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minds of God's children a pleasing confidence in him, even when his way is in the sea, and his path in the great waters, and his footsteps are not known. “ Faith believes that he sits and rules the affairs of the world with an all-seeing eye and an all-moving hand."*
Justifying faith, as we have seen, has special reference to Christ as the Redeemer of men. Viewing faith in this light, it has a manifest agreement with most of the other Articles of our system. It agrees with the third, namely, that which teaches that God's law, together with the government founded on it, is perfect. “Do we," said the apostle, “make void the law through faith? God forbid : yea, we establish the law.” There are creatures who will eternally hold their seats in heaven, by virtue of a law-righteousness, while others will rise to that blessedness by the righteousness of faith ; and yet there will be no discord in their songs before the throne. Rev. v. 9–12. Angels and saints have each their peculiar favors to acknowledge; and yet they can sweetly unite in a common anthem of praise to God and the Lamb; yea, they can unite in giving thanks for special favors conferred on each other. But there is no way for the children of men to unite in the worship of heaven, only by their all obtaining “ like precious faith ;" for we have all sinned, and therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh can be justified. Law-keepers, such as the holy an. gels, and believers in Christ, can unite in heaven; but self-righteous pharisees, and they who depend on the Redeemer's righteousness for justification, could have no fellowship in the worship of heaven,
There is an admirable agreement between faith, the fifth Article in the experimental, and atonement, the fifth in the doctrinal system. It is by a union of these that we obtain the eleventh Article of doctrines, namely, justification. When the apostle, in his epistle to the Romans, speaks of sinners as being justified freely by grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, he adds, “whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood.” As soon as faith, considered as one of the fruits of the Spirit, comes in contact with the doctrine of atonement, the justification unto life, is the immediate consequence.
The sixth Article states the fact, that, through the atonement salva. tion is freely offered to all men. Now faith is a cheerful acceptance of that free offer which, (according to the seventh Article,) had always before been wickedly rejected. And the doctrine of regeneration, which is contained in the eighth, makes us understand how the unbe. liever became a believer; and how he who once saw no comeliness in the Redeemer, came to be so charmed with his beauty. Faith con. fides in him, who has begun the good work, to carry it on. It is the more emboldened to do this, because, according to the ninth and tenth Articles, it is clearly perceived to have been undertaken as a matter of pure mercy.
The doctrine, which teaches that there is a promised connection between grace begun, and grace perfected, lays a foundation for strong confidence in God. According to this doctrine believers are kept by the power of God; and yet it is not without the exercise of faith on
• Arbp. Leighton.
their part. The certainty of the saints' perseverance in holiness is grounded on the covenant of grace, which is ordered in all things and sure. And the covenant of
which is established with believers, grows out of the covenant of redemption, in which the three Persons of the Godhead are the covenanters. They are exhibited to us as being in covenant with one another, to redeem, sanctify, pardon, and eternally save all such as shall have fled to the gospel refuge,-all such as have trusted in Christ. Well, then, may Christians trust in the triune God, who can not disappoint their hopes of perseverance in ho. liness, without denying himself, by failing to fulfill the mutual en. gagements of this most ancient of all covenants. See John vi. 37– 40. Psa. lxxxix. 24–31. God was willing that the heirs of pro. mise should have strong consolation ; and in a covenant of grace he was able to give them this strong consolation. When difficulties are so multiplied, that to an eye of sense, it seems impossible these promises should be made good, against hope they believe in hope, judging him faithful who has promised, and being fully persuaded that what he has promised he is able also to perform.
