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tions. The heart gives itself up to that which the Understanding assents to, takes an interest in it, becomes attached to it, trusts it. Here Faith becomes a moral quality; since a man is virtuous or vicious, according as he devotes his heart to good or evil objects. Thus, in the case of Thomas though there was no virtue in his believing that Christ was risen, because he saw and touched him; yet, when he gave his heart to him, and obediently followed him as his Master and Lord, he exhibited qualities that were praiseworthy. Thus it is one element of a true Faith, that it subjects the affections to its sway so that they love, desire, hate, precisely what religion shows them to be lovely, desirable, hateful; they approve and conform to the proper standard of Christ. Hence the expression of Paul; " With the Heart man believes unto righteousness.'

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Then, thirdly Faith is a principle of the Will. One may assent to a truth, may even love it, and yet have no conformity of will to it; may not resolutely choose to devote himself to it and follow it; may retain in his own mind a depraved preference for the opposite; may applaud and love the good, and yet pursue the evil. Now, true Christian Faith takes hold on the Will, causes religion to be its guide, its umpire, its supreme director, so that the man of Faith submits to it his inclinations and preferences, and habitually chooses the will of God.

And, fourthly-it is a principle of Action. It does not barely gain the consent of the Understanding, kindle the Affections, give direction to the Will; it acts in the life; it is the perpetual impulse and excitement of the conduct controlling the indulgence of appetite and passion, dictating the favorite pursuit, and enforcing the law

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of universal uprightness, purity, and charity. So that the man not only has his convictions and preferences, but he carries them out in his life, exhibits them in his conduct; in a word, walks by them.

All this is comprised in Faith- the subjection of the Understanding, the Affections, the Will, and the Life. When concerned with the Understanding, it is simple belief; when wrought into the Affections, it takes the name and character of trust; and when, beyond this, it bends the Will and forms the Active character, it shows itself to be no less than the religious principle; the great all-powerful Principle, by which man is moulded into a conformity with his Creator, and made such as Christ came to fashion him. It is The Religious Principle; and for that reason is insisted on, throughout the New Testament, in the most frequent, most various, most authoritative terms, as the source of human strength, and the indispensable condition of acceptance and salvation.

Such is Christian Faith ;- and by this we are to walk, says Paul. We are to direct by it our path through the world. We are to give it the rule over our spirits and our lives. It is to be the vigilant overseer, the sovereign dictator, to watch over and control us in our way, with a uniform, uninterrupted, ever wakeful influence. It is to be in our moral system, what the eternal principle of gravitation is in the material universe- the law which maintains all in its right place and relative order, and leads all to the rightful result. It is to become a sort of instinct within us, conscious of the presence of God, trustful of his providence, satisfied with all that occurs, sensitive to hints of truth, prompt to suggestions of right, and thus imparting to us a spirit of quiet serenity and steadfast

rectitude. It is not so much a separate act of the mind, or an insulated grace of the character, one act of a long catalogue of virtues, as it is the origin and main-spring of all the virtues, the spirit that must animate all, the essence that must be infused into all, and without which, none of them have that immortal principle of life which will prolong their existence beyond the present scene.

We see, then, what is the nature of Faith. We were next to explain its reality and power. And here the single idea to be enforced, is that with which I began ; namely, that so far as regards certainty, our Faith should be to us the same thing as Knowledge, and as real a thing

as sense.

The great practical difficulty with men in regard to religion is, that they fancy they do not know these things to be true; if, they pretend, these truths were as real as this visible world, they should find it easy to do their religious duty. This is the plea with which they quiet themselves in a life of indifference and neglect. Let it be understood, therefore, as the simple fact, that they are in themselves as real as the tangible objects of sense, and as certain to us as if we came to a knowledge of them in the same way. Nay, I may go further, and assert, that we do actually know them in the same way and by as strong evidence, as we know most of those things of sense, on which we stake our happiness with the greatest confidence.

This is the great practical remark belonging to our subject; and it needs less an argument to prove it true, than an illustration to render it obvious to our apprehension. Let us attempt such an illustration.

We may begin it by observing, that the disposition in man to trust others, to rely on something exterior to him

self, is a native, inherent, instinctive disposition. It is as much a part of the human constitution, as the appetite for food. It is almost as early developed as that appetite. The infant leans on its mother, trusts her kindness and protection, feels confidence in her fidelity, love and truth. Ask any mother, and she will tell you, that the little one has hardly found its way to the sweet fountain of her bosom, before it makes manifest how happy it feels in trusting itself to her. As months proceed, this is more and more evident. The entire filial relation, the whole connexion, so beautifully arranged by God, between parent and child; the course and process of education, in which the inexperienced pupil submits himself to the guidance of his preceptor; what are these but instances of Faith? the instinctive reliance of the weak on the strong, of the young on the old? Follow the child up to manhood, it is still the same. Men are perpetually cast into situations in which they are wholly inadequate to provide for their own well-being, and they are compelled to surrender themselves to the advice and direction of others; and what is this but the exercise of Faith? Indeed, man's condition, as a social being, depends upon this principle. Without it, society could not exist; even families could not hold together. The bond of union is mutual confidence. So true is this, that men are always unhappy, when they have none in whom to confide. The most miserable wretch upon earth, is he who feels that he can trust no one, and who moves about among men, without knowing one on whom he can lean, and in whose friendship he may rely. So essentially does this disposition belong to human nature.

Now, Religion takes up this native disposition, this in



stinct, of the human soul, and uses it for the purpose of binding men to their highest relation, and securing for them their highest good. If the greatest advantages of the present life are to be gained by this natural Faith in the persons around us, and in the constitution of things, in the midst of which we are placed; so, religion asserts, the blessings of man's superior life and perfect happiness are to be secured by a similar confidence in the Lord of all, and the ordinances relating to His eternal Kingdom. The spirit of both worlds is the spirit of absolute unquestioning trust. We trust our sustenance, our comforts, our property, our lives, every day, to our fellow men, just as truly and as fully as we are required in religious matters to give ourselves up by faith to God and Christ. Faith is the spring of all action; and as striking examples of "walking by faith" may be found in the conduct of temporal as of spiritual affairs. The examples abound; and from out of the multitude which might be adduced, let us select one - the familiar case of a ship at sea. What is it, but one grand illustration of the reality and power of this native principle? You place yourself as passenger on board a ship, bound to another continent. You have never before been at sea; you know nothing of the principles of navigation; the whole process of managing the vast machine, and of ascertaining the course you are to run, is a mystery to you; you never before have seen the master, or had any acquaintance with the men. Yet you trust yourself, ignorant and a stranger- - you trust yourself without hesitation to that tossing barque, on the threatening waters; and you eat and sleep as quietly as if you had been familiar with them all your days. Thousands, every year, exercise this amazing faith in man and


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