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the redemption of mankind, actually terminates on the person, and is believed so to do.

Wherefore, when we consider this as the plea of justifying faith, that whatsoever Christ did for the redemption of maðkind, he did it for me; the meaning is not, for me by a foregoing purpose and intention; but for me, as issuing in the present grant of it to me, which I now cordially embrace.

Alex. The associate presbytery reckoned the common interest, that all sinners under the gospel dispensation have in Christ, a ground upon which a person should believe his own special interest in him. Is not this unreasonable? How can a common interest in any person or thing become a special interest by believing it to be so.

Ruf. A simile may serve to shew that such an improvement of a common interest is not so strange or so contrary to the common sense of mankind, as it has been represented. Suppose, that a king makes a proclamation of indemnity to a number of rebels; and that they have all the same common interest in it: does not this common in. terest give every one of these rebels a ground so to believe a special interest in it for himself in particular, as to accept of the indemnity, and to get the benefit of it; while the rebel, who does not believe that he has any interest in the indemnity, supposing, that whatever it may be to others, it is no indemnity to him; persists in his rebellion, and perishes ? So the gospel is a proclamation of God's grant of pardon and salvation to sinners through Jesus Christ. All sinners, to whom this proclamation is made, have a common interest in it. Any sinner, who truly believes this common interest, is thereby led to believe that there is pardon and salvation through Jesus Christ for him in particular; and to trust in the indemnity proclaimed for pardon and salvation accordingly. Whereas, they who disbelieve a common interest in this indemnity, also disbelieve a special interest in it; and so perish in their sins. Again, suppose a gift of suitable provisions to be presented to a number of persons ready to perish with hunger. All these persons have a common interest in the provisions by virtue of the gift; and each of them has hereby a ground for such a belief of his own interest in the provisions presented to them, as may effectually determine him to take and eat, as his case requires ; and by such a belief, he has a farther, a special interest in the provisions; an interest in them which he could not have, while he disbelieved the truth of the gift, and despised the provisions. Thus, God the Father makes a free grant and promise of Christ to all the hearers of the gospel : he says, I give you the true bread from Heaven. This free grant warrants any poor sinner, who hears the gospel, to appropriate to himself by faith, Christ Jesus and all his saving benefits. This appropriation of Christ crucified, as the suitable food of our souls, corresponds with the external acts of eating and drinking what is necessary for our bodily refreshment. In this appropriation, we believe a special interest in Jesus Christ as ours; we are persuaded, that he is so ours, hat we shall have life and salvation by him; and we take to ourselves whatever he did for the redemption of mankind, as done for us. This appropriating faith is not a belief, that we are among those whom God, of his mere good pleasure, chose from eternity to everlasting life, or for whom Christ intentionally laid down

his life; but it is a belief, that Christ crucified, is now given to us in the gospel to be our Saviour, our righteousness and salvation; and, in believing, we receive him as given to us, and trust in him for our justification and salvation accordingly.

Alex. These brethren might have been satisfied with the definition of faith which is given in our shorter catechism.

Ruf. There was no member of the associate presbytery, who did not highly approve that definition; but they judge, that it is greatly perverted and abused, when it is set in opposition to the definitions expressive of the appropriation of faith, that had been received before by the reformed church of Scotland: such as, that in the answer of the Palatine catechism to the question, What is true faith? " It is,” says that excellent summary of christian doctrine, “not only a knowledge “ by which I steadfastly assent to all things, which God hath revealed 66 to us in his word; but also an assured affiance, kindled in my heart “ by the Holy Spirit, by which I rest upon God, making sure account, 6 that forgiveness of sius, everlasting righteousness and life, are be« stowed not only upon others, but also upon me; and that freely by “ the mercy of God for the merit of Christ alone.” In the famous Mr. James Melvil's catechism, we have the following answer to the same question: “ It is my sure belief, that God both may and will “ save me in the blood of Jesus Christ; because he is Almighty, and “ has promised to do so."

