Sivut kuvina

the nurse of a good conscience-the hand whereby we apprehend Christ-the eye whereby we see the invisible things of God-the mouth whereby we receive the food of salvation-the pledge of our eternal inheritance--the earnest of our peace with God-the seal of our sonship-the ladder whereby we safely ascend to heaven-the shield of a faithful soul the sword whereby we overcome our spiritual enemies-the evidence of our union to Christ-our victory, and bond of union unto the chief good.

Faith in the righteousness of Jesus Christ is a fundamental principle in that invaluable system of sacred and divine philosophy, the Gospel; by which the heavenly teacher is continually training up millions of rational and immortal creatures for the true perfection of their nature -for the final fruition of their God; or, in other words, for a state of consummate happiness and everlasting glory. In this school may you and I be humble students and daily profi cients. While others are ambitious of glittering distinctions and sounding titles, may it be our highest aim to answer the character of believers! By this character the supreme Lord distinguishes his chosen people, and denominates the heirs of salvation. This character stands fairest in the Book of Life, and most conspicuous in the annals of eternity. This character, however neglected or disesteemed among men,, will be remembered and had in honour, when the pompous names of statesman and generalissimo are known

no more.



Now faith is the "demonstrative evidence of things unseen, supernatural evidence of things invisible," not perceivable by eyes of flesh, or by any of our natural senses or faculties. Faith is that divine evidence, whereby the spiritual man discerneth God and the things of God. It is, with regard to the spiritual world, what sense is with regard to the natural. It is the spiritual sensation of every soul that is born of God.

Faith, according to the scriptural account, is the eye of the newborn soul. Hereby every true believer in God" seeth Him who is invisible.” Hereby, in a more particular manner, (since life, and.immortality have been brought to light by the gospel) he seeth the

light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ;" and "beholdeth what manner of love it is, which the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we (who are born of the Spirit) should be called the sons of God."

It is the ear of the soul, whereby a sinner " hears the voice of the Son of God, and lives;" even that voice which alone wakes the dead: "Son, thy sins are forgiven thee.”


It is (if I may be allowed the expression) the palate of the soul: for hereby a believer "tastes the good word, and the powers of the world to come;" and hereby he both "tastes and sees that God is gracious, yea and merciful to him a sinner,"

It is the feeling of the soul, whereby a believer perceives, through the power of the Highest overshadowing him," both the existence and the presence of Him, in whom he lives, moves, and has his being;" and indeed the whole invisible world, the entire system of things eternal, And hereby, in particular, he feels " the love of God shed abroad in his heart."

By this faith we are saved from all uneasiness of mind, from the anguish of a wounded spirit, from discontent, from fear and sorrow of heart, and from that inexpressible listlessness and weariness, both of the world and of ourselves, which we had so helplessly laboured under for many years; especially when we were out of the burry of the world, and sunk into calm reflection. In this we find that love of God, and of all mankind, which we had elsewhere sought in vain. This, we know and feel, and cannot but declare, saves every one that partakes of it, both from sin and misery, from every unhappy and every unholy temper.


peace she brings, wherever she arrives,
She builds our quiet, as she forms our lives;
Lays the rough paths of peevish nature even,
And opens in the breast a little heaven.”

Wesley's Works.

We shall conclude this article with a general description of the properties of Faith,

[ocr errors]

1. Faith is the belief of a testimony; 2 Thess. i. 10. “When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all

them that believe, (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day." 2 Thess. ii. 13. "But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." 1 John v. 10. "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son."

[ocr errors]

2. It is the proper act of the soul towards God as faithful; Rom. iii. 3, 4. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged." It includes a sense of glory and excellency, or at least it is connected with such a sense; Matt. ix. 21. "She said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole."

3. The object of faith is the Gospel, as well as Jesus Christ; Mark i. 15." And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." John xvii, 8. "For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me."

4. Faith is a receiving of Christ; John i. 12. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.'

5. It is a trusting in Christ; Psalm ii. 12. "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little blessed are all they that put their trust in him." Eph. i. 12, 13. “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ; in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise."

6. It is a committing ourselves to Christ; 2 Tim. i. 12. "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless, I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded

that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against

that day."

7. It is gladly receiving the gospel; Acts ii. 41. "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."

8. It also consists in being persuaded of, and in embracing the promises; Heb. xi. 13. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

9. There is contained in the nature of faith a sense of our own unworthiness; Matt. xv. 27, 28. "Truth, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table. Then Jesus auswered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith."

10. Love either arises from or is included in faith; John iii. 18, 19. "He that believeth not is condemned already; and this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light." 2 Thess. ii. 10, 12. “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

11. Faith is being athirst for the waters of life; Rev. xxi. 6. It is a true cordial seeking of salvation by Christ; and heartily joining ourselves to Christ and to his party. It is to hearken to him as a prophet, to yield ourselves subject to him as a king, and to depend upon him as a priest.

12. There belongs to faith a sense of the ability and sufficiency of Christ to save, and of his fitness for the work of salvation; Matt. ix. 2, 21, and xxviii, 29. Rom. iv. 21. "And being fully persuaded that what he had promised he is able to perform."

13. Faith is the soul's entirely adhering to, and acquiescing in, the revelation of Jesus Christ, as our Saviour. It is the whole soul assenting to the truth, and embracing it. There is an entire yielding of the mind and heart to the revelation, and a closing with it, and adhering to it, with the belief, and with the inclination and

affections. It is admitting and receiving it with entire credit and respect. The soul receives it as true, as worthy and excellent. It is the soul's entirely acquiescing in this revelation, from a sense of the sufficiency, dignity, glory, and excellency of its Author. The whole soul's active agreeing, according, and symphonizing with this truth, all opposition in judgment and inclination, so far as he believes, being taken away. It is called believing, because fully believing this revelation, is the first and principal exercise and manifestation of this accordance and agreement of soul.

14. The word faith seems to be the most proper term to express the cordial reception of Christ and of the truth, for these reasons: First, this revelation is of things spiritual, unseen, strange, and wonderful, exceedingly remote from all the objects of sense, and those things which we commonly converse with in this world, and also exceedingly alien from our fallen nature: so that it is the first and principal manifestation of the symphony between the soul and these divine things, that it believes them and acquiesces in them as true. And, secondly, the Lord Jesus Christ, in the gospel, appears principally under the character of a Saviour, and not so much of a person absolutely excellent; and therefore the proper act of reception of him consists principally in the exercise of a sense of our need of him, and of his sufficiency, his ability, his mercy and love, his faithfulness, the sufficiency of his method of salvation, the suf ficiency and completeness of the salvation itself, of the deliverance and of the happiness, and an answerable application of the soul to him for salvation; which can be expressed so well by no other word but faith, or affiance, or confidence, or trust, and others of the same signification; of which words, faith is the best and the most significant, because the rest, in their common significations, imply something that is not of the absolute essence of faith,

« EdellinenJatka »