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to fight under his banner, and to continue his faithful soldier and servant unto his life's end".
Much satisfaction is consequent on this union with Christ. A sense of the remission of sin is sealed upon the conscience of the believing sinner, and the peace of God is granted as an assurance of reconciliation ; whilst the imputation of Christ's righteousness, accompanied by the sanctifying influences of the Spirit, and the promise of Divine support in every trial, with the tokens of God's loving-kindness and a hope full of immortality, encourage him to “be steadfast and unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as he knows that his labour will not be in vain in the Lord"." Inexpressibly happy is the man who is under the discipline of faith: “ he shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation®.
8. The invincible power of faith appears most clearly from a consideration of the inetaphors and language used by the sacred penman to describe its nature and operations on the soul. It is compared to armour, for defence in battle. Amongst the various weapons with which the Christian warrior is to be furnished, he is directed “to take, above all, the shield of faith, wherewith he may be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked He is advised to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; and to put on the breast-plate of faith and love, and, for an helmet, the hope of salvation"." The use of such armour, to secure combatants from the missile and offensive weapons of their foes, is too well known to require explanation. Suffice it to say, that the
purposes which they answer in a natural sense, Baptismal Service. rr 1 Cor. xv. 58. • Psalm xxiv. 5. Eph. vi. 16.
# 1 Thess. V. 8.
faith accomplishes in a spiritual : it not only effectually preserves the soul from the combined assaults of its adversaries, but enables it to triumph over ther, and attain eternal life.
Again, it is likened to the most valuable members of our bodies ; the exercise of whose functions is so necessary, that the loss of them subjects us to a thousand inconveniences. Thus faith is metaphorically called an eye,“ looking unto Jesus uu • Indeed, it is that precious vision of the soul, by whose assistance it discerns “the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord,” which must otherwise be concealed from the observation of the most sagacious of merely natural men'.
Furthermore, it is compared to a hand. As the pensioner stretches forth his hand to receive the bounty of his patron; so does faith conduct a needy sinner to Christ, that he may derive from him all those treasures of grace which fit him to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light.
Moreover, it is exhibited under the figure of feet, without which we cannot transport ourselves from one place to another. Faith gives us a holy activity, so that we run the way of God's commandments. with diligence and delight. Hence Christians are said “ to walk by faith; “ to live by faith”;" “ to stand by faith*;' to overcome the world by faith aa ; and, finally, to bę "saved by faith 5;" expressions which demonstrate the superior efficacy of this Divine grace to support the soul in all its spiritual conflicts with the powers of darkness, as also to advance it in holiness, till it arrives at the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ bb.":
* Heb. xii. 2.
Eph. iv. 13.
* Phil. ii. 8.
Hab, 11.4. Gal. iii. 11. ** I Cor. xv. 1, 2..
It is, however, from the striking effects produced by faith, that its tendency to promote our happiness is so apparent. A mere speculative admission of the truth of Scripture is not productive of the fruits of righteousness, which are the peculiar growth of a right belief of the Gospel. A cold assent thereto does not prostrate the soul before God in humility for its guilt, nor beget any availing desires to serve him with sincerity. A lively faith, on the contrary, is always attended with the most blessed consequences.
We have had occasion already to notice its office as an enlightening and humbling principle: I shall now briefly speak of it as a sanctifying, as an operative, and as a victorious principle. 9. It is, under the discipline of the Holy Spirit
, the means of our sanctification; which is a work that must be performed, in order to qualify men for the pleasures of heaven. Now we are assured that faith in the word of God is a great instrument in effecting our renewal in righteousness. “ Sanctify them, says our Lord, through thy truth.” difference betwixt the Gentiles and the Jews, purifying their hearts by faith.” 1 10. It is described, by the Apostle Paul, as an
operative principle,“ working by that love” which is the fulfilment of the Law." It excites the heart, from the discovery which it makes of the character of God, to love him supremely, and to evince the ardency of its affection for him, by keeping his commandments.
No other principle but faith, thus manifesting itself in love to God, and conformity to his prescribed will, can stimulate the mind to acceptable • John xyii. 17. & Acts xv. 9.
• Gal. v. 6. 'Rom. xiii. 10. 8 John xiv. 15.
God put no
obedience. Neither moral suasion, nor the fitness of things, nor the dictates of conscience, can ever
so far prevail as to induce a right state of soul toEwards God, without faith 83. 4 Besides, it produces undissembled love to the
brethren of Christ, in whom his image is faintly reflected. Faith connects us with them, as members of the same family, towards whom it disposes us to shew kindness and brotherly affection.
It is a diffusive principle, which cannot be confined within ordinary limits. It seeks, by practicable and E
certain means, the universal good. Hence it prompts those who submit to its guidance, to study the welfare of the souls and bodies of all who come within the sphere of their influence. The genuine disciple of Christ, in imitation of his Divine Master, will use his utmost endeavours to advance the spiritual interests of mankind. Knowing the certain misery to which a life of iniquity finally leads the impenitent, and the felicity which is attendant on true piety, he will advise his neighbours and friends, and all with whom he holds intercourse, to desist from the former, and to pursue the latter with an earnestness proportioned to its value. He will strengthen these affectionate re
manstrances and admonitions, by his own holy exsample. But, although a desire to save the souls of
men from eternal death is the most exalted species of philanthropy, yet the Christian will not confine his attention to their spiritual wants : he will open wide his charitable hand, to relieve their bodily necessities, by acts of liberality commensurate with his resources; and he will manifest a sympathy in all their sorrows, which will assist in mitigating, if not removing, the pain which they occasion. According to the direc
88 Heb. xi. 6.
tion of St. Paul," he will rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep"..?
11. Faith is not less triumphant, than it is salutary in its operation. It is spoken of as a victorious principle, which surmounts every obstacle, and vanquishes all opposition. “Whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world : and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faithi.”
The Scripture has recorded several remarkable instances of the triumphs atchieved by faith. We shall advert to a few of them. It was through the force of this Christian grace, that Abraham, Father of the Faithful, left his country and dearest connexions, to sojourn in a strange land, where he was encompassed by enemiesk.” He gave a memorable proof of obedience and resignation to the Divine will, by the intentional sacrifice of his son, which shewed the strength of his unshaken affiance in the Almighty. “ By faith, Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that received the promises offered up his only-begotten son, accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead.kk."
Its influence on the Jewish Lawgiver was not less striking “ By faith, Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter ; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than: the treasures in Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompence of reward!.”
Here we may sum up the account of the victories obtained by the Worthies of old, in the sublime de scription of an Apostle : ++" And what shall I mor
1 Rom. xii. 15. i 1 John v. 4. * Heb. xi. 8411. * Heb, xi. 17-20.