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heart be affected, and we feel its influence. To experience, then, the religion of Christ, we must not only be acquainted with its theory, but enjoy its power; subduing our corruptions, animating our affections, and exciting us to duty. Hence the Scripture calls experience tasting, Ps. xxxiv. 8. feeling, &c. 1 Thess. ii. 13, &c. That our experience is always absolutely pure in the present state cannot be expected. "The best experience," says a good writer, "may be mixed with natural affections and passions, impressions on the imagination, self-righteousness, or spiritual pride ;" but this is no reason that all experience is to be rejected, for upon this ground nothing could be received, since nothing is absolutely perfect. It is, however, to be lamented, that while the best of men have a mixture in their experience, there are others whose experience (so called) is entirely counterfeit. They have been alarmed, have changed the ground of their confidence, have had their imaginations heated and delighted by impressions and visionary representations; they have recollected the promises of the Gospel, as if spoken to them with peculiar appropriation, to certify them that their sins were forgiven; and having seen and heard such wonderful things, they think they must doubt no more of their adoption into the family of God. They have also frequently heard all experience profanely ridiculed as enthusiasm; ana this betrays them into the opposite extreme, so that they are emboldened to despise every caution as the result of enmity to internal religion, and to act as if there were no delusive or counterfeit experience. But the event too plainly shows their awful mistake, and that they grounded their expectations upon the account given of the extraordinary operations of the Holy Spirit on the mind of prophets, rather than on the promises of his renewing influences in the hearts of believers. When, therefore, they lose the impressions with which they once were elated, they relapse nearly into their old course or life, their creed and confidence alone excepted."
Christian experience may be considered as genuine, 1. When it accords with the revelation of God's mind and will, or what he has revealed in his word. Any thing contrary to this, however pleasing, cannot be sound, or produced by divine agency.—2. When its tendency is to promote humility in us: that experience, by which we learn our own weakness, and subdues pride, must be good.—3. When it teaches us
to bear with others, and to do them good.—4. When it operates so as to excite us to be ardent in our devotion, and sincere in our regard to God. A powerful experience of the divine favour will lead us to acknowledge the same, and to manifest our gratitude both by constant praise and genuine piety.
Christian experience, however, maybe abused. There are some good people who certainly have felt and enjoyed the power of religion, and yet have not always acted with prudence as to their experience. 1. borne boast of their experiences, or talk of them as if they were very extraordinary; whereas, were they acquainted with others, they would find it not so. That a man may make mention of his experience, is no way improper, but often useful; but to hear persons always talking of themselves, seems to indicate a spirit of pride, and that their experience cannot be very deep.—2. Another abuse of experience is, dependence on it. We ought certainly to take encouragement from past circumstances, if we can: but if we are so dependent on past experience as to preclude present exertions, or always expect to have exactly the same assistance in every state, trial, or ordinance, we shall be disappointed. God has wisely ordered it, that though he never will leave his people, yet he will suspend or bestow comfort in his own time; for this very reason, that we may rely on him, and not on the circumstance or ordinance.—3. It is an abuse of experience, when introduced at improper times, and before improper persons It is true, we ought never to be ashamed of our profession; but to be always talking to irreligious people respecting experience, which thev know nothing of, is, as our Saviour says, casting pearls before swine. Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress; Buck's Treatise on Exfitrvnce; Gornall's Christian Armour; Dr. Oven on Psalm exxx.; Edwards on the Affections, and his Thoughts on the Revival of Religion in JVew England; Dorney's Contemplations.
EXPERIENCE MEETINGS, are assemblies of religious persons, who meet for the purpose of relating their experience to each other. It has been doubted by some whether these meetings are of any great utility; and whether they do not in some measure force people to say more than is true, and puff up those with pride who are able to communicate their ideas with facility; but to this it may be answered, J. That the abuse of a thing is no proof of the evil of it.—2. That the most eminent saints of old did not neglect this practice, Ps. lxvi. 16. Mai. iii. 16.—3. That by a wise and prudent relation of experience, the Christian is led to see that others have participated of the same joys and sorrows with himself; he is excited to love and serve God; and animated to perseverance in duty, by finding that others, of like passions with himself, are zealous, active, and diligent—4. That the Scriptures seem to enjoin the frequent intercourse of Christians for the purpose of strengthening each other in religious services, Heb. x. 24, 25. Col. iii. 16. Matt, xviii. 20. See Con
EXPIATION, a religious act, by
FAITH is that assent which we give to a proposition advanced by another, the truth of whieh we do not immediately perceive from our own reason and experience; or it is a judgment or assent of the mind, the motive whereof is not any intrinsic evidence, but the authority or testimony of some other who reveals or relates it. The Greek word n*rr«, translated faith, comes from the verb iixSa, to persuade; the nature of faith being a persuasion and assent of the mind, arising from testimony or evidence.
1. Divine fail h, is that founded on the authority of God, or it is that assent which we give to what is revealed by God. The objects of this, therefore, are matters of revelation.
2. Human faith, is that whereby we believe what is told us by men. The objects hereof are matters of human testimony or evidence.
3. Historical faith, is that whereby we assent to the truths of revelation as a kind of certain and infallible record, James ii. 17", or to any fact recorded in history.
4. The faith of miracles, is the persuasion a person has of his being able, by the divine power, to effect a miracle on another. Matt. xvii. 20. I Cor. xiii. 2. or another on himself. Acts xi v. 9. This ob tained chiefly in the time of Christ and iiis apostles.
5. A temporary faith, is an assent to evangelical truths, as both interesting and desirable, but not farther than they are accompanied with temporal advan tages; ana which is lost when such ad
vantages diminish or are removed, Matt, xi. 24. Luke viii. 13.
6. Faith in resfiect to futurity, is a moral principle, implying such a conviction of the reality and importance of a future state, as is sufficient to regulate the temper and conduct.
7. Faith in Christ, or saving faith, is that principle wrought in the heart by the Divine Spirit, wherebv we are persuaded that Christ is the Messiah; and possess such a desire and expectation of
I the blessings he has promised in his 1 Gospel, as engages the mind to fix its dependence on him, and subject itself to him in all the ways of holy obedience, and relying solely on his grace for everlasting life. These are the ideas which are generally annexed to the definition of saving faith; but, accurately speaking, faith is an act of the understanding, giving credit to the testimony of the Gospel; and desire, expectation, confidence, 8cc. are rather the effects of it, than faith itself, though inseparably connected with it. Mucli has been said as to the order or place in which faith stands in the Christian system, some placing it before, others after repentance. Perhaps the following remarks on the subject may be considered as consistent with truth and Scripture: 1. Regeneration is the work of God enlightening the mind, and changing the heart, and in order of lime precedes faith.—2. Faith is the consequence of regeneration, and implies the perception of an object. It discerns the evil of sin. the holiness of God, gives credence to the testimony of God in his word, and seems to precede repentance, since we cannot repent of that of which we have no clear perception, or no concern about.—3. Repentance is an afterthought, or sorrowing for sin, the evil nature of which faith perceives, and which immediately follows faith.—4. Conversion is a turning from sin, which faith sees, and repentance sorrows for, and seems to follow, and to be the end of all the rest.
As to the properties or adjuncts of Jaith, we may observe, 1, That it is the first and principal grace: it stands first in order, and takes the precedence of other graces, Mark xvi. 16. Heb. xi. 6—2. It is every way precious and valuable, 1 Pet. it. 1.—3. It is called in Scripture, one faith ; for though there are several sorts of faith, there is but one special or saving faith, Eph. iv. 5. —4. It is also denominated common faith; common to all the regenerate, Tit. i. 4—5. It is true, real, and unfeigned, Acts viii. 37. Rom. x. 10.—
6. It cannot be finally lost as to the grace of it, Phil. i. 6. Luke xxii. 32.—
7. It is progressive, Luke xvii. 5. 2 Thess. i. 3.—8. It appropriates and realizes, or, as the apostle says, is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen, Heb. xi. 1.
