The Trial and Triumph of Faith (eBook)

by Samuel Rutherford

in ePub, .mobi & .pdf formats


An Exposition of the History of Christ’s dispossessing of the daughter of the woman of Canaan.Delivered in SERMONS; In which are opened,The Victory of Faith; The condition of those that are tempted; The excellency of Jesus Christ and Free-Grace; and Some specially Grounds and Principles of Libertinism and Antinomian Errors, discovered

Lessons from Christ's Gracious Answers to a Woman Whose Faith Would Not Give Up.

In twenty-seven eloquent sermons, Rutherford expounds the healing of the daughter of the Canaanite woman (described in Matthew 15 and Mark 7). What he sees in it most of all is the free grace of God: 'Christ, for this cause especially, left the bosom of God, and was clothed with flesh and our nature, that he might be…a sea and boundless river of visible, living, and breathing grace, swelling up to the highest banks…' Rutherford would have us observe here 'a flower planted and watered by Christ's own hand-a strong faith in a tried woman.'

To encourage us to persist in seeking such grace, Rutherford explains both the trial and the triumph of saving faith. 




THE scope, order, and contents of the text, Page 23. Matthew and Mark reconciled, 24. Properties of Christ's love, 25. What woman this was, 25. The art of the wise contexture of Divine Providence in black and white, fair and foul, mixed in one, for beauty's sake, 26. Two sides of Providence, 27. We err in looking on God's ways by halves, especially on the black and sad side only, 28. 


Christ took a human will, that he might stoop to God in all things, 29. The strength of corrupt will, 30. Two things in the will: 1. The frame of it—2. The quality and goodness of it—There is a necessity of renewing the will, 30. The dispensation of God, not Scripture, nor a rule of faith, 33. We trust possession of Christ by faith, more than we do right and law, through faith, 33. 


How Christ and his grace cannot be hid, in six particulars, 34. 1st, In his cause, 34. 2nd, In the good and evil condition spiritual of the soul, 35. 3rd, In the joy of Christ's presence, 36. 4th, In a sincere profession, 36. 5th, In the bearing down the stirrings of a renewed conscience, 37. 6th, In desertions, 37. We are to be obsequious and yielding to the breathings of the Spirit, 38. Our hearts are to be variously suitable to the various operations of the Spirit, from four reasons, 38. Grace falleth on few, 40. Grace, how rare and choice a piece, in four particulars, 40. Grace not universal and common to all, 41. Nine objections of the Arminian and natural man, Answered, 41. 


Grace falleth often on the most graceless, 44. Grace maketh a great change; three reasons thereof, 44. There is a like reason for grace on our Lord's part, to the vilest of men, as to Moses, Daniel, Paul, 45. The same free grace that we have here, we have it in heaven in the state of glory, 46. In heaven we reign by grace, as by the same we war here, 46. The justified in Christ are corrected for sin, 47. The furnace of affliction, the work-house of the grace of Christ; four grounds thereof, 47. Mr. Towne's assertion of grace, 50. How Antinomians judge sins to be corrected in the justified, 48. How Papists judge sins to be punished in the justified, 49. That God punisheth pardoned sins; proved by seven arguments, 50. Rules to be observed in affliction, 55. A land or a nation must be longer in the fire than one particular person, 57. 


Satan worketh as a natural agent without moderation, 58. Spiritual evils chase few men to Christ; three grounds thereof, 59. How men naturally love the devil, 59. Satan, how an unclean spirit, 60. It is true wisdom to know God savingly, 61. What hearing bringeth souls to Christ, 62. Four defects in hearing, 63. Hell coming to our senses in this life, should not cause us believe without effectual grace, 64. It is good to border near to Christ, 65. SERMON VI.

