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as they are understood and seen to be there revealed. Such of these as relate to the perfections, authority, and glory of God, with our relations and accountableness to him, the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, a future judgment, and eternal happiness or misery; when set before the soul by that 6 faith, which is the evidence of things not seen," suited to call forth awful reverential fear of God, and of his holy heart-searching presence, dread of his wrath, regard to his will, sorrow for sin, humiliation, and abhorrence of evil. The realizing belief of those truths, which more especially relate to the gospel, is equally calculated to excite a lively hope of merey ; a purifying, establishing, yea triumphant, expectation of heavenly felicity; ardent longings after spiritual blessings, counterbalanced with jealous fears of coming short of them; admiring, adóring, grateful love; zeal for the honour of God, and the success of true religion; proportionable disregard to temporal interests or losses, pains or pleas: ures, honour or dishonour; unfeigned and fervent love of our brethren and neighbours, and even of our most embittered enemies; and still deeper self-abasement and hatred of all sin.
These affections, when vigorous and permanent, being connected with a firm dependence on the promises of the new covenant, and maintained in exercise by.“ com
munion with the Father, and with his Son Jesus
Christ,” through the sacred influences of the Holy Spirit, 'are fully adequate to the ends for which they were intended; and cannot but impel and constrain the lively believer to the most self-denying and devoted obedience, and the most persevering patience in suffering for the sake of Christ and the gospel. Hence originated all those extraordinary actions of zealous obedience, courageous firmness, and unwearied endurance which the Scriptures record, and which have appeared in the character and conduct of saints and martyrs in, every age of the church. And upon diligent and patient-investigation it will be found, that this view of faith consolidates, as it were, and harmonizes, the whole of what the oracles of God teach us on these subjects; so that precepts, doctrines, promises, threatenings, exhortations, invitations, cautions, and delineations of character, all here meet in full agreement.
Man is justly condemned for breaking the holy and good law of his Creator, and for being an enemy to him in his heart. The way of reconciliation and recovery is provided in Emmanuel's Person and redemption, to the praise of the glory of God. All who truly believe are fully pardoned and justified, and shall be eternally saved: this faith is the effect of regeneration, and results from spiritual life; it implies true repentance in its very essence; it works by love of God and man; it purifies the heart and overcomes the world; it gradually forms the character, regulates the temper and passions, influences the words and actions, and thus, through the continued agency of the Holy Spirit, renders the believer fruitful and zealous in all good works.
“ In Christ Jesus nothing availeth, but faith that work“eth by love;"_" nothing availeth but a new crea“ ture.” “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision " is nothing; but the keeping of the commandments of “ God"." According to the view given above, these several propositions perfectly coincide. The new creature exercises faith that worketh by love; and “this is “ the love of God that we keep his commandments, and “ his commandments are not grievous.” the divine Saviour, “ that hath my commandments and
keepeth them; he it is that loveth me.” my friends, if
do whatsoever I command you.' And St. John “ And this is my commandment,
that ye love one another as I have loved you." “ This “ commandment have we from him, that he who loveth “ God love his brother also. If St. James says,
« Faith without works is dead;" St. Paul plainly teaches that no faith availeth, except that which worketh by love. And when the former enquires, “ Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when “ he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?” he answers his own question by adding, « Seest thou how
“ He” says
66 Ye are
si Cori vii. 19. Gal. v, 6. vi. 15.
