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Evangelical faith is an emotion of the mind, delightful in itself, and delightful in all its consequences. Faith is a well-spring of water, flowing out into everlasting life; all the streams which proceed from it in the soul of the believer are sweet, refreshing, and life-giving. Faith, fixing its eye on the unmerited and boundless goodness of God, sees, in the great act of justification, faithfulness, truth, and mercy displayed, to which it neither finds, nor wishes to Dr. Dwight. find, limits.
I believe that
Faith takes God at his word, and depends upon him for the whole of salvation. God is good-and therefore he will not; he is true and faithful—and therefore he cannot, deceive me. he speaks as he means, and will do as he says: for which reason, let me be strong in faith, giving honour to God, and rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
The use of faith now (having already closed with Christ for justification) is to take out a copy of your pardon, and so you come to have peace with God. For since faith apprehends pardon, but never pays a penny for it, no marvel that salvation does not die and live, ebb and flow, with the working of faith,
Precious faith, oh! may my soul obtain!
Dear "LORD, INCREASE MY FAITH."
Faith is not only intended to pacify the conscience and purify the heart, but also to rescue the mind from earthly troubles. Our passage through life is attended with storms: we sail upon a boisterous sea, where many tempests are felt, and many are feared, which look black, and bode mischief, but pass over. Now faith is designed for an anchor, to keep the mind steady, and to give it rest; even as Isaiah saith: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because be trusteth in thee." Isa. xxvi. 3.
Great God, behold my reason lies
Faith shall direct her humble flight
Through all the trackless seas of light,
To Thee, th' eternal Fair, the Infinite Unknown.
Faith in God's promises may be compared to a bank note. Full and felt possession of the blessings promised, is like ready cash. The man that has bank notes to any given value, looks upon himself as possessed of so much money, though in reality it is only so much paper. Thus faith is satisfied, and rests with as great complacency in the promises of Jehovah, as if it had all the blessings of grace and glory in hand. In faith's estimation, God's note is
Faith is the soul's going out of itself for all it wants.
It is but a few saints who have full, assurance, and they not at all times. The greater number of believers in all ages are weak; and, indeed, it has been with truth observed, that he never believed who never doubted. But although weak saints ought to be encouraged, yet they should be excited to pray, and strive to become stronger; because little faith brings but little glory to God; it yields little comfort to a believer in trouble, and does little good in the way of example. Weak faith engenders doubts and distrust respecting the spiritual state of the soul; and, especially, it occasions perplexing care and unbelieving fears concerning our future temporal provision. There is the faith of reliance, as well as of affiance. Bishop Hall,
Thousands of poor souls have been in the dark, and unable to see themselves to be believers, merely for want of knowing what saving faith is.
Now the first act of faith is a firm persuasion of the truth of his testimony. Nothing can effectually animate and engage to that divine temper, to which faith in Christ is intended to raise us; nothing can furnish us out a constant supply and nourishment for maintaining such a spirit; nothing can carry us through the exercise of it, in all weathers and trials, short of a lively and stedfast conviction of the truth of the gospel. The practice of most nominal Christians is a proof of this; and the unevenness and inconstancy which we all find in our own frames from the infirmity of our faith, shows of what importance it is to be daily confirming the assenting act of faith. Many of Christ's disciples, while he was below, having but a faint and weak persuasion about his character, “went back, and walked no more' with him." John vi. 69. But that which under the influence of divine grace secured the rest who continued with him, was this, that "they believed and were sure that he was the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Thou Good Supreme!
Oh teach me what is good! Teach me Thyself!
From every low pursuit, and feed my soul
With faith, with conscious peace, and virtue pure,
Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss.
God saith to the soul, I am thy salvation; and the soul saith again, Thou art my God. Faith is nothing else but a spiritual echo, returning that voice back again, which God first speaks to the soul. For what acquaintance could the soul claim with so glorious a Majesty, if he did not first condescend so low as to speak peace, and whisper secretly to the soul, that he is our loving God and Father, and we his peculiar ones in Christ; that our sins are all pardoned; his justice fully satisfied; and our persons freely accepted in bis
Where there is true faith, there may be a mixture of unbelief; the best are not always alike strong, The saints have need of the
best helps they can get for the strengthening of faith. Abraham believed, yet desired a sign; so did Gideon. Matthew Henry.
The faith by which we are saved, is that gracious principle, or, if you prefer the phrase, as more fashionable, though unquestionably less evangelical, that Christian virtue, by which we not only em brace all "the Scripture, which has been given by inspiration of God," but more especially that part of it which reveals to us the divine plan of salvation, or God's determined method of saving lost mankind.
With respect to the most discriminative peculiarity of this faith, it may be thus represented: It is a gracious principle of refuge, by which we betake ourselves to the proper object of salvation. It is a gracious principle of affection, by which we are said to "cleave to Him with stedfastness and full purpose of heart." And it is a gracious principle of joy, by which we triumph in Him, as “the Author and Finisher, both of faith and of salvation." As it is written," God forbid, that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Temple of Truth.
Mistaken souls that dream of heav'n,
Vain are our fancies, airy flights,
'Tis faith that changes all the heart,
And lifts the thoughts above.
'Tis faith that conquers earth and hell
By a celestial pow'r;
This is the grace that shall prevail
In the decisive hour.
Q. What is a sincere faith?
A. It is a sure knowledge of God and his promises, revealed to us in the Gospel, and a hearty confidence, that all my sins are Dutch Protestant Church. forgiven, for Christ's sake.
Faith in Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive Christ, and rest upon him alone for salvation. The soul doth then truly rest upon Christ, when, being convinced of its own sinfulness and miserable condition by reason of sin, and seeing nothing in itself, no righteousness of its own, whereon it can safely bottom its hope of salvation, but hearing of a fulness of merit in Jesus Christ; an all-sufficient Saviour he is, able to save to the uttermost;
how willing to receive and embrace all poor sinners who will adventure their souls upon him; doth thereupon cast itself into his arms, rest wholly upon his perfect righteousness and meritorious death, saying, Thereto will I trust; if I perish, I will perish in his arms: if I die, 1 will die believing. This I conceive to be the great act of faith, which giveth us an interest in Christ, and which doth engage all the attributes of God-his justice, truth, mercy, power-and all to do us good.
Having considered its general nature, let us attend to its peculiar character. What office does it perform in relation to the Redeemer? It believes the gospel testimony concerning him. When faith is imparted, the mental eye is so opened, and the truth revealed in so clear a manner as to produce correspondent conviction in the understanding; doubts are removed, and the soul is satisfied. It is convinced that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and 'that he hath perfected the work of redemption. As the eye discerns
corporeal objects, faith discerns those that are spiritual.
truth, The faith of which I am treating, is not the belief of any but the belief of the truth; 2 Thess. ii. 13. has a special regard to the atonement made by Christ. It is a full and permanent persua sion of the truth, value, and importance of the gospel, and of its suitableness to our case, as fallen, lost, ruined, helpless creatures. Whenever these qualities of the gospel are seen and felt, that is,