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felt and admitted, the symptoms of our moral disease would be clearly comprehended, the extent of our obligations fully appreciated, and the difficulty of cherishing a lively faith in the truths of the Gospel satisfactorily explained.
But faith in Christ is something more than the heartfelt reception of God's testimony concerning our own characters, and of the way of salvation through Christ. It includes an entire confidence in Jesus as an Almighty Saviour, an humble reliance on him for spiritual blessings, and a sincere devotion to his service. This confidence, indeed, flows from faith, in God's testimony concerning the dignity of Christ's person—the suitableness of his offices—the sufficiency of his atonement—bis ability and willingness to save. When these truths are apprehended and embraced, Jesus is seen as worthy of implicit confidence. The sinner, crediting God's testimony concerning bimself, feels that he is in a perishing condition, is assured by the same authority that Christ can alone deliver him, and that he will not reject those who depend on bis merits-he relies on him for pardon, and trusts in him for strength.
Thus the whole soul rests on the Saviour_is bound to him by all the ties by which spirit can be linked to spirit, and Christ becomes all his salvation and all his desire. So thoroughly interwoven are all his feelings and hopes with the Saviour, that he may, without any figure of speech, be said to be one with him.
The same faith which embraces the class of truths to which we have above alluded, readily receives every other truth which God bas revealed. Under its operation the believer readily acknowledges, that all his commandments are holy, just, and good, and be abounds in all the fruits of righteousness, which are, by Jesus Christ, to the praise of his glorious grace. When you thus contemplate the charac- . ter of faith, the bold which it takes of Christ, and the influence which it exerts on the character and the life, you will perceive how it is that it is connected with eternal life. It
serves the soul as the hand does the body. It lays hold on Christ as the heavenly manna, and thus feeds on that bread, of which, if a man eat, be shall live for ever. And
will likewise perceive how, without it, you cannot be saved. You will appreciate the meaning of this solemn declaration “ He that believeth shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned."
IV. Attend, lastly, to the solemn practical question which
“ Believest thou this ?”. All the doctrines of the Gospel bave a practical tendency, and they cannot be sincerely believed without influencing the heart and the life. Our Saviour after unfolding his own character, and making the most precious discoveries to Martha, addresses to her this important question, and which we would now press on you. And recollect, it does not relate to a point of doubtful disputation, but to a matter involving your eternal interests. To assist you in answering it seriously, weigh the following considerations.
If you believe that Jesus is the Resurrection and the life,
1. You will live habitually under the animating hope of a blessed immortality. The influence of this hope is not only cheering, but purifying. It will steady your frail bark amid the tossings of adversity-support your sinking heart in the hour of dissolution, and enable you to lay down your body in the grave, in the certain anticipation of a glorious resurrection. Your ground of confidence is immovable if it rests on Christ. His omnipotent power can effect this — his immutable promise renders it certain, and his own resurrection is to you an inviolable pledge that it shall be accomplished. “ Christ is risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that sleep." With such an assurance as this, you can defy the scepticism of the infidel, and fearlessly
encounter all his affected scorn at your ennobling prospects and they You rejoice in the privileges of your second birth, and will predbe,"is strive to act in accordance with your immortal destiny. patay spen You will not allow yourselves to be cheated out of your relation bright anticipations by bis witty sneers. He may content that on this himself with annihilation as his hope, and be willing to lie away from down in the grave, and be imprisoned for ever in its gloom; the death but
your bosoms glow with the quenchless fires of a nobler 4 four ambition. You envy not his perishing pleasures, and shun kht sou his licentious indulgences. You anticipate a better portion,
"an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away." And you know that when Christ shall still came appear, ye shall be like bim, for you shall see him as he is. This hope will support you, as it has done millions, in the most trying circumstances. Cheered by it, you can
le your eyes on time, in the firm confidence that they will open halth on the ineffable glories of eternity.
