Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. b9 aient against the choice, obedience, resolutions, and endeavors of faith, they would be prevalent against the truth of faith, tr prove its.nullity ; for faith is trust ; and trust is a securing, quieting thing. " Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith ? " was a just reproof of Christ to his disciples, when sensible dangers raised up their fears. For the established will bath a political or imperfect, though not a despotical and absolute, power over our passions. And there- fore our fears do show our unbelief, and stronger faith is the best means of conquering even irrational fears. "Why art thou cast down, Omy soul, and why art thou so disquieted in me ? trust in God," &c. (Psalm xlii.) is a needful way of chiding a timorous heart. And though many say that faith bath not evidence, and think that it is an assent of he mind, merely commanded by the empire of the will, without a knowledge. of the verity of the testimony, yet, certainly, the same assent is ordinarily in theScriptures called, indifferently, knowing and believing : and as a bare command will not cause love, unless we perceive an the object, so abare command of the law, or of the will, cannot alone causebelief, unless we perceive a truth in the testimony believed ; for it is acon- tradiction, oran apt without its object. And truth is perceivedonly so far as it is some way evident; for evidence is nothing but the ob- jective perceptibility of truth, or that which is metaphorically call- ed light. So that we must say that faith bath not sensible evidence of the invisible things believed ; but faith is nothing else but the willing perception of the evidence of truth in the word of the assertor, and a trust therein. We have, and must have, evidence that Scripture is God's word, and that his word is true, before, by any command of the word or will, we can believe it. I do, therefore, neither despise evidence as unnecessary, nor trust to it alone as the sufficient total cause of my belief ; for if, God's grace do not open mine eyes, and come down in power upon my will, and insinuate into it a sweet acquaintance with the things unseen, and a taste of theirgoodness to'delight my soul, no reasons will serve to stablish and comfort me, how undeniable soever reason is fain first to make use of notions, words, or signs; and to know terms, propositions, and arguments, which are but means to the knowledge of things, is its first employment, and. that, 'alas ! which multitudes of learned men do take up with : but it is the illumination of God that must give us an effectual acquaintance with the things spiritual and invisible, which these notions signify, and to which our organical knowledge is but a means. To sum up all, that our hopes of heaven have a certain ground, appeareth, I. From nature : II. From grace : III. From other works of gracious providence.