THE way of salvation is stated in Scripture in the very plainest terms, and yet, perhaps, there is no truth about which more errors have been uttered, than concerning the faith which saves the soul. Well has it been proved by experience, that all doctrines of Christ are mysterious — mysterious, not so much in themselves, but because they are hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded their eyes. So plain is Scripture, that one would have said, “He that runs may read;” but so dim is man’s eye, and so marred is his understanding, that the very simplest truth of Scripture he distorts and misrepresents. And indeed, my brethren, even those who know what faith is, personally and experimentally, do not always find it easy to give a good definition of it. They think they have hit the mark, and then, afterwards, they lament that they have failed. Straining themselves to describe some one part of faith, they find they have forgotten another, and in the excess of their earnestness to clear the poor sinner out of one mistake, they often lead him into a worse error. So that I think I may say that, while faith is the simplest thing in all the world, yet it is one of the most difficult upon which to write; because from its very importance, our soul begins to tremble while speaking of it, and then we are not able to describe it so clearly as we would.
I intend, by God’s help, to put together sundry thought upon faith, each of which I may have spoken at different times, but which have not been collected before, and which, I have no doubt, have been misunderstood from the want of their having been put together in their proper consecutive order. I shall say a little on each of these points: 1 — The object of faith; or, to what it looks. 2 — The reason of faith; or, why doth any man believe, and whence doth his faith come? 3 — The ground of the sinner’s faith; or, on what ground he dares to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.? 4 — The warrant of faith; or, why it dares to trust in Christ. 5 — The result of faith; or, how it speeds when it comes to Christ. 6 — The satisfactory declaration made in Scripture concerning those who have faith. 7 — Misapprehensions respecting faith, by reason of which Christians are often cast down. 8 — What this faith includes. 9 — What this faith excludes.