What is true repentance and faith like? Jonathan Dickinson answers this question with penetrating care. He reminds us that there is a form of repentance and faith that falls far short of salvation. Evangelical repentance shows itself in mourning over sin, love for God and His Law, and trust in His mercy. It is a daily exercise and results in a total change of life. Saving faith includes a sensible impression of gospel truth, an embrace of the terms of the gospel, a humble trust in Christ alone, submission to His Lordship, love to God and men, and real heart humility.
Jonathan Dickinson (1688-1747) was born in Hatfield, Massachusetts and was Princeton’s first President. He studied theology at Collegiate School of Connecticut, which later changed its name to Yale College and in 1709 he was ordained minister of the church in Elizabethtown (now Elizabeth), New Jersey. This church was originally Congregationalist, as was Dickinson, but because he felt a need for stronger ties with other churches in meeting the Church of England’s opposition to New Jersey dissenters, he persuaded his congregation in 1717 to change its form of government and place itself under the care of the Presbytery of Philadelphia. Dickinson became a leader of this presbytery and also of the higher ecclesiastical body of which it was a member, the Synod of Philadelphia, which twice elected him moderator. Dickinson served the Elizabethtown church all his life, ministering to his flock as pastor, lawyer, physician and, in later years, as an instructor of young men preparing for professional study.