Crying in prayer necessary, 66. Five grounds thereof, 66. Prayer sometimes wanteth words, so as groaning goeth for prayer, 68. How many other expressions beside vocal praying, go under the lieu of praying in God's account, 68. Eight objections removed, 68. Some affections greater than tears, 68. Looking up to heaven, praying, 69. Breathing, praying, 70. That wherein the least of prayer consisteth, 70. Broken prayers are prayers, 71. The Lord know-eth nonsense in a broken spirit to be good sense, 72. 


Why Christ is called frequently the Son of David; not so, the Son of Adam, of Abraham, 73. Christ a King by covenant, 74. What things be in the covenant of grace, 75. The parties of the covenant, 75. Christ hath a sevenfold relation to the covenant. 1st, He is the Covenant itself. 2nd, The Messenger. 3rd, The witness. 4th, The Surety. 5th, The Mediator. 6th, The Testator. 7th, The principal party contractor, 76. Christ the Covenant itself, 76. Christ a Messenger of the Covenant in four particulars, 77. A Witness in four things, 78. A Surety in three, 79. A Mediator in three things. 1st, A Friend. 2nd, A Reconciler. 3rd, A Servant, 80. Christ a servant of God, and our servant, 80. Christ confirmed and sealed the Testament, 81. Christ the principal confederate party, 81. The covenant made with Christ personally, not mystically, proved from Gal. 3:16. The contrary reasons answered, 81. A covenant between the Father and the Son proved, 82. Of the promises of the covenant, 84. Two sorts of promises, 84. Christ took a new covenant-right to God, 85. Five sorts of promises made to Christ, and by proportion to us, 85. 


The condition of the covenant, 87. Libertines deny all conditions of the covenant, 87. The new covenant hath conditions to be performed by us, 88. Six objections removed, 87. A twofold dominion of gracious and supernatural acts, 87. We are not justified before we believe, proved by six arguments, 90. A condition taken in a threefold notion, 92. It is not a proper condition by way of strict wage and work, when we are said to be justified, and saved upon condition of faith, 92. 1st, The Freedom; 2nd, Eternity; 3rd, Well-ordering of the covenant,—the three properties thereof, 92. The freedom of the covenant is seen, in regard, 1st, Of persons. 2nd, Of causes. 3rd, Of time. 4th, Of manner of dispensation, 94. Uses of the doctrine of the covenant, 96. 


Christ God and man, and our comfort therein, 98. Christ immediate in the act of redeeming us, and so sweeter, 99. Christ incomparable, 99. Four other necessary uses, 99. To believers all temporal favours are spiritualized, and watered with mercy. Four grounds thereof, 103. By what reason our Father, as a father, giveth us spiritual things, by that same he giveth us all things, 104. Mercy originally in Christ, and how, 104. 


Parents' affection, their spiritual duty to children, 107. Thirteen practical rules in observing passages of Divine Providence, 108. 1st, We are neither to lead, nor to stint Providence, 108. 2nd, But to observe God in his ways, and not to look to by-ways of providence, 108. 3rd, Omnipotency not laid down in pawn in any means, 109. 4th, God walketh not in the way that we imagine, 109. 5th, Providence in its concatenation of decrees, actions, events, is one continued contexture, going along from Creation to the day of Christ's second coming, without one broken thread, 109. 6th, The spirit is to be in an indifferency in all casts of providence, 111. 7th, Low desires best, 111. 8th, We are to lie under providence submissively in all, 111. 9th, Providence is a mystery, 112. 10th, Walketh in uncertainties toward us, 112. 11th, Silence is better than disputing, 112. 12th, It is good to consider both what is inflicted, and who, 112. 13th, God always ascendeth, even when second causes descend, 112. 


Every temptation hath its taking power from the seeming goodness in it, 113. Reasons why this was a temptation to the woman, 114. The scope of the temptation to make the tempted believe there is none like him, 115. The non-answering of Christ, is an answering, 115. Five reasons of the Lord's not hearing of prayer, 116. Seven ways prayers are answered, 117. Praying in faith always heard, even when the particular which we suit in prayer is denied, 117. Faith in one and the same prayer, seeketh and knocketh, and answer-eth, and openeth to itself, 117. The light of saving faith, and the prophetical light of the pen-men of the word of God, differ not in space and nature, 118. The dearest not admitted unto God at the first knock, 119. 


Natural men, and even the renewed in spirit, in so far as there remaineth some flesh in them, are ignorant of the mystery of an afflicted spirit, 120. Peace of conscience is a work of creation, 121. A reason why it is so hard to convince the deserted, 12l. Christ sweeter to the deserted than all the world, 122. Difference between God's trying and the creature's tempting, in three positions, 123. A creature cannot put a fellow-creature to act sin upon an intention of trying him, 123. In the actions of creatures we must know,  st, Quis; 2nd, Quid; 3rd, Quare. 1st, Who commandeth. 2nd, What. 3rd, And for what end. In God's actions, it is enough to know, Quis, Who, that it is Jehovah, 125. Four doubts of the tempted, 125. In the sending of "Christ to the lost sheep of the house of Israel," there be three things considerable: 1st, His designation; 2nd, Qualification; 3rd, Commission, 127. The Son most fit to be Mediator, 127. How Christ is qualified, 128. His commission, 129. It is not properly grace that we are born, it is grace that Christ is born, 129. God's hidden decree, and his revealed will opened, 129. A twofold intention in the promises, 130. How, and who are to believe the decree of reprobation concerning themselves, 131. 


It is a privilege of mercy that Christ is sent to the Jews first, 132. Nine privileges of the Jews, 132. The honour and privileges of Britain, 133. The redeemed called sheep upon four grounds, 134. How passive the redeemed are in the way to heaven, in five particulars, 134. The saints most dependent creatures, 135. How We know the Scripture to be the Word of God; two grounds, one in the subject, another in the object, 136. Fancy leadeth not the saints, but faith, 137. How the Saints need a fresh supply of grace from Christ, though they have a habit and stock of grace within them; proved by six reasons, 137. Grace and glory but one continued thread, 139. Three considerations we are to have of God's work, in leading us to heaven, 139. Faith is both active and passive, 139. Desertions have real advancing in the way to heaven, in eleven particulars, 139. We are not freed from law directions, 140. Actual condemnation may be, and is separated from the law, 140. Two objections removed, 140. How works of holiness conduce to salvation, three things herein to be distinguished, 141. We are to do good works, both from the principle of law and love, 142. Other three objections removed, 143. Of the letter both of law and gospel; divers errors of libertines touching the point, 143. The Scriptures are not to be condemned, because they profit not without the teaching of the Spirit, proved by three reasons, 145. Repentance different from faith, proved against libertines, 145. Repentance the same in the Old and New Testament, 145. 


In what sense Christ came to save the lost, 147. A twofold preparation for Christ to be considered, 148. Conversion is done by foregoing preparations, and successively proved by four reasons, 149. Sense of poverty fitteth for Christ, 150. The objections of Dr. Crispe removed. Sinners as sinners not fit to receive Christ, 151. How Christ belongeth to sinners under the notion of sinners, 152. How the Spirit acts most in the saints, when they endeavour least, 153. The marrow of libertinism to neglect sanctification, and to wallow in fleshly lusts, 153. Christ's death maketh us active in duties of holiness, proved from three grounds, 154. How Christ keepeth us from sin, 154. 


Eight necessary duties required of a believer under desertion: 1st, Patience. 2nd, Faith, etc., 156. Hope prophesieth glad tidings at midnight, 156. It is a blessed mark, when temptations chase not a soul from duties, illustrated in three cases, 160. It argueth three good things, to go on in duties under a temptation, 162. Antinomians take men off duties, 163. Christ tempted cannot sin; the saints tempted dare not sin, 164. Faith trafficketh with heaven in the saddest storms, 165. 

