05 January 2022 by Published in: John Foreman, Duty Faith No comments yet

The two words law and faith are very comprehensive systematical terms; very different in their nature, and occupying perfectly distinct premises. The law occupies the entire premises and dominion of death through sin; and faith occupies the entire premises of life and salvation, by divine promise, through the blood and righteousness of the Son of God. So that we may observe, that as faith cannot be separated from any part of its connection and interest, then,

First. If faith unto salvation be the natural man’s duty, then it must be the natural man’s duty to be all that the actual believer, through grace unto salvation, really and properly is. And then it must be the natural man’s duty to be of God’s chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world—to be of the predestinated unto the adoption of sons—to be of the foreknown predestinated to be conformed to the image of the Son, to be called, to be justified, and to be glorified—to be a vessel of mercy afore prepared unto glory—to be redeemed by the blood of Christ—to be born of the Spirit—to be quickened together with Christ—to be God’s own workmanship of new creation in Christ Jesus to be of God’s will begotten with the word of truth—to be a kind of first fruit of his creatures—to be a saint in Christ Jesus—to be an heir of God, and joint-heir with Christ—to be loved of God with an everlasting love—to be ordained, not unto wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ—to be made meet by God the Father, to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light—to be loved of Christ and washed from sin in his own blood to be by Christ made a king and a priest unto God to reign with him for ever, and to be kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation. All this, the real believer, through grace unto salvation is, and by the riches of grace is most mercifully made to be; so that a man cannot be a believer unto salvation without being all this by grace; and so all this must be the natural man’s duty to be, if faith unto salvation be his duty.

Second. If faith unto salvation be the natural man’s duty, then it must be the natural man’s duty to have all what the actual believer through grace unto salvation truly and properly has, according to the word of God. And then it must be the natural man’s duty to have the fear of God put in the heart, and his law written in the inward parts, by the Lord’s own hand, according to his promise to his own, Jer. 32: 40—to have the hope of the promise, the hope of God’s calling, the hope laid up in heaven, the hope of righteousness, the hope of eternal life, the good hope through grace, the hope of glory—to have the faith of God’s elect, the faith of the operation of God, the faith that is not of man or of works, but God’s gift only, the common faith of the household of God, and to be of that household; the faith that is the pledge, earnest, title deed and note-of-hand substance of all things hoped for on the promise of God to the heirs of salvation—to have the heritage of them that fear the Lord—to have the seed of God in the soul which the wicked one toucheth not—to have redemption in Christ—to have fellowship with God—to have the Holy Spirit as a teacher and leader into all truth, as a testifier and glorifier of Jesus, and as a comforter dwelling in and with the soul—to have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ—to have an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven—to have a name written in heaven by the hand of electing love, in the Lamb’s book of life by the hand of redeeming love, and in the book of life by the hand of quickening love—to have the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost—to have that repentance and remission of sins that Christ, as a Prince and a Saviour is exalted to give—to have all the fruits of the Spirit—to have a mansion prepared, a house of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens—to inherit all things at the last, and to have a crown of life, righteousness and glory laid up against that day. All this, by divine favor, is the happy lot, property and portion, of all those who through grace do believe unto salvation; and if faith unto salvation be the duty of the natural man, then it must be the duty of the natural man to possess and enrich himself with all this divine property of faith, by sacred promise given to the chosen, redeemed, adopted, and consequent believing heirs of salvation.

Third. If it be the natural man’s duty to believe unto salvation, then it must be the natural man’s duty for God himself to be to him all what by promise and gift he is to those who through grace do believe unto salvation; and then it must be the natural man’s duty for the eternal God to be to him a covenant God—a Redeemer—a Shepherd—a Saviour—a Preserver—a Comforter—a Rock, Refuge, Sun, Shield, High Tower, Horn of Salvation, and Strength—the God of all grace—a Guide—a Father and portion for ever. All this the Lord is to them who through grace do believe unto salvation; and all this is by promise inseparable from believing unto salvation; and it must consequently be the natural man’s duty for God to be all this to him by promise, if faith unto salvation be his duty.

Fourth. If it be the natural man’s duty to believe unto salvation, then it must be the natural man’s duty for God to do for him, and give to him, all what by promise he does and gives to those who through grace do really believe unto salvation. And so it must be the natural man’s duty for God to give him eternal life—to pardon all his sins put away his iniquities, cleanse him from all unrighteousness, and give him peace—to bless him with all spiritual blessings in Christ—to hold him safe in his hand—to keep him as the apple of his eye—to instruct him in the way that he should go, and guide him with his eye—to make to him all crooked things straight, and rough places plain—to make all things work together for his good—to see that all his wants are supplied out of the riches in glory by Christ Jesus—to hold him in that safety so as that nothing shall separate him from the love of God in Christ Jesus to give him the kingdom of heaven, and a crown of life there for ever. This the Lord does and gives to those who through grace believe unto salvation; and if it be the duty of the natural man to believe unto salvation, then it must be his duty to secure all this to himself, by the promise of it all, made to them who through grace do believe unto salvation. The above may be considered pressing the point beyond its due measure, but if faith as the root be a duty, every inseparable branch must consequently be included, as the one, according to the Scriptures, cannot be without the other.

Fifth. If duty faith were a truth, it must have some meaning with God in regard to salvation; and such a meaning too, as that if it were the universal duty of all men, wherever the gospel comes, to believe unto salvation, then salvation would be as universal as the spread of the gospel, if all men did but do their duty. And the great reason at last—why salvation is not as universal as the spread of the gospel, will be because all men did not do their duty. And so salvation finally, will not be so extensive as it might have been, if all men had but done their duty; nor so extensive as it ought to have been, if all men ought as their duty to have believed unto salvation; nor so extensive as God himself expected, if, as a duty, he expected all men where the gospel came to believe unto salvation. This brings all the counsels, purposes, covenant settlements, revealed truths, promises, and acts of the grace of God unto salvation, into immediate subjection to, and a waiting for the duty of man; and that too in such a way, as that the duty of man, and not the good pleasure of God’s will, shall and must determine the final issue of the whole! I can make nothing more or less than this, of the duty of all, where the gospel comes, to believe unto salvation. Nor can I make any thing more or less than this of your answer to Mr. Wright’s Letter in the Primitive Church Magazine. But, in my view, this is as opposite to every Bible truth, to every thing in the name and nature of the grace of God, to every thing belonging to the great and gracious name of God which he will have glorified, and to the nature of lost man’s condition, in relation to the eternal salvation of souls, as darkness is to light, and as Belial is to Christ: see Rom 9: 15,16, 18, 23, 24; 11: 5-7; Isaiah 66: 8; John 1: 13; John 15: 16; Prov 19: 21; John 10: 26. And how any man can hold the above ideas of duty faith unto salvation, and have the countenance at the same time to profess to hold election, and particular redemption, and for the real sight of, and entry into, the kingdom of God, the necessity and indispensability of regeneration, or the new birth, by the immediate agency of the Holy Ghost, I am entirely at a loss to know, for I cannot make it out.



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