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word in these writings; nor is it very unnatural guine cast, men who have a system to defend, or their opinions with reluctance, to retain an int they have once imbibed. We are not, therefoi this opinion has been extensively spread, on tained.
But the Scriptures give no countenar With the heart man believeth unto righteousn instructions concerning this subject. He. a speculative assent to probable evidence yield to ordinary historical testimony, cribed to faith in the 11th chapter of th can certainly believe any thing.
2dly. This doctrine explains to us! spoken of in the Scriptures.
Particularly, we see abundant as a Virtue ; and is accordingly many occasions, and to all per glorious and endless reward. plained to us in the same sati tural accounts of its oppos reasons why it is pronounc den, and is threatened » tion of faith, also, expl ner, why faith is strong tures; and why unb saints are called b sidered as equiv: unbelievers and valent to sinf faith, directe to the Exar of Christ is consi ture a the c in f
in itself, it is approved and delight in his character; the
to his will; an endearing and hilar union to the virtuous Uning friendship and beneficence, in
in successive acts, invariably, to mo see the reason, why faith in God, is exhibited as being, in a sense. 22 foundation of all present and nature. I belief is presented to us. 23. in a 23. 2-5 and the source of all spiritual si
These and the like represer23 Faith we intend Confidence 1 2 I the Redeemer. This code the continuance, of unka k 13 on the other hand, distrz s. from the Author of its best who distrusts God, to arr. tion to his pleasure.
Confidence is also a member creature can render ***
.lence and glory.
nd the grave; and with new vi. very new display of divine excelI rise higher and higher without end.
will, in every stage of its progress, r, and happier. Heaven in all its and dispensations; will, from its inatermission a brighter aspect; and the om of Jehovah continually become a airror, reflecting, with increasing splen
can so clearly, or so se vine character, or his ourselves entirely u inte in the most decisiven of such attribue.al all our viodicable
preme and itánie
the character of view, the sun
ing God, opposite
rected, and which alone render it our duty to exercise it, are in each case the same.
Besides, it is incredible, that an Intelligent being, rationally employed, should confide himself, his everlasting interests, his all, to any hands, but those of infinite perfection. Stephen, full of the Holy Ghost, could not, I think, as he was leaving the world, have said to any creature, Lord Jesus, into thy hands I commend my spirit. No man, in the possession of a sound mind, could, as it seems to me, say this even to Gabriel himself.
4thly. We learn from these observations, that the faith of the Gospel will exist for ever.
We often speak of faith, as hereafter to be swallowed up in vision; and intend by this, that it will cease to exist in the future world. In a qualified sense, it is undoubtedly true; for many things, which we now believe only, we shall hereafter know with certainty. But Confidence in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, will exist for ever. Moral character seems not, in its nature, to be an object of science, properly so called. Spirits by every eye, except the Omniscient, are discerned only through the medium of their actions; which are proofs of their natural attributes, and expressions of their moral character. Moral character is the amount of all the volitions of a moral agent. As these are free and independent, they are incapable of being known, but by the voluntary manifestations of the agent hiinself. United, they form, and exhibit, the whole moral character. In parts, though they denote it truly, they denote it imperfectly.
In every age of Eternity it will be true, that, in the physical sense, it is possible for God to oppress, or destroy, even his obedient creatures. The proofs, that he will not, are found only in the disclosure of his moral character; and on these disclosures his virtuous creatures will for ever rely with undoubting confidence, and with the utmost propriety and wisdom. Knowledge, or science, in the strict sense, they will not, I think, be ever able to obtain of this immensely important subject; nor would they be benefited, were they able. Science is in no degree of a moral nature, nor of course attended by virtuous affections, nor followed by virtuous conduct. But confidence is in itself moral, and virtuous, and capable of being the highest virtue of a rational creature. Amiable and excellent in itself, it is approved and loved by God; the foundation of delight in his character; the source of uninterrupted obedience to his will; an endearing and immoveable union to him ; a similar union to the virtuous Universe ; and the basis of everlasting friendship and beneficence, in all their mutual intercourse.
It will therefore revive beyond the grave; and with new vi. gour and perfection. With every new display of divine excellence, and created worth, it will rise higher and higher without end. The mind, in which it exists, will, in every stage of its progress, become wiser, nobler, better, and happier. Heaven in all its concerns; its inhabitants; and dispensations; will, from its influence, assume without intermission a brighter aspect; and the immense, eternal Kingdom of Jehovah continually become a more and more perfect mirror, reflecting, with increasing splendour, his supreme excellence and glory.
THE INFLUENCE OF FAITH IN OUR JUSTIFICATION.
Romans iii. 28.
Therefore we conclude that man is justified by Faith without works
Having shown, that we are justified freely by the grace of God; proved the duty of believing; and explained the nature of Etange lical Faith; in the three preceding discourses; I shall now proceed to examine the Connection of Faith with our justification. The first of these discourses was employed in discussing that, which is done in our justification on the part of God. In this discourse, I shall examine the Nature and Influence of that, which is done on the part of man, towards the accomplishment of this important event. We are justified freely, or gratuitously. Yet we are justified conditionally: not in our natural, corrupt, and universal state ; but in consequence of a new and peculiar state, denoted by the word faith.
In discussing this subject, I shall include the observations, which I think it necessary to make, under the following heads :
1. The Manner, in which faith becomes, and,