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“ testimony of God; making wise the simple."'* It relates facts, which God hath attested; states doctrines which he hath immediately revealed; promises and as surances concerning the future, which he hath engag. ed to accomplish; and commands and ordinances, which he hath thus enforced with clearness and authority. All these things are intimately connected with our duty, safety, and felicity; they are made known for our warning, encouragement, and instruction: faith receives the information, and this excites and di. rects the believer's activity. We may reason soberly and humbly concerning the evidences of revelation, and the meaning of scripture: but when these points have been ascertained, our reasonings are at end; for either faith receives the testimony of God, or unbelief makes him a liar.

Faith strictly speaking is, the belief of the truth;' with the application of it to ourselves, and a perception of its importance, holiness, excellency, and suitableness to our characters and circumstances. It is the gift and operation of God: for many of the truths, re. vealed in scripture, are so contrary to our pride, prejudices, and worldly lusts, that no evidence is sufficient to induce our cordial belief of them; till our minds have been prepared by preventing grace. “ The na“ tural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of “ God; for they are foolishness to him: neither can he “ know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”+ True faith should therefore be sought by earnest pray.

2 Tim. üi. 15-17.

f 1 Cor. ii. 14.

re; and lively gratitude is due to God from those that do believe.

Faith appropriates the declarations of scripture respecting things past, present, and future; whether they appear dreadful or desirable. The believer credits the testimony of God, concerning his own essential nature and perfections, and the righteousness of his law and

government. In the same manner, he obtains information respecting the creation of the world, the entrance of sin and misery, the fall of man, the evil and desert of sin, the deceitfulness and wickedness of the human heart, the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, the future judgment, and an eternal state of happiness or misery. Men may conjecture and dispute on these subjects: but faith, receiving the testimony of God with the teachableness of a child, satisfies the mind and influences the conduct, as if we saw the things believed. It is therefore impossible, thus to credit these doctrines, and not take warning to “ fee from the wrath to come.” Faith must, in this case, produce fear of threatened punishment: and as it is always accompanied with some feeble discoveries of mercy; it will also in some degree soften and hum: ble the heart to repentance, and excite earnest enquiries after salvation.

But we are especially called upon to believe the tes. timony of God concerning his Son. “ This is the re“ cord, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this “ life is in his Son: he that hath the Son hath life, and “ he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” The numerous and decisive declarations of scripture on this subject have induced some persons to speak of Vol. I.

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faith, as exclusively meaning a reception of Christ for salvation: and no doubt this is the grand exercise and use of it. Yet in fact, unless we believe many other revealed truths with true humiliation of heart; we never can believe in the Son of God in a saving manner. We may assent to the doctrines of grace, and abuse them; but we cannot understand their nature, glory, and suitableness to our case and circumstances.

True faith simply credits the divine record concerning the person of Emmanuel; his essential and eternal Deity, and his voluntary incarnation that he might be our Brother and Surety, “God manifest in the flesh:” his obedience of infinite value, and the atoning sacrifice of his death upon the cross; his resurrection, ascension, and intercession in the presence of God for us; his several offices of Prophet, Priest, and King; and all the various particulars, concerning his power, truth, love, fulness of grace, mediatorial authority, and future coming to judgment. This belief cannot be separated from a cordial compliance with his invitations, a thankful reception of him in all his characters and offices, an habitual dependence on him for salvation, and a constant application for all the blessings procur. ed for us, by his sufferings and death. Thus we spi. ritually “eat his flesh and drink bis blood;” which are " meat indeed and drink indeed:” and thu on him in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving.'

“ To you that believe he is precious.” In propor. tion to our faith, Christ becomes to us, “ the Pearl of great price;” and we grow more and more solicitous, lest we should come short of him and his salva


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tion. This renders us decided in renouncing other confidences, “counting all but loss, that we may win < Christ, and be found in him;” diligently using all the means of grace, observing the directions given us, and making every sacrifice necessary for the securing of this main concern. Joyful hope will animate us with most lively gratitude. Advancing knowledge and matured experience will render our dependence more simple; and, receiving continually from the fulness of Christ the supply of all our wants, he will become more and more glorious in our eyes and precious to our hearts: while increasing sanctification, and abun. dant diligence in the work of the Lord, will enhance our sense of obligation, without in the least deducting from our simplicity of reliance on him as our “Wis“ dom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemp- tion.”-“ We are crucified with Christ; neverthe“ less we live: yet not we, but Christ liveth in us; and " the life that we live in the flesh, we live by the faith "s of the Son of God, who loved us and gave

himself " for us."*

True faith has likewise respect to the “ exceeding great and precious promises” of scripture. These are sure testimonies of God ratified by all the engagements of the new covenant, in the blood of the great Media. tor; and the promised blessings belong to all true be. lievers, though they cannot always perceive their own title to them; and to them exclusively.

The doctrines and promises of scripture relate very

* Gal. ii. 20.

much to the person, offices, and influences of the Holy Spirit. It then we truly believe these divine testimonies, with application to our own wants, and perceive the value of these life-giving, illuminating, sanctifying, and comforting influences; we shall certainly depend on them continually. -Thus we shall believe in the Holy Ghost, and honour him together with the Fa. ther and the Son, as the triune God of our salvation.

" Faith is” likewise “ the evidence of things not

seen.” It perceives the hand of God, and hears his voice, in all the varied events of providence; it realizes his holy, heart-searching and gracious presence in all places; it penetrates invisible things; lays heaven and hell open to our view: contemplates the world of good and evil spirits with which we are surrounded; and looks forward to judgment and eternity, as just at hand. Thus it supplies the want of sight and sense. “ We endure, as seeing him that is in“ visible."-" We look not at the things which are

. . “ seen, but at the things which are not seen.” ,

We set God before us in our daily conduct and conversation: we perceive his special presence with us in his sacred ordinances; we speak to him in prayer and. praise; we hear his word of instruction and direction; we have “ fellowship with the Father, and with his “ Son Jesus Christ; we walk with God by faith:we stand, we war, we run, we obey, and endure by faith: believing, we rely on God for strength, help, protection, support, and comfort according to his word; and thus are emboldened and enabled to face danger, resist temptation, renounce the world, bear the sharpest

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