(Owen, Justification. part 10)

as make him the direct and proper object of it. Such are they
wherein it is called a "receiving" of him. John 1:12, "To as many as
received him." Col.2:6, "As you have received Christ Jesus the
Lord." That which we receive by faith is the proper object of it;
and it is represented by their looking unto the brazen serpent, when
it was lifted up, who were stung by fiery serpents, John 3:14,15;
12:32. Faith is that act of the soul whereby convinced sinners,
ready otherwise to perish, do look unto Christ as he was made a
propitiation for their sins; and who so do "shall not perish, but
have everlasting life." He is, therefore, the object of our faith.
     (2.) He is so, as he is the ordinance of God unto this end; which
consideration is not to be separated from our faith in him: and this
also is confirmed by several sorts of testimonies:--
     [1.] All those wherein the love and grace of God are proposed as
the only cause of giving Jesus Christ to be the way and means of our
recovery and salvation; whence they become, or God in them, the
supreme efficient cause of our justification. John 3:16, "God so
loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life". So
Rom.5:8; 1 John 4:9,10. "Being justified through the redemption that
is in Christ Jesus," Rom.3:24; Eph.1:6-8. This the Lord Christ
directs our faith unto continually, referring all unto him that sent
him, and whose will he came to do, Heb.10:5.
     [2.] All those wherein God is said to set forth and to make him be
for us and unto us, what he is so, unto the justification of life.
Rom.3:25, "Whom God has proposed to be a propitiation." 1 Cor.1:30,
"Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and
rectification, and redemption". 2 Cor.5:21, "He has made him to be
sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness
of God in him." Acts 13:38,39; etc. Wherefore, in the acting of
faith in Christ unto justification, we can no otherwise consider him
but as the ordinance of God that end; he brings nothing unto us,
does nothing for us, but what God appointed, designed, and made him
to do. And this must diligently be considered, that by our regard by
faith unto the blood, the sacrifice, the satisfaction of Christ, we
take off nothing from the free grace, favour, and love of God.
     [3.] All those wherein the wisdom of God in the contrivance of
this way of justification and salvation is proposed unto us.
Eph.1:7,8, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the
forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein
he has abounded towards us in all wisdom and understanding." See
chap.3:10,11; 1 Cor.1:24.
     The whole is comprised in that of the apostle: "God was in Christ,
reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses
unto them," 2 Cor.5:19. All that is done in our reconciliation unto
God, as unto the pardon of our sins, and acceptance with him unto
life, was by the presence of God, in his grace, wisdom, and power,
in Christ designing and effecting of it.
     Wherefore, the Lord Christ, proposed in the promise of the gospel
as the object of our faith unto the justification of life, is
considered as the ordinance of God unto that end. Hence the love,
the grace, and the wisdom of God, in the sending and giving of him,
are comprised in that object; and not only the acting of God in
Christ towards us, but all his acting towards the person of Christ
himself unto the same end, belong thereunto. So, as unto his death,
"God set him forth to be a propitiation," Rom.3:25. "He spared him
not, but delivered him up for us all," Rom.8:32; and therein "laid
all our sins upon him," Isa.53:6. So he was "raised for our
justification," Rom.4:25. And our faith is in God, who "raised him
from the dead," Rom.10:9. And in his exaltation, Acts 5:31. Which
things complete "the record that God has given of his Son," 1 John
     The whole is confirmed by the exercise of faith in prayer; which
is the soul's application of itself unto God for the participation
of the benefits of the mediation of Christ. And it is called our
"access through him unto the Father," Eph.2:18; our coming through
him "unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find
grace to help in time of need," Heb.4:15,16; and through him as both
"a high priest and sacrifice," Heb.10:19-22. So do we "bow our knees
unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," Eph.3:14. This answers
the experience of all who know what it is to pray. We come therein
in the name of Christ, by him, through his mediation, unto God, even
the Father; to be, through his grace, love, and mercy, made
partakers of what he has designed and promised to communicate unto
poor sinners by him. And this represents the complete object of our
     The due consideration of these things will reconcile and reduce
unto a perfect harmony whatever is spoken in the Scripture
concerning the object of justifying faith, or what we are said to
believe therewith. For whereas this is affirmed of sundry things
distinctly, they can none of them be supposed to be the entire
adequate object of faith. But consider them all in their relation
unto Christ, and they have all of them their proper place therein,--
namely, the grace of God, which is the cause; the pardon of sin,
which is the effect; and the promises of the gospel, which are the
means, of communicating the Lord Christ, and the benefits of his
mediation unto us.