National sins may occur to the conscience of the child of God, in his approach to God, 166. A subtle humble pride the disease of weak ones, who dare not apply the promises, 168. Sense of free-grace humbleth exceedingly, 169. How far forth conscience of wretchedness hindereth any to come to Christ, 169. Whoever doubteth if God will save him, doubteth also if God can save him, 171. Sin keepeth not the door of Christ to hold out the sinner, 172. Sense of sin, and sense of the grace of Christ, may consist, 173. Holy walking and Christ's excellency may both be felt by the believer. Holy walking considered, as, 1st, A duty. 2nd, A mean. 3rd, A thing promised in the covenant of grace, 173. How we may collect our state and condition from holy walking, 175. The error of Dr. Crispe and Antinomians herein, 175. Christ a great householder, 176. The privilege of the children of the house, 177. Christ the bread of life, 178. Communion between the children and the first heir, Christ, in five particulars, 177. The spirit of an heir and of a servant, 177. There is a seed of hope and comfort in the hardest desertions of the saints, in three particulars illustrated, 178. 


Grace maketh quickness and wittiness of heavenly reasoning, 180. Faith contradicteth Christ tempting, but humbly and modestly, 181. The saints may dispute their state with Christ, when they dare not dispute their actions, 181. We are to accept, humbly, and with patience, of a wakened conscience, but not to seek a storming conscience, 182. True humility and its way, in seven particulars.—See the place, 182. How we are to esteem every man better than ourselves, 185. The proud man known afar off, 185. Grace's lowliness in taking notice of sinners, 186. Causes of unthankfulness, 187. A justified soul is to confess sin, proved by three arguments, 188. And to mourn for sin by divers reasons, 190. If we be not to mourn for sin committed, because it is pardoned, neither should our will be averse from the committing of it; because before it be committed, it is also pardoned, as Antinomians teach, 192. Libertines conspire with Papists, in the doctrine of justification, 194. 


How sins are removed in justification, how not, 195. There remaineth sin formally in the justified, proved by six arguments, 195. How sin dwelleth in us after we are justified, 197. A twofold removal of sin, one moral or legal in justification, another physical in our sanctification, 200. The difference between the removal of sin in justification, and its removal in sanctification, 201. Seven grounds why sin dwelleth still in the justified person, 202. How sins past, present, and to come, are pardoned in justification, 209. There is a twofold consideration of justification, but not two justifications, 209. Sins in three divers respects are taken away, according to Scripture, 210. Christ's satisfaction performed on the cross for sin, is not formally justification, but only causatively, fundamentally, or meritoriously, 210. There is a change in justification, 211. How sins not committed are remitted, 21l. There is but one justification of a believer, illustrated by a comparison, 213. There is a difference between pardon of sin, the justification of the person, and the repeated sense of the pardon, 214. Justifying faith is some other thing, than the sense of justification, 215. How fear, or hope, or reward of glory has influence in our holy walking, 215. Objections removed, 216. 

The Lord Jesus is [not] so made the sinner in suffering for sin, as there remaineth no sin in the sinner once pardoned, as Antinomians teach, especially Doctor Crispe, 218. Sin so laid on Christ as that it leaveth not off to be our sin, 220. The guilt of sin, and sin itself, are not one and the same thing, 222. An inherent blot in sin, and the guilt and debt of sin, 222. Two things in debt, as in sin, 223. The blot of sin, two ways considered, 228. A twofold guilt in sin, one intrinsical, and of the fault; another of the punishment, and extrinsical, 225. Reasons why sin, and the guilt of sin cannot be the same, 226. Christ not intrinsically the sinner, 229. Imputation of sin, no imagination, no lie, 230. Reasons proving that Christ was not intrinsically and formally the sinner, 232. What righteousness of Christ is made ours, 235. The believer how righteous, and Christ how not, 235. Christ's bearing of our sins, by a frequent Hebraism in Scripture, is to bear the punishment due to our sins, and not to bear the intrinsical blot of our sins, 239. How Christ is in our place, 241. How the debtor and the surety be one in law, and not intrinsically one, 243. A perplexed conscience in a good sense is lawfully consistent with a justified sinner's condition, 245. A conditional fear of eternal wrath required in the justified, but not an absolute fear, and yet trouble of mind for the indwelling of sin is required, 246. 


