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most beneficial influence to all future generations; that nothing done for Christ is lost; that all things belong to Christ. He has redeemed us by his blood-All we have, he has a right to claim, and he de., mands the consecration of every believer with all his talents, influence, property, his whole body, and soul, to the accomplishment of the great purposes of redemption; bringing the world to the feet of Jesus, making every heart to be a ternple filled with God, and thus to complete the happiness of man.
“ THE GREAT COMMISSION” will greatly promote the interests of Christian Missions; will deepen the conviction, that the Church of Christ is aggressive and missionary in its very constitution and character ; that its field is the world—the divine command requiring it to attempt the recovery of the WHOLE world; and that the entire consecration of all its resources is indispensable to success. The work is one of sterling merit, embodying a mass of powerful motives, well calculated to excite to more comprehensive efforts to make known the “ great salvation.” All who can afford the price at which it is purchased ought to possess it; and to give it an attentive perusal. We should be glad, however, to see it condensed; which we are of opinion might be done, so as not to lessen its efficiency; and then it could be brought within the reach of the greater portion of the members of the Church, obtain a greatly increased circulation, and become productive of greatly augmented beneficial results.
SKETCHES OF SERMONS, Designed for Special Occasions. By a Dissenting Minister. 12mo. 312 p.p. Houlston and STONEMAN.
This volume is specially designed to assist those who are engaged in the all important work of preaching the Gospel. Many of the “ Sketches " are very excellent; and may be read with much advantage. Those who have but little time or facility for making suitable preparation for the pulpit, may here obtain valuable assistance. As a general rule we strongly advise all who can, to make their own arrangement of the subjects on which they are about to preach. Those who do so may, however, consult this volume with great advantage.
· THREE DISCOURSES. On the Divine Will; On Acquaintance with God; On Revelation. By A. J. Scott, A.M. 18mo. 106 p.p. J. DARLING.
This is the production of a strong mind, of a metaphysical cast; the author is evidently no common place-man. With considerable force of argument he establishes the glorious facts, that God wills the salvation of all men, and for this purpose, has not only manifested himself to the world by his Son, but also beslows upon all men the inspiration of his Holy Spirit.
THEODOXA. A TREATiSe on DIVINE Praise; or, the Exercise of Devout Gratitude to God. By NATHANIEL ROWTon. 12mo. 223 p.p. John Snow, London.
The writer of this Work very justly observes, that the delightful duty of praising God, is one which has not hitherto received the attention which it deserves. We are glad, therefore, that a treatise on this subject has been published, We have not been able to read the whole of this Volume, but from the glance we have taken, it appears to be devout, spiritual, and scriptural; and will, we trust, be the means of exciting Christians, more than heretofore, to praise the Father of mercies. “ He that offereth praise glorifieth God."
Shortly will be Published. Corner's HistoRY OF HOLLAND AND BELGIUM. With two Historical Engravings, and an accurate Map. Being the 9th volume of Miss Corner's Historical Library, and the completion of that Work as respects Europe.
Also, at the same time, in square Duodecimo, with Engravings. CHRISTIAN Examples, for young persons. In Thirteen Interesting Stories, each illustrative of a Moral from one of the Proverbs of Solomon. By Miss JANE STRICKLAND.
ON THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF FAITH. The faith of Abraham which was counted for righteousness, did not consist in the mere belief of particular doctrines; but in a principle, that disposed the patriarch, in all things, to believe and obey his God. This disposition was produced by just conceptions, of the being and perfections of Deity; particularly of his power, goodness and veracity. Abraham's faith in God, visibly operated, when he obeyed the divine mandate, to leave his native country. “By faith, Abraham when he was called to go into a place, which he should after receive, for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” He continued to exercise this implicit trust in, and obedience to his Maker; and, in general, acted as one, solemnly impressed, with a sense of the presence, and authority of God.
To explain the nature of Abraham's faith, a particular act is mentioned. “ And the Lord brought Abraham forth abroad, and said; look now towards heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them. And he said unto him, so shall thy seed be. And he believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness." Gen. xv. 5, 6. In order to illustrate the excellence, and strength of his faith ; the apostle shews, how it was founded, on the most enlarged views of the divine perfections. The circumstances, which rendered it difficult to believe that promise, are particularly stated, in the sacred writings. When that promise was made to Abraham, he was in the eightieth year of his age, and Sarah, his wife, was seventy years old. For no less than twenty years was this promise delayed: “Abraham, being now weak in faith, considered not his own body, now dead, neither the deadness of Sarah's womb: he staggered not at the promise of God, through unbelief ; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. And being fully persuaded, that what he had promised he was also able to perform ; and, therefore, it was imputed to him for righteousness."
