Thursday, March 17, 2016

Precious Faith - Intro and Summaries of Chapters 1-4

I'm reading Faith by Jeremiah Burroughs and decided to blog the hidden treasures within this book.  It is one book that contains two of Burroughs' treatises: (1) Precious Faith: A Treatise on 2 Peter 1:1 - "To them that have obtained a like precious faith," and (2) The Saints' Walk by Faith on Earth and by Sight in Heaven: A Treatise on 2 Cor. 5:7 - "For we walk by faith, not by sight."  Both treatises were first published in 1654.  In 2011, they were edited by Dr. Don Kistler and reprinted into one book by Northampton Press (ISBN 978-0-9826155-6-0).

In his first treatise on Precious Faith, Mr. Burroughs expounds 2 Peter 1:1 and specifically looks at:

Chapter 1 - The Meaning of the Words of the Text
Chapter 2 - Three Observations Raised and Explained
Chapter 3 - The Preciousness of Faith Discovered
Chapter 4 - Faith is Substance and Evidence
Chapter 5 - The Application of the First Doctrine
Chapter 6 - Faith Frees the Soul from the Guilt of Sin
Chapter 7 - Faith Gives an Interest in God
Chapter 8 - Faith Puts Dignity Upon the Soul
Chapter 9 - Four Additional Reasons Why Faith Is Precious
Chapter 10 - Faith Enables the Soul to Do Glorious Things
Chapter 11 - Faith Glorifies God Most
Chapter 12 - Faith Puts a Believer Into a State of Happiness He Can Never Lose
Chapter 13 - Faith Is the Only Condition of the Second Covenant
Chapter 14 - Some Uses of the Doctrine
Chapter 15 - Directions How to Get Faith
Chapter 16 - Another Use of the Doctrine
Chapter 17 - The Second Doctrine Opened
Chapter 18 - The Application of the Second Doctrine

In Chapter 1, Mr. Burroughs defines what it means to obtain faith.  He states, "The faith that they have, they have merely by the free grace of God, by His providence and by His work, and by no other cause whatsoever that has made any difference between them and unbelievers," (p. 2).  He clearly lays out the monergistic work of the Holy Spirit in the regeneration process; salvation is a sovereign act of God alone.

In Chapter 2, he presents his first doctrine: Faith is a most precious grace.  He contends that "[t]his faith that we are here speaking of is that grace of God whereby the soul receives Jesus Christ, according as He is offered in the gospel...Now the soul by faith is enabled to receive and rest upon Jesus Christ alone; which [is the] grace of God," (p. 7).  Christ comes to save the soul eternally. It is by faith that the soul is "willing to venture it all upon grace that it sees in Jesus Christ, and it satisfies itself in Christ alone," (p. 8).

In Chapter 3, he asks why the preciousness of faith is worth so much and answers, "It is the fruit of God's election, and therefore is precious...Faith is the first discovery of those eternal thoughts and counsels of love that God had for the good of such a soul, that He separated this soul for Himself to eternal life," (p. 9).  In addition, faith is precious when it "enables the soul to see hope in the time of the greatest extremities of all.  God gives this grace to the soul to discover hope when the heart is ever so low and ready to be overwhelmed," (p. 12).  Finally, he asks, "What is the object faith?...It is God in Christ," (p. 12).

In Chapter 4, he states that "[f]aith is precious because it gives a substance to things hoped for, and an evidence of things not seen," (p. 15).  A true believer of Jesus Christ will see a change in his life: "Before faith came the things of the world were substantial, and the things of heaven were imaginations and fancies.  But now when faith comes, the things of the world are but fancies, and the things of heaven are the substantial things," (p. 16).  Mr. Burroughs also talks about despair, which is the opposite of faith.  He continues, "you are not now actually in heaven, but faith makes it as if it were actually done...It gives the things of heaven a present substance in your soul," (p. 17).  In contrast, despair makes you feel "the very wrath of God presently burning" upon you and you even feel yourself "in hell already," (p. 17).

I will look at chapters 5 through 9 in my next post.

"Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, (2 Peter 1:1-2).