Page images
[ocr errors]

if his lips do not move to the praise and glory of God; it is a matter of trifling moment, however scriptural his creed; and the unerring Physician of souls, doubtless, pronounces his faith to be dead, A cold, calculating speculation may exist in the mind, without any boly energy or activity of character; but that faith, which brings a man into close contact with the fountain of spiritual life, which unites to the Son of God, will ever possess the two-fold character, of aiming at the glory of God, and the good of man.

That faith, by wbatever name it may be called, which stands disconnected from a boly life, will, if not abandoned, plunge its possessor to the lowest hell! and, terrible to relate! may be the means of conducting multitudes, by its false light, to the regions of eternal despair! Of all the characters that take shelter in the bosom of society, none are so guilty, none so much to be sbunded and abhorred, as those, who, exalting themselves to the pinnacle of Christian privilege, at the same time live in all the degradation of vice, and turn the grace of God into licentiousness.

The human heart is, hy nature, a tainted fountain, and all the streams which flow from it partake of its corrupt qualities. When faith takes possession of the beart, it operates a divine change; the fountain is purified, and a holy conversation begins to issue from it. Is this the effect of faith on us? Has it cured the vices of the mind ? Has it banished the predominant depravity of the affections? Has it made us temperate, just, and useful members of society ? Has it constituted us good fathers, good husbands, good masters ? and, in short, has it induced us to comply with the golden rule—“Wbatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them?” These are the effects of a living faith ; and when we recollect the glorious objects upon which it terminates, we need not wonder that it should new-model all the soul, and produce a holy and beavenly conversation. Morison's Sermons.

And what is faith, love, virtue unassay'd,
Alone, without exterior help sustained

MILTON, Hear St. Paul's account of faith, and take the matter in his own words:

6« Made wise to salvation by faith-Become children of God by

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

faith—Justified by faith-Receive the forgiveness of sins by faith-
Access to God by faith-Christ dwelling in the heart by faith-
Work righteousness through faith-Obtain promises by faith-Walk
by faith-Stand by faith-Saved by grace, through faith-And
St. Peter adds, kept by the power of God through faith unto salva-
tion,” Tim. ii. 15. Gal. iii. 26. Rom. ii. 18. Acts xxvi. 18, 15, 9.
Gal. iii. 14. Eph. iji. 12, 17. Heb. 11, 38. 2 Cor. v. 7. Rom. xi.
20. Eph. ii. 8. 1 Pet. i. 5.

“Descending from the skies
To wretched man, the Goddess in her left
Holds oựt this world, and in her right the next.
Supporter sole of man above bimself,
Ev'n in this night of frailty, change, and death,
She gives the soul, a soul that acts a God,
Salvation; and by grace: by grace through fuith.
Here is firm footing : here is solid rock :
This can support us; all is sea besides ;
Sinks under us; bestorms and then devours.
His hand the good man fastens on the skies,

And bids earth roll, nor feels her idle whirl.” YOUNG. The peculiar specific nature of faith, whereby it is differenced from all other powers, acts, and graces in the mind, lies in this, that it lives on, or makes a life of, things invisible. It is not only conversant about them, but mixeth itself with them, making them the spiritual nourishment of the soul.

Owen. Faith is a working grace; it bath a deal of work to do; it bas its bands always full, and is employed about many things; it is the grace by which a soul goes to God, as its covenant God, lays hold on him as such, pleads his promises with him, asks favours of him, and is very importunate, and will have no denial; and by which it goes to Christ as at its first conversion, afterwards for fresh supplies of

grace, out of that fulness of grace that is in him; it receives bim, and all from him, and through bim, pardon, righteousness, adoption of children, and an eternal inheritance; and it is that grace which carries back all the glory to God and Christ, and to free grace. It glorifies God, exalts Christ, humbles the creature, and magnifies

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

the grace of God; it bas much work to do this way; and it works
by love, by acts of love to God, to Christ, and to the saints; and it
puts the soul upon a cheerful obedience to every ordinance and
command; and hence obedience is styled the obedience of faith;
and indeed all good works, that are properly so, are done in faith;
and faith without works is dead.

