Jun 12, 2013

Psalm 4:5 - William Button

“To these (says Mr. F.) might be added such passage of scripture as command men to put their trust in the Lord, and blame them for the contrary practice” (p. 45). But to trust in the Lord is a natural duty, as God is infinitely benevolent, all-sufficient in his power, inviolable in his truth, and invariable in his faithfulness, he ought to be trusted, the light of nature and reason declare it. But what has this to do with evangelical trust, and special faith in Christ? Psa. 4:5 is here produced, “offer the sacrifices of righteousness; and put your trust in the Lord.” To which is added, “a trust connected with the sacrifices of righteousness, must be a spiritual trust” (p. 46). But what are these sacrifices of righteousness? Why, says an excellent commentator, “things righteously gotten, for the Lord hates robbery for a burnt-offering, Isa. 61:8. Some respect may be had to the unrighteous acquisitions of Absalom and his men (on the occasion of whose rebellion this psalm is supposed to have been penned) and who were now in possession of Jerusalem, and of the altars of the Lord, and were sacrificing on them; in which they gloried, and to which this is opposed” (Dr. Gill on the passage). Now it may be considered as an address to these men, and so carries in it a sharp rebuke for their conduct in presenting robbery for a burnt-offering, and in trusting in it when they had done. Though I rather think it is an address of David’s to the good men who were with him, and abode with him in this time of trouble; and the first part of the verse contains advice, not to act as their enemies had done, offer what was unrighteously gotten, but to offer sacrifices of righteousness; and the latter part is an encouraging direction what to do in this season of distress. Don’t, as if he had said, be cast down, the Lord (as is observed in ver. 3) has set apart him that is godly for himself, the Lord will hear when I call upon him.” Therefore wait upon him, put your trust in him, be of good courage, he shall strengthen your hearts, and deliver both you and me out of all our troubles. This passage then will not at all apply to Mr. F.’s point. I mean it will by no means bear him out in his doctrine of spiritual trust and special faith being commanded to wicked and unregenerate men.

Mr. F. says, p. 46, “It is certainly impossible in the nature of things, that any one should really trust in Christ until he is really dead to the law, that is, tell he ceaseth to trust in himself; but surely that does not prove that he ought not to leave the one and cleave to the other. Is it not every one’s duty to be dead to the law? Surely, since man has broke the terms of the first covenant, it is not now his duty to expect life from it.” That man ought not to expect life by the law, since God has declared, and his own conscience must tell him, he has broken it; and that as Christ is so plainly revealed to be the only Saviour, that he ought not to expect life and salvation from any other quarter, is what I readily grant. “The mysteries of redemption by Christ (says Mr. Brine) are expressed in language which is not above the capacities of men; and therefore they are able to perceive the truth of those mysteries, though they are not capable of understanding the real nature of them without an additional supernatural revelation, or illumination of the mind is graciously vouchsafed to them” (Motives to Love and Unity, p. 40); and that men ought to pay a reverential regard to the truths of the gospel, and not reject them as idle tales, is what must be allowed. But what then? Does it follow that men in general ought, that it is their duty to trust in Christ for salvation, by special faith, an a divine and steady confidence? I think not.

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