The conscience, in Christ, is freed from sin, that is, from actual condemnation, but not from incurring God's displeasure by the breach of a law, if the believer sin, 248. I am to believe the remission of these same very sins, which I am to confess with sorrow, 251. How the conscience is freed from condemnation, and yet not from God's displeasure for sin, 251. Eight cases of conscience resolved from the former doctrine, 251. To be justified is a state of happiness, most desirable, illustrated from the eternity of the debt of sin, 254. The smallest and worst things of Christ are incomparably above the most excellent things on earth, illustrated in six particulars, 257. What must Christ himself be, when the worst things of Christ are so desirable? 261. The excellency of Christ further illustrated, and the foulness of our choice evidenced, 262. How to esteem Christ, illustrated, in four grounds, 263. Degrees of persons younger and older in grace, in our Lord's house, 265. Christ's family is a growing family, 267. God bringeth great and heavenly works out of the day of small things, 268. We are to deal tenderly with weak ones, upon six considerations, 271. 


The prevalency of instant prayer put forth upon God in eight acts, 272. Prayer moveth and stirreth all wheels in heaven and earth, 272. Five things concerning faith, 278. There is a preparation going before faith, 278. There is no necessary connection between preparations going before faith, and faith, 279. Affections going before faith, and following after, differ specifically, and not gradually only, 279. All are alike unfit for conversion, 280. Some nearer conversion than others, 281. Three grounds or motives of believing, 28l. Glory, and Christ, the hope of glory, strong motives of believing, 282. Faith's object the marrow of God's attributes, to speak so, 283. Faith a catholic grace required in all our actions natural and civil, as well as spiritual, 284. Christianity how an operous work, 285. The six ingredients of faith, 286. Faith turneth all our acts which are terminated on the creature, into half non-acts, 288. Faith hath five notes of difference in closing with the promise, 293. Literal knowledge worketh as a natural agent, 296. Warrant of applying set down in five positions, 299. Eight ingredients of a counterfeit faith, 308. 


Thirteen works, or ingredients of a strong faith, and how to discern a weak faith, 306. Strong praying a note of strong faith, 306. 2nd, Instant pleading a note also, 307. Strength of grace required in believing, 307. Christ rewardeth grace with grace, 308. How grace beginneth all supernatural acts, 308. There is a promising of bowing and predeterminating grace made to supernatural acts, yet so as God reserveth his own liberty: 1st, How, 2nd, When, 3rd, In what measure he doth co-operate with the believer in these acts, 308. Four reasons why grace in the work of faith must begin, and so begin as we are guilty in not following, 311. Grace is on the saints, and to them, but, glory is on them, but not to them, 312. Grace to an angel necessary to prevent possible sins, 313. 3rd, Note of a strong faith, Not to be broken with temptations, 314. 4th, Faith staying on God without light of comfort a strong faith, 315. The fewer externals that faith needeth, the stronger it is within, 315. Comforts are externals to faith, 317. Some cautions in this, that some believe strongly without the help of comforts, 317. Reasons why divers of God's children die without comfort, 317. 


The more of the word and the less of reason the stronger faith is, 318. 6th, A faith that can forego much for Christ is a strong faith. 320. 7th, It is a strong faith to pray and believe when God seemeth to forbid praying, 321. 8th, Great boldness argueth great faith, 371. 9th, To rejoice in tribulation, 322. 10th, to wait on with long patience, 322. 11th, A humble faith is a strong faith, 324. 12th, a strong desire of a communion with Christ, 324. 13th, Strength of working by love, argueth a strong faith, 325. A great faith is not free of doubtings, 327. Divers sorts of doubting opposite to faith. 327. Some doubting a bad thing in itself, yetper accidens, and in regard of the person, and concomitants, a good sign, and argueth sound grace, 328. Of a weak faith, 329. Negative adherence to Christ not sufficient to saving faith, 329. A suffering faith a strong faith, 331. Faith in regard of intention weak, may be strong in regard of extension, in three relations, 332. The lowest ebb of a fainting faith, 333. What of Christ remaineth in the lowest ebb of a fainting faith, 334. 


