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parable of the sower. He here represents, and beautifully illustrates, the reception which the gospel would meet with amongst different hearers, by seed sown in different soils. In the first instance, "the seed fell by the way side upon a soil that might have been naturally good, but: was now trodden down, and become so firm and hard that the seed could not enter into it." This represents a mind so hardened in impiety, that the word can make no impression upon it. The word is never received into the mind, and therefore, in this instance, there is in reality no faith.

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In the two following instances, the seed is received: Faith is here produced, but from various causes it is prevented from working its proper effect. Not because the faith itself was of a wrong kind, and tares had been sown instead of wheat. The seed was right and sound, as appears by its timely vegetation. The word was properly received, and entertained at first even with joy, but then it wanted a due supply of nourishment. In the stony ground the surface was good, but there was no depth of earth. The plant grew and flourished in temperate seasons, but there wanted a depth and strength of soil; there wanted that deep attention, and serious application of mind, which alone could fix the root of faith in the. heart, and enable it to stand firm in adverse times, and to endure the storms of persecution. In the thorny ground there was no want

of nourishment sufficient to have fed the plant, but it was all drawn off in supplying useless weeds. The mind was not averse to all the serious attention and close application of thought that could be required, but that attention which should have been given to religion was all exhausted on the thorny cares or the luxuriant pleasures of life.

It was not therefore from any defect in the kind of faith, that it became fruitless, and died away before it attained to perfection, in either of these instances; but because it wanted that nourishment and due cultivation which it finds in the "honest and good heart," and which alone can enable it to bring forth fruit, thirty, sixty, or an hundred fold.

We are next to consider the case of an historical faith, or a faith which believes indeed the account of redemption, but at the same time looks upon it with cold indifference as an uninteresting story. But can we suppose such a case the case of a man who believes an history in which his own highest interests are closely interwoven, and yet believes himself uninterested in it? The supposition is manifestly inconsistent in itself. A man's passions or prejudices may keep him from attending to the gospel, or prevent the news of salvation from making any impression upon his mind; but if he once believes its interesting truths, he cannot believe them with indifference.

We naturally take such a share even in the interests of others, that we cannot attend to an

history of the remotest events with absolute indifference. The annals of ages long since past awaken all our passions. Whilst we listen to the well told story of virtue in distress, the tear of pity steals down our cheek. If we read of the hero who bravely rescued a people from the oppression of a tyrant, or saved even private innocence from ruin, we feel our bosom beat with the approbation of thegenerous deed.

The truth is, that every history must in some degree move us, as it is more or less interesting. We cannot separate between the belief of the history and the affections that it will naturally excite in us. Is it possible then to conceive a man believing the history of himself and of all the world being saved from endless ruin, and believing it with absolute indifference? It cannot be. The true faith and the historical must coincide, where the history is the history of redemption.

The speculative faith is nearly allied to the historical. This is considered as opposed to a true practical faith. It must be allowed indeed that faith conceived in the mind, and living in contemplation only, is not so valuable as faith brought forth into act, and directing and influencing life and manners. But still faith and practice are in themselves distinct from each other; and when we inquire into the nature of faith, it must be considered in itself, and as it exists in the mind only. And in its own proper and inherent nature it is the same, whether it be yet made perfect by works or not. As

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the nature ann powers of every cause are independent of its effect; or as a mechanical rule is the same in the conception of the artist, and in the execution of the mechanic. If this be not admitted, and if all faith must be condemned as false and spurious under the name of speculative, because it hath not yet been carried into act, I beg it may be considered how far this decision will carry us. All faith, even the purest and best, must, must be contained in the heart before it can operate on the actions; and there was a time when the faith of the most exemplary men, even of the apostles themselves, was in this sense speculative.

I am well aware that a speculative faith is frequently taken in a very different sense, as a belief like that of the most abstracted theorem, confined merely to speculation, and which hath in itself no relation or tendency to practice. But when we consider what hath been said under the foregoing article, I think there will be reason to call in question the very existence of this kind of faith. There can be no real belief of the great doctrines of christianity without some motions of the will to goodness. It is this which makes the case of the wicked christian so extremely unpardonable. He over-rules and stifles these good motions, and by violence suppresses those convictions and reproaches of conscience which he cannot but feel. They who suppose that a man may indeed believe the gospel without feeling any impulse to goodness, surely do not well consider what the doctrines

of the gospel are. A sinner can never go on at ease in a course of vicious indulgence, who believes that "doubtless there is a God who judgeth the earth," and that he must, after this life, render a strict account of all his actions. He cannot look on the prospect of eternal bliss without some secret "longings after immortality;" nor on scenes of endless misery without "shrinking back from destruction." But in spite of every impulse to goodness he persists in wickedness; and it is this which will make it more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for those who persist in a course of unrepented sin under the light of the gospel.

But "the devils also believe, and tremble." True. St. James, to show the absurdity of supposing that the design of christianity terminates in faith, reminds the abettors of that most dangerous tenet, that the devils themselves are almost as much christians as they are. But we must remark an essential difference between the case of evil spirits and that of men. They may indeed believe the truth of the gospel, but the gospel is no gospel, no tidings of joy to them. They know that the Son of God, who comes to offer salvation to mankind, comes to "bruise the serpent's head." A belief of this must necessarily add to their horror and despair. But when man believes the gospel, he believes that to him is this word of salvation sent; he sees the Son of God as his Redeemer and his

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