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in your hearts toward the blessed Redeemer, it was indeed the gift of God. His Spirit first enlightened your benighted understandings to discern the things of your everlasting peace. His spirit first convinced you of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. His Spirit first bowed your will in submission to God's will. His Spirit first led you to sincere repentance for all your guilt, and to embrace Jesus Christ as your only Saviour and your only hope. And your experience also, my fellow-sinners, who are yet strangers to Christ, your experience will testify, that without the influences of God's Spirit upon your hearts you must remain his enemies, and have no share in the benefit of his Son's death. Else, why is it that you continue to rejett this Saviour ; you who are so convinced of the shortness and vanity of human life of the certainty of death, judgment and eternity-of the awful realities of heaven and of hell-and of the truth of God's most solemn declaration," He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him ? Why is it that, in spite of all that has been done for your salvation ; in contempt of those doctrines of the Cross, which have been so often proclaimed within your hearing, and the truth of which you hesitate to call in question ; in disregard too of your own best good ;-why is it that you still reject the Saviour ? It is because his Spirit is necessary to renovate your hearts, and to lead you to believe on him. Be convinced, I pray you, of this humbling, yet salutary truth ; and let us all look,
without further delay, unto Jesus as the Author of our faith, because he alone can produce this grace within us, through the influences of the Holy Spirit.
II. I proceed to consider in what respects Jesus is the Finisher of our faith.
1. Jesus is the Finisher of our faith, because he is now accomplishing, and will continue to accomplish, those events, in the economy of God's government, which are necessary to prepare the way for the consummation of his mediatorial work. Many of the objects of our faith, my brethren, are still future. We look forward to the universal diffusion of the religion of Jesus, and the complete establishment of his dominion through the earth ; to the resurrection of all men from the dead ; to the dissolution of this material world ; to the day of judgment, and to the retributions of eternity. Now how much remains to be done in the economy of God's government, to prepare the way for the ar-, rival of these grand and momentous events! That they will happen we do most firmly believe ; but we are not enough disposed to think of that Omnipotent Agent who is now guiding and controlling all the affairs of this lower world, with reference to the glorious consummation of his mediatorial work. It is Jesus Christ who is thus wielding the destinies of man, who is accomplishing those astonishing changes in the earth, which have of late so baffled the conjectures of politicians, so confounded the sagacity of the great, and filled all
men with awe and wonder. It is Jesus Christ who will go on to effect revolutions still more surprising ; to pull down and build up states and empires ; to punish nations for their sins; to eradicate the remains of ancient and cruel superstitions ; to enlighten and reform mankind; to animate the prayers, and concentrate the efforts, and knit together the affections, of those who have espoused his cause throughout the whole world; to heal the divisions and animosities of sects; and, through the instrumentality of his disciples, to make the influence of his doctrines universal among men.
It is Jesus Christ who will adorn the Church with its millennial lustre. It is Jesus Christ who will come in the glory of his Father to accomplish the dread solemnities of the final day. At his voice the sea, and death, and hell shall give up their dead. All men shall stand before his tribunal. At the breath of his mouth the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and vanish into their original nothingness. His lips, my brethren, will pronounce the eternal doom of each one of us : and as He sentences us, we shall either sink into the horrors of the infernal world, or rise with him to the joyful mansions of complete and unfading bliss. Let us look then, unto this Jesus, as the finisher of our faith, because he is now accomplishing, and will continue to accomplish, those events in the economy of God's ment, which are necessary to prepare the way for the consummation of his mediatorial work.
of God's govern
2. Jesus is the Finisher of our faith, because he continues to instruct us more fully in the doctrines of the Cross.-The Christian's faith is in one sense progressive. He is not at once enlightened into the knowledge of all the truths of the kingdom of God. “ By reason of use, his senses are exercised to discern both good and evil.” By embracing wider and wider views of religious truth, he“ leaves the principles of the doctrine of Christ, and goes on unto perfection.” He searches his Bible. He listens to the public ministrations of the word. He explores the recesses of his own heart. He looks back upon the experience of his past life. He scrutinizes the dispensations of Providence, He extracts from all these sources the richest food for his faith. He acquires a supply of heavenly manna ; and, nourished by it, he is continually growing up unto " a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." Now to whom is the Christian indebted for these various sources of improvement in the Divine life? Who is thus, by his providence and his word, casting a brighter and brighter light upon the Christian's path toward heaven, elevating his views more and more above the things which are seen and are temporal, and fixing them with intenser gaze upon the things which are not seen and are eternal ?" It is Jesus Christ, the Disposer of all events, the Shepherd of his own flock, the Head of his church, the King in Zion. To him, therefore, let us look, my brethren, as the Finisher of our faith ; because he continues
to instruct us more fully in the doctrines of the Cross.
Finally ; Jesus is the Finisher of our faith, because he confirms and invigorates this grace
within us by the influences of his holy Spirit, and will finally perfect it in the unclouded vision of the heavenly world. The kingdom of heaven in the heart of believers is like a grain of mustard seed; small in its origin; gradual in its growth, but all the while pushing upward to maturity ; unfolding its latent energy; and at last, when transplanted to the paradise above, displaying itself in complete luxuriance, and beauty, and perfection. Faith is this germ of all the Christian graces ; but how much Divine culture is necessary, ere it discloses its proper fruits ! Too often, the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke this seed, and it becomes unfruitful. Indeed, it would soon languish and die, did not the same hand which originally planted it in the believer's heart, continue to refresh it with the dews of Divine grace. Jesus Christ is careful not to forsake those whom the Father has given him. Having begun the good work of faith in the soul, he will carry it on unto perfection. Yes, Christians, notwithstanding your errors and sins ; notwithstanding your deplorable conformity to this world ; notwithstanding the injury you do to the cause of the Redeemer, by so ungratefully neglecting to act in all things as becomes his humble followers; notwithstanding the little you do for Him by whose blood you have