« VorigeDoorgaan »
xvi. 31. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,' &c. for therein Christ the Saviour is held forth to a poor sinner. Faith looks to the whole word; it is persuaded of a divine authority in the commands, and an immoveable truth in the threatenings and promises. Every promise of the word it looks to, and comes wrong to none, while the believer lives in this world, and it lasts: it is a bee that roves through all these flowers in the garden of God's word. But as it is saving and justi. fying, it settles on the promise or offer of Christ in the gospel. And,
(1.) The testimony of the word, concerning Christ's ability to save, is a special object of faith in this case, Mark ix. 33. “If thou canst believe,
all things are pussible to him that believeth.' Sin is a dead weight, which the soul findeth itself unable utterly to hoist up; but the gospel holds out Christ to be able to remove it, Heb. vii. 25. He is able to save unto the uttermost. Faith assents to this too, Psal. Ixv. 3. * Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.'
This assent in both cases may be mixed with doubting, yet true, Mark ix. 24. " I believe ; help thou mine unbelief.' If the soul have as much faith of both, as to venture itself on Christ, though the bride sign the contract with a trembling heart, though the doubting will never be commended, the subscription will be sustained.
2. The personal object of faith is,
(1.) General : God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as we profess in the creed, John xiv. 1. "Ye believe in God, believe also in me.'
(2.) Special ; Jesus Christ, as in the text. He is the ob ject of faith, as it saves and justifies the sinner, typified by the brazen serpent in the wilderness, to which the wounded Israelites were to look, and the look was healing, John üi. 14, 16. And Christ's person is the primary object of justifying faith, loa. xlv. 22. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth. And his benefits, merits, righteousness, &c. are the secondary objects thereof, Phil. iii. 8, 9. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having minę own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
V. I proceed to consider the saving and justifying acts of faith. These are,
1. Receiving him as he is offered in the gospel, as in the text; cordially closing with him, and heartily consenting to take him as he is offered. Hereby the spiritual marriage-tie betwixt Christ and the soul is made. Christ gives his consent in the gospel-offer, and the sinner gives his by faith closing with the offer. Now, he is offered in the gospel in all his offices. So faith is a receiving of Christ,
(1.) As a Prophet to be our Teacher, Guide, and Leader, renouncing our own wisdom, Matth. xvii. 5.
(2.) As a Priest, renouncing all merit and confidence in one's self, duties, and sufferings, and betaking one's self to Christ, his obedience and death, for all, Isa. xlv. 24. 'Surely shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength.'
(3.) As a King, renouncing all strange lords, and receiving him for absolute Governor in the soul, and over the whole man, yielding to bear the yoke of his commands, and the yoke of his cross. Isa. xxvi. 13. O Lord our God, (says the church), other lords vesides thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.'
2. Resting on him as he is offered in all his offices too, Isa. xxvi. 3, 4. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever ; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.' 2 Chron. xvi. 8. • Thou didst rely on the Lord.' The soul has a burden of weakness and ignorance, and therefore rests on hiin as a Prophet; a burden of guilt, but rests on him as a Priest, laying the weight on his blood; a burden of strong lusts and temptations, but rests on him as a King.
This receiving and resting has a most special eye to the priestly office of Christ, faith in his blood. It is a looking to hiin as lifted up on the cross, Isa. xlv. 22 ; eating of his flesh, and drinking of his blood, John vi. 53 ; and submitting VOL. III.
to his righteousness, Rom. x. 3.* This receiving and rest. ing upon Christ for salvation is in many places called believ. ing in, or trusting on, Christ as our Saviour t.
VI. I am to shew, what is the end of these acts of faith.
* See the nature and acts of faith more largely opened and illustrated in the author's View of the Covenant of Grace, head 6. The way of in. ftating finners personally and savingly in the Coveoant of Grace.
+ Now, in order to illustrate the nature of faith, congidered as believing in or trusting on God, and the way of a finner’s justification in his fight, it may not be improper to insert here the two following notes on Gen. xv. 6. • And he believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness,' taken from the author's manuscript work on the first tweaty: three chapters of Genesis, above referred to, p. 232.
• Now he trusted in Jehovah, i, e. Now Abram trufted in Jehovah (who was the Lord promising, as well as the Lord promised), not only believing his word spoken to him at this and other times, but also refting in him, and relying upon him, for all contained in the promise, and especially the salvation of the Meflias, which was the chief thing in it. The whole verse is a parenthesis, in which Moses occasionally fhews how Abram entertained the promise, from the first time it was made to him. Now, saith he, Abram trusted in Jehovah, viz. all along, and so at this time, Rom. iv. 3. Gr. For, what saith the scripture ? Now Abraham believed God. Jam. ii. 2. And the scripture was fulfilled, which faith, Now Abraham believed God. Comp. the preceding and following verse of this chapter. This is the first place wherein "faith is expressly spoken of. V'he'min, and he truded. The formal signification of H'min, is to truft: for so it may be rendered every where ; and so our translators do render it, Judg. xi. 20, Job iv. 18. xv. 15. 31. & xxiv. 22 marg. Mic, vii. 5. All believing is trusting ; but all trusting is not believing, as will appear anoo. Accordingly H'min is more extensive than believing , for the object of it is a thing; as well as a rational agent, the only proper object of believing. Thus, wonderful works, Psal. lxxviii. 32. one's life, Deut, xxviii. 66. & Job xxiv. 32. and a beast, Job xxxix. 12. are, by this word, said to be trusted in, which cannot well be said to be believed in. The construction of the word natively leads to this notion of it. It is ordinarily constructed with tu, as Gen. xlv. 26. He trusted not to them, or in, as here. He trufted in Jehovah : sometimes with a noun fimply, and an infinitive, as Judg. xi. 20. Shion trusted not even Israel to pass in his bounds.' And finally, as H'min, Emeth, Omnah, Emun, &c. are akin, as branches of one root; so are the words, he trusted, truth, a truth, irueness, &c.; answering unto them, in our language. The Greek piflexo, in the New-Testament use of it, is of the fame import, signifying to trust : for so it may be rendered every where ; and so it mult be rendered in several texts, as John ii. 24. Jesus did not trust himself to them. Rom. iii. 2. They were trusted the oracles of God, i. e. trusted with them, So 1 Cor. ix. 17. i Theff. ij. 4. I Tim. i. 11. How H'min, being in Hiphel, comes to fignify to truft, is best accounted for by allowing the phraseology to be elliptical, the conjugate It is for salvation, Christ's whole salvation. (1.) Salvation from sin, Matth. i. 21; He shall save his people from their sins.' (2.) From wrath, 1 Thess. i. ult. “Which delivereth us from the wrath to come; from the guilt, defilement, dominion, and indwelling of sin. So it is for justification and
noun being understood. So it is 4. d. H' min emunah, He trusted a truft, or trusting : and the sense of that is, He exercised trust or faith; as to plant forth plant, and to seed seed, Gen. i. 11 ; is to bring forth plant, and seed, or to yield them. The ellipsis of the conjugate noun is usual, as in Hizriung, Hiskil, &c. chap. ii. 6; and of it there is a double indication jo this text.
One is the pointing of this word with a diftin&ive. Comp. 1 Kings xxi, 14; They sent forth (lup. a meffenger) unto Jezebel. Ila. i. 17 ; Plead (sup. the plea) of the widow. The other is the pronoun it, in the latter hemistich, which relates to tru or faith. Now, to tru& to is to believe : and accordingly the object of it is always a person, as chap. xlv. 26 ; forecited; or else a word, as 1 Kings x. 7 ; I truted not to the speeches, Isa, liij. 1 ; Who hath trusted to our hearing, i. e, word heard : the which comes all to one ; the word or speech being always pronounced by a person, and the person believed in respect of his word. To trust in, is not only to believe a competent object; but to rest in and rely upon, the person, word, or thing trusted, as firm and sure, for the effect for which he or it is trusted. Thus Achish trufted in David, 1 Sam. xxvii. 12; not only believing bis word, ver: 10; but resting and relying on him, as one Irofteth in a friend, (Mic. vii. 5.) “ saying he hash made his people Israel utterly to abhor him, therefore he shall be my servant for ever." So the people brought through the Red Sea, trulted in Moses, Exod. xiv. ult. reİying on, and committing themselves to, his conduct : And on the same occafion, they trusted in God's speeches, Psal. cvi. 12; relying on them with confidence. And this the unicorn cannot be trusted in (i. e. relied upon) for bringing home one's seed, Job xxxix. 12; That the apostles Paul and James, in the passages above cited, retain the Seventy's reading of this text, Now Abraham trusted to God, will not evince a perfect identity of the phrases trufting to, and trusting in God; fince it is undeniable, that the inspired penmen, in many passages of the Old Testament, adduced by them in the New, do not act the part of rigid trandators: but it will çince them to be one in effect. From what is said, it appears, that according to the scripture phraseology, or language of the Holy Gholt, (1.) The nature of faith in general lies, in trusting, trusting a person, word, or thing. (2.) The nature of saving faith, lies in trutting, that is, resting in, and relying upon the person, word, and thing, (proposed to it in the promise,) as firm and sure, for the effect for which it is trusted. (3.) Trufting in the Lord is by the appointment of God, and the nature of the thing, Decessarily connected with trusting to him ; comp. lsa. liii. 1. John iii. ult. (4.) It is not by the habit, but by an act of faith, a finner is juttified.