     The reader may be pleased to take notice, that I do in this place
not only neglect, but despise, the late attempt of some to wrest all
things of this nature, spoken of the person and mediation of Christ,
unto the doctrine of the gospel, exclusively unto them; and that not
only as what is noisome and impious in itself, but as that also
which has not yet been endeavoured to be proved, with any appearance
of learning, argument, or sobriety.

II. The nature of justifying faith

The nature of justifying faith in particular, or of faith in the
exercise of it, whereby we are justified--The heart's approbation of
the way of the justification and salvation of sinners by Christ,
with its acquiescency therein--The description given, explained and
confirmed:--1. From the nature of the gospel--Exemplified in its
contrary, or the nature of unbelief, Prov.1:30; Heb.2:3; 1 Pet.2:7;
1 Cor.1:23,24; 2 Cor.4:3--What it is, and wherein it does consist.--
2. The design of God in and by the gospel--His own glory his utmost
end in all things--The glory of his righteousness, grace, love,
wisdom, etc.--The end of God in the way of the salvation of sinners
by Christ, Rom.3:25; John 3:16; 1 John 3:16; Eph.1:5,6; 1 Cor.1:24;
Eph.3:10; Rom.1:16; 4:16; Eph.3:9; 2 Cor.4:6--3. The nature of faith
thence declared--Faith alone ascribes and gives this glory to God.--
4. Order of the acts of faith, or the method in believing--
Convictions previous thereunto--Sincere assent unto all divine
revelations, Acts 26:27--The proposal of the gospel unto that end,
Rom.10:11-17; 2 Cor.3:18,etc.--State of persons called to believe--
Justifying faith does not consist in any one single habit or act of
the mind or will--The nature of that about which is the first act of
faith--Approbation of the way of salvation by Christ, comprehensive
of the special nature of justifying faith--What is included there
in:--1. A renunciation of all other ways, Hos.14:2,3; Jer.3:23;
Ps.71:16; Rom.10:3.--2. Consent of the will unto this way, John 14:6-
-3. Acquiescency of the heart in God, 1 Pet.1:21.--4. Trust in God.-
-5. Faith described by trust--The reason of it--Nature and object of
this trust inquired into--A double consideration of special mercy--
Whether obedience be included in the nature of faith, or be of the
essence of it--A sincere purpose of universal obedience inseparable
from faith--How faith alone justifies--Repentance, how required in
and unto justification--How a condition of the new covenant--
Perseverance in obedience is so also--Definitions of faith

That which we shall now inquire into, is the nature of justifying
faith; or of faith in that act and exercise of it whereby we are
justified, or whereon justification, according unto God's ordination
and promise, does ensue. And the reader is desired to take along
with him a supposition of those things which we have already
ascribed unto it, as it is sincere faith in general; as also, of
what is required previously thereunto, as unto its especial nature,
work, and duty in our justification. For we do deny that ordinarily,
and according unto the method of God's proceeding with us declared
in the Scripture, wherein the rule of our duty is prescribed, any
one does, or can, truly believe with faith unto justification, in
whom the work of conviction, before described, has not been wrought.
All descriptions or definitions of faith that have not a respect
thereunto are but vain speculations. And hence some do give us such
definitions of faith as it is hard to conceive that they ever asked
of themselves what they do in their believing on Jesus Christ for
life and salvation.
     The nature of justifying faith, with respect unto that exercise of
whereby we are justified, consists in the heart's approbation of the
way of justification and salvation of sinners by Jesus Christ
proposed in the gospel, as proceeding from the grace, wisdom, and
love of God, with its acqiescency therein as unto its own
concernment and condition.
