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  • WORKS OF ARMINIUS - ON FAITH IN GOD AND CHRIST


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    DISPUTATION XLIV

    ON FAITH IN GOD AND CHRIST

    I. In the preceding disputation, we have treated on the first part of that obedience which is yielded to the vocation of God. The second part now follows, which is called "the obedience of faith."

    II. Faith, generally, is the assent given to truth; and divine faith is that which is given to truth divinely revealed. The foundation on which divine faith rests is two- fold -- the one external and out of or beyond the mind -- the other internal and in the mind.

         (1.) The external foundation of faith is the very veracity of God who makes the declaration, and who can declare nothing that is false.

         (2.) The internal foundation of faith is two-fold -- both the general idea by which we know that God is true -- and the knowledge by which we know that it is the word of God. Faith is also two-fold, according to the mode of revelation, being both legal and evangelical, of which the latter comes under our present consideration, and tends to God and Christ.

    III. Evangelical faith is an assent of the mind, produced by the Holy Spirit, through the gospel, in sinners, who, through the law, know and acknowledge their sins, and are penitent on account of them, by which they are not only fully persuaded within themselves that Jesus Christ has been constituted by God the author of salvation to those who obey him, and that he is their own saviour if they have believed in him, and by which they also believe in him as such, and through him on God as the benevolent Father in him, to the salvation of believers and to the glory of Christ and God.

    IV. The object of faith is not only the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, but likewise Christ himself who is here constituted by God the author of salvation to those that obey him.

    V. The form is the assent that is given to an object of this description; which assent is not acquired by a course of reasoning from principles known by nature; but it is an assent infused above the order of nature, which, yet, is confirmed and increased by the daily exercises of prayers and mortification of the flesh, and by the practice of good works. Knowledge is antecedent to faith; for the Son of God is beheld before a sinner believes on him. But trust or confidence is consequent to it; for, through faith, confidence is placed in Christ, and through him in God.

    VI. The author of faith is the Holy Spirit, whom the Son sends from the Father, as his advocate and substitute, who may manage his cause in the world and against it. The instrument is the gospel, or the word of faith, containing the meaning concerning God and Christ which the Spirit proposes to the understanding, and of which he there works a persuasion.

    VII. The subject in which it resides, is the mind, not only as it acknowledges this object to be true, but likewise to be good, which the word of the gospel declares. Wherefore, it belongs not only to the theoretical understanding, but likewise to that of the affections, which is practical.

    VIII. The subject to which [it is directed], or the object about which [it is occupied], is sinful man, acknowledging his sins, and penitent on account of them. For this faith is necessary for salvation to him who believes; but it is unnecessary to one who is not a sinner; and, therefore, no one except a sinner, can know or acknowledge Christ for his saviour, for he is the saviour of sinners. The end, which we intend for our own benefit, is salvation in its nature. But the chief end is the glory of God through Jesus Christ.

    COROLLARY

    "Was the faith of the patriarchs under the covenants of promise, the same as ours under the New Testament, with regard to its substance?" We answer in the affirmative.

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