A stock of grace is within the saints: our grace is not all, and wholly in Christ though it be all from Christ, 337. The powers of the soul remain whole in conversion, 338. The stock of grace is to be warily kept, 338. Four things are to be done, to keep the stock without a craze, 339. The tenderness of, Christ's heart, and strength of love toward sinners, 341. Christ strong in moral acts, and strongly moderate in natural acts: the contrary is in natural men, 341. Christ's motion of tender mercy, as it were natural, 343. How mercy worketh eternally, and secretly, and underground even under a bloody dispensation, 344. Judgment on the two kingdoms except they repent, 345. A rough dispensation consistent with tenderness of love in our Lord, 346. Free love goeth before our redemption, 348. Christ loveth the persons of the elect, but hateth their sins, 348 A twofold love of God, one of good will to the person, another of complacency to his own image in the person, 349. No new love in God, 350. Objections of Mr. Denne the Antinomian answered, 350. What it is to be under the law, 352. How God loveth us before time, and how he now loveth us in time, 354. By faith and conversion our state is truly changed before God, 356. To be justified by faith, is not barely to come to the knowledge that we are justified before we believe, 359. Justification not eternal, 360. Faith is not only given for our joy and consolation; but also for our justification, both in our own soul and before God, 363. There is no warrant in Scripture for two reconciliations; one of man's reconciliation to God, and another of God's reconciliation to man, 366. Christ's merits, no cause, but an effect of God's eternal love, 366. What reconciliation is, 366. Joy without all sorrow for sin, no fruit of the kingdom of God, 367. The seeing of God, Heb. 12:14, and the kingdom, 1 Cor. 6; John 3:3, not the kingdom of grace, but of glory, 368. All acts of blood and rough dealing in God to his own acts of mercy, 368. 


Omnipotency hath influence, on, 1st, Satan. 2nd, Diseases. 3rd, Stark death. 4th, On life itself. 5th, Mother-nothing. 6th, On all creatures, 371. Obediential power in the creation, what it is, 372. Omnipotency is (as it were) a servant to faith, 374. We worship a dependent God, 375. We have need of the Devil and other temptations for our humiliation. 377. Immediate mercies, are the sweetest mercies; cleared, 1st, In Christ. 2nd, Grace. 3rd, Glory. 4th, Comfort. 5th, The rarest of God's works, 378. The deceitfulness of our confidence, when God and the creature are joined in one work, 385. 


Christ in four relations hath dominion over devils, 389. Satan goeth nowhere without a pass, 390. We often sign Satan's conditional pass, 391. A renewed will is a renewed man, 393. Eight positions concerning the will and affections, 393. A civil will is not a sanctified will, 393. The yielding of the soul to God, and to his light, a special note of a renewed will, 393. Affections sanctified, especially desires, 395. The less mixture in the affections, the stronger are their operations, 395. Mind and affections do reciprocally vitiate one another, 396. Spiritual desires seek natural things, spiritually: Carnal desires seek spiritual things, naturally, 396. God submitteth his liberality of grace, to the measure of a sanctified will, in four considerations, 397. Our affections, in their acts and comprehension, are far below spiritual objects, Christ and heaven, 397. More in Christ and heaven, than our faith can reach in this life, 398. 


Satan not cast out of a land or a person, but by violence, both to Satan and the party; amplified in four considerations, 400. False peace known, 402. A roaring and a raging devil, is better than a calm and a sleeping devil, 402. God's way of hardening, as it is mysterious, so is it silent and invisible, 404. 

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