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purpose, and covenant are ihe “same yeso terday, and to-day, and for ever ?”
The reality of faith may thus be known with a great degree of certainty by its inward exercises and operations. All christians do not correspond precisely in the circumstances attending their conversion, or their experiences afterwards. Some are brought to a knowledge of the Saviour in early life, others are permitted to continue to a more advanced period before they are called by divine grace: Some undergo a severe conflict with their own consciences and the terrors of the broken law; they are tossed long on the tempestuous ocean, without a cheering view of either sun, or stars, and in their own apprehensions must finally perish ; while others by a gentle gale of the spirit are wafted at once into the haven of
joy and peace in believing:" Some experience a more abundant measure of spiritual light, and strength, and hope ; like Abraham stagger not at the promise of God through unbelief; while others walk in darkness, and through fear of death are all their life time subject to bondage.” But whatever be the diversity of their exercises previous to their saving conversion, and whatever the diversity of their attainments in joy, and peace, and heavenly hope in future life, all christians will correspond in rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and renouncing all confidence in the flesh ; they most cordially embrace him as the Father's gift, and exult
in him as their salvation, and hope. Each according to the measure of
grace communicated will be disposed to appropriate the elevated language of the prophet, “ behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid, for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.”
2. Faith may be known by its fruit, or effects both on the heart, and the life. This principle does not consist in a cold speculative assent to any system of doctrine, or in a barren unproductive belief of that revelation which the scriptures afford of Jesus Christ and his salvation : It is a living, operative principle, and necessarily manifests its existence by its effects, as the life of a tree is known by its foliage and fruit, or the sun is known by the light which beams from it.
Peace of conscience through a persuasion of the remission of sin, and reconciliation to God, is frequently represented as one fruit, or effect of this faith. The apostle therefore pleads in behalf of the Romans, that “the God of hope would fill them with all joy and peace in believing, that they might abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost: And he mentions again, that “being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Faith secures peace to the awakened, accusing conscience by applying that blood of atonement through which the law is magni
fied, and the Father is well pleased. The believer in the exercise of this principle appropriates all that Jesus underwent for the redemption of sinners as undergone for himself, in his own room, and for his own salvation, and then considers that “the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of his righteousness shall be quietness and assurance for ever:" He beholds the Father as fully pacified through the cross of his Son, as there assuming the endearing characters of the “ God of peace, of patience, and of hope,” as not merely pacified, but « able to do for hiin exceeding, abundantly above all that we can ask, or think," and therefore rejoices in him as an infinitely enriching, unfading portion.
Love is another effect necessarily produced by the instrumentality of this grace residing in the heart « For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love." This divine principle, while it contemplates the love of God to us, his rich, unmerited, amazing grace in providing a Saviour, in forgiving innumerable offences through the merit of his sacrifice, mortifying innumerable corruptions through the efficacy of his Spirit, and thus fitting us for, and giving us a title to an “exceeding, eternal weight of glory,” faith contemplating these things produces love to God, both unfeigned and ardent: The christian transported in the contemplation of the wondrous
theme is constrained to cry out, “behold! what manner of love hath the Father bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God?” What shall I render to the Lord for grace thus astonishing, and distinguishing ? What tribute of gratitude shall I offer to the Father, who spared not his Son, or to the Son who spared not himself, but submitted to be wounded for my transgressions,or to the Spirit of adoption who has enabled me to believe in Jesus, and through him to “rejoice in hope of the glory of God ?" In proportion therefore as failh is strong love will be ardent in the heaven-born soul; Each recollection which the christian lias of his foriner character and condition as a child of wrath; each contemplation of what he is rendered by grace, and each anticipation of that crown which he expects shortly to receive, and those joys which he will participate, kindles afresh this sacred flame, and makes him long for the full fruition of his Saviour and God.
Faith is represented also as “purifying the heart:" It centres immediately upon the ever-living, immaculate Jesus as its object; it imitates the example and derives all influence from Him who was emphatically the Holy One of God," and consequently as the branch resembles in quality the tree upon which it grows, the soul which is joined to the Lord the Saviour will necessarily become assimilated to him: it will aspire after holiness as he is holy. The prin
ciple faith when produced in the heart commences a warfare with surrounding corruption, and never ceases from the conflict, until it is crowned with victory in the end. The believer's heart, which, while unconverted, was the haunt of impurity, where “the devil, and the world, and the flesh possessed the undivided dominion, is now converted irto a theatre of war. While the child of adoption therefore complains “ the flesh lusteth against the spirit,” he can also add, “the spirit," the gracious principle supported and cherished by constant communications from Jesus Jehovah, “lusteth against the flesh,” carries on its warfare against every remaining corruption," and these two are contrary the one to the other;" they are essentially opposite in their origin, in their nature, and the hostility is never suspended until grace triumphs over all opposition, and the believer stands “faultless before the throne with exceeding joy.” Such is the effect of saving faith when produced in the heart; it aims at regulating every thought, and expression, and action according to the glorious gospel ; it influences the individual to live soberly, and righteously, and godly in this present world. The christian reflects that it is his father's will, the divine pleasure and purpose, even his sanctification, and therefore he ardently aspires after holiness as his duty, and glory, and privilege. It is to him the source of deep humiliation and sorrow, that he cannot be more