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for our sins. The grace of the gospel is summed up in this, that “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself." Here then, reader, is the divine remedy, proposed in every page of the blessed gospel. « Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the fin of the world.”
Those who deny the doctrine of reconciliation, as has been justly observed by a judicious writer, are at once enemies to the salvation of men, to the honour of Christ, and to the glory of God. From men they take away, as far as lies in their power, all ground of hope, of peace, and of happiness; from Chrift, his office and honour; and from God, his grace and glory. Let such go with their fo. phisms to men who were never burdened with a sense of guilt, who never were awakened to just apprehensions of divine wrath on account of their offences, who never trembled at God's threatening word, and the sentence of his righteous law, who never cried out in the bitterness and anguish of their souls, " What must I do to be saved? Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow before the high God?” They may perhaps hearken to the fine things which may be said to them, about recommending themselves to the favour of God by virtue, probity, and a benevolent temper. They have no need of the physician, for they are not
fick. They have no need of healing, for they are not broken in heart. But those who are ready to perish, like the Israelites stung by the fiery flying serpents, and on the point of expiring under the deadly wound, see the need of that remedy which God has provided.
Sinner, beware, if any thing but the blood of the cross give ease to thy guilty conscience, it is but like an opiate, which may stupify for a short season, but will not work a cure.
Hence the necessity of a living faith in the divine Redeemer, in order to the enjoyment of God's fa
Faith is that gracious power of the mind, whereby it firmly believes what is revealed, upon the sole authority of God the revealer, as the fountain of all truth. As the human mind acts naturally by its reason, in receiving those truths which are natural and suited to its capacity; so when renewed through the power of the Spirit, it acts spiritually by faith, in receiving truths which are spiritual and supernatural. Believing consists, not in a mere afsent to the truth of the objects, but in such a reception of them, as gives them a real subsistence in the soul. And it is this in-being of' the things believed which produces the immediate effects of a living faith; namely, love, joy, peace,
No. XVI. 2.
and spiritual obedience to the divine commands. *
This distinguishes the faith of the operation of God from every other kind of faith. The tempo. rary persuasions of some men give no fubfiftence
* The apostle to the Hebrews tells us, that faith is Ελπιζομενων υποτασις, the fubftance or fubftitence of things hoped for; such a firm persuasion of the truth believed, as gives it a kind of subsistence in the mind. Hence the truth is said to dwell in the man who rightly understands and receives it; and Christ dwells in his heart by faith. The same word unosaois is ren. dered confidence, in Heb. iii. 14. The obje&s believed, the things hoped for, have a fubfiftence in the mind of the believer, and abide in him in their power and efficacy, so as to answer all the ends of his spiritual life; to purify his heart, and to change and trans. form his whole soul into the image of God.
Faith, in the farther description of it, is said to be Ehayxos, the demonstrating or convincing evidence of things not seen. It is such a demonstration of them as carries with it a confutation of all objections against their real existence. By "things not seen," we are to understand all those things which, though not proposed to our outward senses, ought to influ. ence our conftancy and perseverance in the ways of religion ; namely, God himself; his eternal existence; the adorable perfections of his nature; the person, atonement and grace of Christ; together with all spi. ritual, heavenly and eternal things, which God has
to the things believed in their minds, so as to be productive of proper effects. There is no real image or reflection of the things they profess to believe made upon their souls. The death of Christ, for instance, or Christ crucified, is proposed to our faith in the blessed gospel. The proper effect
promised in his word, but which are not yet actually enjoyed. It hath been observed by many learned men, that the word enerxos, used by the apostle, and translated evidence, fignifies a strict proof, or demonstration; it is such a kind of evidence as both convinces the understanding, and engages a man to ad according to that convi&tion. Dr. Doddridge's paraphrafe on the latter clause of the verse in queftion, is very just : Faith is the powerful conviction of things which are not feen, but of the certainty and importance of which there is such a full persuasion, that they act upon the mind, in a great measure, as if they were present.!
This definition of faith is general, and relates to its efficacy through the whole of our christian course, as is evident from the inftances produced, to exemplify it, in the following parts of the chapter. It describes the faith by which a juft man lives and walks, by which he overcomes all enemies, all difficulties, and all opposition in his way to the kingdom. But that particular notion of faith which relates to a finner's looking to Jesus for the remission of his fins, the justification of his person, and his acceptance with God, is certainly included. See Hebrews xi. 1.
of true faith in this object, is to destroy fin, to crucify, or to mortify it in us. But where it is only apprehended by a superficial or temporary faith, this effect will not be produced in the soul. Sin will retain its dominion, notwithstanding the profession which the man makes of faith in Chrift. He only who believes in Jesus with the heart unto righteousness, becomes dead to fin, so as not to live any longer therein. He receives the word of promise, revealing Christ and his atonement, so as to give it a real admittance into his mind and heart, to abide and dwell there, as in its proper place. It is in him the ingrafted word which is able to save the foul. Or, to use another allusion, it transforms his whole mind into a new state, as the form of wax is changed by the impression of a feal into the image of the seal itself, Christ cruci. fied, we have said, is the principal subject of the gospel. He himself tells us, that he is the bread that came down from heaven; that his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood drink indeed. Faith is the eating of this provision. As, in eating, the food is received, and by digestion turned into the very substance of the body, so the divine word is received by faith, and having a subsistence in the soul, prodụceth the happy fruits of righteousness; for the truth “ worketh effe&tually in them that believe."