And what doctrine is there in all the word of God with which faith is not harmonious? It surely harmonizes with the doctrine of a fu. ture judgment and eternal rewards. Faith believes and makes de. pendence on these things, which are not as yet seen; and at the appearing of Jesus Christ, it will be distinguished from unbelief, and be found upto praise and honor and glory. • It is a question whether this grace will constitute any part of the character of the saints, after they are received to heaven. Faith, as distinguished from sight, will cease; but as expressive of trust in God, it will not only remain, but be forever gaining strength. The faith of those who are redeemed from among men distinguishes their religion from that of holy angels, who are justified by the deeds of the law; and in this sense they will need to live by faith in heaven, as much as they do on earth. The manner of their justification will not be al. tered by their removing from earth to heaven, any more than it now is by their removing from one part of the earth to another. As they rise to heaven by virtue of that union with the Redeemer, which is constituted by faith, so will they remain there by virtue of the same union. Faith, therefore, considered as that exercise of the heart, by which we renounce the deeds of the law, and depend on the atone. ment of Christ for justification and all its consequent blessings, will never fail, but be as lasting as the blessedness of heaven.
REMARKS. 1. I wish to remark, that, by giving faith so late a place among the Articles of Christian experience, it has not been my design to de. clare it to be inferior to all those which stand before it. By putting it after repentance (for example) I have not intended to intimate its inferiority, but rather to show the natural order in which these graces of the Spirit take place in the renewed heart. A speculative faith must go before repentance; but a saving faith-a trust in the Re. deemer's righteousness-follows it. This is the order which Christ gave
to these two Christian graces, when, in his preaching he said, “ Re. pent ye, and believe the gospel.” The same order was observed by the apostle, who tells us that he testified both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Mark i. 15. Acts xx. 21. No man can truly come to Christ for salvation, unless he omes in the character of a sinner : and until he becomes a penitent, he has no heart to come in this char. acter. Since his repentance is exercised towards God, as the moral Governor of the world, he can have contrition, while an atonement for sin is not directly in his view; but he can not come to Christ for sal. vation, until his heart is prepared to condemn that sin which the death of Christ so strikingly condemns.
Faith is more appropriately an evangelical grace than love; since it serves to distinguish the religion of the gospel from that of the law: “ The law is not of faith." Gal. iii. 12. The law does not present, as the ground of acceptance with God, another's righteousness, requiring the subject of moral government to receive it by faith; it requires him to have a perfect personal nighteousness, which would preclude the necessity of his depending on that of another. The new covenant, however, as well as the old, seems to give love the highest rank. “And now” says the apostle, “ abideth faith, hope, charity, (i. e. love,) these three: but the greatest of these is charity.” 1 Cor. xiii. 18. The apostle represents love to be the fulfilling, not only of all the religion of the law, but also of the gospel. Love is made more consequential than any part of the experimental system, just as the root or body of the tree is of more consequence than any of its branches ; or the fountain than any of its streams. Faith itself, though an eminent grace, is nothing more than one of these branches, or streams. Is not this the truth taught in that passage, where faith is said to work by love? When the love of God is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost, as it is in regeneration, a benevolent nature is imparted, which, like a root planted in the ground, has sufficient virtue to put forth all those graces which constitute the branches of the tree of righteousness. As to the nature of the different branches, there is no pre-eminence of one over another; for they all proceed from one common root.
2. There must be a great difference between the religion of either a moralist or a pharisee, and that of a true believer. In many of their externals there is an agreement; for the believer is moral, nor is he less exact than the pharisee in paying his tithes. But he entirely differs from them both in this, that he depends on his Redeemer for righteousness and strength. “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved ? It is the spouse of Christ-it is every true believer. While the moralist and the pharisee walk erect, the believer leans as he walks. He feels that he cannot proceed a step, in his spiritual pilgrimage, in any other attitude. “Without me," said the Savior, " ye can do nothing.” This the Christian believes to be strictly true. He is convinced, by scripture, and by his own experience, that his dependence is entire, extending to everything relative to his animal and rational nature, to his religious character and enjoymente. When the exercises of his heart correspond with
these sentiments, he lives by faith. When faith is strong it leads him At entirely out of himself. His language now is, “My soul, wait thou * only upon God; for my expectation is from him." Though all the
holy affections which give life to the soul, be in ever so vigorous ex: ercise, he depends not on them, but on him who is the Author and
Finisher of his faith. While the just live by faith, and know they D. could not live without it, they do not depend on faith to keep them,
but on the power of God to keep them through faith. There is nothing for which they feel more entirely dependent than for faith
Are we experimentally acquainted with this hidden life of faith? Has our experience enabled us to understand what Paul meant when he said, "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God: I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me?" The life of faith is a very different thing from a life of self-righteousness-a very different thing from a mere scrupulous attention to external observances, whether moral or religious. If we are living the life of faith, our souls will rely on the grace of God to aid us in the performance of external duties, and to give them an internal purity. And when our holiest works are done, we shall rely alone on grace for acceptance. If our faith be of the right kind, it purifies our hearts, buoys us up under the troubles of this life, and evinces its holy nature by prompting us to good works. An apostle has declared, that, " as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
HOPE HAS A PLACE IN THE EXPERIMENTAL RELIGION OF ALL SUCH AS ARE IN THE WAY TO HEAVEN.