Dr. Gill,
Nature is dumb on this important point,
Or hope precarious in low whisper breathes.
Faith speaks aloud, distinct ; even adders hear,
But turn, and dart into the dark again.
Faith builds a bridge across the gulf of death,
To break the shock blind nature cannot sbun,
And lands thought smoothly on the farther shore.
Death's terror is the mountain faith removes,
That mountain barrier between man and peace;
'Tis faith disarms destruction, and absolves

From ev'ry clamorous charge the guiltless tomb. YOUNG, This faith is said to be “ the gift of God,” and “ of the operation of God;" hence we conclude that no man in bis natural state possesses it; but that it is a supernatural principle coming from God, and producing effects above nature: the whole of the 11th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews is a confirmation of this statement, and I trust my dear Betalı knows something experimentally of its power and influence ; for it is the same in nature, though different in strength, in all the family of God; bence the Apostle Peter calls it,like precious faith."

Your faith may not be strong enough to remove mountains; but if it be strong enough to trust Christ in the vale, it is like precious faith. It may not be strong enough to triumph over all enemies, yet strong enough to maintain daily war with them. It may not be strong enough to take a standing on the summit of Calvary, gaze on the atoning Saviour, and exclaim, He is “my Lord and my God," yet it may be strong enough to lie at the foot of his cross, and wajt to be sprinkled with his blood.

« Little faitb," weak faith, and even faith which is but as a grain of mustard-seed, is nevertbeless the faith of God's elect; in Paul it

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

may be strong enough to say, “I know whom I have believed ;” in you, it may ouly be able to say, “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief." The faith which exclaims, “ None of these things move me, and that which cries out, “ Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe," is like precious faith; yea, the faith of Abraham,“ who against hope believed in bope;" the faith of David, wbo sung, “ Although my house be not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant;" the faith of Job, who exclaimed, “ Though he slay me, yet will I trust in bim;" the faith of Paul, whuse whole life, after his conversion, was one continued triumph of faith; and the faith of the awakened sinner, who weeps at the feet of Jesus, seeks to touch the hem of his garment, or breathes out the beartfelt cry, “ Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy upon me;" is all " like precious faith.

Irons. The reason why I am so much taken with the garnish and seeming beauty of this world's vanities, so as to step out of the road of holiness to catch at or delight myself in them, is only because I look upon them with an eye of sense ; for, could I behold every thing with the eye of faith, I should judge of them, not as they seem to me, but as they are in themselves-vanity and vexation of spirit; for faith bath a quick and piercing eye, that can look through the outward superficies into the inward essence of things. It can look through the pleasing bait to the bidden book; view the sting as well as the honey; the everlasting punishment as well as the temporal contentment ibere is in sin. It is, as the Apostle very well defines it," the substance of things hoped for, and the evi. dence of things not seen.” Heb. xi. 1. 'Tis the substance of whatsoever is promised by God to me, or expected by me from himn; so that by faith, whatsoever I bope for in beaven, I may have the substance of upon earth ; and it is the evidence of things not seen, the clear demonstration of what would otherwise seem impossible; so that I can clearly discern, as through a prospect, hidden things, and things afar off, as if they were open, and just at hand. I can look into the deepest mysteries as fully revealed, and see heaven and eternity as just ready to receive me.

Bishop Beveridge. 3 H

s natura


Alth one




istle Pette


ver alle I'

land arbeit

i but $1.9


Happy man, whosoever thou art, that canst look by an eye of faith at the gospel, as the charter of thy liberties; at the condemning law, as cancelled by thy Surety; at the earth, as the footstool of thy Father's throne ; at beaven, as the portal of thy Father's house; at all the creatures in beaven and earth, as an heir is wont to look at his father's servants; and which are therefore his, so far as he shall need them, according to that declaration, “ All are yours, for ye are Cbrist's, and Christ is God's.”

Faith can support, when nature sbrinks. Faith can call God Father, when he frowns; and make some discovery of a sun througte the darkest cloud.

Arrowsmith. Faith gives glory to God; because it brings nothing to him but poverty, want, and emptiness. All graces bring something to God, but faith brings nothing. Love brings a flaming, burning heart to God;-repentance brings a bleeding, broken heart to God;-obedience brings a working hand to God ;-patience brings, as it were, a broad back to God, let him lay on what he will ;-poor faith brings nothing but the poor man's bare hand and empty dish. The poorer man comes to God, the more glory to God. It is remarkable, that in those cases wherein we bring something to God, we are apt to carry away something of the glory that belongs to him.

Traill. Faith is the confident expectation of things boped for upon the security of the divine promises. It is also the powerful conviction of things which are not seen; but of whose certainty there is such a full persuasion, that they act upon the mind as if they were present.

Dr. Doddridge.
By faith I know the worlds were made

By God's great word of might;
How soon, Let there be light, he said,

That moment there was light,
By faith I soar and force my flight,

Through all the clouds of sense;
I see the glories out of sight,

With brightest evidence.

« PreviousContinue »