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But we require faith to believe it. "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." But, unless your faith "worketh by love," it is not the true faith; for "God is love;" and this faith will beget in us a sincere obedience in our lives and conversation; "for as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
"Lefevre* proves the writings of St. Paul and St. James to agree, St. James says that " every good and perfect gift cometh down from above." Thus the perfect gift is justification. If we see a man moving, the breathing we see in him is to us the sign of life. Thus works are necessary, but only as signs of that living faith which is accompanied by justification. Is it the eye salve or lotion which gives light to the eye? No: it is the light of the sun. Just so our works are but as eye salves and lotions; the beam that the sun sends forth from above is justification itself." Thus we find it is an unspeakable precious gift from God—as our Articles teach us that it is "the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that good will; for good works are pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; that inasmuch by them, a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit. But we are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith!" Salusper Christum Redemptorem!
Works therefore, are necessary, so far as they tend to show the extent and the sincerity of our faith. "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect i And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God." It was unrighteous works which first turned paradise into a wilderness,
• Lefevre published a Commentary on St. Paul as early as 1512.
and the world to a reck. Oh, that our forefathers had given a little thought, would that they had not partaken so bountifully of this world's follies and pleasures!" But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away: so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (24 Mat. 37, 38, & 39.)
Reader 1 have you that faith—the faith of Noah? Have you accepted the warning of God, prepared an ark by the which you may be able like him to condemn the world;—if you have not, lose no time, be vigilant and active. But if you have, blessed and enviable is your state: for as the patriarch's faith was tried and triumphed, so be convinced, will yours. Do not think that Christ is so merciful that he will forgive your sins unless you repent. "Repent ye, and believe the gospel." See how the sin of Adam was followed up—Cain his eldest son killed his brother Abel; and when this transgression was committed, a few men began to call upon the name of the Lord Jehovah; but this was all a pretence— nothing else than deceit: they did it for a time; but how short; they soon returned back to their former ways, and then the deluge came, and eight souls only were saved, when all the world was drowned. But it was by the firm and lively faith which Noah had that he was saved; it was by faith alone he condemned the world, having been warned of God to prepare an ark. Christian friend! may you by God's grace prepare an ark to the saving of your soul, and by which you may be able to condemn those ungodly sinners who knew their Lord's will, and wilfully neglected it. Noah's faith in God, and corresponding works as the fruits of it, secured him the honor of admittance into the heavenly kingdom, and rendered him heir unto the righteousness which is by faith. But recollect, a day is fast approaching when Enoch's words contained in the epistle of Jude, will be cried aloud to every creature and every class,—" Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints." Then if you have had Noah's faith, you will gain the same; if you have had that faith which leads all to an heavenly paradise. But if you are careless and indifferent to spiritual things you cannot succeed; for Noah enjoyed a good conscience when he was gaining the victory. And we well know that " Mums ameus conscientia Sana." Deem not his faith so extraordinary that you may not follow him, but labour earnestly to be crucified with Christ, and "live by the faith of the Son of God." Mdei coticula crux! Always remembering the declaration of St. Paul, " But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ, yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord : for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him; not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." (3 Phil. 7, 8, & 9.) And now you see what faith is effectual, " the faith of Christ, and the righteousness of God which is by faith." May you be blessed with the same; may you have it in abundance. That deluge which came to the inhabitants of the earth in Noah's day, we are assured will not happen in ours; but God has declared a day will come, that of the Son of man, "as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up;" and as certain as the deluge was, so shall the coming of the Son of man be, when he shall judge the guilty race of mankind. All who repent and embrace the faith of Noah, are as near obtaining heaven as those who profess the outward and visible sign of religion, ungoverned by the inward and spiritual grace, and so by the former are considered christians! We may have a faith, and we may have a hope, but no faith pleases God except that which led Noah and his friends to heaven. "For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith." Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. You may be wanting this faith, and may fear that you have too long neglected seeking it; oh! keep no longer in this sorrowful and deplorable condition, but to the best of your means repent and pray: you will then know by God's bountiful grace, and by your solemn and real repentance with prayer, the nature of that godly faith which is acceptable in the sight of God,—" Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." Or you may be lamenting that you have not Noah's faith, and your excuse may be, you stand not in the situation which he did, and that you do believe, but the faith is not within your reach. Oh, be persuaded that it is not because you have not Noah's faith, but the Pharisees' unbelief. "And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the coming of the Son of man. Likewise as it was in the days of Lot, they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded, but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day he which shall be upon the house-top and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away; and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back." (17 Luke, 28, 29, 30, & 31.) "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."
We have seen the end of sin as set forth in the deluge. We know of a future tribunal for it; let us now ask ourselves whether we should like to be found with the number of the sinful and ungodly, or in the Rock of Ages, which those who are in, cannot be driven from. Your own knowledge and experience must convince you of the certainty of the judgment day; for as sure as you are that there was a deluge, so likewise sure you must be of that day. That day when he shall make up the number of his secret ones, and shut the door. And to those who will not be convinced, let our Saviour warn them, and his words terrify them. "Then shall two be in the field, the one shall be taken and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be taken and the other left. Watch, therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. For in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh, therefore be ye ready!" Oh, ask this question, each one to himself, If our Lord was to come now at this moment to judge the world, on which side should I be found? On the side of the world, or on Noah? Still lingering in the ways of the world, or dwelling in the Ark? for within its sanctuary is refuge alone! God has redeemed us by the sacrifice of his dear Son; but at the judgment-day Noah's righteousness will condemn our wickedness. Noah will rise up against the guilty Nineveh, and destroy it. Nineveh will rise up in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it. The queen of the south shall rise up in judgment with the men of this generation, and shall condemn them also. The prophets shall rise up against Tyre and Sidon, and turn them into sackcloth and ashes. The apostles will rise up against Sodom and Gomorrah, and overthrow them with fire and brimstone. Our Lord will cast down Beelzebub; and the christians will rise up against those persons who have hindered them in their spiritual progress, and have taken from them their spiritual hopes—their spiritual enjoyments; and hence is proved that the nature of godly faith can only be comprehended by those who are religious. Noah condemning the world succeeded to the righteousness belonging to faith. Observe, he became heir to it, which is the security of admittance into heaven alone.
What remains, but for me to exhort you my christian reader, to put your whole confidence in God, and all your requests, desires, and petitions in the Ark of Christ, your refuge. You may have some worldly desire and inclination, which may overcome you from gaming the knowledge of the nature of godly faith; if so, be assured that you are not his. Then, delay not. Make an en