gave to the faith of apoftates. We might rather perhaps better call it a presumptuous faith.

XXX. But it is needful for our consolation, that we distinctly know how this may be distinguished from a true, lively, and saving faith, which it boldly though falsely resembles. And, first, there is no small difference in the acknowledgment of revealed truths; to which as to truths, this presumptuous faith really assents, but as it is destitute of the true light of the Spirit, it sees not the proper form or beauty of these truths, and as they are truths in Christ; it does not observe the perfections of God shining in them, does not rightly estimate their value: when it begins first to know them, it is indeed taken with the novelty and rarity of them, but neither burns with an ardent love to them nor labours much to have them not only impreffed upon the soul, but also expressed in the life and conversation: and as often as other things present themselves to the mind, which flatter it with a great pretended shew of pleasure or profit, it easily suffers the ideas of those truths which oppose that advantage to be blotted out, and almost wishes these were no truths, which in spite of itself, it is constrained to acknowledge for such. But these things are quite the reverse in true faith, as we shewed, Thes. XVII.

XXXI. Secondly, There is a great difference in the application of the promises of the gospel: For presumptuous faith does not proceed in the right method; it rashly imagines that the salvation promised in the gospel belongs to itself; but this is either upon no foundation or upon a false one. For sometimes these persons, without any trial or self-examination, which they avoid as too troublesome and inconvenient to their affairs, foolishly flattering themselves, proudly lay claim to the grace of our Lord; and securely slumber in this vain dream, without either enquiring, or being willing to enquire, what foundation


they have for this their imagination. Sometimes again they day for a foundation of their confidence, either that perverse notion concerning the general mercy of God, and easy way to heaven, of which nothing that I know of is mentioned in the gospel covenant, or an opinion of the sufficiency of their own holiness, because they are not so very vicious as the most profligate, or the external communion of the church in religious worship, or the security of their sleeping conscience, and the pleafing fancies of their own dreams, which they take for the peace of God and the consolation of the Holy Spirit. With these and the like vanities of their own imagination they deceive themselves, as if these things were sufficient marks of grace. But true-believers, from a deep sense of their misery, panting after the grace of the Lord Jesus, and laying hold of it with a trembling humility, dare not boast of it as already theirs, till, after a diligent scrutiny they have found certain and infallible evidences of grace in themselves. It is with a profound humi'ity, a kind of sacred dread, and a sincere selfdenial that they approach to lay hold on the grace of Christ. Nor do they boast of having laid hold of this, till after an exact examination, first of the marks of grace, and then of their own hearts. But it is otherwise in both these respects with presumptuous persons, who rashly lay hold on what is not offered them in that order (for God does not offer security and joy to sinners, before the soul is affected with sorrow for the guilt of his past sins, and a due solicitude about salvation) and then presumptuously boast of their having laid hold on grace; but they cannot produce any necessary arguments to make the same appear.

XXXII. The third difference consists in that joy which accompanies or follows both sorts of faith, and that is twofold; 1st, In respect to the rise. 2dly, In respect of the effect of that joy. In presumptuous faith, joy arises partly from the novelty and rarity of the things revealed (for the knowledge of a truth, which is more rare and abstruse gives delight to the understanding; as the enjoyment of a good does to the will) partly from that vain imagination, that the good things offered in the Gospel belong to them; of which they have, from the common gifts of the Holy Spirit some kind of taste, but a very superficial one, affecting only the outside of their lips. But in a living faith, there arises a joy much more noble and solid, from a love of those most precious truths, by the knowledge of which the soul taught of God rightly esteems itself most happy; from a hope that maketh not ashamed, and a sure persuasion of its own spirit, with the super-added testimony of the divine spirit


concerning the present grace of God and future glory; and lastly, from most sweet sense of present grace, and a real foretaste of future glory. And as the causes of both these joys are so diverse, no wonder tho' the effects are very different too. The first makes the soul full of itself, leaves it empty of the love of God, and, by a vain tickling of its own imagination, heightens the sleep of carnal security. But the latter strikes believers with an incredible admiration of the unmerited philanthropy, or love of God to man, inflames them with a mutual return of love to the most kind and bountiful Jesus, and inspires them with a solicitous care, least they commit any thing unworthy of that infinite favour of God, or grieve the spirit of grace who hath dealt kindly with them.

