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the former of these senses, the faith itself is called, Rom. iv. 13, the righteousness of faith ; the faith itself being a righteous or virtuous exercise. For the promise, that he should be heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through law, but through the righteousness of faith. Rom. iv. 13. If thou believest with all thine heart, said Philip to the Eunuch, thou mayest be baptized. Acts viii. 37. The faith of the heart, therefore, was indispensable to the Eunuch, as the proper subject of baptism.

VI. The Faith of the Gospel is the faith of Abraham.

Both St. Paul and St. James have taught this doctrine so clearly, and so abundantly, that I suppose no proof of this truth will be demanded. I shall only observe, therefore, that by St. Paul the believing Gentiles are said to walk in the steps of the faith of Abraham ; and to be the seed, which is of the faith of Abraham ; and that on this account Abraham is called the Father of all them that believe, in reference to the promise, that he should be the father of many nations. Rom. iv. 11, 12, 16.

Having established, as I hope, these several points by clear, unequivocal scriptural decisions ; I proceed to the main object of this discourse, to which all that has been said will be found to be intimately related, and highly important, by every person who wishes to understand this supremely interesting subject; viz. the nature of that exercise, which thus respects God as its ob. ject; which peculiarly respects Christ as its object; which is an affection of the heart; and which is of the very same nature with that faith, which was counted to Abraham for righteousness. I assert, then,

VII. That the Faith of the Gospel is that emotion of the mind, which is called trust, or Confidence, exercised towards the moral character of God, and particularly of the Saviour.

All those of my audience, who have been accustomed to read theological writings, must know, that few moral subjects have been so much debated, as Faith. The controversy, concerning it, began in the days of the Apostles, and has continued to the present time. Many writers have undoubtedly adopted views concerning this subject, which are not warranted by the Scriptures. Many others, who have been sufficiently orthodox, have yet appeared to me to leave the subject less clear, and distinct, than I have wished. Few of their readers have, I suspect, left the perusal of what they have written with such satisfactory views, concerning the nature of faith, as to leave their minds free from perplexity and doubt. Most of them would, I apprehend, wish to ask the writers a few questions at least; the answers to which would, in their view, probably remove several difficulties, and place the whole subject in a more distinct and obvious light. The difficulty, which, in my own researches, has appeared to attend many orthodox writings concerning it, has been this: It has been connected with various other things ; which, although contributing, perhaps, to the writer's particular purpose, have yet distracted my attention, and prevented me from obtaining that clear and distinct view of faith, which I wished. Like a man, seen in a crowd, its appearance, although in many respects real and true, was yet obscure, indistinct, and unsatisfactory. I wished to see and survey it alone.

It will not, I suppose, be doubted, that Evangelical faith, whatever is its object, is in all instances one single exercise of the mind. This being admitted, I proceed to show, that this exercise is the Confidence, mentioned above, by the following arguments.

1st. This Confidence was the faith of Abraham..

This position I shall illustrate from two passages of Scripture. The first is Heb. xi. 8, By Faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place, which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. In this passage of Scripture it is declared, that Abraham was called to go

into a distant land; and that, in obedience to this call, he went out ; not knowing whither he went. It is further declared, that he went by faith; that is, the faith, so often mentioned in this chapter. That this was Evangelical or justifying faith is certain ; because at the close of the preceding chapter, it is mentioned as the faith by which the just shall live, (see verse 38;) because it is styled the faith, without which it is impossible to please God; the faith, with which Abraham offered up Isaac*; with which Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; with which believers are said to desire a

* See James ï. 21-23

better country, that is, an heavenly; and on account of which God is not ashamed to be called their God; and to reward which he is said to have prepared for them a city; or in other words heaven*.. The faith, then, with which Abraham went out to the land of Ca. naan, was the faith of the Gospel.

The whole of the chapter is employed in unfolding the nature of this Virtue. The manner, in which this is done, will, I am persuaded, be found, upon a thorough examination, to be singularly wise and happy. Faith is here described by its effects, and by effects, which it has actually produced. These are chosen with great felicity and success. The persons selected are persons, who lived long before the appearance of Christ. Of course they knew very little concerning this glorious person, in the strict sense of the term, knowing. Their faith was, therefore, not at all confused, and obscured, by any real, or apprehended, mixture of knowledge. It existed simply, and by itself; and for that reason is seen apart from all other objects. In each of these persons it is seen in a new situation; and therefore, in some respects, in a new light. It appears in strong and efficacious exercise ; and is therefore seen indubitably. It is exhibited as producing obedience in very many forms; and is thus exhibited as the source of obedience in every form. It is seen in many situations, and those highly interesting and difficult; and is therefore proved to be capable of producing obedience in every situation, and of enabling us to overcome every difficulty. In a word, it is here proved beyond debate, that faith is, in all instances, the victory, which overcometh the world.

