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peace with God," except in believing the record which reveals him as the "God of peace?" How can we "receive the reconciliation" otherwise than by believing "the word of reconciliation?" How can we" rejoice in hope," but as crediting the testimony which makes known the foundation of hope? The same questions might be asked with regard to all the peculiar principles and affections of the new man. From the nature of the thing, they must all of necessity have their origin in the belief of the truth. How can our souls be melted to godly sorrow for sin, but by the faith of that infinite love against which we have been all along offending? How can holy love take the place, in our hearts, of their native enmity, but by a believing view of the light and love of the divine character, as revealed in Christ? In short, penitence, and love, and hope, and joy, and all the assemblage of holy affections and desires, of which the existence and exercise in the heart constitute present salvation, can arise from nothing else but the truths that are fitted to produce them: and they cannot arise from these truths, but as they are understood and believed. Thus "eternal life," as it regards spiritual character, and is begun in the soul here, is necessarily by faith. It is so, not by any arbitrary appointment, but from the constitution of the human mind, and the natural relation of cause and effect.

3. You will readily perceive, that eternal life as it respects future prospects stands in the very same predicament. We have seen this already from Rom. v. 1, 2. And the same connexion of hope with believing appears in many other passages:"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope

through the power of the Holy Ghost:"* "Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledgment of the truth which is according to godliness; in hope of eternal life, which God who cannot lie promised in Christ Jesus before the world began."-Let me call the reader's attention particularly to Heb. xi. 1. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." So stands our English translation. But in Heb. iii. 14. and 2 Cor. ix. 4. the word here rendered substance is translated confidence, and it has occasionally the same sense in the lxx. and in profane authors. And the word rendered evidence, while it primarily signifies a demonstration by argument, signifies also the effect of such demonstration on the mind, or conviction; and such is probably its meaning in 2 Tim. iii. 16.That this is its true signification here, is manifest from the nature of the case; for faith is not evidence, but the effect of evidence-the conviction arising from it. The verse then may be more intelligibly rendered-"Now faith is the confidence of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." This is very commonly considered as a definition of faith. I question the propriety of so denominating it. Let it be observed, that the apostle is not here presenting the gospel testimony, for the first time, to the ignorant, or, even for the twentieth time, to the unbelieving. When he did this, and called on sinners to believe it, he never thought (nor did any one else in those days of simplicity) of defining faith. It was too simple for definition. The apostle is here writing to those who

*Rom. xv. 13. † Titus i. 2. See Schleusner, Dodridge, Whitby, &c. See Schleusner, Wetstein, Dodridge, &c.

had already known and embraced that testimony; and of the faith which they possessed, by which they were justified and had eternal life, he affirms


It is the confidence of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Now by this he appears to mean one of two things:-either, in the first place, that "things hoped for" and "things not seen," being amongst the subjects of the divine testimony and promise, are of course among the objects of faith, inasmuch as faith regards that testimony and promise, and includes therefore the belief of things future and things unseen;-or rather perhaps, secondly, that by the faith of the divine testimony and promise "the confidence (or confident expectation) of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen' are imparted to the soul, that from it they immediately arise. This is no unusual meaning of the verb to be. We are ourselves quite accustomed to it; as when we say of murder, or house-breaking, or highway robbery, that it is death by the law of our country,-or of any promising advantage to a man in business, this will be his fortune; and in multitudes of similar instances. It is accordingly common in scripture. "Take fast hold of instruction, let her not go; keep her, for she is thy life :"*" And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent :"+"And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." In these and other cases, the verb to be expresses, not the identity of the things spoken of, but a certain connexion between them, whether arising from positive institute or from their respective natures. Upon the same princi

*Prov. iv. 13.

† John xvii. 13.

1 John v. 4.

ple, when the apostle says of the faith of the believing Hebrews-it is "the confidence of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” he means that these are its immediate and native results, that they arise out of it, and are so allied to it as almost to form a part of itself:-the belief of God's testimony and promise in the gospel imparts, in a degree proportioned to the measure in which it exists, the firm and steadily assured expectation of all the glorious objects set before the eye of hope,-and the clear and realizing conviction of things which are beyond the evidence of sense, the invisible existence of the world of spirits. -And as it is by faith that "the hope of eternal life," that is, of the perfection of it above,-is introduced into the mind, it is by the same faith that it is maintained:-we "hold fast" together "the beginning of our confidence and the rejoicing of the hope:"-and it is by abiding in this faith unto the end, that the hope shall be realized in the fulness of joy.


Thus, "eternal life" is by faith, both as to legal state, spiritual character, and future prospects. It is so, not in consequence of any merely sovereign appointment, but in consequence of the very nature and circumstances of the case.-In regard to the first, as grace alone could suit the condition of a sinner, it is of faith that it might be by grace:"in regard to the second, it is of faith, because truth cannot operate upon the mind and heart without its being understood and believed:-and in regard to the third, a hope of future bliss, that is founded in a divine declaration and promise, necessarily presupposes the belief of the declaration and promise on which it rests, nor is there the slightest intimation in scripture of that future bliss being bestowed except in fulfilment of a previous believing hope. And faith, whether considered as justifying, or as

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sanctifying, or as imparting the hope of futurity, derives its appropriateness and its efficacy from the nature of the truth believed. From that it never should be separated in our conceptions of it; for from that it never can be separated in actual subsitence. There is this difference amongst others, frequently observable, between the statements of the divine word and those of human systems of doctrine professedly founded upon it, that in the latter there is a great deal said about the manner of believing,-about what faith is, as a metaphysical act of the mind,-about how a sinner is to believe, not as it respects the spiritual and practical influence of his faith, but as it respects the process of the mind in believing;-whereas in the former there is nothing whatever of this kind: it dwells upon the matter, rather than the manner; it teaches us what we are to believe, rather than how we are to believe it. In human systems, we have distinctions without end, of faith into ever so many kinds, and modes, and actings, such as have often been found exceedingly perplexing to the mind of the simple inquirer. It cannot with truth be said of them, as it is said of the word of the Lord, that their entrance "giveth light unto the simple." The Scriptures, on the contrary, are occupied with the testimony itself. Of it they give a full and clear exhibition; but there are to be found in them no puzzling metaphysics about the mental process of believing it, and directions as to the manner in which that process is to be set about and effected. All is plain. The testimony is presented on the authority of God;-sinners are invited to consider and to believe it;-and the practical effects are detailed by which the faith of it must be followed and manifested.

I cannot go further under this proposition, without anticipating what belongs to the next; with

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