[2: FAITH, PAGES 281-286]

John Wilbur

Wilbur, John. A Narrative and Exposition of the Late Proceedings of New England Yearly Meeting, With Some of its Subordinate Meetings & Their committees, in Relation to the Doctrinal Controversy Now Existing in the Society of Friends: Prefaced by a Concise View of the Church, Showing the Occasion of its Apostacy, both Under the Former and Present Dispensations, With an Appendix. Edited from Record Kept, From Time to Time, of Those Proceedings, and Interspersed With Occasional Remarks and Observations. Addressed to the Members of the Said Yearly Meeting. New York: Piercy & Reed, Printers, 1854, pages 277-325.

(All italics added by J.W. for emphasis. All words supplied in [Square Brackets] by J.W.
Page numbers from original publication by -pds in {Set Brackets.}

This Document is on The Quaker Writings Home Page.

J.J. Gurney (Essays, P. 345. 6 Amer. edit.): "Were I the most solitary of hermits, or cast, like the sliipwrecked mariner, on an uninliabited island, I could not live at all, did I not, in a multitude of instances, exercise the principle of faith. I must be led about by probabilities.
But it is in social and civil life, more particularly, that the principle of faith is called into action, and every one who has reflected on the subject; must be well aware, that were it not for the willing admission of those things which are not philosophically certain, but only in various degrees Probable, and more especially for a due reliance on testimony, the whole frame work of society would be disorganized and subverted. Faith is an indispensable link in that mighty chain of divine wisdom and providence, which binds together man to man, family to family, and nation to nation: and without it, there could be no order or union in the intellectual part of God's visible creation. Such being the {p. 282}state of the case, there can be nothing opposed to true reason and philosophy in the perfectly corresponding fact, that under the moral and spiritual government of God, and in order to that religious life which is alone productive of etenlal happiness, men are required to bring the same principle into action, and to regulate their dispositions and conduct not merely by their knowledge of that which is certain, but more especially and more extensively by their belief of that which is probable."
(p. 353.) "Faith draws near unto that God whom reason has discovered," &c.--" but as long as those noble faculties of the human mind are kept," &c.
(p. 357.) "It is a reliance of the soul, on the incarnate Son, who conducts the great scheme appointed for our salvation."
(p. 359.) "Although this trust in God may, through grace, be exercised by persons who possess no other information on divine subjects, than that which they derive from natural religion, yet the declarations of Scripture respecting faith, have been, in all ages, addressed to that part of mankind, who have enjoyed the light of an outward revelation."
(p. 360.) "This faith is the means through which we receive the Holy Spirit, by whom we are regenerated and sanctified. Lastly, a saving faith in Jesus is not merely intellectual, it springs from tho heart, works by love, gradually accepts the Saviour in all his offices, and gently constrains the Christian to take up his daily cross and follow Christ."
(Address to Mechanics of Manchester, p. 7): "But you ask me on what moral and religious knowledge is founded ?. I answer, on that which is the basis of every other branch ofknowledge--belief."

