VIII. May true believers and elect persons entirely lose faith for a season?
VIII. May any man who has faith and retains it, arrive at such a moment, as, if he were then to die, he would be damned?
ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION
Since Election to salvation comprehends within its limits not only Faith, but likewise perseverance in Faith; and since St. Augustine says, |God has chosen to salvation those who he sees will afterwards believe by the aid of his preventing or preceding grace, and who will persevere by the aid of his subsequent or following grace; |believers and the elect are not correctly taken for the same persons. Omitting, therefore, all notice of the word |Election,| I reply, believers are sometimes so circumstanced, as not to produce, for a season, any effect of true faith, not even the actual apprehension of grace and the promises of God, nor confidence or trust in God and Christ; yet this is the very thing which is necessary to obtain salvation. But the apostle says, concerning faith, in reference to its being a quality and a capability of believing, |some, having cast away a good conscience concerning faith, have made shipwreck.|