It was not this particular act alone, that God imputed to the patriarch; but the established principle of faith, which continued to operate, in this manner, through the whole of his life. As an instance of the permanency and strength of Abraham's faith, we are informed, that when this promised 'son, on whom all his hopes of a numerous offspring depended, was a well grown youth, the aged father was commanded to offer him up to God, as a burnt-offering. Without hesitation, he obeyed. “By faith, Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac ; and he that had received the promises, offered up his only begotten son; of whom it was said, that in Isaac shall thy seed be called. Accounting that God was able to raise him up from the dead: from whence also he received him in a figure." Heb. xi, 17-19. “Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him ; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.” Rom. iv, 23, 24.
When it is said ; " that God imputes faith for righteousness, the expression implies, his high approbation of faith ; nothing that a man can do, who is destitute of faith, is acceptable to God. “Without faith, it is impossible 10 please him.” The same expression is used to denote God's approbation of Phineas, Psalm cvi. 31. “And that was counted unto him for righteous,
The justification of a sinner, on account of faith in God, and in the Saviour, is consistent with the dictates of reason, and with our conceptions of the divine perfections. If trees were elected, from the nursery, it is reasonable to prefer those, which are of a quality, to produce the greatest abundance of excellent fruit. “Every plant, that my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. And now the axe is laid unto the root of the trees; and therefore every tree, which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire, Herein is my heavenly Father glorified, that you bring forth much fruit.” There is no principle, in the human heart, so productive of good fruit, as this faith, which works by love. No acceptable religious disposition can exist, without this grace; and where it is genuine, all the other graces will be its inseparable attendants. Had Adam's faith, in God, not been shaken; all the devils in hell could not have prevailed with him to disobey the divine precept. He was first tempted, therefore, to disbelieve God's word, before he could be persuaded to break his law. Hence, the wisdom of God, in the system of grace, established, as a rule, ever since the fall; that sinners cannot be justified, but by faith, in himself, and in Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent.
That we are not justified by faith, as the meritorious cause, is readily granted; for, if that were the case, it would be bestowed on us as a debt paid, and not as an act of grace. We are justified by faith therefore; as that important and fruitful principle, which qualifies us, for becoming members of Christ's kingdom, and for enjoying the purchased inheritance. The faith by which we are justified, hath respect to the word and promises, of God; it is faith in God, and in Christ Jesus, which is necessary, in order to obtain pardon.
As the term faith is used, in very different senses, it is important to ascertain its precise signification, in the various passages where it occurs. Faith frequently means the doctrines believed, or the Christian religion, in opposition to Judaism. This evidently is, the signification of the term. Gal. iii. 2-5. “This only would I learn of you: received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Those Galatians who received spiritual gifts, on becoming converts to Christianity, were afterwards persuaded to adopt the Jewish religion. The apostle, therefore, reasons with them; that they did not receive the Spirit, as Jews, by performing obedience to the law; but as Christians, by embracing and obeying the gospel, “He that worketh miracles among you, doth he it by the works of the law, or by the
hearing of faith ?" That is, does he work miracles, as a Jew, in obedience to the Mosaic law, or as a Christian, subject to the gospel of Christ ? Paul declares ; “that he now preached the faith, which he once destroyed; ” he propagated that religion, which he once violently opposed. “Felix sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ ; " or concerning the gospel of Christ. Believers are required; "to contend earnestly for the faith, which was once delivered to the saints ; " that is, for Christianity.
The word faith also signifies fidelity, or faithfulness. “For they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.” Deut. xxxii. 20. They were a false, and unfaithful people, in whom no trust could be placed. “ Shall their unbelief make the faith of God, without effect ?" Rom. iii. 3. That is, will their unbelief make God unfaithful ? Matt. xxiii. 23. “Judgment, mercy, and faith," or fidelity. The term is translated fidelity in Titus ii. 10.
In Rom. xii. 3. “ the measure of faith” evidently means, the measure of spiritual gifts, which God was pleased to confer, on those who were inspired. “To one is given, by the Spirit, the word of wisdom ; to another faith, by the same Spirit. And, though I have the gift of prophecy; though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." In these passages, faith evidently means, the gift of working miracles.
