« Prev Section I. Of Faith. Next »



The Acts and Offices of Faith are,

1. To believe everything which God hath revealed to us:193193Demus, Deum aliquid posse, quod nos fateamur investigare ion posse.—St. Aug. 1. xxi. c.7. de Civital. and, when once we are convinced that God hath spoken it, to make no further inquiry, but humbly to submit; ever remembering that there are some things which our understanding cannot fathom, nor search out their depth.

2. To believe nothing concerning God but what is honourable and excellent, as knowing that belief to be no honouring of God which entertains of him any dishonourable thoughts. Faith is the parent of charity, and whatsoever faith entertains must be apt to produce love to God; but he that believes God to be cruel or unmerciful, or a rejoicer in the unavoidable damnation of the greatest part of mankind, or that he speaks one thing and privately means another, thinks evil thoughts concerning God, and such as for which we should hate a man, and therefore are great enemies of faith, being apt to destroy charity. Our faith concerning God must be as himself hath revealed and described his own excellencies; and, in our discourses; we must remove from him all imperfection, and attribute to him all excellency.

3. To give ourselves wholly up to Christ, in heart and desire, to become disciples of his doctrine with choice, (besides conviction,) being in the presence of God but as idiots, that is, without any principles of our own to hinder the truth of God; but sucking in greedily all that God hath taught us, believing it infinitely, and loving to believe it. For this is an act of love reflected upon faith, or an act of faith leaning upon love.

4. To believe all God’s promises, and that whatsoever is promised in Scripture shall, on God’s part, be as surely performed as if we had it in possession. This act makes us to rely upon God with the same confidence as we did on our parents when we were children, when we made no doubt but whatsoever we needed we should have it, if it were in their power.

5. To believe, also, the conditions of the promise, or that part of the revelation which concerns our duty. Many are apt to believe the article of remission of sins, but they believe it without the condition of repentance, or the fruits of holy life; and that is to believe the article otherwise than God intended it. For the covenant of the Gospel is the great object of faith, and that supposes our duty to answer his grace; that God will be our God, so long as we are his people. The other is not faith, but flattery.

6. To profess publicly the doctrine of Jesus Christ, openly owning whatsoever he hath revealed and commanded, not being ashamed of the word of God, or of any practices enjoined by it; and this without complying with any man’s interest, not regarding favour, nor being moved with good words, not fearing disgrace, or loss, or inconvenience, or death itself.

7. To pray without doubting, without weariness, without faintness; entertaining no jealousies or suspicions of God, but being confident of God’s hearing us, and of his returns to us, whatsoever the manner or the instance be, that, if we do our duty, it will be gracious and merciful.

These acts of faith are, in several degrees, in the servants of Jesus; some have it but as a grain of mustard-seed; some grow up to a plant; some have the fulness of faith; but the least faith that is must be a persuasion so strong as to make us undertake the doing of all that duty which Christ built upon the foundation of believing. But we shall best discern the truth of our faith by these following signs. St. Jerome reckons three.194194Dial. adver. Lucif.

« Prev Section I. Of Faith. Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection