תמונות בעמוד

“ gire all our goods to feed the poor,” it would profit us nothing. But offended they must be; for we cannot but speak the truth as it is in Jesus. It is our part, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, to deliver our own soul. All that is written in the book of God we are to declare, not as pleasing men, but the Lord. We are to declare, not only all the promises, but all the threatenings too, which we find therein. At the same time that we proclaim all the blessings and privileges which God hath prepared for his children, we are likewise to“ teach all the things whatsoever he bath commanded.” And we know, that all these have their use; either for the awakening those that sleep, the instructing the ignorant, the comforting the feeble-minded, or the building up and perfecting of the saints. We know that “all Scripture, given by inspiration of God, is profitable" either “for doctrine,” or “ for reproof;” either “for correction, or for instruction in righteousness; and that the man of God,” in the process of the work of God in his 'soul, has need of every part thereof, that he may at length “ be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

6. It is our part thus to preach Christ, by preaching all things whatsoever he hath revealed. We may indecd, without blame, yea, and with a peculiar blessing from God, declare the love of our Lord Jesns Christ; we may speak, in a more especial manner, of “ The Lord our Righteousness; ” we may expatiate upon the grace of God in Christ, “reconciling the world unto himself ;" we may, at proper opportunities, dwell upon his praise, as “ bearing the iniquities of us all, as wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities, that by his stripes we might be healed :”—but still we should not preach Christ, according to his word, if we were wholly to confine ourselves to this: we are not ourselves clear before God, unless we proclaim him in all his offices. To preach Christ, as a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, is to preach him, not only as our great High Priest,taken from among men, and ordained for men, in things pertaining to God; as such reconciling us to God by his blood,' and “ever living to make intercession for us;”—but likewise as the Prophet of the Lord, “who of God is made unto us wisdom; ” who, by his word and his Spirit, is with us always, “ guiding us into all truth ;”-yca, and as remaining a King for ever; as giving laws to all whom he has bought with his blood; as restoring those to the image of God, whom he had first re-instated in his

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favour; as rciguing in all believing hearts until he has “subdued all things to himself;” until he hath utterly cast out all sin, and bronght in everlasting righteousness."

II. 1. We establish the law, Secondly, when we so preach Faith in Christ, as not to supersede, but produce, Holiness; to produce all manner of holiness, negative and positive, of the heart and of the life.

In order to this, we continually declare, (what should be frequently and deeply considered by all who would not “make void the law through faith,'') that Faith itself, even Christian Faith, the faith of God's clect, the faith of the operation of God, still is only the handmaid of Love. As glorious and honourable as it is, it is not the end of the commandment. God hath given this honour to Lore alone : Love is the end of all the commandments of God. Love is the end, the sole end, of every dispensation of God, from the beginning of the world to the consommation of all things. And it will endure when heaven and earth flee away; for “ love [alone] never faileth." Faith will totally fail; it will be swallowed up in sight, in the everlasting vision of God. But even then, Love,

* Its nature and its office still the same,

Lasting its lamp, and unconsum'd its flame,
In deathless triumplı shall for ever live,

And endless good diffuse, and endless praise receive." 2. Very excellent things are spoken of faith, and whosoever is a partaker thereof, may well say with the Apostle, “ Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gist." Yet still it loses all its excellence, when brought into a comparison with love. What St. Paul observes concerning the superior glory of the Gospel, above that of the Law, may, with great propriety, be spoken of the superior glory of Lorc, above that of Faith: “ Eren that which was made glorious, hath no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away is glorious, much more doth that which remaineth exceed in glory.” Yca, all the glory of faith, before it is done away, arises lence, that it ministers to Love: It is the great temporary means which God has ordained to promote that eternal end.

3. Let those who magnify faith beyond all proportion, so as to swallow up all things clsc, and who so totally misapprchend the nature of it as to imagine it stands in the place of love, consider farther, That is love will exist after faitli, so it did

Teli Ta isiin. liri. Jionic noment ra


their creation, beheld the face of their Father that is in heaven, had no occasion for faith, in its general notion, as it is the evidence of things not seen.

Neither had they need of faith, in its more particular acceptation, faith in the blood of Jesus : for he took not upon him the nature of angels; but only the seer of Abraham. There was, therefore, no place before the foundation of the world for faith, either in the general or particular sense.

But there was for love. Love existed from eternity, in God, the great Ocean of Love. Love had a place in all the children of God, from the moment of their creation : they received at once from their gracious Creator, to exist and to love.

4. Nor is it certain, (as ingeniously and plausibly as many have descanted upon this,) that faith, even in the general sense of the word, had any place in Paradise. It is highly probable, from that short and uncircumstantial account which we have in Holy Writ, that Adam, before he rebelled against God, walked with Him by sight and not by faith.

For then his reason's eye was sharp and clear,

And, (as an eagle can behold the sun,)
Could have approach'd the eternal light as near

As th’ intellectual angels could have done."

