The Golden Key to Open Hidden Treasures

By Thomas Brooks, 1675

The second question or case is this—What is that FAITH which gives a man a saving interest in Christ, and in all those blessed benefits and favors which come by Christ? or whether that person who experiences the following particulars, may not safely, groundedly, and comfortably conclude that his faith is a true, justifying, saving faith, the faith of God's elect, and such a faith as clearly evidences a gracious estate, and will certainly bring the soul to heaven? Now, in answer to this important question, we may suppose the poor believer is ready to express himself thus—

[1.] First, Upon search and sad experience, I find myself a poor, lost, miserable, and undone creature—as the Scriptures everywhere do evidence, Eph. 2:1-2, 5, 12; Col. 2:13; Romans 8:7; Luke 19:10.

[2.] Secondly, I am convinced that it is not in myself to deliver myself out of this lost, miserable, and forlorn estate. Could I make as many prayers as might be piled up between heaven and earth, and weep as much blood as there is water in the sea—yet all this could not procure the pardon of one sin, nor one smile from God, etc.

[3.] Thirdly, I am convinced that it is not in angels or men to deliver me out of my lost, miserable, and undone condition. I know provoked justice must be satisfied, divine wrath pacified, my sins pardoned, my heart renewed, my state changed, etc., or my soul can never be saved; and I know it is not in angels or men to do any of these things for me.

[4.] Fourthly, I find that I stand in absolute need of a Savior to save me from wrath to come, 1 Thes. 1:10, "to save me from the curse of the law," Gal. 10, 13, "and to save me from infernal flames," Isaiah 33:14; so that I may well cry out with those in Acts 2:37, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" and with the jailer, Acts 16:36, "Sirs, what shall I do to be saved?"

[5.] Fifthly, I see and know that there is an utter impossibility of obtaining salvation by anything, or by any person—but by Christ alone. Acts 4:12, "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name" that is, no other person, "under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved." I know there is no Savior who can deliver me from eternal death, and bring me to eternal life and glory—but only Jesus, of whom it is said, "that he shall save his people from their sins," Luke 1:21; and therefore I must conclude that there is an utter impossibility of obtaining salvation by any other person or thing, etc. But,

[6.] Sixthly, I see and know that Jesus Christ is an all-sufficient Savior, that he is a mighty, yes, an almighty Savior, a Savior who is able to save to the utmost, all those who come to him—as the Scripture speaks, Psalm 89:19, "I have laid help upon one who is mighty." Isaiah 63:1, "Mighty to save." Heb. 7:25, "Therefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost, those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them." I know that the Lord Jesus is mighty to save me from that wrath, and from that curse, and from that hell, and from that damnation, which is due to me, by reason of my sins; and that he is mighty to justify me, and mighty to pardon me, and mighty to reconcile me to God the Father, and mighty to bring me to glory—as the Scripture does everywhere testify. But,

[7.] Seventhly, I know, through grace, that Jesus Christ is the only person anointed, appointed, fitted, and furnished by the Father, for that great and blessed work or office, of saving sinners' souls; as these scriptures, among others, do clearly testify, Isaiah 61:1-4; Luke 4:18-21; Mat. 1:20-21; John 6:27. Certainly were Jesus Christ never so able and mighty to save—yet if he were not anointed, appointed, fitted, and furnished by the Father for that great office of saving poor lost sinners, I know no reason why I should expect salvation by him. But,

[8.] Eighthly, I know through grace that the Lord Jesus Christ has sufficiently satisfied, as mediator, the justice of God, and pacified his wrath, and fulfilled all righteousness, and procured the favor of God and the pardon of sin, etc., for all those who close with him, that accept of him, as he is offered in the gospel of grace, Gal. 3:19-20; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6; Heb. 9:14-15, and 12:24; Heb. 10:12, 14; Mat. 3:15; Romans 8:1-4, 33-34, and 5:8-10; Acts 13:39.

[9.] Ninthly, I find that Jesus Christ is freely offered in the gospel to poor, lost, undone sinners, such as I am. I find that the ministers of the gospel are commanded by Christ to proclaim in his name a general pardon, and to make a general offer of him to all to whom they preach the everlasting gospel, without excluding any: Mark 16:15, "And he said unto them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel unto every creature." And what is it to preach the gospel unto every creature—but to say unto them, as the angels did to the shepherds, Luke 2:11, "I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people; for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord"? etc.

[10.] Tenthly, I know, through grace, that all sorts of sinners are invited to come to Christ, to receive Christ, to accept of Christ, and to close with Christ, Isaiah 55:1-2; Mat. 11:28-29; John 7:37; Rev. 3:20, and 22:17, etc. But,

[11.] Eleventhly, Through grace, I do in my understanding really assent to that blessed record and report that God the Father, in the blessed Scriptures, has given concerning Christ, 1 John 5:10-12. The report that God the Father has made concerning the person of Christ, and concerning the offices of Christ, and concerning the work of redemption by Christ, I do really and cordially assent unto, as most true and certain, upon the authority of God's testimony, who is truth itself, and cannot lie. Now, though this assent alone is not enough to make a saving reception of Christ—yet it is in saving faith, and that without which it is impossible that there should be any saving faith. But,

[12.] Twelfthly, I can say, through grace, that in my judgment I do approve of the Lord Jesus Christ, not only as a good—but as the greatest good, as a universal good, as a matchless good, as an incomparable good, as an infinite good, as an eternal good, and as the most suitable good in heaven and earth to my poor soul; as these scriptures do evidence, Psalm 73:25-26; Cant. 5:10, 45; Psalm 1:2; Phil. 3:7-10; 1 Tim. 1:15. I know there is everything in Christ that may suit the state, case, necessities, and needs of my poor soul. There is mercy in him to pardon me, and power in him to save me, and wisdom in him to counsel me, and grace in him to enrich me, and righteousness in him to clothe me, etc., and therefore I cannot but approve of the Lord Jesus, as such a good as exceeds all the good that is to be found in angels and men. The good that I see in Christ does not only counterbalance—but also excel all that real or imaginary good that ever I have met with in anything below Christ.

Christ must come into the will, he must be received there, else he is never savingly received. Now before the will will receive him, the will must be certainly informed that he is good, yes, the best and greatest good, or else he shall never be admitted there. Let the understanding assent ever so much to all propositions concerning Christ as true, if the judgment does not approve of them as good, yes, as the best good, Christ will never be truly received. God in his working maintains the faculties of the soul in their actings, as he made them.

[13.] Thirteenthly, So far as I know my own heart, I am sincerely willing to receive the Lord Jesus Christ in a matrimonial covenant; according to these scriptures, Hos. 2:19-20; 2 Cor. 11:2; Isaiah 54:5; Isaiah 61:10; Isaiah 62:5; Cant. 3:11, etc. Through grace I am,

FIRST, Through grace I am sincerely willing to take the Lord Jesus Christ for my Savior and sovereign Lord. Just so far as I know my own heart, I do through mercy give my hearty consent—that Christ, and Christ alone, shall be my Savior and Redeemer. It is true, I perform duties—but the desire of my soul is to do them out of love to Christ, and in obedience to his royal law and pleasure. I know my best righteousnesses are but "as filthy rags," Isaiah 64:6. And woe would be to me, had I no other shelter, or savior, or resting-place for my poor soul—than rags, than filthy rags. And so far as I know my own heart, I am sincerely willing to give up myself to the guidance and government of Jesus Christ, as my sovereign Lord and king, desiring nothing more in this world, than to live and die under the guidance and government of his Spirit, his word, and his grace. But,

SECONDLY, Through grace I am willing, through grace, to give a bill of divorce to all other lovers, without exception or reservation. Just so far as I know my own heart, I desire nothing more in this world, than that God would pull out right-eye sins, and cut off right-hand sins. I am very desirous, through grace, to have all sins brought under control, by the power, Spirit, and grace of Christ—but especially my special sins, my besetting corruptions. I would have Christ alone to rule and reign in my heart, without any competitor. But,

THIRDLY, Through grace I am sincerely willing, through grace, to take the Lord Jesus Christ for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health; and in his strength I would go with him through fire and water, resolving, through his grace, that nothing shall divide between Christ and my soul. Just so far as I know my own heart, I would have Christ, though I beg with him, though I go to prison with him, though I go in agonies in the garden with him, though I go to the cross with him. But,

FOURTHLY, So far as I know my own heart, through grace I am sincerely willing,

First, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ presently, John 1:12.

Secondly, to receive him in all his offices, as king, prophet and priest, Col. 2:6; Acts 5:31.

Thirdly, To receive him into every room of my soul—to receive him into my understanding, mind, will, affections. etc.

Fourthly, To receive him upon his own terms, of denying myself, taking up his cross and following of him wherever he goes, Mat. 16:21; Rev. 14:4, etc.

FIFTHLY and lastly, So far as I know my own heart, I do freely consent, through grace:

1. To be really Christ's;

2. To be presently Christ's;

3. To be wholly Christ's;

4. To be only Christ's;

5. To be eminently Christ's;

6. To be forever Christ's, etc.

Certainly that Christian who has and does experience the particulars last mentioned under the second question, that Christian may safely, groundedly, boldly, and comfortably conclude—that his faith is a true, justifying, saving faith, the faith of God's elect, and such a faith as clearly evidences a gracious estate, and will never leave his soul short of heaven.

Now how many thousand Christians are there, that have this faith which is here described, which is doubtless a true, justifying, saving faith, which gives a man an interest in the person of Christ, and in all the blessings and benefits that comes by Christ—who yet question whether they have true faith or not; partly from weakness, partly from temptations, and partly from the various definitions which are given of faith by some, both in their preachings and writings. It is and must be for a lamentation, that in a point of so great moment the trumpet should give such an uncertain sound.