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and services is only to be expected for his fake. And we are to rely upon his grace, as our head, for constant supplies.
Another necesfary exhortation from our present subject remains.
3. Let us persevere in walking by faith, till we arrive at light. Believing to the saving of the fend, stands oppofed to drawing back, which is declared to be unto perdition, Heb. x. 39, Faith comes short of sight; but is we are governed by it, it brings us every day nearer to sight. And by how much the nearer we fee the day approaching, so much the more should faith take wing, entering into that which is within the veil. If our hands hang down, when the shadows of the evening come upoa us, our hope must sink too 1 and is we have any faith lest, it must reproach us, that, whea we are in a nearer view of Canaan than formerly, we flag, and susser ourselves more to be carried away by sense. Let us not abate or decline in the lise, which is animated by faith: but " knowing the time, let us awake out of sleep," is we have suffered meaner principles to gain the ascendant over us: and is we are yet prelhng forward with sull fails towards the haven, let it be our care that we do not relax our zeal and application; but live as faith dictates, till the rewards of faith are obtained.
To inforce all this, it may be proper to consider, that—
A lise of faith is highly reafonable. It is to govern ourselves by matters which are at once of the highest importance and reality; the greatest concern we can have in view; with the testimony of God, to support and warrant our concern about them.
It is at present the most fatisfactory and comfortable Jise. To have no view beyond false, must ever make this world a howling wilderness : and we cannot have any fatisfactory view of a suture rest, by any other light than. that of faith. This therefore alone caa minister to us the great folace of lise. And besides that, to live by rule is a rest to the mind; which we shall most securely do, by living under the conduct of faith. And in all turns the divine persections, providence and promises, are a fountain of peace and serenity, which cannot be equalled either by the most agreeable present enjoyments, or by the bett profpects we can form on the measures of human policy.
To walk by faith7 bears the nearest resemblance to the lise of heaven, of any thing we can attain while we are probationers. A believer lives upon the fame objects, as those above live upon in sull happiness; the fame God and Redeemer :. only these objects are very disserently perceived above and here. "Now we see them through a glass darkly,. but then face to face; now we know in part, but then shall we know, even as weare known," l Cor. xiii. 12. The Christian's portion is the fame in both worlds; but now he hath it in title, and there will have it in possession; now he sees it asar off; then he will have it at hand, and in full enjoyment.
Whatever impersection attends this life now, will foon be over and at an end. Tho.
faith faith is not sight, yet it will very quickly be turned into sight. It is as sure a presage of the persect light of heaven, as the marning.ligfit is of the clear shining of noon-day.
And this walk upon the foundation of believing, has been the walk of the excellent of the earth in every age of the world. As many of them as successively have arrived at glory, have ** through faith and patience inherited the promises," Heb. vi. 12. It is the design of the apostle in the whole eleventh chapter to the Hebrews, to shew that faith conducted the principal worthies of the Old Testament to all their commendable actions in life, and to the heavenly rewards at the end of it. And the apostle in the tex^ declares, that this was the animating principle of himself and other servants of God, under the New Testament; fo he had before observed, chap. iv. 13. that ** we have the time spirit of faith" with good men under the Mofaical dispenfation. We have the fame principle of faith to rule in us, which inspired them with all their excellencies: but we have suller discoveries, to employ and support om; faith; and therefore should be stronger in it, and persorm greater things under its. influence.
Godliness; or the Christian Temper towards God.
2 Pet. i. 6. latter pare of the verse
. And to patience, godliness.
THE christian spirit has been considered' in several general representations: I would now enter upon the particular branches which constitute it; and this of godliness naturally comes sirst to- be treated of, or the religious regard we owe to the blessed God. The mention of this is fo introduced in the words before us, that it will directly suit my design, which is to recommend it as a most important part of that temper, to which weare called by christianity.
The apostle had observed, ver. 3:. what great and good things are conserred upon us by the divine power, even tl all things that pertain unto lise and godliness;" meaning probably all things pertaining to a godly lise: and then in ver. 4. that we have " exceeding great and precious promises given- us for this very end, "that by them we might be partakers of a divine (or godlike) nature." In the following verses he presses those who prosessed Christianity, to pursue this end; to exercise and cultivate the various graces of the christian Jise, ver 5. Sec. Kki &vto Tsto, and besides
(his; this; or rather, as such benefits, such promises are given you for such an end; fo do ye also for this reafon, or in like manner, giving all diligence on your part, add, or join together as in a choir, the following excellencies, Add to your faith, to your inward persuasion of these good tidings of the Gofpel, virtue, or boldness and refolution in maintaining faith and a good conscience. And to virtue, knowledge; a gradual advance in the knowledge of the truths and duties of christianity, with which you are in fome measure already acquainted. And to knowledge, temperance; in the moderate use of the good things of this lise. And to temperance, patience; in bearing chearsully the evils of lise. And to patience, godliness; such a regard to God, as will carry you through the whole of your course. Here we are now to stop, in the account which the apostle gives of this chain of graces.
'Euss/Ctia, which in this place, as well as in many others, is tranflated godliness, most strictly signisies right worship or devotion: and on , the other hand, in. fome places it is taken fo largely, as to import the whole of practical. religion, or a disposition to univerfal goodness. But here I apprehend it is to be understood in a middle sense; neither to be consined to mere acts of worship; fior to be extended to the whole compass of our duty; but plainly to signisy such a temper and behaviour towards God, as becomes his excellencies, and our relations to him; or more briesly, a disposition to pay all proper regards lo G-od. It is often used in the same sense