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of devils, but not the faith of Christians. For this is the difference.
10. The faith of the devils hath more of the understanding in it, the faith of Christians more of the will : the devils in their faith have better discourse, the Christians better affections : they, in their faith, have better arguments, we more charity. So that charity or a good life is so necessary an ingredient into the definition of a Christian's faith, that we have nothing else to distinguish it from the faith of devils; and we need no trial of our faith, but the examination of our lives. If you“ keep the commandments of God,” then have you the faith of Jesus; they are immediate, in St. John's expressions : but if you be importune and ungodly, you are in St. Paul's list, amongst them that have no faith. Every vice, that rules amongst us, and sullies the fair beauty of our souls, is a conviction of infidelity.
11. For it was the faith of Moses that made him despise the riches of Egypt; the faith of Joshua, that made him valiant; the faith of Joseph, that made him chaste; Abraham's faith made him obedient; St. Mary Magdalen's faith made her penitent; and the faith of St. Paul made him travel so far, and suffer so much, till he became a prodigy, both of zeal and patience. Faith is a catholicon, and cures all the distemperatures of the soul; it“ overcomes the world b," saith St. John; it “ works righteousness," saith St. Paul; it “ purifies the heart,” saith St. Peter; “ it works miracles,” saith our blessed Saviour; miracles in grace always, as it did miracles in nature at its first publication : and whatsoever is good, if it be a grace, it is an act of faith; if it be a reward, it is the fruit of faith. So that as all the actions of man are but the productions of the soul, so are all the actions of the new man the effects of faith. For faith is the life of Christianity, and a good life is the life of faith.
12. Upon the grounds of this discourse, we may understand the sense of that question of our blessed Saviour : “ When the Son of Man comes, shall he find faith on eartho?" Truly, just so much as he finds charity and holy living, and no more. For then only we can be confident, that
faith is not“ failed from among the children of men,” when we feel the heats of the primitive charity return, and the calentures of the first old devotion are renewed; when it shall be accounted honourable to be a servant of Christ, and a shame to commit a sin. Then, and then only, our churches shall be assemblies of the faithful, and the kingdoms of the world Christian countries. But so long as it is notorious, that we have made the Christian religion another thing than what the holy Jesus designed it to be; when it does not make us live good lives, but itself is made a pretence to all manner of impiety, a stratagem to serve ends, the ends of covetousness, of ambition, and revenge; when the Christian charity ends in killing one another for conscience sake, so that faith is made to cut the throat of charity, and our faith kills more than our charity preserves; when the humility of a Christian hath indeed a name amongst us, but it is like a mute person, talked of only; while ambition and rebellion, pride and scorn, self-seeking and proud undertakings, transact most of the great affairs of Christendom; when the custody of our senses is to no other purposes, but that no opportunity of pleasing them
pass away; when our oaths are like the fringes of our discourses, going round about them, as if they were ornaments and trimmings; when our blasphemies, profanation, sacrilege, and irreligion, are become scandalous to the very Turks and Jews; while our lusts are always habitual, sometimes unnatural; will any wise man think that we believe those doctrinesf of humility and obedience, of chastity and charity, of temperance and justice, which the Saviour of the world made sacred by his sermon and example; or, indeed, any thing he either said or did, promised or threatened ? For is it possible, a man with his wits about him, and believing that he should certainly be damned, (that is, be eternally tormented, in body and soul, with torments greater than can be in this world ;) if he be a swearer, or liar, or drunkard, or cheats his neighbour; that this man should dare to do these things, to which the temptations are so small, in which the delight is so inconsiderable, and the satisfaction so none at all?
1 το απιστεϊν ταϊς εντολαϊς εκ του προς την εκπλήρωσιν εκλελύσθαι των εντολών grivetai.-S. Chrys. ad Demetr.
13. We see, by the experience of the whole world, that the belief of an honest man, in a matter of temporal advantage, makes us do actions of such danger and difficulty, that half so much industry and sufferance would ascertain us into a possession of all the promises evangelical Now, let any man be asked, whether he had rather be rich or be saved ? he will tell you, without all doubt, heaven is the better option by infinite degrees : for it cannot be that riches, or revenge, or lust, should be directly preferred; that is, be thought more eligible than the glories of immortality. That, therefore, men neglect so great salvation, and so greedily run after the satisfaction of their baser appetites, can be attributed to nothing but want of faith ; they do not heartily believe that heaven is worth so much; there is upon them a stupidity of spirit, and their faith is dull, and its actions suspended most commonly, and often interrupted, and it never enters into the will : so that the propositions are considered nakedly and precisely in themselves, but not as referring to us or our interests; there is nothing of faith in it, but so much as is the first and direct act of understanding; there is no consideration or reflection
person, or upon the subject. So that, even as it is seated in the understanding, our faith is commonly lame, mutilous, and imperfect; and therefore much more is it culpable, because it is destitute of all co-operation of the rational appetite.
