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Spirit, through the instruction of the Christ is our sole foundation: but written word, will continually dis- no one builds on that foundation, cover to him defects and defilements except he hear his sayings, and do in his dispositions and conduct, them. The practical hearer's faith which he had not before observed. is living; he is a wise man, and this Thus while he presses forward and will appear to all the world, when aspires after nearer and nearer con- the folly of those who build upon formity to his perfect rule, repent- the sand by a dead faith, by hearance, faith, watchfulness, and fer- ing and not doing, will be exposed vent prayer will become more and to universal contempt. Alas, my more habitual, and as it were natu- brethren, how numerous are such ral to him. His heart will grow nominal Christians, "who call more humble, and his conscience Christ Lord, but do not the things more tender, his dependence on that he says!" But unless the deChrist more simple, and his grati- sign of the gospel be answered in tude for redeeming love more abun- our hearts and lives, the gospel itself dant, in proportion to the degree of will increase our condemnation. his sanctification. These things will Are any of you then sensible that render him likewise more compas- your hearing has hitherto failed to sionate, tender, forbearing, and for- influence your practice? Let me giving; more patient and self-de- conjure you by the love you bear to nying, and more ready to encounter your own happiness, not to put off dangers and difficulties, in promoting the alarming conviction, by saying, the cause of Christ among his fel-" Go thy way at this time, when I low-sinners. And as no absolute have a convenient opportunity I will perfection can be attained on earth: call for thee." It is not yet too late. and such a believer deems all faulty "Now is the accepted time, now and deformed, which does not come is the day of salvation." But you up to the requirement of the holy know not how soon the master of law, and the spotless example of the house may shut to the door; the Saviour; so no limits can be and then it will be too late to begin assigned to his discoveries and pro- to say, "Lord, Lord, open to us:" gress during his continuance in this for he will silence every plea, and world. bid you depart as "workers of iniquity."

This is the character described by the apostle, "He is not a forget- But have you, my brethren, begun ful hearer but a doer of the work; seriously to practise what you know, and he shall be blessed in his doing." and to inquire the will of God that He is made wise unto salvation, and you may do it? Blessed be the Lord shall "abound in hope by the power for his grace bestowed on you! Go of the Holy Ghost:" he shall find on in this way, my beloved brethren; liberty and pleasure in the ways of and even the most humiliating disGod; be made useful to society, and coveries you make of yourselves, a blessing to his connexions; and will serve to endear the gospel of he shall have an entrance adminis-salvation to you. "Then shall you tered unto him abundantly into the know, if you follow on to know the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Lord:" "For the path of the just Saviour Jesus Christ." shineth more and more to the perNo man who duly considers these fect day." The practice of duty things, can doubt the practical na- will prepare your hearts for the reture and tendency of the gospel. ception of truth; by removing those


prejudices, with which the preva- that charity would never fail; lence of carnal affections closes the whereas miraculous powers would understandings of the disobedient: cease, and knowledge itself would and every accession of spiritual be swallowed up and lost in the knowledge will have a sanctifying, perfect light of heaven, he adds, and comforting effect upon your "and now abideth faith, hope, charity; these three: but the greatFinally, were we as desirous of est of these is charity."—It is evihaving our souls adorned with holi- dent, that he meant to sum up, in ness, as most persons are of deco- these three radical graces, the grand rating the poor dying body; we essentials of vital Christianity, to should certainly make continual dis- which all other holy affections and coveries of our remaining uncome- dispositions may be referred. As liness, and be thankful for assistance the word charity is now used for in such researches; and we should one peculiar expression of love, make daily progress in sanctifica- which is equivocal and may be tion; by "putting off the old man, counterfeit : it will render our diswhich is corrupt according to the cussion more perspicuous to substideceitful lusts, and putting on the tute love in the place of it, it being new man, which after God is created well known that the original word in righteousness and true holiness." is generally thus translated. I shall endeavour, therefore,



I. To consider separately and copiously the peculiar nature, exercise, and use of faith, hope, and love.

1 COR. xiii. 13.-And now abideth II. To show briefly in what refaith, hope, charity; these three spects love is the greatest of the but the greatest of these is charity. three; and how this agrees with THE apostle, in this remarkable the doctrines of justification and chapter, shows the Corinthians, that salvation by faith alone. the most splendid and useful of

those miraculous powers, which The subject before us, my breththey emulously coveted and osten- ren, is of the greatest importance, tatiously displayed, were far inferior and often fatally misunderstood. in value to sanctifying grace: yea, Let me then beg a peculiar measure that when united with the deepest of your attention; and let us lift knowledge of divine mysteries, the up our hearts to the Lord, beseechmost self-denying liberality, and ing him to " open our understandthe most vehement zeal, they were ings, that we may understand the nothing without charity; and did Scriptures," and be guided into the not so much as prove the possessor knowledge of his holy truth. to be a real Christian of the lowest order. He then describes charity,|

