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nor the manner how. So in religion. If you behold a person exhibiting love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, you know that his infirmities have received help from the holy spirit. And just so far as this influence produces these christian fruits, just so far it is instrumental in our salvation, and no farther.

4. Our heavenly Father saves us through the instrumentality of the christian ministry. But how does the minister of Christ effect our salvation? By inducing us to forsake and avoid sin; to acquire and maintain holiness. And by what means does he accomplish these objects? Ask those pious believers who readily ascribe their salvation to the instrumentality of their pastors. They will frankly confess, that their attention was first awakened to the claims of religion, by some rational, affecting or persuasive discourse. Or they will freely admit, that they were first excited to duty by the conversation of their religious teacher, either in public or private, either at the bed of sickness, in the hour of death, or at the house of affliction. There are others indeed in almost every society, who will not acknowledge that they have received any perceptible benefit from the christian ministry.

But is there not reason to believe, that they have been imperceptibly deterred from many vain thoughts and sinful desires, from many unkind remarks and cruel accusations, from many vicious practices and wicked habits, by hearing the weekly sound of the everlasting gospel? Is there not reason to believe, that they have also been excited, in the same way, to cherish good feelings, to cultivate amiable dispositions, to exhibit benevolent sympathies, and to perform righteous actions? You can judge fairly of the saving effects of preaching, only by comparing the intellectual and moral state of a whole congregation, where no christian instructions have

lately been dispensed, with one which has long enjoyed the blessings of religious institutions. Whenever this is done candidly, you will be convinced, that the constant warnings against wickedness, the continual recommendations of righteousness, the unceasing proclamation of the love of God and the claims of Christ, and the ever ascending spiritual devotion, have a direct and powerful tendency to elevate the tone of moral feeling and character. And the principal reason that more apparent good is not effected, must be found in the hearers. The apostle fully confirms the truth of this assertion. For unto us was the gospel preached as well as unto them; but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” This must ever be the case so long as men are free agents. Their improvement from preaching must depend on their own exertions, in connexion with the promised blessing. Yes; you may attend church on every returning sabbath; you may have the most eloquent preacher in christendom; you may hear the whole counsel of God declared from week to week and from year to year; and unless

you

listen to the truths of religion, and bring them home to your minds and consciences, and strive to reduce them to practice, you can reap but little benefit from the christian ministry; for this instrument will save you just so far as it makes you good, and no farther.

5. Our heavenly Father saves us through the instrumentality of the events of his providence. These are of two kinds, joyous and grievous. Both are wisely designed to lead his intelligent children to consideration and obedience. This is clearly taught in various passages of scripture. But how do the events of providence effect our salvation? By leading us to self-examination and self-improvement. Prosperity is admirably adapted to excite our gratitude to our heavenly Benefac

tor, and encourage unreserved obedience to his holy laws. No doubt many may be found in every religious denomination, on whom the goodness of God has exerted its saving influence. But I fear the pleasing events of life have corrupted a still larger number, and rendered them more thoughtless and worldly minded, more covetous and depraved. On the other hand, adversity has produced an abundant harvest of holiness. The afflictive events of providence have probably awakened the attention of more persons to the concerns of religion, than any other cause whatever. You find some in almost every church who were first moved to commence the work of salvation, by some disappointment, desertion or suffering; by the loss either of health or friends or property. But affliction has not uniformly produced holy fruits. Many have been hardened by their trials, and made more depraved and wretched. This must continue to be the case so long as we remain free agents. Our Father designs our best good in all the events of his providence. We have power, either to improve them to our salvation, or to misimprove them to our condemnnation. Our interest, our duty, and our happiness coincide. Let no one then be so simple as to think he shall be always sure of happiness, without personal holiness, because he now receives a large share of temporal blessings. For unless he faithfully improves all his talents, they will hereafter swell the fountain of his misery. Neither let any one believe that he is sure of future felicity, simply because he is afflicted while on earth. No. You may see every hope of your soul blasted; you may be deserted by every mortal friend; you may be tormented with every bodily disease; you may be stripped of every earthly comfort; and if your trials render you more peevish, repining and rebellious, they will assuredly increase your guilt, your wretched

ness and your condemnation.

Unless they serve to wean your affections from earthly vanities; unless they raise your thoughts to the unseen realities of eternity; unless they lead you to self-scrutiny, self-discipline and self-cultivation, they cannot promote your christian salvation. For this instrument will save you just so far as it makes you holy, and no farther.

6. Our heavenly Father saves us through the influence of faith. A belief in the messiahship of Jesus leads to christian salvation. You find this plainly taught on almost every page of the gospel. But how does faith effect our salvation? By influencing our thoughts, motives and conduct in the ways of truth, virtue and piety. It operates in the same manner as our belief in many other facts. Much of our daily conduct is the result of faith, and not of certain knowledge. Take an example. You may find a man of learning, who was comparatively ignorant when he arrived at years of maturity. His advantages of instruction had been few and defective. But he believed that important and valuable literary acquisitions might be made by attention to study. He accordingly procured the necessary books, employed the requisite instructers, and devoted to the pursuit of knowledge a sufficient portion of time and thought. And what is the result? A good education. This is therefore the effect of his belief; for it was his faith which first excited him to commence a literary course, and stimulated him to persevere to the accomplishment of his wishes. Now faith in the anointed Jesus operates in precisely the same manner.

A person becomes rationally convinced that he is the divinely commissioned Savior of sinners. He therefore receives all his instructions as eternal truth. These assure him that salvation can be obtained only by obedience to the divine commands. He accordingly makes the necessary

ness.

exertion for the acquisition of a christian character. This is the natural result of his belief. His faith in Jesus therefore influences him to obedience, and secures his deliverance from iniquity, and his possession of holi

And in this process, there is nothing more mysterious than in the faith of the student.

But are there not two kinds of faith? Certainly; the one speculative and the other practical; the one living and the other dead; the one of the head and the other of the heart; for “ with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” And you may frequently see both kinds exemplified in the concerns of this world. Take an example. You behold two persons strongly tempted to engage in gambling. You assure them that if they follow this pernicious practice, they will sooner or later lose their property, ruin their character and disgrace their friends. You adduce sufficient evidence to convince them of the truth of your assertions. Now the faith of one is practical and influences him to resist the temptation, and thus saves him from severe punishment. The faith of the other is speculative, and while he professes to believe in the ruinous consequences of the forbidden vice, permits him to engage and continue in its fascinations and fatal allurements. So in religion. The great majority in civilized lands profess to believe in the christian religion. A part only are influenced by their faith to conform to its requisitions. The remainder act in direct opposition to their profession, because their belief is merely speculative. So far therefore as a person's faith induces him to obey the christian commands, so far it is instrumental in his salvation, and no farther. And a belief in any particular doctrine or set of opinions is of no further value to any person, than it contributes to his goodness or happiness. For no one will ever be judged by the articles of his creed, but by the fruits of his faith,

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