2. Your faith in Christ as the resurrection and the life, will yield you abundant consolation when mourning over the loss of godly relatives. When those we love are torn from our embrace, and we are compelled to lay their inanimate bodies in the grave, how consolatory to know that they shall be “ raised in glory.” At that sad moment we cannot restrain our tears, nor does our holy Christianity demand from us the iron-heartedness of the Stoic. The tears of Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus, have for ever rendered sacred these graceful memorials of the honoured dead. But
do not sorrow as those who have no hope. While you behold their altered looks, their inanimate form, and their dissolving dust, you cherish the hope that ministering angels have borne their immortal spirits aloft to join the fellowship of the just made perfect. While you are clad in the weeds of mourning, and hearing the sighs of regret, they are arrayed in white robes, and mingling their hosannahs with the countless myriads around the throne. While you are sorrowful, they are re
joicing: could they be permitted to address you, their language would be, "weep not for us, but for yourselves and your children; spend not your time in idle grief, but work out your salvation with fear and trembling, that you may be united to us in this happy world, where all tears are for ever wiped away from every eye.” And if you live their life, and die their death, you shall enjoy their bliss and join their fellowship. Your parting was amid sighs, and tears, and 'sad farewells, but
shall meet in rapture never to be parted more. 3. If you
believe in Christ as the resurrection and the life, you will earnestly seek to obtain an interest in him, that your last moments may be cheered with the hope of a blessed immortality. How prone are we to neglect preparation for death and judgment, when in the vigour of life and the possession of health. The subject is too sombre in our estimamation for our joyous and busy hours. Innumerable objects more congenial to our tastes press themselves on our notice, and
lengross our hearts ! And yet, this is the only matter i really worthy our serious regard. All other concerns dwindle
into utter insignificancy when compared with this. It is the one thing needful. You may join the giddy multitude plunge into business-amass a fortune--secure honour and gain the plaudits of a misjudging world; but what will all these avail you when struggling with the king of terrors, and your immortal spirit is anxiously searching for some stay to bear it up in its passage through the dark valley of the shadow of death ? You know you must die, and that your want of preparation will not secure for you an extension of the term of life. Since these things are certain, ought you not to give your first and most earnest attention to obtain not only an interest in Christ, but also an assured conviction
your are ripening for heaven. Without this, you must. either die in utter insensibility-in deep agitating uncertainty, or in black despair. Be assured nothing else can sus
you, but a strong faith in Christ as the resurrection and the life, when your mortal tabernacle is dissolving. O, how wretched must be the condition of the unbeliever in this trying hour! Would you wish your departure to be like his ? Whatever may be your present state, I fancy I hear every one of
you saying, “ It is my prayer, ' let me die the death of the righteous, and let my latter end be like his."" But before your desires can be realized, you must have his faith, and hope, and piety. Without these, when you stand on the brink of eternity, your trembling spirit must, on quitting the body, plunge into the blackness of darkness for ever. then, believe in Christ, and you shall die in peace; believe in Christ, and you shall triumph over your last enemy; believe in Christ, and he will welcome your disembodied spirit into the realms of glory ; believe in Christ, and a voice from heaven shall proclaim over your lifeless clay,—“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth even for ever, saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labours and their works do follow them !"
Finally, Christians, let your faith in Christ, as the “resurrection and the life,” stimulate you to acts of holy obedience, and induce you to live as the heirs of a blessed immortality. With your animating hopes and glorious expectations, how absurd to harass yourselves with the cares of a perishing world, or to fret your spirits by mingling in the race of a vain ambition. Your home is in the skies, and there should you lay up all your treasures.
The traveller lavishes not his wealth in decorating the inn in which he is to lodge but for a night, expends not his strength in levelling the mountains which render his journey irksome, and burdens not himself with unnecessary encumbrances while he is on his way to his much loved home. There his affections rest, and to enjoy its sweets he endures toil and hardship without a murmur. Ye are professedly journeying to your Father's house. Set, then, your affections on the things that