Skip to main content

A Treatise of Faith

Wherein is declared how a man may live by Faith, and find relief in all his necessities.

Archaic words and phrases updated to modern English

"A Treatise of Faith" by Ezekiel Culverwell (Recommended by RIchard Sibbes and William Gouge) is a deep exposition on living by faith and finding solace in the midst of life's adversities. Culverwell laments the lack of true understanding and application of faith among believers, noting that many fail to experience the fullness of life and joy that faith in Christ can bring. He observes that even amongst professed Christians, the certainty of salvation and consistent holy behavior, which should naturally emanate from genuine faith, are often lacking. This shortfall not only deprives individuals of personal comfort but also fails to inspire and influence others positively​​.

At the heart of the treatise is the assertion that all grace necessary for salvation is found in Christ alone and can only be accessed through faith. Culverwell explains that true saving faith is not merely an intellectual assent to the truths of the Gospel but involves a heartfelt reception of Christ, leading to a transformation that aligns one's life with God's will. This faith, he clarifies, is founded on the promises of God, revealed through His Word, ensuring that every soul has a firm foundation upon which to build their trust in God's mercy and salvation. He emphasizes the necessity of understanding and believing in the nature of God—His omnipotence, willingness to save, and faithfulness to His promises. Such understanding, he argues, is crucial in fortifying the believer's faith, especially during times of doubt and spiritual struggle​​.

Culverwell also addresses the misconception that faith can be self-generated, stressing that it is, in fact, a divine gift. While the Gospel offers salvation to all, the inherent corruption of humanity due to the Fall renders individuals incapable of receiving this grace on their own. It is only through the Holy Spirit that one's heart is inclined towards God, leading to genuine trust in Christ and His salvation. This divine intervention ensures that the glory of salvation is attributed entirely to God, leaving no room for human boasting. Culverwell's treatise, thus, not only guides the reader in understanding the true nature of faith but also underscores the sovereignty and grace of God in the salvation of humankind​​.

Ezekiel Culverwell (1553-1631) was an English clergyman and nonconformist thinker, notably active during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Graduating from Oxford with a BA in 1573 and an MA in 1577, he was ordained in Lincoln in 1585. Soon after, he served as a household chaplain at Leighs Priory in Essex. Culverwell was involved in the nonconformist ministerial conference around Braintree, which led to his suspension in 1587 by Bishop Aylmer due to disagreements over clerical attire. Despite these challenges, he was instituted to the rectory of Great Stambridge in Essex on 23 December 1592.

Culverwell's life was marked by his steadfast commitment to his beliefs, facing deprivation from his church position in 1609 under James I's reign, which sought conformity to the Church of England's practices. He moved to London after this, dedicating his time to writing influential works like "A Treatise of Faith" and "A Briefe Answere to Certain Objections Against the ‘Treatise of Faith’" in 1626.

His personal life included a second marriage to Winifred Hildersham in 1598, after little is known about his first wife. The latter years of his life were spent in widowhood after Winifred's death in 1613, and he was survived by his daughter, Sarah Barefoot, who was the executrix of his will made in July 1630. Ezekiel Culverwell was laid to rest in the parish of St Antholin on 14 April 1631.

Culverwell's work reflects the theological and religious concerns of his time, especially those related to the Puritan movement in England. Puritans sought to purify the Church of England from practices and doctrines they considered non-biblical. They emphasized personal piety, the authority of Scripture, and the importance of preaching and understanding God's word.

Despite the significance of his work, detailed biographical information about Ezekiel Culverwell is relatively scarce, and he is not as widely known as some of his contemporaries. However, his contributions, particularly "A Treatise of Faith," was highly regarded at his time and continue to be of interest to those studying Puritan theology and the development of Protestant thought in the 17th century.

Year of release
Table of contents

To All of God's People Who Have Benefited from My Ministry

To the Christian Reader by Richard Sibbes

To the Christian Reader by William Gouge

The First Part: A Treatise on Faith: Wherein it is explained how a person can live by faith and find relief in all their necessities

The Second Part of this Treatise: Containing a direction on how to apply God's promises to our particular occasions.

The Second General Head. To live by faith, namely, how we may be able to mortify our corrupt nature and overcome our special sins

The Third General Head: Of living by faith concerns holy duties.

The Fourth General Head: Of Living by Faith Concenring Afflictions

The Fifth General Head: Of Living by Faith, is for Earthly Blessings

The Sixth and Last General Head: Of living by Faith, is for Perseverance.