Skip to content

Bishop Jeremy Taylor: “Signs of True Faith”

March 24, 2010

As profitable reading for Lent, this excerpt from Holy Living by Bishop Jeremy Taylor, “Signs of True Faith”, is quite good:

Signs of true Faith.

1. An earnest and vehement prayer: for it is impossible we should heartily believe the things of God and the glories of the gospel, and not most importunately desire them. For everything is desired according to our belief of its excellency and possibility.

2. To do nothing for vain-glory, but wholly for the interests of religion and these articles we believe; valuing not at all the rumours of men, but the praise of God, to whom, by faith, we have given up all our intellectual faculties.

3. To be content with God for our judge, for our patron, for our Lord, for our friend; desiring God to be all in all to us, as we are, in our understanding and affections, wholly his.

Add to these:

4. To be a stranger upon earth in our affections, and to have all our thoughts and principal desires fixed upon the matters of faith, the things of heaven. For, if a man were adopted heir to Caesar, he would (if he believed it real and affective) despise the present, and wholly be at court in his father’s eye; and his desires would outrun his swiftest speed, and all his thoughts would spend themselves in creating ideas and little fantastic images of his future condition. Now God hath made us heirs of his kingdom, and co-heirs with Jesus: if we believed this, we should think, and affect, and study accordingly. But he that rejoices in gain, and his heart dwells in the world, and is espoused to a fair estate, and transported with a light momentary joy, and is afflicted with losses, and amazed with temporal persecutions, and esteems disgrace or poverty in a good cause to be intolerable – this man either has no inheritance in heaven, or believes none; and believes not that he is adopted to the son of God — the heir of eternal glory.

5. St. James’s sign is the best: ‘Show me thy faith by thy works.’ Faith makes the merchant diligent and venturous, and that makes him rich. Ferdinando of Arragon believed the story told him by Columbus, and therefore he furnished him with ships, and got the West Indies by his faith in the undertaker. But Henry the Seventh of England believed him not, and therefore trusted him not with shipping, and lost all the purchase of that faith. It is told us by Christ, ‘He that forgiveth shall be forgiven:’ if we believe this, it is certain we shall forgive our enemies; for none of us all but need and desire to be forgiven. No man can possibly despise, or refuse to desire such excellent glories as are revelaed to them that are servants of Christ; and yet we do nothing that is commanded us as a condition to obtain them. No man could work a day’s labour without faith; but because he believes he shall have his wages at the day’s or week’s end, he does his duty. But he only believes who does that thing which other men, in like cases, do when they do believe. He that believes money gotten with danger is better than poverty with safety, will venture for it in unknown lands or seas; and so will he that believes it better to get to heaven with labour, than to go to hell with pleasure.

6. He that believes does not make haste, but waits patiently till the times of refreshment come, and dares trust God for the morrow, and is no more solicitous for the next year than he is for that which is past; and it is certain that man wants faith who dares be more confident of being supplied, when he hath money in his purse, than when he hath it only in bills of exchange from God; or that relies more upon his own industry than upon God’s providence when his own industry fails him. If you dare trust to God when the case, to human reason, seems impossible, and trust to God then also out of choice, not because you have nothing else to trust to, but because he is the only support of a just confidence, then you give a good testimony of your faith.

7. True faith is confident, and will venture all the world upon the strength of its persuasion. Will you lay your life on it, your estate, your reputation, that the doctrine of Jesus Christ is true in every article? Then you have true faith. But he that fears men more than God, believes men more than he believes in God.

8. Faith, if it be true, living, and justifying, cannot be separated from a good life; it works miracles, makes a drunkard become sober, a lascivious person become chaste, a covetous man become liberal; ‘it overcomes the world-it works righteousness, and makes us diligently to do, and cheerfully to suffer, whatsoever God hath placed in our way to heaven.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: