“The popular preachers do, indeed, admit something like the Scriptural notion of believing, into a corner of their account of faith, under the title of the assent of faith. But, then, it lies in so remote and so dark a corner, as scarcely to be seen. And if it be at all thought of, it is made little or no account of; yea, it is often marked with dishonourable epithets” (Sandeman).
Many popular present-day preachers, teachers, and theologians denigrate the gospel of Jesus Christ by asserting that “merely” or “simply” believing the gospel makes a person, not a regenerate believer, but a demon. Preachers of this pseudo-pious pestilence commit a category fallacy and engage in eisegesis in their abhorrent enunciation that demons believe that their salvation is conditioned on the work of Christ alone, apart from their own efforts.
Many of the popular preachers are sworn enemies to the belief of the truth as the sole ground of hope. For instance, Mr. E. Erskine says, *’Christ is offered particularly to every man; there is not a soul hearing me, but, in God’s name, I offer Christ unto him as if called by name and surname. Beware, my friends, of a general, doubtsome faith, abjured in our national covenant, as a branch of Popery. A general persuasion of the mercy of God in Christ, and of Christ’s ability and willingness to save all that come to him, will not do the business: no; devils and reprobates may, and do actually believe it. There must, therefore, of necessity be a persuasion and belief of this, with particular application thereof unto a man’s own soul.’ The doubtsome faith he complains of, is that which admits of a doubt concerning one’s own state. Now, a man may have some doubts about this, who is very firmly persuaded of the truth of the gospel; yea, Paul calls upon some whom he himself looked upon as believers, to examine themselves, whether they were in the faith; and he exhorts others, about whom he observed the surest tokens of their being true Christians, to give all diligence to remove every doubt concerning their state; plainly intimating, that they could not warrantably be assured of their happy state by any exercises of mind, without the fruits of faith, or the self-denied works of obedience.
The more we search into the doctrine of the popular preachers, the more will our inquiry resemble Ezekiel’s digging through the wall. We shall still see greater abominations” (Sandeman).
* Sermon on Luke ii. 28, called Christ in the Believer’s Arms.
What exactly does Erksine mean by “A general persuasion of the mercy of God in Christ”? What does Erksine think a “general persuasion” is?
Sandeman reveals his unregenerate state by asserting that a person can be “very firmly persuaded of the truth of the gospel” while doubting his own spiritual state. This is patently false. A person who doubts his state before God does NOT believe that Jesus Christ is his SOLE ground of acceptance before God. Sandeman fatally confounds sure tokens of evidence (e.g., fruits of faith & obedience) with assurance of salvation. Good works are indeed an evident token or fruit of true faith. But if these “good works” form at least some part of the ground of one’s assurance, they are nothing but dead works, evil deeds, and fruit unto death. Sandeman’s conscience had NOT been purged by the blood of Christ from dead works since to Sandeman, the blood of Christ was NOT the SOLE ground of EVERY BELIEVER’S confident assurance to enter into the Holy of Holies (cf. Hebrews 9:14, 10:19). Next Page (29)