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son, believing if she did this she would be restored. The crowd which surrounded him was so great, that it must be attended with no small degree of difficulty, for one afflicted as she was, to effect her purpose; but her lively faith sure mounted all, and was crowned with success. She touched his clothes, and in an instant felt in her body that her complaint was gone. Jesus, knowing that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, “Who touched my clothes ?” Thus looking after his believing, restored patient, not to upbraid or condemn her for having dared to snatch, uninvited, such a favour, but to end the fears and trembling which had seized upon her; to establish the cure; to dismiss her with his approbation, and to fill her soul with his unutterable peace-a blessing far exceeding the return of bodily health, Mark v. 24–35.
The Syro-Phenician woman is also a proof of the power of faith and importunate prayer. Our Lord went to the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and would have no man know it: but he could not be híd; for this woman having a daughter vexed with a devil, and having heard of his great power, cried after him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David:" piercing words these for his compassionate and sympathizing heart; however, to teach us a lesson, he answered her never a word! This did not discourage her: she continued to cry till the disciples interested themselves in her cause, and said, “Send her away." The answer they received appeared as forbidding as his silence: “I am not sent (said he) but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." She might now exclaim, “All these things are against me;" yet, she still urged her requests. She entered the house where he was, fell at his feet, worshipped him, and cried, Lord help me. He said, “Let the children first be fed; for it is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs.” Did she not now leave off petitioning, and go home? No, not without his blessing. She replied, “ Truth Lord : yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table.” She now touched the tender feelings of his soul.
He could hold out no longer: “O, woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt.” Then she arose, and when she came home found her daughter healed and laid upon the bed, Mark xvii. 24–31, Matt. xv. 21.
Suffer me to mention the case of one more, and then I think sufficient will have been said on this subject to induce you to make trial yourself of the power of faith. It is that of blind Bartimeus. Jesus happened to pass with a multitude of people the road where he sat begging. Hearing 80 many passing, he enquired what it meant; being informed, he cried aloud, “ Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy upon me.” Many, as they passed along, being displeased with his cries, “rebuked him, and bade him hold his
peace; but he cried out so much the more a great deal, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy upon me.” The prayer of faith prevailed, and stopped, not the luminaries of heaven, as did Jo. shua: it stopped him by whom and for whom all things were made. “Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called:” and he came to Jesus, who “said unto him, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he answered, Lord, that I may receive my sight; and Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight; thy faith hath saved thee; and immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God.”
Thus I have endeavoured, from a few scriptural examples, to set before you how acceptable faith and prayer are with the Lord; and if you truly believe in him, your soul will soon rest in the bosom of his infipite mercy.
Its Object-its Aclings-Advice.
“FAITH (as described in the Epistle to the Hebrevs) is the substance (or persuasion) of things hoped for, the evidence (or conviction) of things not seen,” by which we are to un, derstand the faith which embroces religious truth in gene. ral; as, that there is a God, that he is the Maker and Lord of all, that he is the supreme Judge, that the soul is immortal, that man is an accountable being, that there is a future state of rewards and punishments, that our hopes should be placed not on earthly, but on heavenly things, &c.: which may in, clude, if the promises of spiritual favours in the present life are to be taken into the account, faith in Christ, as our great atoning sacrifice; or, in other words, justifying faith. See Heb. xi. 13, 14, and 39. Supposing this to be intended, it is, however, too obscurely expressed in this place by the apostle for us to confine our views entirely to his description of faith; seeing he speaks chiefly in reference to those who lived under the patriarchal and legal dispensations, who, it is reasonable to conclude, were not favoured with such distinct views as ourselves of the way of salvation. I would, therefore, call justifying faith, that faith which is given of God to the truly penitent, and which is wrought in them by the operation of his Holy Spirit, Col. ii. 12; by which they confide in the Lord Jesus as their only and sufficient Saviour, and freely accept him in all his offices as held forth in the gospel.
This not only implies a knowledge of their sinful state by nature and practice, but also a full persuasion of the abso. lute necessity of their being reconciled to their offended God
and Father, through the merits of his well-beloved Son, who alone taketh away the sins of the world, and who alone, therefore, is the proper object of their faith; for if " when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life,” Rom. v. 10, 2 Cor. v. 19. A penitent then, that would be saved, and receive the atonement, must believe
1. That Jesus is the Son of God, John i. 49, ix. 35, 38.
2. That he is the Saviour of the world, John i. 29, 2 Cor. v. 14, 15.
3. That his sacrifice was truly meritorious, Eph. v. 2, Heb. ji. 9, xii. 2.
4. That he is possessed of absolute power to save, Rom. iy. 20—25.
5. That he is exceedingly willing to receive him, 2 Cor. v. 19, 20, Heb. vi. 17, 18.
6. And that it may be now: Come, for all things are now ready, Luke xiv. 17.
Not that every penitent must particularize all these things in his mind, and observe this order; no: for as a man may speak and reason conclusively, without understanding the rules of logic, so one that is looking for salvation may
thus believe, though he may not then observe it, especially where the Lord makes short work in removing guilt, and bringing in the rig teousness promised to the believer. Whoever thus comes to God through Christ will find acceptance.
ITS ACTINGS. To illustrate this saving faith a little more, let us take a view of those scriptures which present it to us under differe ent forms. In this the wisdom and goodness of God emipently appear, in meeting the views and dispositions of men, that, as all are called to the obedience of faith, it may be sendered as plain and easy as possible.
It is called coming to Christ.-.“ I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me, shall never thirst, Joha yi. 35. Here the soul, con. scious of its own wants, and the insufficiency of others to supply them, drawn by the Saviour's benevolence and kind invitations, approaches with earnest desires, that it may partake of his benefits, and live through him.
It is represented as a receiving of Christ.“ As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name,” John i. 12. He is acknowledged as the true Messiah, as being made of God unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; for whoever thus heartily receives him, most truly and scripturally believes.
It is looking at Christ-as in the case of the brazen serpent, every one that looked upon it lived, compared with Isa. xlv. 22. “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth:” and, John iii. 14, “ As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” Here the soul, sinful and diseased, and in danger of eternal death, knowing that all others are physicians of no value, directs all its attention to the Lord Jesus, puts itself under his tender care, and waits his pleasure, till it feels itself completely restored.
It is set forth to us by hearing him, John v. 24, 25.—“He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life. The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.” Every true pene. tent, sensible of his past wandering and liableness to err, distrusts his own judgment, and places implicit confidence in his Lord, and follows, as an humble disciple, his perfect example and righteous precepts. *: It is frequently called trusting-In his name shall the Gentiles Trust-I will trust and not be afraid, Matt. xii. 21; Isa. xii. 2. Here the soul depends on Christ as the only sure foundation, building all its hopes of present acceptance, and future happiness, on his merit and righteousness : and he who is the Rock of Ages, will never fail those that COA: fide in him, or suffer them to be confounded,