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word, for the authority of God Himself speaking therein.' But, by the end of the same paragraph we have the other definition implied: "The principal acts of saving faith are, accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.' The intervening clauses unite these two definitions by pointing out that there are different acts of saving faith 'upon that which each particular passage containeth, ... obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and’ the embrace of the promises of God.' All this is thoroughly confused. If Christian faith is belief-belief of everything that is in the Bible—then the so-called acts of saving faith are simply results or proofs of faith. They do not themselves save a man, if they presuppose saving faith.' Thus, on this deliberate definition, * receiving and resting upon Christ' does not save a man; believing that the Bible is true saves a man ; and, in the case of the saved, the belief of the Bible produces emotions which may be described—popularly and incorrectly—as receiving and resting upon Christ.'

Nor is this first and normative part of the definition of saving faith’any chance blunder. It runs through the system of the Confession. Thus, in 1. & iv., we learn that the authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the word of God.' In other words, Calvinism rightly feels that a Christian's belief is part of his religion no less than his emotions. But how do we know that what we believe is the word of God ? The answer is given in 1. & v.: 'our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the word in our hearts.' Psychologically that just means, we believe because we cannot help ourselves; we believe because we are irresistibly necessitated to believe. Of course we hope that the good Spirit of God is the source of this non-rational and unverifiable certainty ; but it may not be so. Our belief may be a hallucination; or it may be wrought in our hearts by a lying spirit. Some of us believe in the doctrine of the testimonium Spiritus Sancti because we hold that, looked at from the subjective point of view, the witness spoken of is that assurance which grows up in a life of faith, repentance, and well-doing. On this view, the doctrine is verifiable in experience. But to identify the special operations of the Holy Spirit with the process of moral life in general is to take leave of Calvinism. Hence this first part of the confessional doctrine of faith remains firmly entrenched on Calvinistic ground. We believe the Bible, it says, because we are irresistibly necessitated to do so, by a process which is not rational and is not moral, and which we therefore call spiritual.

According to the definition, this is saving faith. But it is awkward to describe Christian faith as a mental belief lying outside the region of personal religious life. A man might believe the Bible with feverish earnestness, yet feel himself hopelessly estranged from God. Hence the second and incongruous part of the confessional definition, according to which faith is the accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for salvation. This is the more experimental, or perhaps one ought to say, the more Christian part of the definition. This, accordingly, is the view of faith given in the section on justification. Faith (xi. S ii.), ‘ receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification. On this view of faith, 'head' knowledge of the gospel is presupposed; how it is come by, we need not stop to inquire; and religious faith is the subsequent act of will by which a man resolves to cast himself on the mercy of God in Christ.

Probably this conception of faith represents the way in which men have really got spiritual help from the orthodox doctrine. Every sinful soul, under any form of religion, who has even a dim apprehension of Divine mercy, knows something of faith in this sense of the word. And every such experience is infinitely sacred. Every such experience has the mark of God's Holy Spirit upon it. But must not Christian faith have something in it to differentiate it from the half-faith of a Pagan soul groping after God? And must not a Calvinistic doctrine of faith fit on more definitely to the Calvinistic theory of grace ? It is not God's abstract mercy that the sinner is invited to rest upon,

but ' Christ's finished work.' What is the nature of that work? If it is a substitution, must not Christian faith have an explicit regard to Christ as our substitute? That would account for the extraordinary importance which evangelicalism'attaches to its theory of the Atonement. In other words, this second part of the confessional definition of faith seems to be capable of doing valuable practical service. But theoretically it is very defective. It points the soul to the mercy of God—not to the work of Christ; or it points the soul to Christ, but not in that aspect which Calvinism regards as His central office.' A fuller and truer theory might prove a better theory, practically as well as speculatively.

