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Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by
GEORGE B. CHEEVER, D.D.,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.
R. CRAIGHEAD, PRINTER, 112 FULTON STREET, NEW YORK.
T. B. SMITH, STEREOTYPER,
216 WILLIAM STREET.
In this humble attempt to unite the speculative and the practical on the subject of Faith, I have followed no theory, but have endeavored to trace the stream of Christian experience, as it is recorded in the Word of God, and makes its appearance in the hearts of God's people. But we begin the stream back of its appearance as a River of Life, even there, where belief exists, as a constitutional element of our being, though not as faith in God manifest in the flesh. Men cannot live even in and for the body only, without a belief in something above the body, and out of it. We take away
the very ground under the feet of infidelity, by showing that the unbeliever, even in not believing, has to throw himself upon belief, and has to be a more credulous soul by far, than the man of spiritual Faith. But as Thomas Carlyle somewhere excellently says (or something very like it), the credulity of unbelief is a faith in mere inert dead masses, with a blank denial or blind ignorance of that spiritual lightning, which alone can set things on fire. And a woful, dead, hopeless age it is, when the belief in spiritual lightning has gone, and there is nothing deemed real but the five senses.
The union of Grace and Truth is only in Jesus Christ; and Faith is the manifestation, not of human power, but of Christ himself in the mind, Christ in the heart, Christ in the life, and Christ in the soul, the hope of glory. Faith is a life, not a speculation; it is a life, and not a mere emotion in regard to the Author of life. I have endeavored to trace its workings, its forms, its results, its various developments, for the ministry of the life of a practical piety, in Christians who, like Paul, count not themselves to have attained, but would be pressing forward. May the Divine blessing accompany the effort !