“ faith wrought by his works, and by works was faith “ made perfect: and the Scripture was fulfilled which “ saith, Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to “ him for righteousness, and he was called the friend of
The question to be resolved, in the decision of every man's doom at the day of judgment, according to numerous Scriptures, must be this, * Was he a believer in • Christ or not?'- If any one profess faith in Christ, it will be enquired, “ Whether his faith were living or dead?' • Whether or not it wrought by love of Christ, and of • his brethren for Christ's sake? As a man's actions, when the whole shall be disclosed, determine this point, so will his sentence be: while the degree of the unbeliever's guilt will fix the measure of his punishment; and the believer will be graciously recompensed in proportion to his fruitfulness. This seems to elucidate and harmonize all the representations given us of this infinitely momentuous concern. The holy Judge himself hath solemnly warned his professed disciples on this all-important subject, when with unspeakable dignity he declares, "Not
every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter " into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the “ will of my Father which is in heaven.—Many will say “ unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophe“ sied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out de“ vils ? and in thy name done many wonderful works? “ And then will I profess unto you, I never knew you, “ Depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore “ whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth “ them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built “ his house upon a rock. And the rain descended, and “ the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon “ that house, and it fell not; for it was founded upon
a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of
mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a “ foolish man which built his house upon the sand: and " the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds
James ii, 14-26.
“ blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell, and great
the fall of it.” The wise man doubtless is the true Christian; his faith is living and obedient; thus he builds aright on the only sure Foundation, and raises a permanent structure, which all the storms of life and death shall assail in vain. But many foolish men, professing to build on the tried Foundation which God hath laid, are either misled by erring guides, or mistake the instructions and slight the warnings of wise master-builders: thus they deceive themselves with notions, and with a dead faith ; their presumptuous confidence and disobedient profession will make way for the awful fall of their fair but baseless edifice, in the great decisive day; and unutterable astonishment, anguish, and despair will seize upon them, when the frowning Judge shall leave them speechless, while with an awful frown he will say, “ I never knew you, Depart from all
workers of “ iniquity.”
Whether therefore, we consider the Author and Origin of saving faith, its invariable attendants, its essential nature, or its distinguishing effects, we find unanswerable proof that it is a holy exercise of the rational soul; that it has its especial seat in the heart ; that it receives the light of heavenly truth in holy love; and that it employs that light to invigorate and call forth into action all spiritual affections, and to render the believer "holy “ in all manner of conversation.” But if each view of saving faith, considered separately, demonstrate its holy nature: how powerful and overbearing is the evidence, when we collect all these converging rays into one focus, and estimate the force of these several arguments united together!. If this do not convince the reader; but he will yet contend that justifying faith is the mere assent of the understanding partially enlightened, and the reluctant consent of an unhumbled unholy heart, as terrified by the report of vengeance, to sue for mercy ,
of which it feels no real need; and yet that this selfish unholy faith sanctifies the soul, and produces most excellent fruit in the life! Or that true faith is neither the one, nor the other of these, but something between that
can neither be defined nor described; he must retain his opinion, and be left as inaccessible to argument. Some may indeed question, whether he do not verge to the honest but absurd exclamation of an ancient zealot, . Cre
do, quia impossibile est :' (I believe, because it is impossible:) and, whatever favourable opinion we may form of his heart, we must again affirm that it is impossible for him to “ give a reason of the hope that is in him.”But if any one, allowing in general the truth of those things that have been stated concerning saving faith, should yet feel some hesitation about the use of the word holy in this connexion: the author will hold no controversy with him on this point. Provided the essential and unspeakably important distinction between living and dead faith were unreservedly allowed, and given its due prominence in the views and discourses of christians and ministers; the rest would be in great measure a verbal controversy, from which every wise man would turn to more pleasant and profitable employments.
Some Reasons assigned for insisting on the holy Nature
of saving Faith.
Ir may probably be enquired by the reader, why we bestow so much pains to prove the holy nature of saving faith ; seeing we allow that the sinner makes no use of this holiness as an encouragement, and indeed seldom notices it, in his first applications to Christ for salvation ? To this question I would answer,
I. It is in order to induce Christians, and especially ministers, to use the scriptural method of preventing men froin deceiving themselves. It will be found at the great decisive day, that nothing has more conduced to quiet nominal Christians in impenitence and unbelief, than a groundless persuasion that they do indeed repent and believe. The laboured arguments therefore, of the pre