« AnteriorContinuar »
and exhibited to men only so far as is necessary to guide the wayfaring traveller safely on the highway of salvation, through the wilderness of sin and guilt. And hence, all objections against this scheme of salvation, and against the method in which it is carried on, must, from the very nature of the case, be founded in ignorance; must be maintained without any proper ground for forming an opinion; and must therefore imply presumptuous impiety and wicked absurdity. “Secret things belong unto the Lord,” by whom alone the issues of any one event are either known, or capable of direction and control.
How thankful, then, should we be, that while the will of God is known perfectly only to himself, and is capable of being made known in any measure only by himself, God has, nevertheless, in infinite condescension and mercy, revealed his will, so far as is profitable for instruction, for reproof, for correction, for thoroughly furnishing unto every good word and work, and for attaining to everlasting life!
This revealed will of God comprehends all we know of God, whether our knowledge is derived from the works of nature; from the ways of providence; from the nature and constitution of the human mind, of human governments, and of human society; or whether it is derived from God's word and Spirit, from prophecies, promises, and spiritual experience.
· GOD'S REVEALED WILL THE FOUNDATION OF ALL
RIGHT FAITH AND OBEDIENCE. This revelation of God's will—this actual and certain knowledge of what God is, in his nature, attributes, and offices; this heavenimparted discovery of God's purposes and plans towards man; of his desires and designs in the gospel; and of his mode of proclaiming and of administering his spiritual kingdom upon earth-this will of God is, we say, the foundation of our faith. It is on this will faith builds, as on the rock of ages. It is on this will faith rests, as its evidence and authority. And it is to this will of God faith looks, for all the certainty, the power,
and the instrumentality of its victorious triumph.
By his word, and by his hour,
And yours the righteous crown. But this revealed knowledge of God is also the source of all our moral obligations. It makes known the relations in which God stands to us, and in which we stand to God, and in which, as they are also related to God, we stand to our fellow-creatures. The
Triune God having revealed himself as a merciful Father, loving the whole world of human beings, even considered as sinful, guilty, and miserable; and having further revealed himself in Christ, his Son, as our Saviour, manifested for the reconciliation of the world unto himself; and having revealed himself still further in the person of the Holy Spirit, as convincing the world of sin,
of righteousness, and of judgment, and in this way converting, regenerating, and sanctifying the souls of men; and God having also revealed that this scheme of divine mercy is to be carried on through the instrumentality of redeemed men, and the ordinary agencies of human power and influence;these things being revealed and made known, it becomes at once the duty of every man to believe them, and to act in accordance with them. They originate not only faith, but also works. They constitute relations and obligations between us and God, and between us and men. They demand the obedience of faith, and the obedience of practice. They require doing as well as believing. They make service just as reasonable as hearing; sacrifice just as necessary as service; self-denial just as imperative as reverence; and laborious exertion just as plainly obligatory as implicit submission. The revealed knowledge of God and of his will creates, therefore, practical principles as certainly as abstract truths; duties as well as dogmas; and a life and occupation as assuredly as a creed.
Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees,
Relies on that alone;
And says, “It shall be done."
The clouds disperse, the shadows fly;
And God is seen by mortal eye. As faith, therefore, is the principle of Christian missions, so obedience is their life. Faith is God's truth believed; obedience is God's truth acted upon. Faith receives the knowledge of God's will; obedience applies it to its legitimate purposes. Faith trusts;
works. Faith says, “It ought to be done;" obedience says, “It shall be done.” Faith acknowledges the command of our Father, to “go;" obedience goes and works. Faith looks to the promise, to the prospect, and to the ultimate success; obedience looks to the field, to the harvest, and to the wheat perishing for want of labourers, and thrusting in its sickle, in the sweat of the brow, toils