     There needs no more for the explanation of this declaration of the
nature of faith than what we have before proved concerning its
object; and what may seem wanting thereunto will be fully supplied
in the ensuing confirmation of it. The Lord Christ, and his
mediation, as the ordinance of God for the recovery, life, and
salvation of sinners, is supposed as the object of this faith. And
they are all considered as an effect of the wisdom, grace,
authority, and love of God, with all their acting in and towards the
Lord Christ himself, in his susception and discharge of his office.
Hereunto he constantly refers all that he did and suffered, with all
the benefits redounding unto the church thereby. Hence, as we
observed before, sometimes the grace, or love, or especial mercy of
God, sometimes his acting in or towards the Lord Christ himself, in
sending him, giving him up unto death, and raising him from the
dead, are proposed as the object of our faith unto justification.
But they are so, always with respect unto his obedience and the
atonement that he made for sin. Neither are they so altogether
absolutely considered, but as proposed in the promises of the
gospel. Hence, a sincere assent unto the divine veracity in those
promises is included in this approbation.
     What belongs unto the confirmation of this description of faith
shall be reduced unto these four heads:--1. The declaration of its
contrary, or the nature of privative unbelief upon the proposal of
the gospel. For these things do mutually illustrate one another. 2.
The declaration of the design and end of God in and by the gospel.
3. The nature of faith's compliance with that design, or its actings
with respect thereunto. 4. The order, method, and way of believing,
as declared in the Scripture:--
     1. The gospel is the revelation or declaration of that way of
justification and salvation for sinners by Jesus Christ, which God,
in infinite wisdom, love, and grace, has prepared. And upon a
supposition of the reception thereof, it is accompanied with
precepts of obedience and promises of rewards. "Therein is the
righteousness of God," that which he requires, accepts, and approves
unto salvation,--"revealed from faith unto faith," Rom.1:17. This is
the record of God therein, "That he has given unto us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son," 1 John 5:11. So John 3:14-17. "The
words of this life," Acts 5:20; "All the counsel of God," Acts
20:27. Wherefore, in the dispensation or preaching of the gospel,
this way of salvation is proposed unto sinners, as the great effect
of divine wisdom and grace. Unbelief is the rejection, neglect,
non-admission, or disapprobation of it, on the terms whereon, and
for the ends for which, it is so proposed. The unbelief of the
Pharisees, upon the preparatory preaching of John the Baptist, is
called the "rejecting of the counsel of God against themselves;"
that is, unto their own ruin, Luke 7:30. "They would none of my
counsel," is an expression to the same purpose, Prov.1:30; so is the
"neglecting this great salvation", Heb.2:3,--not giving it that
admission which the excellency of it does require. A disallowing of
Christ, the stone "hos apedokimasan hoi oikodomountes", 1 Pet.2:7,--
the "builders disapproved of," as not meet for that place and work
whereunto it was designed, Acts 4:11,--this is unbelief; to
disapprove of Christ, and the way of salvation by him, as not
answering divine wisdom, nor suited unto the end designed. So is it
described by the refusing or not receiving of him; all ~o lo one
     What is intended will be more evident if we consider the proposal
of the gospel where it issued in unbelief, in the first preaching of
it, and where it continues still so to do.
     Most of those who rejected the gospel by their unbelief, did it
under this notion, that the way of salvation and blessed proposed
therein was not a way answering divine goodness and power, such as
they might safely confide in and trust unto. This the apostle
declares at large, 1 Cor.1; so he expresses it, verses 23,24, "We
preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto
the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews
and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." That
which they declared unto them in the preaching of the gospel was,
that "Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures,"
chap.15:3. Herein they proposed him as the ordinance of God, as the
great effect of his wisdom and power for the salvation of sinners.