The evidence or effects of faith, are, 1. Love to Christ, 1 Pet. i. 8. Gal. v. 6. —2. Confidence, Eph. iii. 12.—3. Joy, Rom. v. 11. Phil. i. 25.-4. Prayer, Heb. iv. 16.—5. Attention to his ordinances, and profit by them. Heb. iv. 2. —6. Zeal in the promotion of his glory, 1 Cor. xv. 58. Gal. vi. 9.-7. Holiness of heart and life, Matt. vii. 20. 1 John ii. 3. Acts xv. 9. James ii. 18, 20,22. See articles Assurance and JustifiCation, in this work: and PoUiill on Precious Faith; Lambert's Sermons, ser. 13, 14, See; Scott's Mature and Warrant of Faith; Iiomame's Life. Walk, and Triumfih of Faith ; Rotherham's Ess. on Faith; Dare's Letters on Faith; Jl. Hall, on the Faith and Influence of the Gospel; Goodwin's Works, vol. iv.
FAITH, ARTICLE OF. See ArTicle.
FAITH, CONFESSION OF. See Confession.
FAITH, IMPLICIT. Sec ImpliCit Faith.
FAITHFULNESS. See FideliTy.
FAITHFULNESS MINISTERIAL. See Pastor.
FAITHFULNESS OF GOD, is that perfection of his nature whereby he infallibly fulfils his designs, or performs
his word. It appears, says Dr. Gill, in the performance of what he has said with respect to the world in general, that it shall not be destroyed by a flood, as it once was, and for a token of it, has set his bow in the clouds; that the ordinances of heaven should keep their due course, which they have done for almost 6000 years exactly and punctually; that all his creatures should be supported and provided for, and the elements all made subservient to that end, which we find do so according to his sovereign pleasure, Gen. ix. Isa. liv. 9. Ps. cxlv. Deut. xi. 14, 15. 2 Pet. iii.
2. It appears in the fulfilment of what he has said with respect to Christ. Whoever will take the pains to compare the predictions of the birth, poverty, life, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, with the accomplishment of the same, will find a striking demonstration of the faithfulness of God.
3. It appears in the performance of the promises which he has made to his people. In respect to temporal blessings, 1 Tim. iv. 8. Psal. lxxxiv. 11. Is. xxxiii. 16.—2. To spiritual, 1 Cor. i. 9. In supporting them in temptation, 1 Corinth, x. 13. Encouraging them under persecution, 1 Pet iv. 12, 13. Isa. xli. 10. Sanctifying afflictions, Heb. xii, 4 to 12. Directing them in difficulties, 1 Thess. v. 24. Enabling them to persevere, Jer. xxxi. 40. Bringing them to glory, 1 John ii. 25.
4- It appears in the fulfilling of his threatemngs. The curse came upon Adam according as it was threatened. He fulfilled his threatening to the old world in destroying it. He declared that the Israelites should be subject to his awful displeasure, if they walked not in his ways ; it was accordingly fulfilled, Deut. xxviii. See ImmutabiliTy.