14. But let us consider the power and efficacy of worldly belief. If a man believes, that there is gold to be had in Peru for fetching, or pearls and rich jewels in India for the exchange of trifles, he instantly, if he be in capacity, leaves the wife of his bosom, and the pretty delights of children, and his own security, and ventures into the dangers of waters and unknown seas, and freezings and calentures, thirst and hunger, pirates and shipwrecks; and hath within him a principle strong enough to answer all objections, because he believes that riches are desirable, and by such means likely to be had. Our blessed Saviour, comparing the Gospel to “ a merchantman, that found a pearl of great price,” and “ sold all to buy it,” hath brought this instance home to the present discourse. For if we did as verily believe, that in heaven those great felicities, which transcend all our apprehensions, are certainly to be obtained by leaving our vices and lower
desires, what can hinder us but we should at least do as much for obtaining those great felicities as for the lesser, if the belief were equal ? For if any man thinks he may have them without holiness, and justice, and charity, then he wants faith; for he believes not the saying of St. Paul : “ Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall ever see Gods.” If a man believes learning to be the only or chiefest ornament and beauty of souls, that which will ennoble him to a fair employment in his own time, and an honourable memory to succeeding ages; this if he believes heartily, it hath power to make him endure catarrhs, gouts, hypochondriacal passions, to read till his eyes almost fix in their orbs, to despise the pleasures of idleness, or tedious sports, and to undervalue whatsoever does not co-operate to the end of his faith, the desire of learning. Why is the Italian so abstemious in his drinkings, or the Helvetian so valiant in his fight, or so true to the prince that employs him, but that they believe it to be noble so to be? If they believed the same, and had the same honourable thoughts of other virtues, they also would be as national as these. For faith will do its proper work. And when the understanding is peremptorily and fully determined upon the persuasion of a proposition, if the will should then dissent, and choose the contrary, it were unnatural and monstrous, and possibly no man ever does so: for that men do things without reason, and against their conscience, is, because they have put out their light, and discourse their wills into the election of a sensible good, and want faith to believe truly all cirumstances, which are necessary by way of predisposition, for choice of the intellectual.
15. But when men's faith is confident, their resolution and actions are in proportion: for thus the faith of Mahometans makes them to abstain from wine for ever; and therefore, if we had the Christian faith, we should much rather abstain from drunkenness for ever; it being an express rule apostolical, “ Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess h.” The faith of the Circumcellians made them to run greedily to violent and horrid deaths, as willingly as to a crown; for they thought it was the king's highway to martyrdom. And
there was never any man zealous for his religion, and of an imperious bold faith, but he was also willing to die for it : and therefore, also, by as much reason to live in it, and to be a strict observer of its prescriptions. And the stories of the strict sanctity, and prodigious sufferings, and severe disciplines, and expensive religion, and compliant and laborious charity, of the primitive Christians, is abundant argument to convince us, that the faith of Christians is infinitely more fruitful and productive of its univocal and proper issues, than the faith of heretics, or the false religions of misbelievers, or the persuasions of secular persons, or the spirit of antichrist. And therefore, when we see men serving their prince with such difficult and ambitious services, because they believe him able to reward them, though of his will they are not so certain, and yet so supinely negligent and incurious of their services to God, of whose power and will to reward us infinitely, there is certainty absolute and irrespective ; it is certain probation that we believe it not: for if we believe there is such a thing as heaven, and that every single man's portion of heaven is far better than all the wealth in the world, it is morally impossible we should prefer so little before so great profit.
16. I instance but once more. The faith of Abraham was instanced in the matter of confidence or trust in the Divine promises ; and, he being “ the father of the faithful,” we must imitate his faith by a clear dereliction of ourselves and our own interests, and an entire confident relying upon the Divine goodness, in all cases of our needs or danger. Now, this also is a trial of the verity of our faith, the excellence of our condition, and what title we have to the glorious names of Christians, and faithful, and believers. If our fathers, when we were in pupilage and minority, or a true and an able friend, when we were in need, had made promises to supply our necessities; our confidence was so great, that our care determined. It were also well that we were as confident of God, and as secure of the event, when we had disposed ourselves to reception of the blessing, as we were of our friend or parents. We all profess that God is almighty, that all his promises are certain, and yet, when it comes to a pinch, we find that man to be more confident, that hath ten thousand pounds in his purse, than he that reads God's pro