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description of this grace ? « Now faith is the substance of things. " hoped for."
But I proceed to contemplate a second part of the definitioir contained in our text. “ It is the evidence of things not rt seen." The original word elengchos, is very strong, and forces the idea upon the mind. It is often translated refute, consince, conviction, &c. but no English word can perfectly express the original. It is such a conviction as affords irresistable eviđènce, and compleat demonstration of its object. This faith isi not merely a conviction of the understanding and judgment, but gives such a discovery of invisible things to the heart, that an eye of sense cannot perceive, nor all the powers of reason investigate. This faith manifests divine and spiritual realities in such a peculiar, glorious and lovely manner, that by no other possible. means could 'they be known.. “ The natural man receiveth not“ the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto “ him ; neither can he know them because they are spiritually “ discerned.” This spiritual discernment arises from, and is ever attendant upon the lively actings of a saving faith. It is a kind of mental sight, whereby the soul beholds the beauty, and relishes the excellency of divine things. They appear to the believer's view, with a superior lustre, very different from what they do to natural men. These are represented as blind, having their minds darkened, living in darkness, &c. as persons naturally blind, perceive not the light of the gun, however gloriously it. shines around them. Thus the spirituality of the light of the gospel cannot be discerned but by the eye of faith. Thus faith administers a tull conviction of the glory and excellency of invisia ble things, or it " is the evidence of things not seen.”
But it is time to end this lecture, with a few reflections.
First, How infinitely important is this grace of faith? It is often put for the whole of religion, because it is so radical and essential a part of it.. Such is its consequence, that there is no
salvation for sinners without it. Salvation and damnation, by the decree of heaven, which is more irreversible and immutable than the statutes of Medes and Persians, is suspended on this single point. This is an immoveable principle of the gospel, and by which its whole administration is directed. When the Apostles received commission from their Lord, and ordered to go and preach the gospel to every creature, and a summary of their doctrines was delivered to them, it was in these grand and allcomprehensive terms ; “ He that believeth and is baptised shall “ be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.” This is the great principle in the gospel system. Every man will be infallibly saved or damned, according to his being possessed of this virtue or grace, or being destitute of it. The believer cannot be condemned_but he that believeth not, is condemned already, And the particular ground of this condemnation is, “ because " he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of “ God.” Our Lord proceeds with greater force and authority to impress this doctrine as the great principle of his kingdom : " He " that believeth in me hath life everlasting ; but he that believe “eth not the son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abide “eth on him. If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in “your sins.”
Notwithstanding all the wonders of infinite love displayed in the gospel, the love of the eternal Trinity, the love of God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the humiliation, dreadful sufferings and death of Christ, ahe agonies of Gethsemene, and the blood of Golgotha, all these will be of no avail, all these will not save us without faith. It is true that the Son of God died to become the author of salvation, but then it is only for those that believe. Notwithstanding all the power, wisdom, and goodness of heaven have been exerted to the utmost for the recovery of lost men, they must still perish, unless they believe,
Secondly, From the description of faith given us by the Apostle, and the illustration of it in this lecture, it is of the highest moment we should enquire into our own views, exercises, and experiences in relation to it. If we are true believers in Christ, if we have that faith which purifies the heart, and its productions are the fruits of righteousness, by the unchangeable constitution of God, our salvation is sure ; if we are unbelievers, and continue destitute of saving faith, our everlasting perdition and eternal damnation is equally sure.
Let us, therefore, for once honestly enquire, whether we possess the faith of God's elect ? Have we ever been effectually convinced of sin ? Has sin been the bitterness of our souls? Have we ever been changed in the temper of our hearts, and in the disposition of our minds ? Have we ever felt our perishing necessity, and seen the fullness and sufficiency of Christ ? Have you ever sought Jesus sorrowing? Have you ever fled to him poor, and miserable, and wretched, and naked, renouncing yourselves, and committing your whole souls to him, and placing all your confidence, hope and salvation in his atonement ? Is he precious to, and the life of your souls ? Do you feel it death :o be out of Christ ? Is he your joy and consolation?
Some of you, my dearly beloved brethren, I doubt not have experienced, understood, and relish all these things. What can be said for your encouragement and comfort ? Is it not enough to fill your eyes with tears of gratitude, and your hearts with joy, that God is yours, Christ is yours, salvation, and heaven, and all its glories and felicities will be yours forever? Always walk with your Redeemer, keep his commardments, and proceed on in your celestial course rejoicing. By and bye you will reap tlie full harvest of heaver, if you faint not. Your way will become brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. Remember, " they " that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength ; they shall “ mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be wea“ry; and they shall walk and not faint." ,
Can I shut up this lecture without dropping a word to those who are conscious to theniselves, they are still under the power of unbelief. They have never felt their guilt, or seen the glory of the Saviour. It is not in the voice of man, or the power of angelic eloquence to awake or persuade you : “A Paul may plant, 6 and an Apollos water, but it is God who 'must give the en“crease.” Consider, O my fellow mortals, consider your dangerous case. Judge yourselves, that ye be not judged. God forbid, that I should enter upon the judgment or condemnation of any of my fellow creatures, that I should attempt to snatch from the divine hand the balance and the rod. But God, the holy scriptures, Jesus, the compassionate and bleeding Saviour, and your own consciences call you to consideration and self-reflection. Wherefore, cry mightily for mercy. Let your incessant cry be, “God “ be merciful to us sinners."
SAVING KNOWLEDGE DISTINGUISHED AND EX.
JEREMIAŁ IX. 24.
Let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth
and knoweth me, that I am the Lord, which exercise loving kindness and judgment, and righteousness in the earth ; for in these things I delight saith the Lord.
DIVINE knowledge is a matter of infinite moment to the salvation of a lost world. The whole of eternal life is sometimes expressed by it. This is life eternal, that they might know “ thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast 66 sent." Ignorance is every where reprobated in the sacred oracles. The workers of iniquity are declared to have no knowledge. A gracious knowledge of God and divine things is always repre. sented as of the utmost consequence. This knowledge lies at the foundation and enters into the whole system of religion. Every virtue, every grace, and every duty towards God and man is impregnated with it. Without this there can be no act of righteousness, nor any holy exercise whatsoever.
In the preceding part of this chapter, the Prophet had been sharply reproving sin, and denouncing the judgments of heaven,