I. Let us consider separately as a man would define gold, by its and copiously the peculiar nature, distinguishing properties, which exercise, and use of faith, hope, and are the same in a grain as in a ton; love.

but the more a man possesses, and We begin with faith. That pethe less alloy is found in the mass, culiar act of the understanding, by the richer he is. And having shown which we avail ourselves of informa

tion given us by others, in those greater." The Scripture is "the things which fall not under our sure testimony of God; which givown observation, and which do not eth wisdom to the simple." 2 Tim. admit of proof in a way of reason- iii. 15-17. It relates to facts, the ing, is called faith or believing. If certainty of which God hath atwe credit testimony without suffici- tested; to doctrines he hath immeent grounds, we are unreasonably diately revealed; to promises and credulous if we refuse to believe assurances concerning the future, testimony which has sufficient which he hath engaged to accomgrounds of credibility, we are un- plish; and to commands and ordireasonably incredulous. It is there-nances which he hath thus enforced fore extremely absurd to oppose with that clearness and authority the reason and faith, as if contrary to case required. All these things each other; when in fact faith is are intimately connected with our the use of reason in a certain way, duty, safety, and felicity; they are and in cases which confine us to made known for our warning, enthat peculiar exercise of our ration-couragement, and instruction: faith al powers. Believing may be dis- receives the information, and this tinguished from reasoning, and in excites and directs the believer's some cases opposed to it: but in activity. We may reason soberly opposing faith and reason, the friends and humbly concerning the eviof Christianity have given its ene-dences of revelation, and the meanmies an advantage to which they ing of Scripture: but when these are by no means entitled.

points have been ascertained, our It is evident to all observing men, reasons are at an end; for either that the complicated machine of faith receives the testimony of God, human society is moved, almost ex- or unbelief makes him a liar. clusively, by that very principle Faith, strictly speaking, is the which numbers oppose and deride belief of the truth;' with the appliin speaking on religion. Testimony cation of it to ourselves, and a perreceived and credited directs the ception of its importance, holiness, determinations of princes and coun- excellency, and suitableness to our cils, of senates and military com- characters and circumstances. It manders, of tribunals and commer- is the gift and operation of God: cial companies, in their most impor- for many of the truths revealed in tant deliberations: and did they Scripture, are so contrary to our refuse to act, without self-evidence, pride, prejudices, and worldly lusts, demonstration, or personal know-that no evidence is sufficient to inledge, all their grand affairs must duce our cordial belief of them, till stagnate. But human testimony, our minds have been prepared by though often fallacious, is deemed preventing grace. "The natural credible; they believe, decide, and man receiveth not the things of carry their decisions into execution. the Spirit of God; for they are In the common concerns of life too, foolishness to him: neither can he we believe a guide, a physician, a know them, because they are spirilawyer, and even those who provide tually discerned." 1 Cor. ii. 14. our food; and the incredulous scep- True faith should therefore be tic in such cases must be ruined, sought by earnest prayer; and left to starve, or perish by disease. lively gratitude is due to God But "if the testimony of man be from those that have been enabled great, the testimony of God is to believe.

Faith appropriates the declara- grand exercise and use of it. Yet tions of Scripture, respecting things in fact, unless we believe many past, present, and future; whether other truths of God's word, with they appear dreadful or desirable. such application to ourselves, as The believer credits the testimony produces true humiliation of heart, of God concerning his own essen- we never can believe in the Son of tial nature and perfections, and the God in a saving manner. We may righteousness of his law and go- assent to the doctrines of grace and vernment. In the same manner he abuse them: but we cannot underobtains information respecting the stand their nature, glory, and suitcreation of the world, the entrance ableness to our case and circumof sin and misery,-the fall of man, stances.

