THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FAITH AND SENSE
From a sermon by
Ebenezer Erskine on Song of Solomon 8:5
"Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness leaning upon her
Works of Ebenezer Erskine, Vol 2 (Free Presbyterian Publications, 2001),
Question. What is the difference between the life of faith and the life of
sense? . . .
1. Sense regards only what a man hath in hand, or presently enjoys; but
faith looks to what a man hath in Christ, and in the well ordered covenant.
Sense is like a child that is better pleased with a penny, or any little
trifle the parent gives it, than if he were giving it a charter to the whole
estate; but faith, although it will not despise any thing that comes from
the hand of the Father, yet it is particularly taken up with the charter of
the promise or covenant, and the estate lying in the hand of the great
covenant-head, Christ Jesus; it views the promise as it is "yea and amen in
Christ;" it views the covenant as confirmed by his death and blood, and
says, with David, "This is all my salvation that he hath made with me," in
my new covenant-head, "an everlasting covenant, well-ordered in all things,
2. Sense is ready to judge of the love of God by the aspect of Providence,
or his present carriage; and whenever he seems to frown or hide, it razes
all to the foundation, crying, "The Lord hath forgotten to be gracious;" but
faith reads the love of God in the face of Jesus Christ, in the acceptance
that the Surety has met with, and in the declarations, offers, promises of
the word: "In his word will I hope, (says faith); Remember the word upon
which thou hast caused thy servant to hope." Hence it follows,
3. Sense and sight is a variable and fluctuating thing; but faith is steady
and fixed, like Abraham, "who against hope believed in hope, and staggered
not at the promise through unbelief." . . .
Erskine (1680-1754) and his brother
Ralph were famous Presbyterian ministers in
Scotland, and close
friends of Thomas Boston. Their father was Henry Erskine, under whose
preaching the youthful Thomas Boston came to Christ.