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Q. 7. Is the strength of the exercises of repentance alike in all Christians?
A. It is not. The strength of penitential sorrow is greater in some persons than others. This is owing sometimes to natural or constitutional feelings, and sometimes to the degree of grace possessed, or to the different operations of the Holy Ghost.
Q. 8. Is the Divine agency concerned in the repentance of the sinner?
A. It is. While it is man who repents, it is God who gives him repentance.(g)
Q. 9. What exercises of mind usually precede repentance!
A. 1. Meditation on the majesty and moral excellence of God; 2. the comparing of one's conduct with the requirements of His law; 3. reflection upon His goodness and mercy, and His justice as displayed in the sufferings of Christ; 4. contemplation on the future misery of the finally impenitent; 5. remorse, conviction of sin, and anticipation of the wrath which awaits the ungodly. Q. 10.
What is the evidence of true evangelical repentance?
A. It is reformation in life and the performance of christian duties. The subjects of it will bring forth fruits meet for repentance.(h)
Q. 11. What effect does the repentance of sinners on earth have upon the inhabitants of heaven?
A. It produces holy joy. They greatly rejoice when sinners are brought into the kingdom of the Redeemer.(i)
(g) 2 Tim. ii. 25. In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.-Acts v. 31. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
(h) 2 Cor. vii. 11. For behold this self-same thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! in all things, ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.—Mait. iii. 8. Bring forth, therefore, fruits meet for repentance.
(i) Luke xv. 7. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons,
which need no repentance.
Q. 1. What is true evangelical faith?
A. It is that full belief in the truth of the Divine testimony concerning Jesus Christ, which implies an assent of the understanding, and an entire consent and approbation of the heart to it, and which induces the soul to place implicit confidence in Him as the true Messiah-as the Saviour of men. It is belief in Christ, attended with love for Him and trust in Him. Another definition of faith may be, An assent to the truth of the Scriptures upon the authority of God, accompanied with feelings of heart corresponding to the nature of the truths believed. A shorter definition of faith may be, Cordial confidence in God through Jesus Christ.(a)
Q. 2. Is the true faith of the Gospel expressed by different phrases in the Scriptures!
A. It is; such as “knowing the truth,' 'coming to the knowledge of the truth,' 'receiving Christ,' 'trusting in Him,' 'looking to Him,' 'coming to Him,' and 'believing in Him. These phrases all denote saving faith.
Q. 3. What is a false faith in relation to Gospel truth?
A. It is holding the truths of the Gospel in unrighteousness, merely assenting to the truths of the Scriptures, or relying on them for salvation, when they produce no corresponding influence on the heart and Tife.(b)
(a) 1 John v. 10. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in bimself; he that believeth not God, hath made him a liar; be. cause he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.--Is. xxvi. 4. Trust ye in the Lord forever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.-Heb. xi. 1. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.-Rom. x. 10. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.—Gal. v. 6. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
(b) Rom. i. 18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth Q. 4. Are there any other kinds of faith?
A. There is a historic faith, and the faith of miracles.
Q. 5. What is historic faith?
What is a miraculous faith?
Q. 7. Who were possessed of miraculous faith?
A. The prophets, apostles, and some of the primitive Christians.
Q. 8. How long did the faith of miracles continue?
A. It probably continued, in a greater or less degree, till the third century of the Christian Church.
Q. 9. For what purpose was the faith of miracles given?
A. It was given to furnish indubitable evidence of the truth of Christianity.
Q. 10. Is true evangelical faith important?
A. It is; because it is an indispensable condition of eternal life.(e)
in unrighteousness.-James ii. 19. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well; the devils also believe and tremble --Acts viii. 13, 20, 21. Then Simon himself believed also, and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter; for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
(c) Heb. xi. 3. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.-James ii. 17. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
(d) Matt. xviii. 20. And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief; for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustardseed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.--Acts xiv. 9, 10. The same heard Paul speak; who steadfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.-1 Cor. xii. 2.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
(e) Acts xvi. 30, 31. And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.-Acts x. 43. To him
Q. 11. Is faith a suitable and just condition of salvation?
A. It is; because it honors God by bringing back the sinner to Him. Man fell by disbelieving or discrediting God, and thereby greatly dishonored Him. He now rises by believing or crediting Him, and thereby honors Him. In this respect faith restores man to his original state. Faith, therefore, is the proper ground or condition of salvation. Q. 12.
In what light is faith to be viewed in man's salvation?
A. Not as the meritorious ground of it; but as that which unites the soul to Christ, and makes it a partaker of His benefits, and as the grand condition upon which salvation is bestowed.(f)
Q. 13. Is man voluntary in the exercise of faith?
A. He is. While faith is the gift of God, it is the voluntary act of man.(g)
Q. 14. In what way is faith produced, continued, increased, and strengthened?
A. Ordinarily by the preached Gospel, the sacraments, prayer, and the other means of grace. (h)
Q. 15. What is the fruit and evidence of true evangelical faith?
Obedience to God, and benevolence to men. Good works are the principal characteristic of Gospel faith, and flow from it as naturally as streams do from their fountain.(0)
give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth on him shall receive remission of sins.-Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.—John xx. 31. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
(f) Eph. ii. 8. For by grace are ye saved through faith.—Mark xvi. 16. He that believe'h and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
(g) Eph. ji. 8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.—Heb. xii. 2. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
(h) Rom. x. 14, 17. How then shall they call on him, in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him, of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? So then faith coineth by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(i) James ii. 21—24. Was not Abraham our Father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou
Q. 16. Is faith without works of any avail to salvation?
A. It is not. It is merely speculative, dead, and wholly delusive to the soul.(j)
Q. 17. Will a person's merely believing that his sins are forgiven, that Christ died for him in particular, and that he shall be saved, warrant him in the confidence that he possesses saving faith?
A. Certainly not. These are by no means the direct objects of true faith. If a person has not love to God and man, and obedience to the Divine precepts, he should wholly distrust his faith.
Q. 18. Was the faith of the Patriarchs and Prophets of the same nature with the faith of Christians in the present day?
A. It was, though attended with this circumstantial difference—the former believed in Christ as the Messiah who was to come; the latter believe in Him as the Messiah who has come. It may be observed, too, that the faith of those who live under the Gospel dispensation is probably more enlarged as embracing more objects, and these more distinctly under a clearer and fuller revelation, than the faith of the saints of old.
Q. 1. What is meant by evangelical justification?
A. It means God's acceptance of a sinner. This implies the pardon of sin and the accounting of him righteous. It does not make him really holy or just, but only declares, or considers him, in the eye of the law,
how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness; and he was called the friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
(0) James ii. 17. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.