The Nature Of Evangelical Faith -- By: Egbert C. Smyth

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 017:67 (Jul 1860)
Article: The Nature Of Evangelical Faith
Author: Egbert C. Smyth

The Nature Of Evangelical Faith

Prof. Egbert C. Smyth

Most of the readers of the Bibliotheca have probably become familiar, through an American reprint, with a series of sermons upon the Mission of the Comforter, preached before the University of Cambridge, in March 1840, by the late Archdeacon Hare. It is not, perhaps, so well known that a little more than a year previous to the delivery of these discourses, their learned author gave, in the same place, a course of sermons upon the Nature, Province, and Power of Faith, which he was called upon to publish, and which were issued from the press the following year, in an expanded

form, and under the general title of The Victory of Faith. These discourses have all the distinguishing excellences of the later series: the same breadth of view, subtlety and vigor of thought, appositeness and brilliancy of illustration, and fervent love of spiritual truth. Some passages are rich in examples of fine philosophical analysis, lucidly exhibiting the nature and province of faith. Others make us feel its power, stirring the soul like a trumpet; as, for example, that in which, after the manner of the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, the names and deeds of a long catalogue of heroes of the Christian faith are cited. The work is one peculiarly fitted to attract and benefit youthful yet cultivated minds, when beginning earnestly to reflect upon the nature and value of spiritual religion — minds such as are to be found in all our colleges and higher seminaries, evincing, as it does, in the best way, the reasonableness of faith, by showing its necessity in man’s natural life, its harmony with the other parts of his being, its power as a practical principle, its influence among the leading historic nations, and its victorious might when it rests in the person and atonement of Jesus Christ. We hope that some one of our publishers, to whom the friends of religion are already largely indebted for the republication of many sterling foreign works, will place this volume more easily within reach than it now is, of the many who would prize it. In the present Essay we would offer a few thoughts, chiefly suggested by these discourses, upon one aspect of their general theme.

Faith is often defined to be belief upon the ground of testimony. By belief is meant a conviction or judgment of the understanding, an intellectual assent to certain propositions which are received as true, not upon grounds of reason, but upon testimony. Religious faith is said to be a belief in religious truth founded upon the testimony of God, particularly as given in his inspired word; saving faith is the assent of the intellect, upon such testimony, to whatever is the contents of this testimony; right affections a...

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