08 November, 2006

Living Out of Feelings or Living by Faith?

Ebenezer Erskine ( One of the founders of the Associate Presbyterian Church) makes the distinction in his preaching between the assurance of faith and what he calls 'the assurance of sense'. This distinction is what we would call living by your feelings versus living by faith. One man places his trust in his religious experience. The other man places his trust in the promises of God and by faith.

1. Sense gives an important status to what is enjoyed and in hand, but faith looks to all of what man has in Christ comprehensively.
2. Sense is ready to judge of the love of God by providences; Faith wreaths the love of God in all circumstances.
3. Sense and sight is a variable and fluctuating thing, but faith is steady and fixed like Abraham who against hope staggered against unbelief.
4. Sight and sense look only to things present, but faith, like a prophet looks to things to come.
5. Sense and sight are superficial and are easily taken in with appearances bt faith is a diving thing (it probes deeply).
6. Sense and faith differ in their order. Faith is the leader and sense is the follower. Faith is duty and sense follows in the wake of faith.
7. Sense is hasty and precipitous in judgment; faith is patient and waits to see God's end.
8. A life of sense is dangerous; a life of faith is sure and safe.
9. Sense has its only foundation and confidences within the believer himself, ittreadss in the shallow waters of experimental attainments and marks of grace; but faith has its foundation outside the man with Christ in God's covenant and in the great and precious promises. While the Mariner stays in the shallow waters in continuous fear of rocks and sandbars- while he is in the deep waters he feels safe. So it is with the shallowness of living out of sense and depths of living by faith.


Anonymous said...

Good words - our senses are nowhere near as infallible as we'd like to think, and often work against us.

Droll Flood said...

Well put distinctions (and he didn't sound like a mystic).

"4. Sight and sense look only to things present, but faith, like a prophet looks to things to come."

-Now I am pretty sure that Erskine would here agree: faith's circumspection of past, present, and future is eschatologically governed and counseled.