mission school in Ireland, when asked, what was meant by saving faith, replied: ?It is grasping God with the heart.?
The view of Charles Hodge, like that of Alexander, puts doctrine before Christ, and makes the formal principle, the supremacy of Scripture, superior to the material principle, justification by faith. The Shorter Catechism is better: ?Faith in Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest on him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.? If this relation of faith to the personal Christ had been kept in mind, much religious despondency might have been avoided. Murphy, Natural Selection and Spiritual Freedom, 80, 81, tells us that Frances Ridley Havergal could never fix the date of her conversion. From the age of six to that of fourteen she suffered from religions fears and did not venture to call herself a Christian. It was the result of confounding being at peace with God and being conscious of that peace. So the mother of Frederick Denison Maurice, an admirable and deeply religious woman, endured long and deep mental suffering from doubts as to her personal election.
There is a witness of the Spirit, with some sinners, that they are not children of God and this witness is through the truth, though the sinner does not know that it is the Spirit who reveals it to him. We call this work of the Spirit conviction of sin. The witness of the Spirit that we are children of God and the assurance of faith of which Scripture speaks are one and the same thing, the former designation only emphasizing the source from which the assurance springs. False assurance is destitute of humility but true assurance is so absorbed in Christ that self is forgotten. Self-consciousness, and desire to display one?s faith, are not marks of true assurance. When we say: ?That man has a great deal of assurance,? we have in mind the false and self-centered assurance of the hypocrite or the self-deceiver.
Allen, Jonathan Edwards, 231 ? ?It has been said that any one who can read Edwards?s Religious Affections, and still believe in his own conversion, may well have the highest assurance of its reality. But how few there were in Edwards?s time who gained the assurance, may be inferred from the circumstance that Dr. Hopkins and Dr. Emmons, disciples of Edwards and religious leaders in New England, remained to the last uncertain of their conversion.? He can attribute this only to the semi-deistic spirit of the time, with its distant God and imperfect apprehension of the omnipresence and omnipotence of Christ. Nothing so clearly marks the practical progress of Christianity as the growing faith in Jesus, the only Revealer of God in nature and history as well as in the
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