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self-denial and obedience, or painful labour of love. Can I obey, unless I love? Can I love, unless I am loved, and know that I am loved ? Says one, Would to God, I were as certain of my own particular interest in Christ, as I am of the truth of the gospel in general ! Did that man know what he was saying, he would have precisely the same assurance and certainty of his own particular interest in Christ, as of the general truth of the gospel : for is it not written,
Christ is the end of the law for righteousness
to every one that believeth.' Believeth! What? even what is there said, that “ Christ is the • end of the law. Do you know you believe or understand, according to the testimony, what you call the general truth ? the conclusion is as direct upon you for your own particular interest therein: for they who believe, believe not in general, but in particular ; even as no person ever saw the light in general for others, and was blind himself: so no person
any ground to believe there is salvation for others, but he has the same evidence it is to himself. And those people, who say they believe there is salvation for others, according to the gospel, and say they doubt of their own interest therein, do evidently lie ; they do not understand what they pretend to believe : for no person can believe, without being conscious or certain, that he himself in particular believes. They ask you, Is assurance of the essence of faith? They might
as well ask
if the sun be of the essence of the sun ? for what is faith but the assurance God gives one through his word by the Spirit? and this being particular in a person's own self, and not in another, he has as much assuranee that he believes, when he believes, as that he sees, hears, lives, loves, hates, desires, rejoices, &c. when he is in very deed so affected; which affections he hath no manner of evidence for, but that he is conscious of his being so affected : and yet it is not by persuading himself that he is so affected, that he really is so; but, being so affected, it is impossible but he must have a .consciousness or persuasion of his being so. Says another, in one of his dissertations lately published, All faith must indeed include something particular in the nature of it. He gives you an instance in the believer of the law and its threatenings, which, says he, strike the person in particular, as if he himself were the , very one pointed at; even so with regard to the gospel he believes--not that his sins are actually forgiven him, and that he shall be saved but that there is mercy and forgiveness with God for sinners in general, and that he may be saved, or something to that purpose. Who taught him to say so of a believer of the gospel ? Not the Holy Ghost: for he says, 1 John ii, 12. I < write unto you, little children, because your ' sins are forgiven you for his name's sake' and verse 21. I have not written to you, be
• cause ye know not the truth, but because ye • know it, and that no le is of the truth' Says another, the patron of his own story, about an official Saviour to all mankind who shall be saved and damned; These words, 1 Cor. i. 30. * Christ made to you of God wisdom, righteous• ness,' &c. are not absolutely to be understood of the saints and faithful at Corinth and other places, but in a qualified sense : thus, he is made so by office ; if you apply to him, he will be made so; not that he is already actually made 90; but he is so officially to all mankind sinners indefinitely, their Goel, their Kinsman-Redeemer. God deliver whom he will deliver from such abominations ! which are the more dangerous, the liker they are to the truth; even as forged money or bills receive all their currency from their being the more exactly counterfeited.
These forgeries and counterfeits of faith had not been mentioned in this place, but for the sake of the truth, which, by their currency, is greatly sunk and debased. If it had been possible; the falsehoods they maintain about faith and the Psalms, &c. had been mentioned without the persons or parties who maintain them at all and if some find themselves more exactly described than they would wish-if the cap fit them, they are welcome to wear it-if it do not, there is no harm done, they are not the persons meant.
But as men, and sects of men, have given the stamp and authority of their respective names
and sects to their notions and nostrums, these be. hoved to be described by such stamps and marks as they were not ashamed to give them. And he ought to be ashamed, who would be ashamed or afraid to expose, as far as in him lies, whatever is found in opposition to the truth of God.
Here observe, notwithstanding the paragraph may appear somewhat disjointed, that though the assurance of faith and the assurance of hope be indeed most justly distinguished, as differing in nature one from another, yet the distinction and foundation of it, which some men make between them, is evidently weak and ridiculous, being the most foreign thing in the world from the meaning of the Holy Ghost, who does not even insi. nuate, (as those men say he declares,) that the assurance of hope is less certain than the assur ance of faith, but only that the assurance of hope regards the good thing as certainly to come, which the assurance of faith regardeth as certainly true; so that the assurance of faith, or the good hope through grace, is not opposed to, or distinguished from, the certainty, but the futurity only, of the good thing to come, which is equally the object of the hope and faith, and of the hope, because first of the faith : so that the assurance of hope, were there any degrees in the case, is rather an advance upon the assurance of faith, than a less or more uncertain thing; seeing, by the grace of faith, whatever good thing one looks upon to be true, by the grace of hope, with equal assurance, he looks for (if absent) to come; so that,
whatever assurance there was in the faith, there is precisely as much in the hope built upon that faith. Both the assurance of faith and the assurance of hope are found in the Lord Jesus, in whom surely they included equal certainty; and, from the application of them both to him, take the meaning of them both, as existing by his Spirit in his followers, who have the same spirit of faith and hope with him, their head and pattern, concerning whom it is written, that he said, ! I believed, and therefore have I spoken,' 2 Cor. iv. 13. Behold the assurance of faith in him Was the assurance of his hope less certain ? 5 Moreover also, my flesh shall rest in hope,' Acts ii. 26. Behold the assurance of hope, which is founded, as certainly as God is true, in the assurance of faith.
To conclude: if these loose hints, thrown to gether in the order in which they occurred, do not make their own apology, it will be in vain to attempt a vindication of them, or of the following paraphrase *: those who are convinced, and
• The reader will observe, that when the words, the fol. lowing paraphrase' occur, as here, or in any of the following illustrative Notes, that it refers to an original version of the Psalms, by Mr Barclay; in this edition, however, the commor yersion has been substituted.
In the following Notes also, Mr Barclay frequently refers the reader to the marginal readings, for illustration, and also for reference to the parallel psalms and Scripture passages. When he does so, it is the marginal readings and references of the common Bible, which are alluded to.