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OLD DOCTRINE OF FAITH
ASSERTED IN OPPOSITION
CERTAIN MODERN INNOVATIONS,
STRICTURES ON REVIEWS OF THE AUTHOR'S SERMONS ON
EDINBURGH CHRISTIAN MONITOR
AND ALSO ON AN ESSAY ON FAITH,
THOMAS ERSKINE, ESQ. ADVOCATE.
REV. JAMES CARLILE,
Assistant Minister in the Scots Church, in Mary's Abbey, Dublin.
It is somewhat extraordinary that the nature of Faith, a subject which necessarily lies at the foundation of all just views of scripture truth, is, up till the present day, a matter of doubt and of controversy, not merely among superficial and worldly men, but among the most able and pious divines of the age. The writers who have expressed their sentiments on this topic may be distributed into two great classes; the first, including all those who view faith as nothing more than believing the truths of the Bible; the second, those who view it as including that trust or confidence in God through Jesus Christ, which it is the manifest object of gospel truth to create and to cherish. To the first class belong Mr. Sandeman and his followers, the two reviewers alluded to in the title, Mr. Erskine, Mr. Jones, Mr. Dore, and
many others to the second class belong the fathers of the two established churches of these kingdoms, most of the puritan writers, and among the moderns, Gregory, Dwight, &c. The following passage, quoted with approbation from the writings of Dr. Watts, by Dr. Gregory in his Letters, is so express on this point, that I shall insert it at length.
“With regard to this true faith, it has been justly observed that the words s and I, which continually return upon us the reading the Greek Testament, should be frequently translated by trust and trusting in God or Christ, especially where the preposition & or us is added to it: and it should not be so often called belief or believing, for it is not such a mere assent to the gospel of Christ as excites hope or trust in mercy, and so draws forth the soul to love God, repent of sin, and fulfil the duties of holiness. The Hebrew words, which, in the Old Testament, imply trust and dependance, are represented often by in
the New Testament, as well as those which signify belief or assent. And therefore David, in the Psalms, where he expresses the inward actings of his soul towards God, is ever using the words trust and hope; and the translators of the New Testament should have much oftener used them to express the true meaning of the words ass and fistu in the sacred writers. As John xiv. 1, Ye trust in God, trust also in me." Acts xvi. 31, Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.' Mark vi. 22, Have trust in God.' Acts xx. 21, Repentance towards God, and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ.'-And many other places. This is the constant sentiment of our protestant divines in their opposition to the Papists, that fides est fiducia."
Fuller speaks doubtfully on this point: :-"Mr. Booth, and various other writers," says he in his gospel worthy of all acceptation, "have considered faith in Christ as a dependance