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very great strangers to a sincere, sensible, and affectionate pouring out their hearts or souls to God; but even content themselves with a little lip-labour and bodily exercise, mumbling over a few imaginary prayers. When the affections are indeed engaged in prayer, then the whole man is engaged ; and that in such sort, that the soul will spend itself to nothing, as it were, rather than it will go without the good desired, even communion and solace with Christ. And hence it is that the saints have spent their strengths, and lost their lives, rather than go without the blessing. Psa. Ixix, 3. Psalm xxxvïi. 9, 10. Gen. xxxii. 24–26.
All this is too, too evident, by the ignorance, profaneness, and spirit of envy, that reign in the hearts of those men that are so hot for the forms, and not the power of praying: scarce one of forty among them know what it is to be born again, and to have communion with the Father, through the Son; to feel the power of grace sanctifying their hearts; but for all their prayers, they live cursed, drunken, whorish, and abominable lives; full of malice, envy, deceit, persecuting the dear children of God. Oh, what a dreadful after-clap is coming upon them! wbich all their hypocritical assembling of themselves together, with all their prayers, shall never be able to help them against, or shelter them from.
Now, to pray with the spirit, (for that is the praying man, and none else, so as to be accepted of God) is for a man, (as aforesaid) sincerely and sensibly, with affection, to come to God, through Christ, &c. which sincere, sensible, and affectionate coming, must be by the working of God's Spirit.
There is no man nor church in the world, that can come to God in prayer, but by the assistance of the Holy Spirit. For, through Christ, we all have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Eph, ii, 18.
Gives exercise to faith and love,
15th Link. Christian must not only pray, but he inust also believe in Him to whom he prays; for “ without faith it is impossible to please God; be that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of all them that diligently seek him.” Heb. xi. 6.
If any man lack wisdoin, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally, and upbraideth not; but let him ask in faith. James i. 6.
This, also, will be a working grace: bere is something for Christian to do. Faith is a key put into his hand : the door stands before him; John X. 9. to this door he is invited to come : Matt. xi. 28, &c, and in the very manner which has been laid down in the two preceding articles. This key, when rightly turned, will open! to his view all the mysteries of this world and of the world to come; all the mysteries of revelation; all the invisible things of God; yea, all those glorious realities, which "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered the heart of man to conceive."
Here, again, we fall upon the question; namely, bow far man iş getire, or in what sense he has the power of belering.
That man naturally possesses the faculty of believing certain things, upon proper evidence, and of disbelieving others, few persons will dispute. For instance: in the case of a jury. The judge lays down the law; the evidence on both sides the case is then produced, and as it affects the judgment or reason of the jury, so they believe or disbelieve it, and give their verdict accordingly,
Thus far man bas a natural power of believing.
Now although the soul, in conversion, undergoes a moral cbange, yet the mental faculties still remain the same, considered in themselves; the will is turned, but not fettered ; it is still free to choose or to refuse; the power to believe or disbelieve certain occurrences, remains the same; his reasoning powers are the same; consequently we find the language of scripture addressed to man as a being possessing those powers and faculties—of reasoning, of choosing and refusing, of believing or disbelieving ; and not as to a slave or a machine; as inay be clearly seen from the following passages :
He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark xvi. 16.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, might not perish, but have everlasting life.
He that believeth on bim is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. John ii. 14-19, 36.
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never bunger, and he that believeth on me shall never
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one that seeth the Son, and believeth on bim, may bave everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Verily verily I say unto you, he that believeth on me bath everlasting life. John vi. 35, 40, 47.
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Joho vii. 38.
Jesus said unto ber, I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall be live;
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die. Be lievest thou this ? John xi. 25, 26.
If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised bim from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
How then shall they call on him in whom they bave not believed! and how shall they believe in him, of whom they have not heard ! and how shall they hear without a preacher? Rom. x. 9, 10, 11, 13, 14.
So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by tbe word of God. Rom. x. 17.
From the multitude of authors, who have written upon this subject, we have selected the following:
This is the great and momentous word in Scripture, which hath given rise to endless disputes, and employed the minds of men in all ages to explain : and yet to thousands still remains as obscure as ever. But notwithstanding all that the bewildered and erroneous mind of man may say on faith, the scriptural account of faith is the simplest and plainest thing in the world. Faith is no more than the sincere and hearty assent and consent of the mind to the belief of the being and promises of God, as especially revealed to the Church in the person and redemption-work of the Lord Jesus Cbrist.
The hearty, cordial, and sincere belief in these blessed truths of God, is called faith ; because it is giving credit to the testimony of God, and relying upon his faithfulness for the fulfilment of them. The Apostle John, in bis first Epistle, fifth chapter, and ninth and following verses, puts this doctrine in so clear a point of view, that under divine teaching, if attended to, it would be impossible to mistake it. “ If we receive (saith John) the witness of men, the wite ness of God is greater, for this is the witness of God, which he bath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God, hath the witness in himself. He that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life; and this life is in bis Son. He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that bath not the Son of God, hath not life.”
No form of words could have been more happily chosen to state what is the act of faith, and to put it in a clear and full light.
Dr, Hawker. The vitality of saving faith depends on the agency by which it is produced. A false faith, however specious in appearance, however subtle and refined in its exhibition, can lay no claim to a divine origin. Arising out of human persuasion, or self-interest, or educational babit, or temporary impression, it possesses no vitality. On the other hand, the faith of the gospel is the work of divine power. “ It is given us on the behalf of Christ to believe.” Phil. i. 29. “By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Eph. ii 8. It is this faith alone which unites to Christ, wbich subdues the corruptions of the beart, which gives birth to the principle of holy love, which carries its possessor above the spirit of the world, and awakens unreserved obedience to the divine commandments.
And let me solemnly remind you, that no abstract reasonings on the nature of saving faith, however clear and consistent, however in unison with the representations of scripture, will afford a clue, by which to determine its existence in individual character. If a man does not breathe holiness;—if sanctity of manners does not,
may so speak, circulate through his whole moral constitution ;