But as unto those who continued in their unbelief, they rejected it
as any such way, esteeming it both weakness and folly. And
therefore, he describes the faith of them that are called, by their
approbation of the wisdom and power of God herein. The want of a
comprehension of the glory of God in this way of salvation,
rejecting it thereon, is that unbelief which ruins the souls of men,
2 Cor.4:3,4.
     So is it with all that continue unbelievers under the proposal of
the object of faith in the preaching of the gospel They may give an
assent unto the truth of it, so far as it is a mere act of the mind,-
-at least they find not themselves concerned to reject it; yea, they
may assent unto it with that temporary faith which we described
before, and perform many duties of religion thereon: yet do they
manifest that they are not sincere believers, that they do not
believe with the heart unto righteousness, by many things that are
irreconcilable unto and inconsistent with justifying faith. The
inquiry, therefore, is, Wherein the unbelief of each persons, on the
account whereof they perish, does insist, and what is the formal
nature of it? It is not, as was said, in the want of an assent unto
the truths of the doctrine of the gospel: for from such an assent
are they said, in many places of the Scripture, to believe, as has
been proved; and this assent may be so firm, and by various means so
radicated in their minds, as that, in testimony unto it, they may
give their bodies to be burned; as men also may do in the
confirmation of a false persuasion. Nor is it the want of an
especial fiduciary application, of the promises of the gospel unto
themselves, and the belief of the pardon of their own sins in
particular: for this is not proposed unto them in the first
preaching of the gospel, as that which they are first to believe,
and there may be a believing unto righteousness where this is not
attained, Isa.1:10. This will evidence faith not to be true; but it
is not formal unbelief. Nor is it the want of obedience unto the
precepts of the gospel in duties of holiness and righteousness; for
these commands, as formally given in and by the gospel, belong only
unto them that truly believe, and are justified thereon. That,
therefore, which is required unto evangelical faith, wherein the
nature of it does consist, as it is the foundation of all future
obedience, is the heart's approbation of the way of life and
salvation by Jesus Christ, proposed unto it as the effect of the
infinite wisdom, love, grace, and goodness of God; and as that which
is suited unto all the wants and whole design of guilty convinced
sinners. This such persons have not; and in the want thereof
consists the formal nature of unbelief. For without this no man is,
or can be, influenced by the gospel unto a relinquishment of sin, or
encouraged unto obedience, whatever they may do on other grounds and
motives that are foreign unto the grace of it. And wherever this
cordial, sincere approbation of the way of salvation by Jesus
Christ, proposed in the gospel, does prevail, it will infallibly
produce both repentance and obedience.
     If the mind and heart of a convinced sinner (for of such alone we
treat) be able spiritually to discern the wisdom, love, and grace of
God, in this way of salvation, and be under the power of that
persuasion, he has the ground of repentance and obedience which is
given by the gospel. The receiving of Christ mentioned in the
Scripture, and whereby the nature of faith in its exercise is
expressed, I refer unto the latter part of the description given
concerning the soul's acquiescence in God, by the way proposed.
     Again: some there were at firsts and such still continue to be,
who rejected not this way absolutely, and in the notion of it, but
comparatively, as reduced to practice; and so perished in their
unbelief. They judged the way of their own righteousness to be
better, as that which might be more safely trusted unto,--as more
according unto the mind of God and unto his glory. So did the Jews
generally, the frame of whose minds the apostle represents,
Rom.10:3,4. And many of them assented unto the doctrine of the
gospel in general as true, howbeit they liked it not in their hearts
as the best way of justification and salvation, but sought for them
by the works of the law.
     Wherefore, unbelief, in its formal nature, consists in the want of
a spiritual discerning and approbation of the say of salvation by
Jesus Christ, as an effect of the infinite wisdom, goodness, and
love of God; for where these are, the soul of a convinced sinner
cannot but embrace it, and adhere unto it. Hence, also, all
acquiescency in this way, and trust and confidence in committing the
soul unto it, or unto God in it, and by it (without which whatever
is pretended of believing is but a shadow of faith), is impossible
unto such persons; for they want the foundation whereon alone they
can be built. And the consideration hereof does sufficiently
manifest wherein the nature of true evangelical faith does consist.
     2. The design of God in and by the gospel, with the work and
office of faith with respect thereunto, farther confirms the
description given of it. That which God designs herein, in the first
place, is not the justification and salvation of sinners. His utmost
complete end, in all his counsels, is his own glory. He does all
things for himself; nor can he who is infinite do otherwise. But in
an especial manner he expresses this concerning this way of
salvation by Jesus Christ.