The faith of Abraham, exercised on this occasion, was, then, the faith of the Gospel. To understand its nature, as exhibited in this passage, it will be useful to consider the whole situation and conduct of Abraham, at the time specified.

When Abraham was called to go out of his own land, he knew not whither he was going; to what country, or to what kind of residence. He knew not whether the people would prove friends or enemies, kind or cruel, comfortable or uncomfortable, neighbours to him ; nor whether his own situation, and that of his fa

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mily would be happy or unhappy. Wholly uninfluenced by these considerations, and all others, by which men are usually governed in their enterprises, he still adventured upon an undertaking, in which his own temporal interests and those of his family, were finally embarked. Why did he thus adventure? The only answer to this question is, he was induced to go by a regard to the character of the person who called him. This regard was of a peculiar kind. It was not reverence, love, nor admiration. Neither of these is assigned by the Apostle as the cause of his conduct. They might, they undoubtedly did, exist in his mind; but they did not govern his determination.

The emotion, by which he was compelled to leave his home, was confidence. God summoned him to this hazardous and important expedition; and he readily obeyed the summons. The true and only reason was, he confided entirely in the character and directions of God. God, in his view, was a being of such a character, that it was safe, and in all respects desirable, for Abraham to trust himself implicitly to his guidance. Such were his views of this glorious Being, that to commit himself, and all his concerns, to the direction of God was, in his estimation, the best thing in his power; best for him, and best for his family. He considered God as knowing better than he knew, and as choosing better than he could choose for himself. At the same time he experienced an exquisite pleasure in yielding himself to the direction of God. The Divine character was, to his eye, beautiful, glorious, and lovely; and the emotion of confiding in it was delightful. Sweet in itself, it was approved by his conscience, approved by his Creator, and on both accounts doubly delightful.

The prime object of this confidence was the moral character of God; his goodness, mercy, faithfulness, and truth. Unpossessed of these attributes, he could never be trusted by us. His knowledge and power would, in this case, be merely objects of terror, and foundations of that dreadful suspense, which is finished misery. The confidence of Abraham, therefore, was, evidently, confidence in the moral character of God.

It ought here to be observed, that the Person, to whom Abraham's confidence was immediately directed, was the Lord Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God the Father at any time. The

person appearing under the name of God to the Patriarchs, was the Lord Jesus Christ. This is decisively proved in many ways; and, particularly, by the direct declaration of St. Paul, i Cor. x. 9, Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also templed, and were destroyed of serpents. The passage, here referred to, and the only one in which this event is recorded by Moses, is, Numb. xxi. 5, 6: And the people spake against God, and against Moses; Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt, to die in the wilderness ? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And Jehovah sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, and much people of Israel died. The God, the Jehovah, here mentioned, is unequivocally declared by St. Paul to be Christ: and that it was the same God, who destroyed the Israelites on this occasion, that appeared throughout the Old Testament to the Patriarchs and their descendents, will not be questioned. Christ, therefore, was the immediate object of confidence to Abraham.

Let me endeavour to exhibit this subject with greater clearness by a familiar example. A parent sets out upon a journey, and takes with him one of his little children, always accustomed to receive benefits from his parental tenderness. The child plainly knows nothing of the destined journey; of the place, to which he is going; of the people, whom he will find; the entertainment, which he will receive; the sufferings, which he must undergo; or the pleasures, which he may enjoy. Yet ihe child goes willingly, and with delight. Why? not because he is ignorant; for ignorance by itself is a source to him of nothing but doubt and fear. Were a stranger to propose to him the same journey, in the same terms, he would decline it at once ; and could not be induced to enter upon it without compulsion. Yet his ignorance, here, would be at least equally great. He is wholly governed, as a rational being ought to be, by rational considerations. Confidence in his parent, whom he knows by experience to be only a benefactor to him, and in whose affection and tenderness he has always found safety and pleasure, is the sole ground of his cheerful acceptance of the proposed journey, and of all his subsequent conduct. In his parent's company he feels delighted ; in his care, safe. Separated from him, he is Vor. II.

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