Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.…
I. THE OBJECT IS SOMETHING NOT SEEN. Things unseen are not only such things as are invisible, and such as cannot be received by the eye, but also such as are not perceivable by any of our senses. Neither are things insensible meant, but such as are above the reach of reason. So that things unseen are such as are neither perceivable by the sense nor reason, so as to have either an intuitive or demonstrative knowledge of them. These are such as are conveyed to the soul by Divine revelation, without which man could not have known them; and such propositions as the connection of the terms depend upon the will of God.
II. FAITH IS THE EVIDENCE OF THESE THINGS UNSEEN; because we, having a certain knowledge of God's veracity, and His revelation of these things, are as certainly persuaded of the truth of them; and give as firm assent unto them as if they were seen and intuitively and demonstratively known unto us. Yet here you must consider —
1. That though the things and propositions be above reason, yet this persuasion or firm assent and this certain knowledge of the Divine revelation are acts of reason, and in the book of reason are they written.
2. That this object is of greater latitude than the former. For things hoped for, which are to come, are not seen; and not only they, but many things past and present.
3. That the things not seen in this place are not all things not seen, but such as God hath revealed to be the matter and object of our Divine faith.
4. That though substance and evidence may differ, yet both are a firm assent; but in respect of the things hoped for, may include a firm confidence and a certain expectation; for in respect of that object, that assent is more practical than this evidence which respects things unseen; so that here wants but little of a perfect definition.
5. The faith here defined is Divine faith in general, not that which is called justifying as justifying, for that is but a particular branch of this general, looking at a particular object, which is Christ's sacrifice and His intercession.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.