“We may now proceed to observe, that the popular preachers, while they show no small regard to distinctions devised by themselves, or their predecessors, and delight to range the Scriptures, according to them, are very unmindful of the plain simple distinctions left us by the apostles, to guide us in the understanding of their doctrine. Many voluminous controversies have arisen, and much confusion has taken place, through the neglect of the plain distinction made by Paul in these words, 1 Cor. xiii, 13. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity. Though Paul, as well as the other apostles, always establishes an inseparable connection betwixt faith, hope, and charity, or love, he would have us to remember, that any one of these is not the other, but that they are still THREE. When he affirms that we are justified by faith, he would not have us to think that we are justified by any the least motion or degree of hope, or of love. This point must be carefully attended to, because, as there have been from the beginning many counterfeits of faith, so it will be found, that every man’s hope and love are of the same nature with his faith. The capital question then must be, What is the faith by which men are justified?” (Sandeman; underlining mine–CD)
The underlined portion makes me think of those Calvinists who deny that faith is assent to understood propositions. Said Calvinists assert that the demons understand and believe the gospel, and therefore (so their reasoning goes) some human sinner could “understand and believe the gospel” and yet still remain eternally lost. By their ADDITION of an undefined (or undefinable) mystical psychological “something” to the Biblical definition of faith (belief), they DENY that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God to salvation to everyone BELIEVING.
“The apostles used the word faith or belief in the same sense we do to this day in common discourse. We are properly said to believe what any man says, when we are persuaded that what he says is true. There is no difference betwixt our believing any common testimony and our believing that of the gospel, but what arises from the very nature of the testimony. For thus the Apostle John states the matter, 1 John v. 9, If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; so must produce greater certainty or firmness of persuasion” (Sandeman; underlining mine–CD).
Obviously it does NOT take the resurrecting power of the Holy Spirit to bring about understanding and assenting to “any common testimony,” while it DOES take this resurrecting power to understand and assent to the testimony of the gospel. Calvinists who labor under the delusion that demons believe the gospel put a difference betwixt, not the nature of the gospel testimony, but the “nature and activity” of the mystical mush that is marinating between their ears.
“When once a man believes a testimony, he becomes possessed of a truth; and that truth may be said to be his faith. Yea, we have no idea of truth, but with reference to its being believed. The question about faith must be set aside, when the inquiry turns upon how a man is affected by a testimony which he believes? His passions and affections are set in motion, according to the nature of the thing testified, or according as the testimony brings him matter of joy or grief, hope or fear” (Sandeman).
If the Biblical definition of true belief or true assent is denied and ADDED to, then some sort of “subjective mystical something” (e.g., “joy,” “love,” “grief,” “hope,” “treasuring,” or “fear”) becomes the true giver of life rather than Jesus Christ. Next Page (23)