FALL OF MAN, the loss of those perfections and that happiness which his Maker bestowed on him at his creation, through transgression of a positive command, given for the trial of man's obedience, and as a token of his holding every thing of God, as lord paramount of the creation, with the use of every thing in it, exclusive of the fruit of one tree. This positive law he broke by eating the forbidden fruit; first the woman, then the man: and thus the condition or law of the covenant being broken, the covenant itself was broken. The woman was enticed by an evil genius, under the semblance of a serpent, as appears from its reasoning the woman into the transgression of the law, of which a brute beast is incapable. Hence the evil genius is called a murderer and a liar from the beginning, John viii. 44. Rom. v. 12, the old serpent, Rev. xii. 9. xx. 2. Moses relates this history, from what appeared externally to sense; both, therefore, are ■ to be conjoined, the serpent as the instrument, and the devil as the primary cause. Man suffered himself to be seduced by perverse and confused notions of good and evil, prompted by a desire of a greater degree of perfection, and swayed by his sensual appetite, in contradiction to his reason, Gen. iil 6. And thus it appears possible, how, notwithstanding the divine image with which man is adorned, he might fall; for, though included in it knowledge, it did not exclude from it confused notions, which are those arising from sense and imagination, especially when off our guard and inattentive, blindly following the present impression. From this one sin arose another, and then another, from the connection of causes and effects, till this repetition brought on a habit of sin, consequently a state of moral slavery; called by divines a death in sin, a spiritual death, a defect of power to act according to the law, and from the motive of the divine perfections, as death in general is such a defect of power of action ; and this defect or inability, with all its consequences, man entailed on his posterity, remaining upon them, till one greater man remove this, and reinstate them in all they forfeited in Adam.
In the fall of man we may observe, 1. The greatest infidelity.—2. Prodigious pride.—3. Horrid ingratitude.—4. Visible contempt of Gotrs majesty and justice.—5. Unaccountable folly—-6. A cruelty to himself and to all his posterity. Infidels, however, have treated the account of the fall and its effects, with contempt, and considered the whole as absurd; but their objection to the manner have been ably answered by a variety of authors; and as to the effects, one would hardly think any body could deny. For, that man is a fallen creature, is evident, if we consider his misery as an inhabitant of the natural word; the disorders of the globe we inhabit, and the dreadful scourges with which it is visited; the deplorable and shocking circumstances of our birth ; the painful and dangerous travail of women . our natural uncleanliness, helplessness, ignorance, and nakedness; the gross darkuess in which we naturally are, both with respect to God and a future state;
the general rebellion of the brute creation against us; the various poisons that lurk in the animal, vegetable, and mineral world, ready to destroy us: the heavy curse of toil and sweat to which we are liable, the innumerable calamities of life, and the pangs of death. Again, it is evident, if we consider him as a citizen of the moral world; his commission of sin , his omission of duty; the triumph of sensual appetites over his intellectual faculties. the corruption of the powers that constitute a good head, the understanding, imagination, memory, and reason; the depravity of the powers which form a good heart, the will, conscience, and affections; his manifest alienation from God ; his amazing disregard even of his nearest relatives; his unaccountable unconcern about himself; his detestable tempers; the general out-breaking of human corruption in all individuals; the universal overflowng of it in all nations. Some striking proofs of this depravity may be seen in the general propensity of mankind to vain, irrational, or cruel diversions; in the universality of the most ridiculous, impious inhuman, and diabolical sins ; in the aggravating circumstances attending the display of this corruption ; in the many ineffectual endeavours to stem its torrent, in the obstinate resistance it makes to divine grace in the unconverted; the amazing struggles^ of good men with it; the testimony of the heathens concerning it; and the preposterous conceit which the unconverted have of their own goodness. Diet, of the Bible; Fletcher's Appeal to Matters of Fact; Berry Street Lectures, vol. i. 180,189; South's Sermons, vol. i. 124, 150; Bates's Harmony of Div. Att. p. 98; Boston's Four-fold State, part i.
FALSEHOOD, untruth, deceit. See Lying.
FALSE CHRISTS. See Messiah.
FAMILIARS OF THE INQUISITION, persons who assist in apprehending such as are accused, and carrying them to prison. They are assistants to the inquisitor, and called familiars, because they belong to his family. In some provinces of Italy they are called cross brarers; and in others the scholars of St. Peter the martyr; and wear a cross before them on the outside garment. They are properly bailiffs of the inquisition: and the vde office is esteemed so honourable, that noblemen in the kingdom of Portugal have been ambitious of belonging to it. Nor is this sur! prising, when it is considered that InI nocent III. granted very large indulgenties and privileges to these familiars; and that the same plenary indulgence is granted by the pope to every single exercise of this office, as was granted by the Lateran council to those who succoured the Holy Land When several persons are to be taken up at the same time, these familiars are commanded to order matters that they may know nothing of one another's being apprehended ; and it is related, that a father and his three sons and three daughters, who lived together in the same house, were carried prisoners to the inquisition without Knowing any thing of one another's being there till seven years afterwards, when they that were alive were released by an act of faith. See art. Act Of Faith.
FAMILY PRAYER. See Prayer.
FAMlLYOFLOVE.orFAMiLisTS. See Love.
FANATICS, wild enthusiasts, visionary persons, who pretend to revelation and inspiration. The ancients called those J'analici who passed their times in temples (fana;) and being often seized with a kind of enthusiasm, as if inspired by the Divinity, showed wild and antic gestures, cutting and slashing their arms with knives, shaking the head, Sec. Hence the word was applied among us to the Anabaptists, Quakers, Sec. at their first rise, and is now an epithet given to modern prophets, enthusiasts, Sec.; and we believe unjustly to those who possess a considerable degree of zeal and fervency of devotion.
FARNOVTANS, a sect of Socinians, so called from Stanislaus Farnovius, who separated from the other Unitarians in the year 1568. He asserted that Christ had been engendered or produced out of nothing by the Supreme Being, before the creation of this terrestrial globe, and warned his disciples against paying religious worship to the Divine Spirit. This sect did not last long; for having lost their chief, who died in 1615, it was scattered, and reduced to nothing.
FASTING, abstinence from food, more particularly that abstinence which is used on a religious account.
The Jews had every year u stated and solemn fast on the 10th day of the month Tim, which generally answered to the close of our September. This solemnity was a day of strict rest and fasting to the Israelites. Many of them spent the day before in prayer, and such like penitential exercises. On the day itself, at least in later times, they made a tenfold confession of their sins,
and were careful to end all their mutual broils. See Lev. xvi. Numb. xxix. 7, 12. Lev. xxiii. 23, 32. Individuals also fasted on any extraordinary distress. Thus_David fasted during the sickness of his adulterous child. 2 Sam. xii. 21. Ahab, when he was threatened with ruin, 1 Kings xii. 27. Daniel, when he understood that the Jewish captivity drew to an end, 9th and 10th chapters of Nehemiah, Joshua, Sec.
However light some think of religious fasting, it seems it has been practised by most nations from the remotest antiquity. The Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Assyrians, had their fasts as well as the Jews. Porphyry affirms that the Egyptians, before their stated sacrifices, always fasted a great many days; sometimes for six weeks. The Greeks observed their fasts much in the same manner. At Rome, kings and emperors fasted themselves. Numa Pompilius, Julius Cxsar, Augustus, Vespasian, and others, we are told, had their stated fast days; and Julian the apostate was so exact in this observation, that he outdid the priests themselves. The Pythagoreans frequently fasted rigidly for a long time; and Pythagoras, their' master, continued his fast, it is said, for forty days together. The Brachmans, and the Chinese, have also their stated fasts.
Every one knows how much fasting has been considered as an important rite in the church of Rome, and the extremes they have run into in this respect. See article Abstinence. The church of England also has particular seasons for fasting, especially that of Lent, which is to be observed as a time of humiliation before Easter, the general festival of our Saviour's resurrection. Fast days are also appointed by the legislature upon any extraordinary occasions of calamity, war, Sec. See art. Rogation, Lent.
Religious fasting consists, 1. "In abstinence from every animal indulgence, and from food, as far as health and circumstances will admit.—2. In the humble confession of our sins to God, with contrition or sorrow for them.—3. An earnest deprecation of God's displeasure, and humble supplication that he would avert his judgments.—4. An intercession with God for such spiritual and temporal blessings upon ourselves and others which are needful." It does not appear that our Saviour instituted any particular fast, but left it optional. Any state of calamity and sorrow, however, naturally suggests this. The firoflrieiy of it may appear, 1. From