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out believing what the Miracles were intended to prove, is not Christian Faith. Farther still; It is another and a more advanced Degree of Faith to believe that thfc Spirit of God was given to the Apostles in a large measure, and to Christ, the Author of the Salvation, without measure. But neither is this the Faith which Christ came to propagate; For, mould I ask ypu, Why are we taught, and why are we to believe, that God gave the Spirit to his Son without measure, and to the Disciples in a very wonderful manner and degree? wquld yot| not easily answer, that these heavenly Endowments were both given and declared to make them fit Teachers, and us ready Disciples, of the Doctrines of God? It is evident then, that these Gifts were subset vient to a farther End, and that Cfiristiaii Faith does not terminate here. But if, notwithstanding this, you will apply all that you read of Faith in holy Scripture to these or any of these kinds of Faith, and then imagine that Faith is a very strange Principle of Religion, and of foreign Growth, repugnant to the.Sense and Reason of Man> kind, and disclaimed by the Light of Nature; which are the usual Compliments bestowed on i* in the World j you may thank yoti|> self for the Delusion: The Doctrine os the Gospel of Christ is clear of the Reproach. , Faith, which is the Principle of the Gospel, respects the Promises and Declarations of God, and includes a sure Trust and Reliance on Him for the Performance. Beyond this there is no farther Act of Faith. We are not taught to believe this in order to our believing something else: But here Faith has its full Completion, and leads immediately to the Practice of Virtue and Holiness, the Conditions in which all the Promises of God are founded. For this End was the Son of God revealed, to make known the Will of his Father, to declare his Mercy and Pardon, and to confirm the Promises of eternal Life to Mankind: He that believes and accepts this Deliverance from the Bondage of Sin, and through Patience and Perseverance in Well-doing waits for the blesled Hope of Immortality; who passes through this World as a Stranger and Pilgrim, looking for another Country, and a City whose Builder is God; this is He whose Faith shall receive the Promise, whose Confidence shall have great Recompence of Reward.
requires almost the same Faith, but without giving the fame Evidence? Is it not the Profession of every Religion to believe God to be a Rewarder of them who diligently seek him? Could you have any Natural Religion without this Principle? This the Gospel requires of you: And, if Jesus Christ has given you more Evidence for this Faith than ever Nature could afford her Children, forgive him this Injury. Is it become less credible that God will reward the Righteous, because he has sent his Son into the World to declare his full Purpose so to do? Is it harder to trust him now, since he has appeared to us in Signs and in Wonders and in mighty W orks, than it was before, when we saw him only by the glimmering Light of Nature? Are the express Promises of God, confirmed to us in Christ Jesus, of less weight than the general Suggestions of Nature? If these express Promises, these clear Evidences of the Purpose of God are not the Things complained of in the Gospel, what are they? Faith has ever been the Principle of Religion, and must ever continue so to be: For, when all other Gifts shall cease, Faith, Hope, and Charity will be the only Gospel Graces which Time shall not destroy.
Vol. I. Bb Religion Religion is a Struggle between Sense and Faith. The Temptations to Sin are the Pleasures of this Life: The Incitements to Virtue are the Pleasures of the next. These are only seen by Faith: Those are the Objects of every Sense. On the fide of Virtue all the Motives, all the Objects of Faith engage: On the side of Vice stand the formidable Powers of Sense, Passion, and Affection. Where the Heart is established in the Fulness of Faith, the heavenly Host; prevails, and Virtue triumphs over all the Works of Darkness: But, where Sense governs, Sin enters, and is served by every evil Passion of the Heart. If this be the Case j if Religion has nothing to oppose to the present Allurements of the World, but the Hopes and Glories of Futurity, which are seen only by Faith j 'tis no more absurd to say Men are saved by Faith, than it is to say they are ruined by Sense and Passion; which we all know has so much of Truth in it, that it can have nothing of Absurdity.
To this Account of Faith the Definition which the Apostle has given of it (in the eleventh Chapter to the Hebrews) exactly agrees : Now Faith is the Substance of 'Things hoped for j the Evidence of "Things not seen.
Things: Things hoped for are the Things of Futurity, Things which are not seen, as we learn from St. Paul, Romans viii. 24. We are saved by Hope: But Hope that is seen is not Hope: For izhat a Man feeth why doth he yet hope for? Now without Faith there can be no Hope: For, if we do not believe Things future, we cannot possibly hope for them. Hope therefore is indebted to Faith for all its Objects: For these Things with respect to Hope would be mere Non-entities, were it not for Faith. Considered therefore as Things hoped for, they owe their Substance and their Being to Faith. Faith then is the Subjiance of 'Things hoped for, the Evidence of Things not seen. The Things not seen are those gcod Things which God has prepared for them who love him, the Rewards of Virtue and Holiness, which Eye hath not seen, nor Ear heard, neither hath the Heart of Man conceived. And that these Things are chiefly meant by the Apostle, is evident from the great Number of Instances subjoined in this Chapter, in which the Thing not seen is generally the Promise of God, that is, the Thing promised by God. Now, the Promises of God being neither Objects of Sense nor Science, but such Things as are made known to us by B b z his