John 17:20. – “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.”
Here is the object, Christ; the ground, warrant, and instrumental cause, and that is the word. The warrant must be distinguished from the object; the warrant is the word, and the proper object of faith is Christ, as considered in his mediatory office. Sometimes the act of faith is terminated on the person of Christ and sometimes on the promise, to show there is no closing with Christ without the promise and no closing with the promise without Christ; as in a contract there is not only a receiving of the lease or conveyance, but a receiving of lands by virtue of such a deed and conveyance. So there is a receiving of the word, and a receiving of Christ through the word; the one maketh way for the other, the promise for our affiance in Christ. Faith that assents to the promise doth also accept of Christ; there is an act terminated on his person. Faith is not assensus axiomati [assent to an axiom], a naked assent to the propositions of the word, but a consent to take Christ, that we may rely upon him, and obey him as an all-sufficient Saviour.