And he reckoned it to him, righteousness, i. e. And God, even Jehovah the Son, see the note above, p. 183. fig. (1.) in whom Abram trusted, (hem. 1.) did treat that act of faith or trust in him, which Abram exerted, as if it had been fulfilling of the law, in which one could stand righteous before bim, reputing and counting it to him for that effect, and juftifying
sanctification. And faith receives and rests on him alone for all these, Gal. ii, 16; Knowing that a man is not justified, by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ; that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the
him, thereupon, in his fight. Vajjahh'sch'bheha, And he reckoned it. Of Hhafchab, to reckon. Accordingly Hhischscheb (Pih.) is fully to reckon, as Lev. xxv. 50 Plal. cxliv. 3. Jon. i. 4. and Hithhhaschscheb (Hithp.) only once occurring, doth manifestly fignify to reckon one's self, Num. xxiii. 9; Behold a people . . . . in (i. e. among) the nations shall not reckon itself; i. e. a people which, &c. This word is used, (1.) For counting and reckoning, as in matters of money, 2 Kings xxï 7; It would not have been reckoned with them; the Gilver, Lev. xxv. 50; And he shall fully reckon with his acquirer. (2.) For reputing or counting, as the Latin habeo, duco, as Neh. xiii. 13 ; They were reckoned faithful. (5.) For regarding, prizing, making a valuable account of a person or thing. So it is used, Ila. ii. 22. xiii. 17. xxxiii. 8. and liji. 3 ; Thus, reckoners of his name, Mal. iii. 16; are those who valued and made a becoming account of it. (4.) For judging, thinking, or accounting so and so of a thing, as Ifa. 6. 7; His heart will not so reckon, viz. that he is the rod, ftaff, and sent, of God, ver, 5, 6; concluding concerning it, as Jon. i 4; It fully reckoned; for to be broken, i. e. fully laid its account therewith, All these agree in the common notion of reckuning, which speaks a view of a thing in several particulars, and a practical judgment formed thereupon. And hence, I think, it is that the word is uled, (5.) For contriving or de: vising, as artists do a piece of work, as Amos vi. 5; They have reckoned (i e. devised) to them ioftruments of song. Tz'dakah, righteou!ness. Tzedek and Tz'dakah are both immediately derived from Tzadał (Kal), of which see the note above, p. 183. and accordingly signify righteousness : but with this difference, that Tz'dakah sounds an acting, as if one might say, righteousing ; Tzedek, a quality, the principle or result of the former. Hence expound, Deut. xxiv. 13; To thee it shall be righteousness, (Tz'dakah), i. e, a doing or acting righteoully, a righteous a&tion, a good work, a conforming to the law. An evidence of this difference is, that Tz'dakah is often used in the plural number; but Tzedek is never. For the former points at a thing, under the notion of a righteous action, or good work, of which kind there are many ; but the latter, at a thing, under the notion of a quality, viz. righteousness, which is but one, whatever be the number of the actions which it results from, or is productive of. Thus Judg. v. 11 ; The righteousnesses of Jehovah, are his righteous acts or works, Isa. Ixiv 5; All our righceousnesses are filthy rags, i. c. our good have been as filthy rags. So Isa. xlv. 24 ; Only in Jehovah, to me he said, [are] righteousnesses and strength, i, e. Only in Jesus Christ are good works, that will answer the demands of the law. Howbeit, the word is thus taken objectively, acting for an action or work. On the other fide, balances of (Tzedek) righteousness, ftones of righteousness, Lev. xix. 56; are balances and weights conform to the itandard. Thus these two words, frequently occurring, howbeit their fignification may to come to one in effect, yet they do, in their formal notion, represent the thing