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Remarks on Duty Faith
by John Foreman

The following is an excerpt from the work DUTY FAITH by a eighteenth century English Baptist named John Forman. This is just a small quote that deals with two aspects of duty faith that we believed to be of importance. Lord willing we hope to hav more quotes from this work by this servant of God from a bygone generation.

Implications of faith unto salvation being the natural man's duty.

The two words law and faith are very comprehensive, systematical terms; very different in their nature, and occupying perfectly distinct premises. The law occupies the entire premises and dominion of death through sin; and faith occupies the entire premises of life and salvation, by divine promise, through the blood and righteousness of the Son of God. So that we may observe, that as faith cannot be separated from any part of its connection and interest, then,

First-If faith unto salvation be the natural man's duty, then it must be the natural man's duty to be all that the actual believer, through grace unto salvation, really and properly is. And then it must be the natural man's duty to be of God's chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world - to be of the predestinated unto the adoption of sons - to be of the foreknown predestinated to be conformed to the image of the Son, to be called, to be justified, and to be glorified - to be a vessel of mercy afore prepared unto glory-to be redeemed by the blood of Christ- to be born of the Spirit- to be quickened together with Christ- to be God's own workmanship of new creation in Christ Jesus-to be of God's own will begotten with the word of truth- to be a a kind of first fruits of His creatures-to be a saint in Christ Jesus, to be an heir of God and joint heir with Jesus Christ-to be loved of God with an everlasting love-to be ordained not unto wrath, but to obtain salvation Lord Christ - to be made meet by God the Father to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light - to be loved of Christ and washed from sin in his own blood - to be by Christ made a king and a priest unto God to reign with him for ever, and to be kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation. All this, the real believer, through grace unto salvation is, and by the riches of grace is most mercifully made to be; so that a man cannot be a believer unto salvation without being all this by grace; and so all this must be the natural man's duty to be, if faith unto salvation be his duty.

Second-If faith unto salvation be the natural man's duty, then it must be the natural man's duty to have all what the actual believer through grace unto salvation truly and properly has, according to the word of God. And then it must be the natural man's duty to have the fear of God put in the heart, and his law written in the inward parts, by the Lord's own hand, according to his promise to his own, Jer 32:40 - to have the hope of the promise, the hope of God's calling, the hope laid up in heaven, the hope of righteousness, the hope of eternal life, the good hope through grace, the hope of glory - to have the faith of God's elect, the faith of the operation of God, the faith that is not of man or of works, but God's gift only, the common faith of the household of God, and to be of that household; the faith that is the pledge, earnest, title deed and note-of-hand substance of all things hoped for on the promise of God to the heirs of salvation - to have the heritage of them that fear the Lord - to have the seed of God in the soul which the wicked one toucheth not - to have redemption in Christ - to have fellowship with God - to have the Holy Spirit as a teacher and leader into all truth, as a testifier and glorifier of Jesus, and as a comforter dwelling in and with the soul - to have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ - to have an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven - to have a name written in It -even by the hand of electing love, in the Lamb's book of life by the hand of redeeming love, and in the book of life by the hand of quickening love - to have the he heart by the Holy Ghost - to have love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost-to have that repentance and remission of sins that Christ as a Prince exalted to give and to have all the fruits of the Spirit - to have a mansion prepared-the house of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens to inherit all things at the last, and to have a crown of life, righteousness and glory laid up against that day. All this, by divine favor, is the happy lot, property and portion, of all those who through grace do believe unto salvation; and if faith unto salvation he the duty of the natural man, then it must be the duty of the natural man to possess and enrich himself with all this divine property of faith, by sacred promise given to the chosen, redeemed, adopted, and consequent believing heirs of salvation.

Third- If It be the natural man's duty to believe unto salvation, then it must be the natural man's duty for God himself to be to him all what by promise and gift he is to those who through grace do believe unto salvation; and then it must be the natural man's duty for the eternal God to be to him a covenant God - a Redeemer - a Shepherd - a Savior - a Preserver - a Comforter - a Rock, Refuge, Sun, Shield, High Tower, Horn of Salvation, and Strength - the God of all grace - a Guide - a Father and portion for ever. All this the Lord is to them who through grace do believe unto salvation; and all this is by promise inseparable from believing unto salvation; and it must consequently be the natural man's duty for God to be all this to him by promise, if faith unto salvation be his duty.

Fourth-If it be the natural man's duty to believe unto salvation, then it must be the natural man's duty for God to do for him, and give to him, all what by promise he does and gives to those who through grace do really believe unto salvation. And so it must be the natural man's duty for God to give him eternal life - to pardon all his sins, put away his iniquities, cleanse him from all unrighteousness, and give him peace - to bless him with all spiritual blessings in Christ - to hold him safe in his hand - to keep him as the apple of his eye - to instruct him in the way that he should go, and guide him with his eye - to make to him all crooked things straight, and rough places plain-and work together for his good in glory by to see that all his wants are supplied out of his riches in glory by Christ Jesus-to hold him in that safety so as that nothing shall separate him from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus- to give him the kingdom of heaven and a crown of life there forever. This the Lord does and gives to those who through grace believe unto salvation; and if it be the duty of the natural man to believe then it must be his duty to secure all this to himself, by the promise of it all, made to them who through grace do believe unto salvation. The above may be considered pressing the point beyond its due measure, but if faith as the root be a duty, every inseparable branch trust consequently be included as the one, according to the Scriptures, cannot be without the other.