     Particularly, he designed herein the glory of his righteousness;
"To declare his righteousness," Rom.3:20;--of his love; "God so
loved the world," John 3:16; "Herein we perceive the love of God,
that he laid down his life for us," 1 John 3:16; of his grace;
"Accepted, to the praise of the glory of his grace," Eph.1:5,6;--of
his wisdom; "Christ crucified, the wisdom of God," 1 Cor.1:24;
"Might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God," Eph.3:10;-
-of his power; "it is the power of God unto salvation," Rom.1:16;--
of his faithfulness, Rom.4:16. For God designed herein, not only the
reparation of all that glory whose declaration was impeached and
obscured by the entrance of sin, but also a farther exaltation and
more eminent manifestation of it, unto the degrees of its
exaltation, and some especial instances before concealed, Eph.3:9.
And all this is called "The glory of God in the face of Jesus
Christ;" whereof faith is the beholding, 2 Cor.4:6.
     3. This being the principal design of God in the way of
justification and salvation by Christ proposed in the gospel, that
which on our part is required unto a participation of the benefits
of it, is the ascription of that glory unto God which he designs so
to exalt. The acknowledgment of all these glorious properties of the
divine nature, as manifested in the provision and proposition of
this way of life, righteousness, and salvation, with an approbation
of the way itself as an effect of them, and that which is safely to
be trusted unto, is that which is required of us; and this is faith
or believing: "Being strong in faith, he gave glory to God,"
Rom.4:20. And this is in the nature of the weakest degree of sincere
faith. And no other grace, work, or duty, is suited hereunto, or
firstly and directly of that tendency, but only consequentially and
in the way of gratitude. And although I cannot wholly assent unto
him who affirms that faith in the epistles of Paul is nothing but
"existimation magnifice sentiens de Dei potentia, justitia,
bonitate, et si quid promiserit in eo praestando constantia",
because it is too general, and not limited unto the way of salvation
by Christ, his "elect in whom he will be glorified;" yet has it much
of the nature of faith in it. Wherefore I say, that hence we may
both learn the nature of faith, and whence it is that faith alone is
required unto our justification. The reason of it is, because this
is that grace or duty alone whereby we do or can give unto God that
glory which he designs to manifest and exalt in and by Jesus Christ.
This only faith is suited unto, and this it is to believe. Faith, in
the sense we inquire after, is the heart's approbation of, and
consent unto, the way of life and salvation of sinners by Jesus
Christ, as that wherein the glory of the righteousness, wisdom,
grace, love, and mercy of God is exalted; the praise whereof it
ascribes unto him, and rests in it as unto the ends of it,--namely,
justification, life, and salvation. It is to give "glory to God,"
Rom.4:20; to "behold his glory as in a glass," or the gospel wherein
it is represented unto us, 2 Cor.3:18; to have in our hearts "the
light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus
Christ," 2 Cor.4:6. The contrary whereunto makes God a liar, and
thereby despoils him of the glory of all those holy properties which
he this way designed to manifest, l John 5:10.
     And, if I mistake not, this is that which the experience of them
that truly believe, when they are out of the heats of disputation,
will give testimony unto.
     4. To understand the nature of justifying faith aright, or the act
and exercise of saving faith in order unto our justification, which
are properly inquired after, we must consider the order of it; first
the things which are necessarily previous thereunto, and then what
it is to believe with respect unto them. As,--
     (1.) The state of a convinced sinner, who is the only "subjectum
capax justificationis." This has been spoken unto already, and the
necessity of its precedency unto the orderly proposal and receiving
of evangelical righteousness unto justification demonstrated. If we
lose a respect hereunto, we lose our best guide towards the
discovery of the nature of faith. Let no man think to understand the
gospel, who knows nothing of the law. God's constitution, and the
nature of the things themselves, have given the law the precedency
with respect unto sinners; "for by the law is the knowledge of sin."
And gospel faith is the soul's acting according to the mind of God,
for deliverance from that state and condition which it is cast under
by the law. And all those descriptions of faith which abound in the
writings of learned men, which do not at least include in them a
virtual respect unto this state and condition, or the work of the
law on the consciences of sinners, are all of them vain
speculations. There is nothing in this whole doctrine that I will
more firmly adhere unto than the necessity of the convictions
mentioned previous unto true believing; without which not one line
of it can be understood aright, and men do but beat the air in their
contentions about it. See Rom.3:21-24.
     (2.) We suppose herein a sincere assent unto all divine
revelations, whereof the promises of grace and mercy by Christ are
an especial part. This Paul supposed in Agrippa when he would have
won him over unto faith in Christ Jesus: "King Agrippa, believest
thou the prophets? I know that thou believest", Acts 26:27. And this
assent which respects the promises of the gospel, not as they
contain, propose, and exhibit the Lord Christ and the benefits of
his mediation unto us, but as divine revelations of infallible
truth, is true and sincere in its kind, as we described it before
under the notion of temporary faith; but as it proceeds no farther,
as it include no act of the will or heart, it is not that faith
whereby we are justified. However, it is required thereunto, and is
included therein.
     (3.) The proposal of the gospel, according unto the mind of God,
is hereunto supposed; that is, that it be preached according unto
God's appointment: for not only the gospel itself, but the
dispensation or preaching of it in the ministry of the church, is
ordinarily required unto believing. This the apostle asserts, and
proves the necessity of it at large, Rom.10:11-17. Herein the Lord
Christ and his mediation with God, the only way and means for the
justification and salvation of lost convinced sinners, as the
product and effect of divine wisdom, love, grace, and righteousness,
is revealed, declared, proposed, and offered unto such sinners: "For
therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith,"
Rom.1:17. The glory of God is represented "as in a glass," 2
Cor.3:18; and "life and immortality are brought to light through the
gospel," 2 Tim.1:10; Heb.2:3. Wherefore,--
     (4.) The persons who are required to believe, and whose immediate
duty it is so to do, are such who really in their own consciences
are brought unto, and do make the inquiries mentioned in the
Scripture,--"What shall we do? What shall we do to be saved? How
shall we fly from the wrath to come? Wherewithal shall we appear
before God? How shall we answer what is laid unto our charge?"--or
such as, being sensible of the guilt of sin, do seek for a
righteousness in the sight of God, Acts 2:37,38; 16:30,31; Micah
6:6,7; Isa.35:4; Heb.6:18.
     On these suppositions, the command and direction given unto men
being, "Believe, and thou shalt be saved;" the inquiry is, What is
that act or work of faith whereby we may obtain a real interest or
propriety in the promises of the gospel, and the things declared in
them, unto their justification before God?
     And,--1. It is evident, from what has been discoursed, that it
does not consist in, that it is not to be fully expressed by, any
one single habit or act of the mind or will distinctly whatever; for
there are such descriptions given of it in the Scripture, such
things are proposed as the object of it, and such is the experience
of all that sincerely believe, as no one single act, either of the
mind or will, can answer unto. Nor can an exact method of those acts
of the soul which are concurrent therein be prescribed; only what is
essential unto it is manifest.
     2. That which, in order of nature, seems to have the precedency,
is the assent of the mind unto that which the psalmist retakes
himself unto in the first place for relief, under a sense of sin and
trouble, Ps.130:3,4, "If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O
Lord, who shall stand?" The sentence of the law and judgment of
conscience lie against him as unto any acceptation with God.
Therefore, he despairs in himself of standing in judgment, or being
acquitted before him. In this state, that which the soul first fixes
on, as unto its relief, is, that "there is forgiveness with God."
This, as declared in the gospel, is, that God in his love and grace
will pardon and justify guilty sinners through the blood and
mediation of Christ. So it is proposed, Rom.3:23,24. The assent of
the mind hereunto, as proposed in the promise of the gospel, is the
root of faith, the foundation of all that the soul does in
believing; nor is there any evangelical faith without it. But yet,
consider it abstractedly, as a mere act of the mind, the essence and
nature of justifying faith does not consist solely therein, though
it cannot be without it. But,--
     3. This is accompanied, in sincere believing, with an approbation
of the way of deliverance and salvation proposed, as an effect of
divine grace, wisdom, and love; whereon the heart does rest in it,
and apply itself unto it, according to the mind of God. This is that
faith whereby we are justified; which I shall farther evince, by
showing what is included in it, and inseparable from it:--
     (1.) It includes in it a sincere renunciation of all other ways
and means for the attaining of righteousness, life, and salvation.
