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Bullinger on Faith as a Sure and Steadfast Confidence

June 9, 2008

The Faith is not only a knowledge of the mind, but also, a steadfast and sure confidence of the mind.

In the beginning of this book the matter itself requires that we entreat in few words of faith whereby we are justified before God: this faith is not of men, but is the mere gift of God, by the Holy Ghost, which does lighten men’s minds with his grace and word, that they may truly and rightly understand GOD with his grace, Christ and his righteousness and salvation. And by that means faith is a knowledge and science of our mind. And therefore Isaiah the prophet 53 chapt. And Christ our Lord. 17. John, do name faith a knowledge. And Paul says, “I beseech God the Father to give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, through knowledge of him, the eyes of your mind being lightened, that ye may know what that hope is, unto the which he has called,” &c.

But yet this faith is not only a science of the mind, but also a steadfast and sure confidence of mind, whereby the heart does strongly lean unto the known truth, for the mind of man strays and trusts unto this that is conceived of the mind by understanding, and is at rest in his will, and hereunto brings or gathers together all his powers. And therefore S. Paul expounds faith by hope in these words: but if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it, in the which thing doubtless the will also works, the mind alone does not know. In another place the same Apostle says: “Faith is the ground of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Also, but without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that comes unto God, must believe that there is a God, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek him. Neither also must be referred that most notable example of the faith of Abraham, which is declared by Paul in the fourth chapter of his epistle unto the Romans, where is plainly shown, that Abraham did not only hear & understand the things which were promised by God, but also that he hoped for them, consented with all his heart trusted unto them, and rested, all his powers being gathered together hereunto. And therefore no doubt the Dutch name of faith, glouben is the word globen. And this word globen signifies to promise and assure: wherefore globen faith is a confidence and trust, whereby a man with all his heart & mind stays & surely trusts & sticks unto those promises and assurances of God, which we know to be true.

That faith leans unto God and his word: also of the articles of the holy Christian faith.

The second Chapter.

For true faith leans, and wholly depends upon God (who is the true & only foundation and object of faith) and his true word. Therefore a faithful man trusts in God, as the only eternal sovereign, and true, & almighty good, craves and looks for all things at his hand as of a father, which are necessary for his soul and body: and without all staying believes his words as the undoubted truth: but if any doubts arise in him of man’s infirmity, he withstands them, and takes them away.

And because God in the promising of Christ has most clearly shown himself unto us, a faithful man, especially trusts unto him, & makes sure accounts that he possesses all heavenly treasure in Christ, that he is perfect in him, and needs no other thing unto salvation.

For this does Christ our Lord testify, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my words, and believeth him that sent me, hath everlasting life.” Also, “The words which thou hast given me, I have unto them: and they received it, and knew truly that I came from thee, and believed that thou hast sent me.” And Saint Paul says: “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of GOD.” The same also in the second Chapter of his first Epistle unto the Corinthians, “leaneth not unto man’s wisdom, but unto the power of GOD.” And unto the Ephesians he says, that the faithful are built upon the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles, which is JESUS CHRIST, by whom all the promises of God, are yea and Amen. Henry Bullinger, Common places of Christian Religion, Compendiously written, by Master Henry Bullinger, and translated into English by Iohn Stockwood, minister, (Imprinted at London by Tho, East, and H. Middleton: for George Bishop. 1572. January. 31.), 118-121.

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