XXXIII. The fourth difference consists in the fruits. For presumptuous faith either sinks men in the deep sleep of security, which they encrease by indulging the flesh; or brings with it some outward change of conduct for the better, and makes them, in a certain measure to " escape the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," 2 Pet. ii. 20. or when it operates in the brightest manner, it excites some slight and vanishing purposes, and endeavours after a stricter piety, but does not purify the heart itself nor introduce new habits of holiness; and whenever either the allurements of the world and flesh, or some inconveniences attending Gospel piety, assault them more strongly than usual, they immediately grow weary in that course of goodness they had entered upon, and return as "swine that were washed, to their wallowing in the mire" By that superficial knowledge of evangelical truth, and of a good, so pleasing and useful, as well as honourable, which is held forth by the Gospel, and which is not deeply imprinted on their minds, they are indeed stirred up to some amendment of life: but when the matter stands either upon the acquisition of some present good, or the avoiding some imminent calamity, the ideas of true and of good, which the Gospel had suggested to them, are so obliterated and defaced, that they prefer the obtaining a present pleasure or advantage, or the avoiding a present impending evil, to all the promises of the Gospel and all evangelical piety. But a living faith impresses on the soul, in such deep characters, the image of what is right and good, that it accounts nothing more 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 transformed into its image, 2 Cor. iii. 18. it so patheti cally represents the love of a dying Christ, that the believer accounts nothing dearer than in return, both to live and die to him, Gal. ii. 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. iv. 16, 17, 18. and thus it purifies the heart itself, Acts xv. 9. in order to the practice of a sincere 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 concerning the nature of a living faith, and how it differs from that which is presumptuous, let us now further 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. xiii. 5. "examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith, prove your ownselves." 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, how that Jesus Christ is in you!"

XXXV. Nor is it difficult to understand how this consciousness of faith may arise in believers for first it becomes them to be well instructed, from the word of God, about the nature of saving faith. Nor is it necessary to harass the minds of the weak with a multiplicity of marks: only let the prin cipal and essential acts of a true faith be explained to them in 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 shaken by many temptations; and let them be put in mind, that not only a weak, a languid and a shaken 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 oompared 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 attends to himself can be ignorant of: as every one is immediately conscious to himself of what he thinks and wills, for this very reason that he thinks and wills it: for faith is an act of the understanding and will.

XXXVI. But one perhaps may reply, if it is so very easy


to have a consciousness of one's own faith, whence then is it that very many believers are tormented with such troublesome waverings about this matter? There is more than one reason for this: 1st, 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 uncautiously drawn up to their hand. Thus we have learned by experience that not a few afflicted souls have thought that the essence of faith consists 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, crosssed 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 established than essential acts of a true faith, have gradually returned to a more composed mind. 2dly, It also sometimes happens, that believers being tossed with so 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 disorder, 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 other with a surprising variety. 3dly, Sometimes too it is difficult, especially in an afflicted state of soul, to compare their own actions with the description of true faith, or to speak more clearly, to compare 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 sees so little agreement, nay, the greatest difference between the two, he must form a less favourable judgment of his own faith.

XXXVII. It is not indeed absolutely necessary to salvation, that one should know that he believes: for the promise of salvation is annexed to the sincery of faith, Mark xvi. 16. John. 16. not to the knowledge one may have of his faith. Yet it is nevertheless expedient, that every one should, by an accurate scrutiny, enquire into the sincerity and truth of his faith. Ist, 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, Eph. i. 15, 16. Phil. i. 3. Col. i. 3, 4. I Thes. i. 2, 3. 2 Thes. i. 3. How much more incumbent is it to do so for one's own faith? But he cannot do this unless he knows that he does believe. 2dly, That he may have


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