and his Christ—of a judgment to come-of a state of endless joy, and of infinite woe, has the same influence upon a true believer's principles, and spirit, and conduct, as if the judgment seat was actually revealed to him, and the bliss of the righteous and the misery of the wicked were placed before his eyes.

Another cause is, that “ without faith it is impossible to please God; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him :"—that is, whoever would please God, must believe not only that God exists as the eternal God, the great “ I am ; but that He is the living fountain of excellence: the fountain from which all good flows ;—a communicative fountain ; “the rewarder of them that diligently seek him :" or that gracious God, who, having made himself known to us in his Son, encourages the approach of all who seek him, by freely bestowing upon them, out of his fulness, grace


grace. Further, it is by faith that the soul is united to the Saviour, and so becomes one with Christ, that all that he has done and suffered as the Head of His church, is imputed to his members ; his “ righteousness being to all, and upon all them that believe.” So, again, it is faith that receives the

precious promises of God in such a manner as to lead to a practical application for the bestowing of the blessings these promises contain.

Further, it is faith that not only receives the promises, but gives an experimental acquaintance with the blessings which are promised: “ for he that believeth hath the witness in himself.” He knows that there is such a thing as delight in God; as joy and peace in believing; as communion with the Lord in his ordinances; and as consolation and support in the time of trouble.

These are only some of the properties of faith ; teaching what God is, and what we ourselves are.

Not only shewing a sinner his need of a Saviour, but enabling him to embrace Him in all his fulness, and to delight in Him in His various revealed excellencies. We cannot, therefore, be surprised that such importance is attached to faith : that our blessed Saviour, “ who is the author and finisher of faith,” should have encouraged those whom he loved in seeking to possess this grace in full power and strength. “Said I not unto thee, If thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God ?” These words may be considered as not only addressed to Martha, but to every one who hears his Gospel. Here is the turning point. If

you would see the glory of God in bringing you out of darkness into his marvellous light; or if you would see his glory in relieving you from the burden of a guilty conscience, suffering under the sentence of a condemning law; or if you would see his glory in enabling you to overcome the world, and to pass through it as “ not of the world, although in the world;" or if you would see his glory, in disposing you to call upon him in the time of trouble, to expect deliverance in the hour of danger, or consolation when heart and strength fail—YOU MUST BELIEVE: that is, you must take God simply at his word; lay hold of Christ as his free

gift, and as “ able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him.” Yes, it is this faith that will enable you, like the father of the faithful, to hope against hope ; no longer to hesitate, like Martha, when the command is given to “take away the stone,' but to do as St. John records the spectators did, after he had given her this gentle rebuke, “ then took they away the stone where the dead was laid.”

Here I must pause till the evening ; then as our faith is, so will the glory of Christ be


Let me, th en, entreat your prayers, that this precious faith may be given, and his glory be manifested for his name's sake.


JOHN xi. 41-44.

And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I

thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always : but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou has sent me. And when he had thus spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth! And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes ; and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

We are told that while the Prophet Habakkuk was standing upon his watch-tower, waiting to hear what the Lord would say unto him, he received this answer, “ Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the

« VorigeDoorgaan »