We are to understand the definition of faith in the shorter catechism, according to the account of it in the larger. These words of the former, “ Christ Jesus, as he is offered in the gospel,are equivalent to the following words of the latter; Christ and his righteous“ ness, held forth in the promise of the gospel.* The act of faith by which we are said, in the shorter catechism, to receive and rest upon Christ for salvation,” is said, in the larger catechism, to be our believing application of Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death to ourselves.”+ The faith, by which we say Amen, in prayer, is said to be that " which relies upon him, that he will fulfil

our requests ;” and it is “ an assurance of our being heard.”I And as this faith is necessary to acceptable prayer, it must be found, in a greater or less measure, in all true believers. |

It is evident then, that according to the doctrine of our confession and catechisms, the receiving of Christ, as he is offered to us in the gospel, is just our believing application of him to ourselves, as freely given to us in the gospel promise; and that our resting on him alone for our salvation, is our real persuasion, on the ground of that promise, that he is, and will be, that to us, which he is declared to be in the gospel; the propitiation for our sins, the Lord our righteousness, the Lord our strength, our light and salvation. The words of the answer in the shorter catechism to the question, What is faith in Jesus Christ, have been used in a sense quite opposite to that of the Westminster assembly. Thus, according to some, our receiving Christ, as he is offered to us in the gospel, is our consenting to the terms, upon which the gospel, as they suppose, offers or promises salvation, namely,

Larg. Cat. quest. 72. † Idem. quest. 170. * Idem. quest. 196-Short. quest. 107. || Larg. Cat. quest. 72, 170, 196.

faith, repentance and sincere obedience; together with our purposing and promising, through Divine grace, to fulfil these terms. Our resting on Christ, according to this

plan, is our trusting that he will save us, if we persevere in endeavouring to fulfil these terms. According to this construction, not only Neonomians, but even Arminians and Socinians will subscribe to the definition of faith in the shorter catechism. Accordingly, the Socinian 'reviser of the shorter catechism, mentioned in a former conversation, who altered most of the answers of that catechism, left this definition untouched.

Alex. The notion that many entertain of Christ's having died for them, is nothing but gross presumption and delusion.

Ruf. Such is the conceit which many have, that Christ is their Saviour, and that he died for them, founded upon an' opinion of Christ's having died intentionally for all men; or of their good quali, fications, as giving them a title to the benefit of his death ; or upon some flattering imaginations or unaccountable feelings. But this is quite different from the appropriating faith taught from the scriptures, by the associate presbytery, as we have already seen in the course of our conversation; a faith which, as the twelve ministers, who protested against the act of the general assembly condemning the Marrow, observe, “is wrought in us by the Holy Spirit, shewing us that 6 Christ, his righteousness and salvation are brought near to us in 66 the promise and offer of the gospel ; clearing, at the same time, our 66 right and warrant to intermeddle withal, without fear of vicious “ intromission, encouraging and enabling us to some measure of con“ fident application, and taking home alĩ to ourselves freely, without “ money and without price.”

The associate presbytery, in speaking of the description of faith in the Marrow, observe, “that it exhibits the scriptural order in which “ faith closes with or appropriates its object. For the first thing that 6 we have to believe, or to be persuaded of, upon the ground of the “ grant that God has made of Christ to mankind-sinners in the word, 6 is, that Christ is ours. Upon which there will follow, according to 66 the measure of faith, a persuasion, that we shall have life and sal66 vation by him; and that whatsoever he did for the redemption of 66 mankind, he did it for us.”

These ministers, in order to guard their hearers against presumption, used to warn them against resting in a partial and superficial application of Christ or the promises; as when persons content themselves with speculative notions of Christ, without spiritual, heartaffecting views of his glory and suitableness to their case: or, when they pretend to receive him in one of his offices, and not in the rest; in his priestly office, for example, and not in his prophetical and kingly offices : or, when they pretend to believe and embrace the promises, without any view of them as in Christ, in whom they are all yea and amen; or to believe some of them with application to themselves, while they neglect and despise others, that are equally necessary and suitable to their case; or while they have no humbling sense of their ignorance, enmity and inability in themselves to make a believing application of Christ, or the promises in him; no humbling sense of their absolute need of the Holy Spirit to seal and apply the promises to their souls.

Alex. How comes it, that their manner of speaking about saving faith is so different from that of many sound divines, such as Flavel, Durham, and others.

Ruf. Probably the difference is more in words, than in the matter. I have not found any orthodox divines, who, in speaking of these words of Christ, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? or in explaining such applicatory expressions of the Psalmist as these; Thou art my God, my Shepherd, my light and my salvation, do not allow them to be the language of faith ; and that even in opposition to sense or feeling.

Alex. They mean, that such a claim belongs to a high degree of saving faith ; not to the essence of it.