-the evil and desert of sin,-the True faith simply credits the dideceitfulness and wickedness of vine record concerning the person the human heart,—the immortality of Emmanuel; his essential and of the soul,-the resurrection of the eternal deity, and his voluntary body, the future state of judg- incarnation that he might be our ment, and an eternal state of hap- Brother and Surety, God manifest piness or misery. Men may con- in the flesh; his obedience of infijecture and dispute on these sub-nite value, and the atoning sacrifice jects; but faith, receiving the testi- of his death upon the cross; his mony of God with the teachable- resurrection, ascension, and interness of a child, satisfies the mind cession in the presence of God for and influences the conduct, as if us; his several offices of Prophet, we saw the things believed, with Priest, and King; and all the variour own eyes. It is therefore im- ous particulars, concerning his possible, thus to credit these doc- power, truth, love, fulness of grace, trines, and not take warning to mediatorial authority, and future "flee from the wrath to come." coming to judgment. This belief Faith must, in this case, produce cannot be separated from a cordial fear of the wrath revealed from compliance with his invitations, a heaven against our sins; and as it thankful reception of him in all his is always accompanied with some characters and offices, an habitual feeble discoveries of mercy; it will dependence on him for salvation, also in some degree soften and and a constant application for all humble the heart to repentance, the blessings purchased by his sufand excite earnest inquiries after ferings and death. Thus we spirisalvation. tually "eat his flesh and drink his But we are especially called upon blood; which are meat indeed and to believe the testimony of God drink indeed:" and thus we feed concerning his Son. This is the on him in our hearts by faith with record that God hath given to us thanksgiving.'

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eternal life, and this life is in his "To you that believe he is preciSon: he that hath the Son hath life, ous." In proportion to the degree and he that hath not the Son of God of our faith, Christ becomes to us hath not life." The numerous and" the pearl of great price; and we decisive declarations of Scripture on grow more and more solicitous, lest this subject, have induced some per- we should come short of him and sons to speak of faith, as exclusively his salvation. This renders us meaning a reception of Christ for decided in renouncing other confisalvation and no doubt this is the dences, "counting all but loss,

that we may win Christ, and be nour him together with the Father found in him;" diligently using all and the Son, as the triune God of the means of grace, observing the our salvation.-" Faith is likewise directions given us, and making the evidence of things not seen.' every sacrifice necessary for the se-It perceives the hand of God, and curing of this main concern. Joyful hears his voice, in all the varied hope will animate us with most events of providence: it realizes his lively gratitude. Advancing know-holy, heart-searching, and gracious ledge and matured experience will presence in all places: it penetrates render our dependence more sim- invisible things; lays heaven and ple; and receiving continually from hell open to our view: contemplates the fulness of Christ the supply of the world of good and evil spirits, all our wants, he will become more with which we are surrounded; and and more glorious in our eyes and looks forward to judgment and eterprecious to our hearts; while in-nity, as just at hand. Thus it supcreasing sanctification, and abun-plies the want of sight and sense. dant diligence in the work of the" We endure, as seeing him that is Lord, will enhance our sense of ob- invisible." "We look not at the ligation, without in the least deduct- things which are seen, but at the ing from our simplicity of reliance things which are not seen.' We on him, as our " wisdom, righteous-set God before us in our daily conness, sanctification, and redemp-duct and conversation: we perceive tion.""We are crucified with his special presence with us in his Christ; nevertheless we live; yet sacred ordinances; we speak to him not we, but Christ liveth in us; and in prayer and praise; we hear his the life that we live in the flesh, we word of instruction and direction; live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us." Gal. ii. 20.

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we have " fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ; we walk with God by faith;" we True faith has likewise respect to stand, we war, we run, we obey, the exceeding great and precious and endure by faith; believing, we promises of Scripture. These are rely on God for strength, help, prosure testimonies of God, ratified by tection, support, and comfort acall the engagements of the new co-cording to his word; and thus are venant, in the blood of the great emboldened and enabled to face Mediator; and the promised bless- danger, resist temptation, renounce ings belong exclusively to all true the world, bear the sharpest sufferbelievers, though they cannot always ings, and persevere in the hardest perceive their own title to them. services to which we can be called. The doctrines and promises of Heb. xi. Scripture relate very much to the It is evident that faith alone can person, offices, and influences of the answer these purposes; and that no Holy Spirit. If then we truly be- other grace of Christianity, however lieve these divine testimonies, with excellent and necessary, can supply application to our own wants, and its place. Faith alone can approperceive the value of these life-priate the instructions of Scripture; giving, illuminating, sanctifying, and form our union with Christ, that we comforting influences; we shall certainly apply for them, and depend on them continually. Thus we shall believe in the Holy Ghost, and ho

may be "made the righteousness of God in him;" seek supplies of every blessing from his fulness; rely on the faithfulness of God for the per

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