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Of Faith in GOT).
H E B. xi. 6.
But without Faith, it is impossible to please him: For he that cometh to God) mujl believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
H E foregoing Chapter is a very S E R M. earnest and affectionate Exhor- I. tation to the Duty of Faith. V/VNJ Ver. 22. Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of Faith. Ver. 23. Let us hold fast the profession of our Faith without wavering. Ver. 37. For yet a little while, and he that fiall come will come, and will not tarry: Now the jujl shall V o L. I. B live.
Serm. live by Faith. That This exhortation *. might not be ineffectual, for want of men's
t^v°^ clearly understanding What the Nature of . the Duty was, to which they were here so earnestly exhorted; the Apostle in the lji verse of this chapter, proceeds to define distinctly what Faith is, and wherein h consists. Faith, faith he, is the subjlance os things hcped for, (in the original it is, the firm and assured cxpetJaticn of things hoped for,) the evidence of things not seen. And what those Things are, which being net seen by Sense, are yet made manifest by Faith, he declares in the words of the Text. They are; faith he, the Being of God, and the Rewards of the Life to come. He that cometh to God, muft believe that is, and that be is a Re-warder of them that diligently seek him. There has prevailed in modern times, a very different and enthusiastick Notion of Faith; as if Faith, under the Gospel, was nothing but a Confident Reliance upon the Merits of Christ, to do all That for us, which he on the contrary exprelHy requires that we should do for ourselves. When we have heartily indeavoured to obey the commandments of God; and have performed our Duty really and sincerely, tho' very imperfectly j to rely Then up-SErm* on the Merits and Intercession of Christ, €or the acceptance of those imperfect tho' sincere Endeavours; This is indeed the Duty, and the Comfort of a Christian; but it is not what the Scripture usually calls Faith. Faith, is that firm Belief of things at present not seen; that conviction upon the Mind, of the Truth of the Promises and Threatnings of God made known in the Gospel; of the certain reality of the Rewards and Punishments of the Life to come; which inables a man, in opposition to all the Temptations of a corrupt World, to obey God in expectation of an invisible Reward hereafter. This is that Faith, which in Scripture is always represented as a moral Virtue, nay as the principal moral Virtue, and the root and spring of all other Virtues; Because it is an Act, not of the understanding only, but also and chiefly of the IVill, so to consider impartially, to approve and embrace the Doctrine of the Gospel, as to make it the great Rule of our Life and Actions. By This Faith it is, that We must be justified; and by This it is, that the Antients whose example is celebrated in this 1 \th chapter, obtained, as the Apostle expresses it, a B 2 good
Sep. M. good report. The Faith of Abraham was", *- that be looked for a City "which hath founda
v,/~v"~v*; tions, even the heavenly Jerufalem spoken of in the Prophecies, whose Builder and Maker is God, ver. 10. The Faith of the other Patriarchs was, that confessing themselves strangers and pilgrims on the Earth, they declared plainly that they sought a better Country, that is, an heavenly, ver. 13, 16. The Faith of Moses was, that he chose rather to suffer afjiittion with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of Sin for a season; For be had respeSl unto the recompense of Reward; and endured, as seeing Him who is invisible, ver. 25, 26,27. The Faith of the Martyrs was that they chose to be tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better ResurreBion, ver. 3 5. This is a very easy and intelligible Notion of Faith; and such a Notion, as shows plainly, how Faith is not a mere speculative Act of the Understanding, but a substantial practical moral Virtue.
'tis true; This is not indeed the only Sense of the word, Faith, in Scripture; but 'tis the Principal and most important fense of it. As may appear by considering, that all the Variety of significations, in which the word is used in. different places of Scripture, may properly be reduced, for S E R M. memory and distinctness fake, to these which follow, jst, The word, Faith, in yr*s' some places signifies That earnest Trust and Confidence in the Power of God, to which in the Apostles Times was annexed the Gist of working Miracles. Thus JStat. xvii. 20. If ye have Faith (fays our Lord to his Apostles ) as a grain of mufiard-seed; (if ye have That Trull in God, That particular Kind of Faith or Dependence on him, That asiured Reliance on his Power without Doubt or wavering, required of you peculiarly at This time; if you have This Faiths though ever so small in comparison, answerable in any measure to your present Office and Advantages;) ye shall fay to this mountain, remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove. This, was a Faith required of the Apostles at That particular Time, and of Them only, zdly, In other passages, the word, Faith, signifies the duty of Veracity, Faithfulness, or Truth. Thus Matt, xxiii. 23. Te have omitted the weightier matters of the Law; judgment, mercy, andFaith; Faith, that is, Fidelity, Truth, or Faithfidnefs, in the discharge of any Trust reposed in Men. Analogous to which, it is also some^ B 3 times