Hope is the anticipation of some good which is not yet in posses. sion. Like fear, it expects that which is future, but with this
material difference ; that while fear dreads, hope desires to have its expectations realized. We
cease to hope, when the good anticipated comes into our possession; for, saith the scripture, “What a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” Rom. viii. 24. When our hopes are raised too high, an actual possession is often attended with a diminution of enjoyment. But when they are fully realized, the reverse is true. In such a case, we willingly part with the pleasure of anticipation, for that of actual possession. The word hope, however, may still be ap
plied to the prospect of the continued enjoyment of the same good that we now possess. It would not be speaking correctly to say, that glorified saints hope for heaven, seeing they are actually there; and yet it may be proper to speak of their hopes as looking forward to an eter. nity of that blessedness of which they already begin to partake. If doubt or uncertainty belonged to the very nature of this grace, no place could be found for its exercise in heaven; but we know it does not, for the scriptures speak of “the full assurance of hope.” Heb. vi. 11.
This world is full of hopes. It is common to almost the whole race, in the present life, to be indulging hopes in relation to some real or imaginary good which they have in prospect. But the hope of the Christian is something different from all the rest, and is indeed the only one which the scriptures consider to be worthy of the name. Other men are said to be not only without God, but also “ without hope in the world.” “The hope of the righteous shall be gladness; but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.” Prov. x. 28. The hope of the Christian differs from that of the men of the world, in this; that while theirs relates to happiness which is to be enjoyed here, his relates principally to that which is to be enjoyed hereafter. The actual possession of worldly good, whether it consist in wealth, honor, power, or sensual enjoyments, is always attended with disappointment; it does not equal the expectation. “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase." Eccl. y. 10. “There be many,” (viz, all the graceless multitude,) " that say, Who will show us any good ?” Ps. iv. 6. Their inquiry implies that they have not yet found the object of their pursuit, and that they do not know where it is to be found. The hopes of the men of the world must appear vain indeed, since they aspire to nothing more durable than a portion in this short life. “Go to now, ye that say, To-day or to-morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy, and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow ; for what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away." Jam. iv. 13, 14.
The Christian's hope differs not only from theirs, who bound their prospects by a sensible horizon, but also from that of mány, who seem to agree with him in expecting their enjoyment in the life to come. I refer to such as entertain a groundless hope that they have a treasure in heaven. We read of the hypocrite's hope ; by which is meant his expectation of future happiness. The hypocrite is professedly a man of piety, and the hope which he entertains, looks forward to that state which
is beyond the grave. The hypocrite, as described in the word of God, is a man who thinks himself to be something when he is nothing; who is pure in his own eyes, when he is not washed from his filthiness. See Gal. vi. 3. Prov. xxx. 12. His hope, in common with that of the Christian, reaches forward to eternity; and yet it is funda. mentally defective. That hope which constitutes a branch of the Christian's experience, is as really different from that of the hypocrite or false convert, as it is from that of the worldling. And it is much more important it should be shown wherein it differs from the hope of the former, than from that of the latter.
There is perhaps no way in which we can form so clear an idea of