The most accurate expression of the Calvinistic doctrine of saving faith, so far as my knowledge goes, is found in an obiter dictum of the late Principal Candlish. “There is room’for God's ' arranging, that, through the gracious interposition of His own Son, meeting on my behalf the inviolable claims of justice, His wrath should be turned away from me; and, if from me, from others also willing to acquiesce in the arrangement.'? So bald a statement as this can hardly be paralleled; and some may think us unfair if we attach importance to it. But we have chosen it, not because it is extreme, but because it is exceptionally well put, from the forensic point of view. For, if the work of Christ is essentially a substitutionary arrangement, what else can faith be than assent to that arrangement ? Human assent is the natural complement of the legal-fiction theory of Atonement. And, instead of repudiating Dr. Candlish's statement, orthodox people would do better, for their own cause, if they pointed out how large an amount of Christianity could be

Quoted by Hutton, Theological Essays, 'Romanism, Protestantism, and Anglicanism.'


packed into that formula. In order to assent to the arrangement by which Another takes your place, you must be convinced of your own helplessness and guilt. If you have good grounds for believing that your assent is legally valid before God, and makes it incumbent on Christ to provide for your case, then you may have great peace and immediate assurance. And again, if you enjoy such peace through the surrender of self-righteousness and through consent to Christ's acting in your stead, is it not natural that feelings of gratitude should spring up in your heart which will produce an influence on your life? It may not be a completely Christian formula ; but it is quite as Christian as Calvinism ever was or ever will be.

We should remember that, according to Calvinism, one cannot assent to the arrangements' proposed to one in the gospel, except the Holy Spirit be given to one. This is an instance of the


in which different doctrines hang together. If you describe saving faith as consisting in assent to a substitutionary arrangement, and if you assert that all men who hear the gospel are capable of saving faith, you take the Christian religion out of the region of morality altogether. To assent to an arrangement which costs one nothing, which is well guaranteed, and which promises one the greatest conceivable blessings,

- who would not be a Christian upon these terms ? But, when it is added that, however manifestly the arrangement makes for your advantage, and however simple the act of assenting to it, you cannot perform the act unless the Holy Spirit constrains you to do so,—then it is seen that, after all, you are a moral being, dependent upon God. Morality is saved at the eleventh hour; and the doctrine of inability, which at first sight appeared merely odious, turns out to be a link by which the theology of substitution is connected with the postulates of moral life. At the same time, the paradox of Calvinism comes to a head here. You can do nothing spiritually good without grace; you cannot even indicate your formal consent to an arrangement which every motive urges you to adopt, and which demands of you absolutely no spiritual conditions ! The statement is dogmatically necessary, beyond a doubt, to the Calvinist. But psychologically it is absurd.

As so often before, we see here the influence of the legalist antithesis between Divine and human, Christ and the Christian. Either Christ works for my redemption, says the Calvinist, or I myself work. Therefore my psychological contribution to the new life—if the Bible forces me against my will to postulate a psychological contribution on my own part-must have absolutely no moral goodness about it. Moral goodness is contributed to this partnership by the Saviour; the sinner brings with him only his sins. If I were to allow so much as a grain or a drop of ethical goodness in 'saving faith,'I should detract from the alone efficiency of Christ. This is the plain English of all the evangelical rhetoric, in which faith is described as only a hand.' Metaphors are very convenient for those who wish to avoid coming to close grapples with thought. But they have the disadvantage that they intimate to a moderately competent critic that there is a weak point in their neighbourhood. Faith is 'a hand,' then, just because it is an act of assent to a proposed arrangement. Faith, in other words, is receptive; but we know already that what faith is to receive is a legal righteousness; we know already that faith is expected to work with the substitutionary theory of the Atonement. If Christian faith were a mere receptiveness of spiritual blessings, then it would take no cognisance of forensic theories, and the orthodox doctrine of atonement must be only a speculation, with no direct bearing on the religious life. But, if orthodoxy cannot concede that, it must grant that the metaphorical ‘hand' of saving faith is literally "assent to an arrangement.'

We, for our part, are not legalists. We recognise the mysteriousness of the religious life, and do not feel bound to parcel out its stages mechanically, according to the type of physical causation, or to draw a sharp line between God's work and man's own.

Hence we have no hesitation in affirming-what every Christian, surely, would like to affirm—that the first

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