“The reason why we know so little of Jesus Christ, as our savior, atonement, and justification, why we are so destitute of that faith in him, which alone can change, rectify, and redeem our souls, why we live starving in the coldness and deadness of a formal, historical, hearsay-religion, is this; we are strangers to our own inward misery and wants, we know not that we lie in the jaws of death and hell; we keep all things quiet within us, partly by outward forms, and modes of religion and morality, and partly by the comforts, cares and delights of this world.
Hence it is that we consent to receive a savior, as we consent to admit of the four gospels, because only four are received by the church. We believe in a savior, not because we feel an absolute want of one, but because we have been told there is one, and that it would be a rebellion against God to reject him. We believe in Christ as our atonement, just as we believe, that he cast seven devils out of Mary Magdalene, and so are no more helped, delivered, and justified by believing that he is our atonement, than by believing that he cured Mary Magdalene.
“True faith, is a coming to Jesus Christ to be saved, and delivered from a sinful nature, as the Canaanitish woman came to him, and would not be denied. It is a faith of love, a faith of hunger, a faith of thirst, a faith of certainty and firm assurance, that in love and longing, and hunger, and thirst, and full assurance, will lay hold on Christ, as its loving, assured, certain and infallible savior and atonement.
“It is this faith, that breaks off all the bars and chains of death and hell in the soul; it is to this faith, that Christ always says, what he said in the gospel, “Thy faith hath saved thee, thy sins are forgiven thee; go in peace.” Nothing can be denied to this faith; all things are possible to it; and he that thus seeks Christ, must find him to be his salvation.
“On the other hand, all things will be dull and heavy, difficult and impossible to us, we shall toil all the night and take nothing, we shall be tired with resisting temptations, grow old and stiff in our sins and infirmities, if we do not with a strong, full, loving, and joyful assurance, seek and come to Christ for every kind, and degree of strength, salvation and redemption. We must come unto Christ, as the blind, the sick, and the leprous came to him, expecting all from him, and nothing from themselves. When we have this faith, then it is, that Christ can do all his mighty works in us.”
Characters & Characteristics, p.119-120