The Saviour, therefore, employs the term faith to denote, the certain knowledge of possessing these miraculous gifts. “I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say to this mountain, remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove. If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this, which is done to the fig tree, but also, if ye shall say to this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and it shall be done.” Matt. xvii. 20. and xxi. 21. · This term, therefore, is often used in a sense different from saving faith, or the faith by which we are justified. We have another instance of this in Rom. xiv. 22, 23. “Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. He that doubteth, is damned, if he eat, because he eateth not of faith ; for what. ever is not of faith, is sin.” In these verses, faith means a full persuasion of the lawfulness of the action. This is the only sense of the word, that can suit the apostle's argument in the passage. · It deserves notice, that Augustine, and after him the Calvinists, inferred from this expression,' “ whatever is not of faith, is sin ; " that all the best actions of the heathens were nothing better than splendid sins. It is perfectly certain, that the text does not warrant this inference ; for, if they performed good actions, with a full persuasion that they were doing their duty, and that it was right in the sight of God; then they possessed that faith, which is meant in the text. The other expression, “and he that doubteth, is damned, hath also been perverted to support the opinion; that, if any person entertains the least doubt, of his own salvation, it is a certain evidence, that he is in a state of damnation.” It is evident, however, that the apostle's words have no connexion with this doctrine. The obvious sense of the text is: that he who believes it still to be a sin, to partake of that food, which by the Mosaic law was accounted unclean, is condemned, if he eats it in opposition to the eonviction of his mind.
The faith by which alone those who have the Gospel can be saved, consists in giving such credit to God's Holy Word, as, under the influences of the Holy Spirit, which in a measure, is given to all men, produces sorrow for sin, and the putting away of all sinful practices : this faith also commands the assent of the understanding to the suitability of the method of salvation made known by the Gospel-credits the testimony, that Christ is the Saviour--that God is willing through his Son to pardon all who come to him by Christ; it ventures upon God's mercy in Christ-trusts all to the mercy, power, and
faithfulness of God; purposing to yield continued submission to his authority; crediting, loving, and obeying Him.
Evangelical faith is a principle, which uniformly disposes the mind, implicitly to believe all that God is pleased to reveal, and sincerely to obey, whatever he commands; and to the assent of the understanding, is added, the consent of the heart, in those who savingly believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. This faith is similar to that which Adam possessed, in a state of innocence; and the fall did not destroy our capacity to believe a credible testimony; because, this natural power is essential to a rational mind.
The means of producing evangelical faith, are established, and efficacious, like the means of making the earth to be fruitful; and the divine agency is regularly exerted, in both cases. By mistaking the extraordinary operations of the Spirit, on the apostles, for his ordinary influences, in the kingdom of grace; Christians have been led, very improperly, to call his divine agency, in conversion, an extraordinary or a miraculous operation.
As it is of great importance to understand the different senses of the term faith in the scriptures, we observed; 1. That faith is an original principle,
power in human nature ; which admits truth, by means of credible testimony, as the eye does objects, by means of light. 2. The term faith often means, the gospel itself, or the doctrines believed. 3. It also denotes fidelity, and is applied to both God and man, in that sense. 4. This word is sometimes used to express the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, which were conferred on the apostles, and first preachers of Christianity. 5. The term faith is also used by the apostle Paul, to denote a clear knowledge, and a full persuasion, that our actions are lawful. Lastly. Faith denotes that grace, which is begotten in the mind, by means of the word and Spirit. This principle disposeth the mind, to believe all that God is pleased to reveal, and to obey all his commandments.
In order to ascertain the doctrines, which belong to the analogy of faith, the following rules may be useful. First: No doctrine can belong to the analogy of faith, which is founded on a single text, for every important doctrine is frequently stated. Secondly: The analogy of faith must be collected from such texts, as are plain, and clearly expressed, in proper terms; not from such as are doubtful, obscure, ambiguous, or figurative, and need to be explained. Thirdly : The texts, which treat professedly of the subject, have more weight in ascertaining the doctrines, than those which touch it incidentally. Also those texts, which express the doctrine absolutely and clearly, must ascertain the sense of such passages as express the subject imperfectly, or in ambiguous and obscure terms. Fourthly: To ascertain a doctrine,
to the analogy of faith, it is necessary to collect all the plain texts relating to the subject, that they may be impartially compared; and the manner, in which they limit, and restrict one another, fully considered ; so as to deduce the doctrine from them all, in their connexion. Fifthly: The doctrines, which form the analogy of faith, must be shortly expressed, in simple and pure scriptural terms ; without admitting into the doctrine the complex peculiarities, and scholastic refinements, of any system. By collecting from the scriptures, the principal doctrines of Christianity, to form the analogy of faith, and bringing doubtful doctrines to this test; they might easily be decided : figurative and metaphorical expressions might be clearly explained, and general propositions restricted, within their proper