Because faith is the most receptive grace, it proves to be most fit for the needy condition of the creature. Other graces are more operative, but faith is most receptive. It is the right hand of the soul, to take in the fullness of Jesus Christ.
Nature liveth upon alms, and the continued bounty and supplies of heaven, since the fall; and therefore those graces are most serviceable that are most receptive. Love giveth, but faith taketh. All God’s stars shine with a borrowed light. We are beggars now, rather than workers. The blessing of life is not in ourselves, but in Christ.
Faith standeth in a passive receptiveness to take the conveyances of grace: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son hath not life” (1 John 5:12). It is all in having Christ. We must be beholden to another. God will trust us no more with the keeping of it, but hath placed our support in Jesus Christ. Our safety is like the ivy, or those weaker strings that are strengthened by cleaving about the oak. Now faith serveth for that, for relying on Christ to clothe us with his righteousness.
Adapted from The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, 3:435.