Note 5. It is sometimes urged that Faith in Christ is always in the New Testament represented as preceding and leading to salvation, but that we preach it to saved sinners only. Hence we are accused of keeping from men the glad tidings of salva­tion through Faith, until practically they do not need them.

The preceding Note answers this. It is not our custom to tell men indiscriminately that “There is life FOR a look at the Crucified One,” or bid them, “Only believe, and they shall be saved.” We, however, have much to say on the origin, Object and operations of Faith. We love to simplify, aud illustrate, and exemplify this important branch of truth. Faith can be preached scripturally, without unscripturally urging a living act on a dead sinner.

Moreover, the objection is as delusive as it is disingenuous. Those whom we bid trust in the Saviour, though as we hope saved essentially, are not saved experimentally, till they have fled for refuge and laid hold upon the hope which it is our prayerful endeavour, by our testimony, to “set before them.”

We do not command men, who obviously have no concern for their souls, to come to that Christ of whose personality they may bo iguoraut, and in whose character and grace they feel no interest; but to assert that we bid none to trust in Christ who are not consciously and joyously the recipients of salvation (for this is really what the objection in question means) is wholly untrue. Joseph Hart’s well-known hymn, “Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,” exemplifies how, we judge, conscious sinners should be addressed. Their characters are beautifully described; poor, wretched, weak, wounded, sick, sore,—yet they “feel their need” of Christ, since the Spirit has shown them it by the first beam of light He has darted into their hearts. To such, exhortations to believe—to come—to venture—are scriptural and appropriate.

To sinners, however, who are not thus concerned, simple in­ struction about Faith is all that a preacher has scriptural warrant for advancing; while commanding them to believe,— or to close with Christ—or to take Him at His word,[1] is as irrational as it is contrary to the Gospel.

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[1] When addressing the unregenerate, unsound preachers in our own pulpits often urge texts of a certain class upon their hearers, and entreat them not to trouble themselves about their own condition and feelings, but to do as Mr. Hart says, “only take Him at His word.” This is an exemplification of the “craft of meu, who lie in wait to deceive for simple hearers are apt to think that, as the preacher quotes Hart, he cannot be preaching error. The poet’s words, however, do not carry the above sense. He is addressing (Hymn 56,) “tempted souls,” whom he bids take their “dying Lord ” at His word,—“It is finished.”



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