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Of FAITH in GOD.
HE B. xi. 6.
But without Faith, it is impoffible to please him: For he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently feek him.
HE foregoing Chapter is a very S ERM. earneft and affectionate Exhor- I. tation to the Duty of Faith. Ver. 22. Let us draw near with a true heart, in full affurance of Faith. Ver. 23. Let us bold faft the profeffion of our Faith without wavering. Ver. 37. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry: Now the just shall VOL. I. B
SERM. live by Faith. That This exhortation might not be ineffectual, for want of men's clearly understanding What the Nature of the Duty was, to which they were here so earneftly exhorted; the Apostle in the ft verfe of this chapter, proceeds to define diftinctly what Faith is, and wherein it confifts. Faith, faith he, is the fubftance of things hoped for, (in the original it is, the firm and affured expectation of things hoped for,) the evidence of things not feen. And what thofe Things are, which being not feen by Senfe, are yet made manifeft by Faith, he declares in the words of the Text. They are, faith he, the Being of God, and the Recards of the Life to come. He that cometh to God, muft believe that is, and that he is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek bim. There has prevailed in modern times, a very different and enthufiaftick Notion of Faith; as if Faith, under the Gofpel, was nothing but a Confident Reliance upon the Merits of Chrift, to do all That for us, which he on the contrary exprefly requires that we should do for ourfelves. When we have heartily indeavoured to obey the commandments of God; and have performed our Duty really and fincerely,
ly, tho' very imperfectly; to rely Then up-SER M on the Merits and Interceffion of Chrift, for the acceptance of those imperfect tho' fincere Endeavours'; This is indeed the Duty, and the Comfort of a Chriftian; but it is not what the Scripture ufually calls Faith. Faith, is that firm Belief of things at prefent not feen; that conviction upon the Mind, of the Truth of the Promises and Threatnings of God made known in the Gofpel; of the certain reality of the Rewards and Punishments of the Life to come; which inables a man, in oppofition to all the Temptations of a corrupt World, to obey God in expectation of an invifible Reward hereafter. This is that Faith, which in Scripture is always reprefented 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 understand ing only, but also and chiefly of the Will, fo to confider impartially, to approve and embrace the Doctrine of the Gofpel, 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 whofe example is celebrated in this 11th chapter, cbtained, as the Apoftle expreffes it, a B 2 good
SERM. good report. The Faith of Abraham was, I. that he looked for a City which hath founda
tions, even the heavenly Jerufalem spoken of
'Tis true; This is not indeed the only Senfe of the word, Faith, in Scripture; but 'tis the Principal and most important fenfe of it. As may appear by confidering, that all the Variety of fignifications, in which the word is ufed in different places of
of Scripture, may properly be reduced, for SER M. memory and diftinctness fake, to these which follow. 1ft, The word, Faith, in fome places fignifies That earneft Trust and Confidence in the Power of God, to which in the Apostles Times was annexed the Gift of working Miracles. Thus Mat. xvii. 20. If ye have Faith (fays our Lord to his Apoftles) as a grain of mustard-feed; (if ye have That Trust in God, That particular Kind of Faith or Dependence on him, That affured Reliance on his Power without
Doubt or wavering, required of you peculiarly at This time; if you have This Faith, though ever fo finall 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 fhall remove. This, was a Faith required of the Apostles at That particular Time, and of Them only. 2dly, In other paffages, the word, Faith, fignifies the duty of Veracity, Faithfulness, or Truth. Thus Matt. xxiii. 23. Ye have omitted the weightier matters of the Law; judgment, mercy, and Faith; Faith, that is, Fidelity, Truth, or Faithfulness, in the discharge of any Trust repofed in Men. Analogous to which, it is also some