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And now I have done with the first thing that I propounded, which was to Sermon open the Nature of Faith to you in ge
V. neral. I have been the longer upon this, because I thought it very material, and important to the settling of right apprehensions in us concerning Religion,and Divine things; and I have all along endeavoured to make things as easie and plain as the nature of the subject would permit. And tho'probably many things that I have said, might not be within the full reach and comprehension of all capacities, yet because I hoped they might be useful and beneficial to some at least, I could not think the other consideration a sufficient reafon why I should wholly omit them, and pass them by; remembring what St.Paul says, that he was a debter to the wise, as well as the unwise. And St.Peter tells us, that St. Paul in his Epistles wrote many things, which were hard to be understood by some Persons; yet because those things might be of use to others, the Spirit of God did not think fit to omit the writing of them. What remains I shall reserve for another Discourse, with which I shall conclude this Subject.
The Efficacy, Usefulness
, and Reasonableness of Divine Faith.
The Sixth Sermon on this Text.
HEB. XI. 6.
But without Faith it is imposible to
N Discoursing on these words, I
have dispatch'd the first thing which I propos’d, viz. to give an account of the Notion and Nature of Faith in general; under which I have largely created of a Religious or Divine Paith in particular,
The Second thing which I propos’d, XII. and to which I now proceed, is to
confirm the truth of the Proposition which I laid down from the words, viz. That Faith is the great
Principle of Religion. I told you that these words, Without Faith it is impossible to please God, do not only imply that Faith is a necessary condition, without which men cannot be Religious : but likewise that it is a Cause and Principle of Religion. Without Faith a. Man cannot be Religious: and where there is true Faith, it will have this Effed upon men to make them Religious. Therefore I shall distinctly speak to these two things.
First, That without Faith there can be no Religion
Secondly, That where there is a true Faith, it will have this influence up: on men to make them Religious.
First, That without Faith there can be no Religion. And this will appear by enquiring into the Nature of all human actions, whether Civil, or Re
ligious: and this is common to both of m them, that they suppose some kind of Sermon Faith or Perswafion. All human actis VI: ons have an order and reference to fome end, and consequently suppose some knowledge of the end, and of the means whereby it may be attained. So that unless a Man do bea lieve and be perswaded that such a thing is some way or other good for him, and consequently desireable and fit to be propounded as an end, and that this end is attainable, and the means which he useth are probable and likely for the attaining of this end, he will sit still and do nothing at all about it: So that without Faith it is impossible to do any thing; he that believes nothing, will do nothing.
To instance first in Civil actions, tnd the common affairs and concernments of life; all these are done by virtue of some Faith or Perswalion concerning them. For example, Husbandry, or Merchandise; no Man will äpply himself to these, but upon some belief or perswasion of the Possibility and Neceflity, or at least usefulness and convenience of these to the ends