He was then able to talk with Him face to face, whose face we cannot now see and live; and consequently had no need of that faith, whose office it is to supply the want of sight.

5. On the other hand, it is absolutely certain, faith, in its particular sense, had then no place. For in that sense, it necessarily presupposes sin, and the wrath of God declared against the sinner ; without which there is no need of an atonement for sin, in order to the sinner's reconciliation with God. Consequently, as there was no need of an atonement before the fall, so there was no place for faith in that atonement; man being then pure from every stain of sin; holy as God is holy. But love even then filled his heart; it reigned in him without a rival; and it was only when love was lost by sin, that faith was added, not for its own sake, nor with any design that it should exist any longer, than until it had answered the end for which it was ordained,-namely, to restore man to the Love from which he was fallen. At the fall, therefore, was added this evidence of things unseen, which before was utterly needless ; this confidence in Redeening Love, which could not possibly have any place till the promise

was made, that “the Serd of the woman should bruise the Serpent's head.

6. Faith then was originally designed of God to re-establish the law of Love. Therefore, in speaking thus, we are not undervaluing it, or robbing it of its due praise; but, on the contrary, showing its real worth, exalting it in its just proportion, and giving it that very place which the wisdom of Goli assigned it from the beginning. It is the grand means of restoring that holy Love, wherein man wils originally created. It follows, that although faith is of no value in itself, is neither is any other mealis whatsoever,) yet as it leads to that end, the establishing anew the law of Love in our hearts; and as, in the present state of things, it is the only means under heaven for etlecting it; it is on that account an unspeakable blessing to man, and of unspeakable value before God.

III. I. And this naturally brings us to observe, Thirdly, The most important way of establishing the law; namely, the establishing it in our owu Hearts and Lives. Indeed without this, what would all the rest avail? We might establish it by our doctrine ; we might preach it in its whole extent ; might explain and enforce every part of it; we might open it in its most spiritual meaning, and declare the mysteries of the kingdom; we miglit preach Christ in all his offices, and faith in Christ, as opcuiug all the treasures of his love; and yet all this time, if the law we preached were not established in our hearts, we should be of vo more account before God, than " sounding brass, or tinkling cymbals : ” all our preaching would be so far from profiting ourselves, that it would only increase our damnation.

2. This is, therefore, the main point to be considered, How may we establish the Lair in our own Hearts, so that it may lave its full influence on our Lives? And this can only be done by Faith.

Faith alone it is, which cílectually answers this end, as we learn from daily experience. For so long as we walk by faith, not by sighi, we go swiftly on in the way of holiness. While We sicadily look; pot at the things which are seen, but at those which are not scen, ire are more and more crucitied to the world, and the world crucified to us. Let but the eve of the soulbe constantly fixed, not on the things which are temporal, but on those which are eternal, aud our affections are more and more loosened from cartlı, and fixed on things abore. So that fa!!!, in general, is ihe most direct and effectual meanis

loved us.

of promoting all righteousness and truc holiness; of establishing the holy and spiritual law, in the hearts of them that believe.

3. And by faith, taken in its more particular meaning, for a confidence in a pardoning God, we establish his law in our own hearts, in a still more effectual manner. For there is no motive which so powerfully inclines us to love God, as the sense of the Love of God in Christ. Nothing enables us, like a piercing conviction of this, to give our hearts to Him who was given for us.

And from this principle of grateful love to God, arises love to our brother also. Neither can we avoid loving our neighbour, if we truly believe the love wherewith God hath

Now this love to man, grounded on faith and love to God, “worketh no ill to (our) neighbour: conscquently, it is, as

the Apostle observes, “ the fulfilling of the (whole negative) law.” “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery; Thou shalt not kill; Thou shalt not steal; Thou shalt not bear false witness; Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Neither is love content with barely working no cvil to our neighbour. It continually incites us to do good, as we have time and opportunity; to do good, in every possible kind, and in every possible degrec, to all men. It is, therefore, the fulfilling of the positive likewise, as well as of the negative, law of God.

4. Nor does faith fulfil either the negative or positive law', as to the external part only; but it works inwardly by love, to the purifying of the heart, the cleansing it from all vile affections. Every one that hath this faith in himself, “purifieth bimself even as He is pure ;”-purifieth himself from every earthly, sensual desire; from all vile and inordinate affections ; yea, from the whole of that carnal mind, which is enmity against God. At the same time, if it bave its perfect work, it fills hiin with all goodness, righteousness, and truth. It brings all heaven into his soul; and causes him to walk in the light, even as God is in the light.

5. Let us thus endeavour to establish the law in ourselves : not sinning, “ because we are under grace," but rather using all the power we receive thereby, “ to fulfil all righteousness." Calling to mind what light we received from God while his Spirit was convincing us of sin, let us beware we do not put out that light; what we had then attained let us hold fast. Let nothing induce us to build again what we have destroyed ; to resume any thing, small or great, which we then clearly saw was

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