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punishment, resulting from self-love, may make them wish they had not sinned.
(3.) Theirs is a faith without love. Their language to the Almighty, is, Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. Whereas the cry of those who are endued with the faith of God's elect (a) is, Like as the hart panteth after the waterbrooks, so longeth my soul after thee, O God (6).
(4.) The diabolic faith is an Antinomian faith : a faith without holiness, a faith without good works. Whereas the faith of God's people is a faith inseparably connected with holiness, and infallibly productive of practical obedience. Whoever has St. Paul's faith, will and must have St. James' works.
(5.) The faith of devils, is a faith without desire. But that faith, which the Holy Ghost works in the hearts of his people, causes them earnestly to desire the favour, the presence, and the image of God in Christ. Nothing will satisfy a renewed soul, but communion with God, and conformity to him.
(6.) The faith of devils is a faith without reliance. Though they know the mercy of God to be immense, and though they see the merits of Jesus Christ to be all-sufficient; yet they have not one grain of reliance, nor wish they to rely, either upon the one or upon the other. Whereas they who (c) believe through grace, are enabled, in some degree, to trust the goodness, the covenant, and the promise of God, to trust the blood, and obedience, and mediation of Christ; to trust the grace, the power, and faithfulness of the Holy Ghost. They trust a little, and wish they could trust more. They build a little, and wish they could build higher and deeper, on the merits of Christ. They not only give their assent to the history of his obedience and sufferings;
(a) Titus i. 1.
(6) Psalm xlii. 1.
(c) Acts xviii. 27.
but rely upon them, and take shelter under them, as the sole procuring cause of pardon and salvation.
(7.) While the devils believe against their wills, and wish they were not forced to believe so much; the saints believe with their hearts unto justification, and are ever crying, Lord, increase our faith!
(8.) The faith of the infernal spirits does not look to the influences of the Holy Ghost. Whereas that faith, which the Holy Ghost inspires, as it comes from him, so it leads to him ; and causes the soul to see, and to feel, and to rejoice, that all its strength, all its holiness, and all its happiness, are treasured up in the faithful hands of that holy, blessed, and adorable comforter.
To conclude. What learn we from the whole subject ?
1. That those objections, which are commonly brought against the doctrines of grace, and against the good old church of England doctrine of predestination in particular; as if those doctrines carried an implication of arbitrariness and cruelty, and injustice in God; all fall to the ground, when we consider how vast a body of apostate spirits, much our superiors in natural excellency, and of an incomparably higher order than ourselves, were permitted to fall still lower than we, and are all absolutely passed by, or reprobated, without the election of so much as one of them to eternal blessedness. Thus God spared not the angels that sinned. No sooner did they transgress, than their punishment commenced; and satan, with his rebellious hosts, fell like lightning, from heaven (a). Now, if God could pass by millions and millions of angels, sparing not one of the whole number; who dares take divine sovereignty by the throat, and say, concerning its dealings with men,
“ What doest thou?" Has not
(a) Luke x. 18.
the potter power over the clay, to make of the same lump, one vessel unto honour, and another to dishonour (a)? certainly he has. I hope, and believe, that thousands of those, who at present are not enlightened into the Bible and church of England doctrine of predestination; nay, who look upon it as if it was a Jezebel, fit only to be thrown out of window and trampled under foot; I hope the time will come, when even these shall experience the blessings with which God's electing love is fraught.
2. Bless the Trinity for distinguishing grace, asto. nishing it is, that he, who is God by nature, as being the everlasting Son of the Father, should, by consent of the two other divine persons, vouchsafe to take our nature upon him, when he passed by the non-elect angels, and left their nature alone. Well might those of the elect, unfallen angels, who announced the Messiah's birth, sing, Glory to God in the highest, and on the earth peace, good will towards men: lost, guilty, feeble, hell-deserving men, to the exclusion of revolted seraphs! O sinner, sinner, who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou, which thou didst not receive (6) from the sovereign, discriminating bounty of free-grace? Men are taken, and angels left! Nor does the Father of spirits incur the least shadow of injustice, by doing what he wills with his own ; or by withholding, from any of his creatures, whether angelic or human, that grace, holiness, and happiness, which he owes to none. Are you or I unjust, in not giving to a person, what we do not owe him ? Surely, not. And is God unjust who taketh vengeance? God forbid (c). O ye potsherds of the earth, who presume to cavil at the divine decrees, strive no longer against your maker, nor madly run on the thick bosses of his buckler! Remember, that you
(a) Rom. ix 21.
(6) 1 Cor. iv. 7.
(c) Rom. iii. 5, 6.
are no more qualified to arraign the glorious mystery of predestination, and to comprehend the whole of God's designs, than the purblind mole, peeping from the top of its little cavern, can survey, judge, and pronounce of, the universe at large. Fall down, Therefore, at the footstool of the Omnipotent; and acknowledge, without limitation or reserve (what thou wilt surely and clearly discern in a future state), that God is holy in all his ways, and righteous in all his works. Be content to know no more of his motives and purposes, than himself has condescended to reveal.
-With trembling pinions soar : Wait the great teacher, death : and God adore, Aspiring to be gods, if angels fell ; Aspiring to be angels, men rebel.'
3. If the faith of the devils is a faith without works; it follows, that such faith is unprofitable and dead, being fruitless and alone. For, as the body without the soul is dead; so faith without works is dead also. Where there is life, there will always be some degree of motion. And the believer who is truly such, cannot help showing that he believes, by living unto God, and by doing the works which he enjoins.
On the contrary, as a body literally dead, is totally motionless and incapable of transacting any worldly business; and its being in such a state of absolute inactivity, convinces us that its death is real, though it may still retain the shape and form of a man: so we may pronounce that person to be spiritually and religiously dead, who is motionless and unactive in the ways and works of God; notwithstanding such person may profess to be alive, and among some may even have a name to live. Faith without holiness, is no more gospel-faith, than an image of wood or stone deserves to be termed a man. •
4. I need not apprise you, that you are calle upon, by the voice of providence, to perform a goo work this afternoon. The barren faith of devils,
I am persuaded, will not satisfy you and me. We are for proving, by the good works we do, that grace is a lively, benevolent, operative principle.
Since the first institution of that parochial school, for which your bounty is now solicited, no fewer than five hundred and twenty-seven young persons have been admitted. Of those, one hundred and sixty have been apprenticed; fourteen fitted for the sea service; and upwards of three hundred have gone to domestic services, or been otherwise decently provided for. On the present establishment, there are now sixty children, of both sexes, who are maintained and taught, chiefly by means of those voluntary contributions, which are raised by good people, from time to time. Such of you as are alive unto God through Jesus Christ, need no arguments from the pulpit, to stir up your pure minds, even by way of remembrance. You do not, you will not, you cannot forget, that Christ has made the poor his own receivers general. I should, there. fore, be guilty of offering an insult to all your fine feelings as men and Christians, should I press this matter farther, by detaining you with petitions and remonstrances. They, who possess a better faith, than that of which the text speaks, will, as lovers and imitators of Christ, rejoice, while, and as often as they have opportunity, to do good unto all men; and especially, unto them, who are of the household of faith.
You know not, but many of these young people, whom you are now going to assist (nay all of them, for any thing we can tell to the contrary), may have their names in the Lamb's book of life; may be useful members of society, through the support afforded them; and, in the world