This is essential unto faith, Acts 4:12; Hos.14:2,3; Jer.3:23;
Ps.71:16, "I will make mention of thy righteousness, of thine only."
When a person is in the condition before described (and such alone
are called immediately to believe, Matt.9:13; 11:28; 1 Tim.1:15),
many things will present themselves unto him for his relief,
particularly his own righteousness, Rom.10:3. A renunciation of them
all, as unto any hope or expectation of relief from them, belongs
unto sincere believing, Isa.50:10,11.
     (2.) There is in it the will's consent, whereby the soul betakes
itself cordially and sincerely, as unto all its expectation of
pardon of sin and righteousness before God, unto the way of
salvation proposed in the gospel. This is that which is called
"coming unto Christ", and "receiving of him," whereby true
justifying faith is so often expressed in the Scripture; or, as it
is peculiarly called, "believing in him," or "believing on his
name." The whole is expressed, John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I
am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me."
     (3.) An acquiescency of the heart in God, as the author and
principal cause of the way of salvation prepared, as acting in a way
of sovereign grace and mercy towards sinners: "Who by him do believe
in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that
your faith and hope might be in God," 1 Pet.1:21. The heart of a
sinner does herein give unto God the glory of all those holy
properties of his nature which he designed to manifest in and by
Jesus Christ. See Isa.42:1; 49:3. And this acquiescency in God is
that which is the immediate root of that waiting, patience,
longsuffering, and hope, which are the proper acts and effects of
justifying faith, Heb.6:12,15,18,19.
     (4.) Trust in God, or the grace and mercy of God in and through
the Lord Christ, as set forth to be a propitiation through faith in
his blood, does belong hereunto, or necessarily ensue hereon; for
the person called unto believing is,--first, Convinced of sin, and
exposed unto wrath; secondly, Has nothing else to trust unto for
help and relief; thirdly, Does actually renounce all other things
that tender themselves unto that end: and therefore, without some
act of trust, the soul must lie under actual despair; which is
utterly inconsistent with faith, or the choice and approbation of
the way of salvation before described.
     (5.) The most frequent declaration of the nature of faith in the
Scripture, especially in the Old Testament, is by this trust; and
that because it is that act of it which composes the soul, and
brings it unto all the rest it can attain. For all our rest in this
world is from trust in God; and the especial object of this trust,
so far as it belongs unto the nature of that faith whereby we are
justified, is "God in Christ reconciling the world unto himself" For
this is respected where his goodness, his mercy, his grace, his
name, his faithfulness, his power, are expressed, or any of them, as
that which it does immediately rely upon; for they are no way the
object of our trust, nor can be, but on the account of the covenant
which is confirmed and ratified in and by the blood of Christ alone.
     Whether this trust or confidence shall be esteemed of the essence
of faith, or as that which, on the first fruit and working of it, we
are found in the exercise of, we need not positively determine. I
place it, therefore, as that which belongs unto justifying faith,
and is inseparable from it. For if all we have spoken before
concerning faith may be comprised under the notion of a firm assent
and persuasion, yet it cannot be so if any such assent be
conceivable exclusive of this trust.
     This trust is that whereof many divines do make special mercy to
be the peculiar object; and that especial mercy to be such as to
include in it the pardon of our own sins. This by their adversaries
is fiercely opposed, and that on such grounds as manifest that they
do not believe that there is any such state attainable in this life;
and that if there were, it would not be of any use unto us, but
rather be a means of security and negligence in our duty: wherein
they betray how great is the ignorance of these things in their own
minds. But mercy may be said to be especial two ways:--First, In
itself, and in opposition unto common mercy. Secondly, With respect

(continued in part 11...)

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