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children of Israel ;" i. e. he believed God that he would, notwithstanding they were then in Egypt, bring them into the land of Canaan, as he had promised. « By faith, Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter ; chose to suffer affliction, esteemed the reprvach of Christ more than the treasures of Egypt.!! " By faith the Israelites passed through the Red Sea." “ By faith the walls of Jericho fell down." "By faith the harlot Rahab ivas saved.” And many other instances we have of Gideon, Barak and Sampson ; of David also, and Samuel, “ Who through faith subdued kingdoms, stopped the mouths of lions, turned armies to fight, endured cruel mockings and scourgings, and wandered about clad in skins of sheep and goats; of whom the world was not worthy, and for whom God had prepared a city." These are eminent instances of faith. And did not this faith consist. in a trust in the promises of God? yes, they believed him faithful who had promised, and they'were not disappointed. i
When Abraham, as we read in the 12th chapter of Genesis, left his country, and his kindred, and his father's house, to go into a land tahich the Lord had promised him, what was it 'but that he believed and trusted in the promises of God: He believed that his gracious benefactor was able and woald certainly give him the promised blessings. .
“ Abraham believe in God, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness ; " not because le believed there was a God, but because When God had promised him a son in his old
age, he beli ved that he could and would give him the blessing which he had promised : and upon this account righteousness was imputed to hini.
When Moses despised the honours and treasures of Egypt, what was it for? He did not despise them because it was a poor honour to govern a parcel of slaves; no, but he had respect unto the recompence of reward. Ile had his eye upon the promised blessings; an li this, without any earthly assistance, made him forsake Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king. Through faith, therefore, he endured as seeing him who is invisible. He saw the arm of God, by faith, stretched out for his deliverance, and that encouraged him to encounter the many difficulties and objections which he made when he received his commission.
In short, when Gideon, and Barak, and the rest of the judges of Israel; and Saul, and David, and the other kings of Israel; I say, whenever they went forth against their enemies, under a promise from God that he would deliver them into their hands, they trusted in the promises of God, and therefore were always victorious.
From all these remarkable instances of faith, it evidently appears that a true faith consists in a firm belief of the promises of God, a sure persuasion and steady confidence that God can, and certainly will, perform what he promises,
But this is not all that a Christian is bound to believe. A Christian must believe the doctrines of the gospel relative to Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith. And they are, that Christ is the only begotten son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds; came into the world 10 sare sinners; suffered death upon the cross, so as to die no more; ascended (in the presence of many) into heaven, and there sits at the right hand of God, where he now reigns and intercedes for his faithful followers, and will continue to do so to the end of the world : that he will come in glory to judge the quick and the dead, and will reward them according to their deeds here on earth; will doom the wicked to hell, where they shall, for erer, undergo the most inconceivable torments; and will 'welcome the righteous into heaven, where they shall enjoy an uninterrupted duration of endless felicity and glory: and to sum up all, he must believe that the miracles of Christ, and the doctrines of the apostles, proceed from the power of the holy Spirit of God.
But the blessiogs annexed to faith do not proceed only from a bare persuasion of the existence of God, or the incarnation and sufferings of Jesus Christ; but from a firm and steady confidence that God can, and will surely perform that he promises. It was this t at placed the apostles on so many thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel; they had in riew those glorious rewards promised
by their Lord and Master to those who should endure to the end. This made them outbrave every difficulty, and suffer persecution with chearfulness and courage; they suffered hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness, bonds, and even death itself; they were not only ready to be bound but to die for the Lord
These men, surely, were not so mad as to undergo all these sufferings for the sake of şuffering! They could not be so fool-hardy as to encounter the united malice of the Jews and Gentiles, only because they believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the son of God! No, they trusted in his promises, they believed him powerful to bestow on them infinite rewards, and faithful to perform his promises.
From all which it evidently appears, that it is not only believing the doctrines of the gospel, and that Christ and his apostles acted and wrote by the power and spirit of God, but it is also a firm belief, that God can and will, most surely, perform his promises : and that is the true faith upon which the blessings of another life are founded. I come now,
Secondly, To point out wherein this doctrine of faith is misunderstood by the friends and by the enemies of Christianity.
Those who think themselves friends to the gospel of Christ, (though in reality they are not) thiak that the bare persuas on that Christ is the lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world, and through faith in his blood they will receive remission of their sins, and enjoy every other benefit of his passion : and on this belief only they hope for salvation.
But this is a very dangerous mistake, propagated hy too many of those wlio would pass for the only true gospel preachers; and indeed they do so by many ignorant and illiterate people, who give themselves up to a blind credulity, and suffer themselves to be led away from the established church by every one who pretends to a more than ordinaiy share of the holy Spirit.
This mistaken notion of faith, I say, is extremely dangerous, because it disserves the great end of the gospel ; which is to hring every sinner to repentance, and to make him love God with sincerity, and his neighbour as himself.
And how can he love God with sincerity, if he ' lives in an habitual violation of his laws? How
can he love his neighbour as himself, if he do not shew him all possible acts of kindness ? And yet this kind of faith, which I am speaking of, will admit of his neglect of these things, and at the same time he may rest assured of salvation. A most falal mistake! that leads men to be remiss in the most valuable of Christian duties! and casts a vile odium upon our most holy religion ! If this is a true faith, let us revert the disciple's question to our Saviour, and ask who then can be damned: I protest I know not. For in this case, the hypocrite,