Ruf. It seems plain, that saving faith, in all the various degrees of it, proceeds upon the same ground; and therefore, the language of it must be such as that of the expressions now mentioned, if it be founded on a promise or grant of Christ and of God in him: whereas, if it be founded on some speculative or doctrinal proposition only, it can never, even in its highest degree, of itself, or in its direct act, speak any such language: for such a proposition, if it imply no grant or promise, affords a person no warrant to appropriate or take to himself what is spoken of. When a historical relation of the riches of Peru is read or heard, a person, who has the strongest belief of the truth of that relation, is as far from any application of these riches to his personal use, as one who is doubtful of it. The truth is, the language of a high degree of saving faith is more distinct, more steady, and unfaultering; but is, in reality, the same applicatory language with that of the weakest unfeigned faith.

On this head, the associate presbytery charge the acts of the general assembly, concerning the Marrow, with three tenets, which they reject and condemn. The first is, That it is not necessary to constitute saving and justifying faith, to have any persuasion in the heart, that Christ is ours; that we shall have life and salvation by him; and that whatever Christ did for the redemption of mankind, he did it for us. The second is, That no other persuasion is necessary to constitute justifying faith, than a belief and persuasion of the mercy of God in Christ, and of Christ's ability and willingness to save all that come to him: this being such a faith as Papists and Arminians can subscribe to in consistency with their other errors and heresies. The third is, That one must first come to Christ and be a true believer, before he can appropriate Christ and the whole of his salvation to himself, upon scripture ground and warrant: a notion which subverts the true nature of faith.

$36. Alex. The assembly charge the Marrow more directly with Antinomianism, when they represent it as teaching, that holiness is not necessary to salvation; as in these words: “ If the law say, good “ works must be done, and the commandment be kept, if thou wilt s obtain salvation; then answer thou, and say, I am already saved, “ before thou camest; therefore, I have no need of thy presence. “ Christ is my righteousness, my treasure, and my work. I confess, “O law, that I am neither godly nor righteous; but this I am sure of, 6 that he is godly and righteous for me.” And, in the act passed in the year 1722, they allege, that their construction of these words of the Marrow, is strengthened by the words that follow in the same place : “ For in Christ I have all things at once, neither need 1 any 66 thing more that is necessary to salvation.” Then, added they in that act, it follows, that personal holiness, and good works, and perseverance in holy obedience to the law of God, are not in this author's opinion) necessary to salvation; and a man may have all things necessary to salvation, though he be not yet a godly man.

Ruf. The associate presbytery cordially acknowledge and maintain, that holiness and good works are, in their own place, necessary as an acknowledgment of God's sovereign authority by our obedience to his command; necessary as being the end of our election, redemption and effectual calling; necessary as being expressions of our gratitude, and as the promotion of them is a principal design of the word and ordinances; necessary for making our calling and election sure; and necessary, according to our confession of faith, as, being “ done in obe. 6 dience to God's commands, they are fruits and evidences of a true 66 and lively faith; and as by them believers manifest their thankful“ness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the pro“ fession of the gospel, stop the mouths of adversaries, and glorify 66 God."

In these and the like respects, the author of the Marrow nowhere denies, but often plainly asserts and inculcates the necessity of holiness and good works. The words, which you have recited as condemned by the assembly, and which had been taken from a sermon of the great reformer Martin Luther, were never censured before by any protestant church. They express the perfection and extent of Christ's active obedience in our room, answering the law-charge against the believer, while he is, in the eye of the law, neither godly nor righteous in himself. As the believer" has no plea, in answer to the law's demand of satisfaction to justice for sin, but the sufferings of Jesus Christ our surety; so he has no plea, in answer to the law's demand of perfect obedience, for entitling him to eternal life, but Christ's complete holiness of nature and righteousness of life, which are imputed to the sinner in the moment of believing, for his justification in the sight of God; and consequently, this answer, Christ is godly and righteous for me, is the only one which the believer can give to the law's demand of good works. Rom. iv. 5, To him that worketh not, but believeth on him who justifieth the ungodly; his faith is counted to him for righteous

“ Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth; “not for any thing wrought in them or done by them; but by imput- ing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them."*

So that if we have recourse, in the least, to our personal holiness as the ground, in whole or in part, of our enjoyment of grace here or of glory hereafter, we dishonour both the law and the lawgiver, and make our personal holiness a rival with the Son of God, by seeking to divide the glory of our salvation between it and him.

Alex. Was it not a strange opinion that was advanced by the defenders of the Marrow, that, in the gospel, properly so taken, there are no precepts, not even the commands of faith and repentance? Such a manner of expression seems to be, as the assembly represented it, of a pernicious tendency.

ness.

* Confess. chap. xi. $ 1..

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