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say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah ; of David also, and Samuel, and of the Prophets ; who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again, and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection ; and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings—yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment; they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and goat-skins; being destitutę, 'afflicted, tormented ; (of whom the world was not worthy :) they wandered in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth".
If martyrs and confessors in more recent times have gone cheerfully to the stake, and freely shed
their blood in defence of the truth, it must be si ascribed to their faith in Christ, by which they were
80 remarkably supported under the most exquisite sufferings.
That faith has not lost its efficacy, is clear, from its effects on ordinary Christians in our own age. It enables a believer to brave the most formidable difficulties in his sacred calling, and to persevere in righteousness unto the end of his pilgrimage. It leads to endless life, by opening to his mental vision the grand realities of the heavenly world ; and, by strengthening him, to trample on the blandishments,
1 Heb. xi. 32-40. VOL. I.
and overcome all the temptations, which assail him in this.
Such, then, is the faith of the Gospel ;-“it is an invaluable gift, the bond of our union with Christ, the scale of paradise, the key of the ark of the new covenant by which its treasures are, unlocked, the never-ceasing fountain of a holy, quiet, and blessed life.”
On the other hand, unbelief, which is the govern- is ing principle in natural men, is a deadly evil, that excites enmity to God, imprisons the soul in unrighteousness, and precipitates it to the bottomless pitm.” Cry mightily to the Saviour, you who are under the destructive sway of unbelief, to give you for an abiding faith in his merits ;, which will qualify you to serve God acceptably in the Gospel of his Son, enjoy his consolations here, and a "crown of rejoicing” hereafter.
12. Since, however, there is a spurious, worthless faith, which resembles, in some respects, that holyand all-conquering grace whose virtues have been celebrated in this Lecture; it will conduce to a right application of the subject, to examine seriously the nature of the faith which, as individuals, we profess to exercise. This inquiry is highly requisite, especially as upon the soundness or unsoundness of our faith, and the effects which have resulted from it, our justification or condemnation hereafter will entirely depend.
To assist you in ascertaining the state of your souls on this momentous point, the actings of a vital faith may be thus compendiously stated :--It causes a sinner to understand and acutely feel the deep criminality of transgression, humbles him in the dust of
- Mark xyi. 15, 16.
abasement for his offences, constrains him to sue earnestly for pardon, to acknowledge that his punishment would be just, and to cast himself entirely upon Christ for deliverance from the wrath to come :' and it furnishes him with all the aids of grace, by which he cherishes devout affections and desires, and displays in the tenor of his religious life the lovely
and peaceable fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.' Is
your faith of this saving kind? Does it produce effects so fraught with happiness to man, so pleasing to God? Or, with an orthodox creed, do
live in the neglect of duties, and in the commission of öffences which the Scriptures reprobate ? Notwithstanding you believe all the Articles of the Christian religion, yet, so long as you are devoid of humility and sanctified affections, and walk disorderly, deceive not yourselves with an opinion that you possess the faith of the Gospel, which overcometh the world, and dedicates the heart to the service of the Lord. Your faith, then, it is obvious, is a dead, barren, inoperative belief, which the devils possess, and tremble". And can you deliberately acquiesce for a moment longer in such a soul-destroying faith? Are you aware of the consequences that must ensue from "holding the truth in righteousness?" Where now are Satan and his apostate companions ? Where now are those persons who have departed this life in a faithless and unbelieving state of mind? And in what place are unprofitable servants doomed to take up their eternal abode? Not in the mansions of everlasting glory, but “in outer darkness, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Oh! that a conviction of the danger to which un
» James ii. 19.
belief and impenitence expose men, may render you earnestly desirous to become possessors of true faith, which is the gift of God; that, thus being reconciled to him, and united to Christ by indissoluble ties, “ you may have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”
• Rom. vi. 22.
ON JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH IN CHRIST.
Rom. v. l. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace
with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. JUSTIFICATIỌN by faith, in the merits of Christ our Saviour, is that fundamental article of the Christian religion which relates to the method of a sinner's acceptance with God.
Of so much consequence was this doctrine reckoned by the champions of the Reformation, that they styled it, “the Article of a standing or falling Church.” Let us, then, endeavour to understand the nature of justification, in order that we may earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints
But“ how shall guilty man be just with Godb?" is a question in which every descendant of Adam is deeply concerned ;
-aquestion which, notwithstanding its infinite importance, we could never have answered, had not the Gospel made it so plain," that the way-faring man (when taught of God), though a fool in human sciences, shall not err therein.” And such is the sovereign pleasure of God, that he often discovers this truth, in all its glory, to those who are a Jude v. 3.
Job ix, 2. • Isa. xxxv. 8.
esteemed foolish by the wise of this world, in order “ that no flesh might have the least ground for boasting in His presence.”
Justification is a term of frequent use in courts of judicature; and signifies a sentence pronounced by the judge, affirming a person to be innocent of the crime of which he has been accused ; and that, having been fairly tried by the laws of his country, and no proof of guilt being established, he is honourably acquitted from every judicial charge, deemed worthy to live, and entitled to all the benefits enjoyed by that society to which he belongs. It is directly opposed to a sentence of condemnation which is passed on a guilty person, who has been formally convicted of a capital offence, and is judged worthy of the punishment of death.
The words justify, justified, and justification by faith, are used by the sacred writers, to shew how God admits sinful creatures into a state of acceptance with himself, and to the privileges of being thus accepted. Justification, in a Gospel sense, is a gracious act of God, by which a sinner is absolved from the guilt of sin, freed from condemnation, accounted righteous, and possesses a title to eternal life, merely for the sake of Christ's obedience unto death, which is imputed to him, and received by faith.
Justification is either legal, or evangelical.
1. If any one can be found, who is perfectly innocent in thought, word, and deed, and has never in any instance deviated from the righteousness of the Divine law, but observed all its precepts by an 'unlimited, sinless, and perpetual obedience, he may be justified by it in a manner which is properly legal ; yea, he has a promise of heaven, as a just reward for such services. But, in this way, not one of the human