Fifth -If duty faith were a truth, it must have some meaning with God in regard to salvation; and such -a meaning too, as if it were the universal duty of all men, wherever the gospel comes, to believe unto salvation, then salvation would be as universal as the spread of the gospel, if all men did but do their ditty. And the great reason at last why salvation is not as universal as the spread of the gospel, will be because all men did not do their duty. And so salvation finally, will not be so extensive as it might have been, if all men had but done their duty; nor so extensive as it ought to have been, if all men ought as their duty to have believed unto salvation; nor so extensive as God himself expected, if, as a duty, he expected all men where the gospel came to believe unto salvation. This brings all the counsels, purposes, covenant settlements, revealed truths, promises, and acts of the grace of God unto salvation, into immediate subjection to, and a waiting for the duty of man; and that too in such a way, as that the duty of man, and not the good pleasure of God's will, shall and must determine the final issue of the whole! I can make nothing more or less than this, of the duty of all, where the gospel comes, to believe unto salvation. Nor can I make any thing more or less than this of your answer to Mr Wright's Letter in the Primitive Church Magazine. But, in my view, this is as opposite to every Bible truth, to every thing in the name and nature of the grace of God, to every thing belonging to the great and gracious name of God which he will have glorified, and to the nature of lost man's condition, in relation to the eternal salvation of souls, as darkness is to light, and as Belial is to Christ: see Rom 9:15,16,18,23, 24; 11: 5-7; Isaiah 66:8; John 1:13; John 15:16; Pro. 19:21; John 10:26. And how any man can hold the above ideas of duty faith unto salvation, and have the countenance at the same time to profess to hold election, and particular redemption, and for the real sight of, and entry into, the kingdom dispensability of regeneration, or the agency of the Holy Ghost, I am I cannot make it out.

Duty faith fights against God's gospel

Perhaps it will be said that duty faith, as held by those who embrace it, is but one among many glorious points of Bible truth and doctrine which they hold, and, therefore, not of sufficient importance to divide about. But I must say, from thirty years' observation, that whatever other doctrines are held in connection with it, I have always seen that duty faith is leaven that leavens the whole lump. And that as a disease is contrary to the health, and alters the natural figure and countenance of a person, until he looks not at all like the man of his name; even so is duty faith contrary to the very spirit, healthy fullness, richness, freeness, harmony, and beauty of every truth by which salvation by grace only is revealed and declared, until the whole countenance of gospel truth is altered thereby, and made of doubtful appearance as to which takes the greatest share, man's duty or the grace of God in the salvation of a sinner.

To my apprehension, duty faith is no part of the moral law or covenant, equitably instituted on the day of creation, between God the creator and man the creature. it is no part of, nor any way belongs to the covenant of grace with Christ for the chosen seed, or to the law of the Spirit of life in him, Heb 13:20; Rom 8:2. And so it is neither a doctrine of the law nor of the gospel, but a muddling denial of the true spirit of both, agreeing with neither. Because it is opposed to the spirit of the doctrine of God's foreknowledge and purpose of election before time, it is opposed to the proper suretyship of Christ, to his real and proper redemption, to the plainly stated fact that the saved by grace are the bought with a price, and to the settled imputation of the Savior's righteousness as the only way of a sinner's justification of life. It is opposed to the Holy Spirit's divine agency in the economy of triune grace, as being the only quickening power by which the sinner first comes into the life of godliness, the natural man is made a spiritual man* to understand and receive the things of the Spirit, and the carnal man has his enmity smitten to the ground, and he reconciled to God by the peace-making, peace-speaking and pardoning-love-declaring blood of Christ. It is opposed to the truth of the real state of the sinner in his state, as that of bring really dead in sin till actually quickened by he power of the Holy Ghost; for death under the law, and duty to have the very life of God's favor, can never be made to agree; and, indeed, duty faith appears to put every thing out of order and agreement, in relation to the salvation of lost sinners, and the display of divine favor.

And so we may observe, that between parties in a matter of duty, the obligee acts first, as must be the case in duty faith, for duty faith to mean any thing at all; but in a matter of favor, the benefactor acts first, as is the stated fact in the sacred word, in every named case and character of personal faith unto salvation.

Man should be the author and finisher of his own faith, if faith unto salvation be the natural man's duty; but Christ alone is the only author and finisher of faith, and of all the saving faith known in the word of God.

For faith unto salvation to be the duty of the natural man, it must be by man produced from human nature; but the only true and precious faith unto salvation known in the word of God, is obtained through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 1:1.

For faith unto salvation to be the natural man's duty it must be man's duty to believe unto salvation previous to the new birth; but the word of God puts believing unto salvation after the new birth, as a spiritual consequent of it, saying, 'But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on his name; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, John 1:12,13. The word of God makes previous secret relation and interest in grace to be the cause of personally believing unto salvation, John 10:26; avows a denial of this, and makes believing to be the pose of relation and interest unto salvation.

God himself was the author of all the difference in which Israel from other nations, and did himself put a difference between Israel and Egypt, Ex 11:7; but duty faith goes to say that it was the duty of all nations to be exactly what the Lord by choice and favor made Israel to be, and that it was the Egyptian's duty not to allow, but -at once to destroy the difference which God himself had put between them and Israel.

God 'called Abraham out alone, and blessed him,' Isaiah 11:2; but duty faith goes to say, that it was the duty of all the rest of themselves to have come and been as blest.

Duty faith, to be properly named, should be called the faith of all men; but the only faith unto salvation known in the word of God, is the faith of God's elect; according to which faith Paul was made an apostle, Tit 1:1.

*Publisher's Note. Yes, speaking in broad terms. Strictly speaking, the old man of sin, the old nature, remains so, and does not become spiritual. The Holy Spirit, at regeneration, creates a new nature, the new man of grace that which is spiritual. Thus there are two opposing natures in the believer.

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