Contrast the above with

Robert Barclay (Apol. Prop. II. pp. 33 & 34, American edit.): "The fourth thing affil~ned is, that these revelations [the immediate revelation of Christ by the Holy Spirit] were the objects of the saints' faith of old. This will easily appear by the definition of faith, and considering what its object is; for which we shall not dive into the curious and various notions of the school-men, but stay on the plain and positive words of the apostle Paul, who (Heb. xi.) describes it two ways: 'Faith (saith he) is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen;' which, as the apostle illustrateth it in the same chapter by many examples, is no other but a firm and certain belief of the mind, whereby it resteth, and in a sense possesseth the substance of some things hoped for, through its confidence in the promise of God; and thus the soul hath a most firm evidence, by its faith, of things not yet seen or come to pass. The object of this faith is the promise, word, or, testimony of God, speaking in the mind. Hence it hath been generally affirmed, that the object of faith is Deus loquens, &c., that is, God speaking, &c., which is also manifest from all those examples deduced by the apostle throughout that whole chapter, whose faith was founded neither upon any outward testimony, nor upon the voice or writing of man, but upon the revelation on God's will manifest unto them and in them."
(p. 37.) "Moreover, if the faith of the ancients were not one and the same with ours, i. e. agreeing in substartce therewith, and receiving the same definition, it had been impertinent for the apostle (Heb. xi.) to have illustrated the definition of our faitla by the examples of that of the ancients, or to go about to move us by the example of Abraham, if Abraham's faith were different in nature from ours. Nor doth any difference arise hence, because they believed in Christ with respect to his appearance outwardly as future, and we as already appeared; for neither did they then so believe in him to come, as not to feel him present with them, and witness him near; seeing the apostle saith, 'They all drank of that spiritual rock which followed them, which rock was Christ; nor do we so believe concerning his appearance past, as not also to feel and know him present with us, and to feed upon him, '
William Penn (Prim. Christ. Rev. Chap. XI.) : "Yet we are very ready to declare to the whole world, that we cannot think men and women can be saved by their belief of the one [Christ's coming in the flesh] without the sense and experience of the other [His inward and spiritual appearance]."
George Fox (Journal, Leeds edit. Vol. II. p. 217): "They whose faith doth not stand in the power of God, cannot exalt his kingdom that stands in power; therefore every one's faith must stand in the power of God. All that are in the true faith, that stands in the power of God, will judge them as carnal, and judge down that  carnal part in them that cries up Paul or Apollos; that their faith may stand in the power of God, and that they may exalt Christ, the author of it. For every one's eye ought to be to Jesus; and every just man and woman may live by their faith, which Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of. By this faith every man and woman may see God, who is invisible; this faith gives the victory, and by it he hath victory, and access to God's throne of grace; in which faith they please God. By this faith they are saved, by this faith they obtain the good report, and subdue all the mountains that have been betwixt them and God."
Isaac Penington (Works, Vol. I. p. 272): "What then is that faith which is the gift of God? It is that power of believing which springs out of the seed of eternal life; and leaves the heart, not with notions of knowledge, but with the power of life. The other faith is drawn out of man's nature, by considerations which affect the natural part, and is kept alive by natural exercises of reading, hearing, praying, in studying, meditating in that part; but this springs out of a seed of life given,
and grows up in the life of that seed, and feeds on nothing but the flesh and blood of Christ; in which is the living virtue, and immortal nourishment of that which is immortal. This faith, at its first entrance, {p. 285} strikes that part dead in which the other faith did grow, and by its growth perfects that death, and raiseth up a life Which is of another nature then ever entered into the heart of man to conceive."
(p. 274.) "The true faith (the faith of the Apostle, the faith of the elect, the faith which saves the stoner from sin, and makes him more than a conqueror over sin and the powers of darkness) is a belief in the nature of God; which belief giveth entrance into, fixeth in, and causeth an abiding in that nature. Unbelief entereth into death, and fixeth in the death; faith giveth entrance into, and fixeth in the life. Faith is an ingrafting into the vine, a partaking of the nature of the vine, a sucking of the juice of life from the vine; which nothing is able to do but the faith, but the belief on the nature. So then faith is not a believing the history of the Scriptures, or a believing that Christ died for sinners in general, or for me in particular; for all this may be done by the unbelieving nature (like the Jew); but a uniting to the nature of God in Christ, which the unbeliever starts from in the midst of his believing of these. Yet I do not deny that all these things are to be believed, and are believed with the true faith; but this I affirm, that they also may be believed without the true faith; and that such a belief of these doth not determine a man to be a believer in tho sight of God, but only tho union with the nature of that life from whence all these sprang, and in which alone they have their true value."
Jos. Phipps (Original and Present State. of Man, p. 152): "Gospel faith in man believes the truth of all that is revealed by the Spirit, both in the heart; and in the sacred writings; because it feels it, savors it, and is one with it. It not only assents to the scriptural accounts of the incarnation, and whole process of Christ in Judea; but it also receives his internal appearance, consents to his operation, and concurs with it. That faith which stands wholly upon hearsay, tradition, reading, or imagination, is but a distant kind of ineffectual credence, which permits the soul to remain in the bondage of corruption. The wicked may go {p. 286} this length towards gospel faith; but the true faith lays hold of, and cleaves to the Spirit of Truth, in its inward manifestations; wherein it stands, and whereby it grows, till the heart is purified, the world overcome, and salvation obtained. This faith is as a flame of pure love in tho heart to God. It presseth towards him, panteth after him, resigns to him, confides and lives in him. Tho mystery of it isheld in a pure conscience, and in the effective power of the everlasting gospel, &c. &c. It is the faith by which the members of Christ truly live, and abide as such. It is their invincible shield; and the knowledge of Christ in them is tho proof of their possessing it. Abundance is said of the nature, power, and effects of this all-conquering faith; but I hope this will be sufficient to show, though, in its complete sense, it includes a belief of all that is said of Christ, and by Christ, in Holy Writ, it goes deeper, and ariseth not in man merely from the man, but takes its birth and receives its increase from the operation of the Holy Spirit in him; which works by it to the sanctification of the heart, and tho production of every Christian virtue."

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