Page images



H E B. xi. 6.
But without Faith, it is impossible

to please him: For he that cometh
to God, must believe that he is,
and that he is a rewarder of them
that diligently seek him.

HE foregoing Chapter is a very Serm.

earnest and affectionate Exhor- I. T

tation to the Duty of Faith. m
Ver. 22. Let us draw near with

a true beart, in full assurance of Faith. Ver. 23. Let us bold fast the profesion of our Faith without wavering. Ver. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry : Now the just fl.all Vol. I.



Ser by Faith. That This exhortation

might not be ineffectual, for want of men's
clearly understanding What the Nature of
the Duty was, to which they were here fo
earnestly exhorted; the Apostle in the ist
verse of this chapter, proceeds to define
distinctly what Faith is, and wherein it con-
fists. Faith, faith he, is the substance of
things hoped for, (in the original it is, the
firm and assured expectation of things hoped
for,) the evidence of things not feen. And
what those Things are, which being not seen !
by Sense, are yet made manifest by Fait),
he declares in the words of the Text. They
are; faith he, the Being of God, and the Re-
ncards of the Life to come.

He that coineth to God, must believe that is, and that be is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek bim. There has prevailed in modern times, a very different and enthusiastick Notion of Faith ; as if Faith, under the Gofpel, was nothing but a Confident Reliance upon the Merits of Christ, to do all That for us, which he on the contrary expressly requires that we should do for ourselves. When we have heartily indeavoured to obey the commandments of God; and have performed our Duty really and sincere



ly, tho' very imperfectly; to rely Then up-SE R M. on the Merits and Intercession of Christ,

I. for the acceptance of those imperfect tho’ sincere Endeavours; This is indeed the Duty, and the Comfort of a Christian; but it is not what the Scripture usually calls Faith. Faith, is that firm Belief of things at present not seen; that conviction upon the Mind, of the Truth of the Promises and Threatnings of God made known in the Gospel ; of the certain reality of the Rewards and Punishments of the Life to come; which inables a man, in opposition to all the Temptations of a corrupt World, to obey God in expectation of an invisible Reward hereafter. This is that Faith, which in Scripture is always represented as a moral Virtue, nay as the principal moral Virtue, and the root and spring of all other Virtues ; Because it is an Act, not of the understand ing only, but also and chiefly of the Will, so to consider impartially, to approve and embrace the Doctrine of the Gospel, as to make it the great Rule of our Life and Act- . ions. By This Faith it is, that We must be justified; and by This it is, that the Antients whose example is celebrated in this sith chapter, cbtained, as the Apofile expresses it, a B 2



Serm.good report. The Faith of Abraham was,

that be looked for a City which hath foundations, even the heavenly Jerusalem spoken of in the Prophecies, whose Builder and Maker is God, ver. 10.

The Faith of the other Patriarchs was, that confefsing themselves strangers and pilgrims on the Earth, they declared plainly that they fought a better Country, that is, an heavenly, ver. 13, 16. The Faith of Mofes was, that he chose rather to suffer affli&tion with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of Sin for a season; For be bad respect unto the recompense of Reward; and endured, as seeing Him who is invisible, ver. 25, 26, 27. The Faith of the Martyrs was that they chose to be tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better Resurrection, ver. 35. This is a very easy and intelligible Notion of Faith; and such a Notion, as shows plainly, how Faith is not a mere speculative Act of the Understanding, but a substantial practical moral Virtue.

'Tis true; This is not indeed the only Sense of the word, Faith, in Scripture ; but 'tis the Principal and most important sense of it. As may appear by considering, that all the Variety of significations, in which the word is used in different places


of Scripture, may properly be reduced, for S E R M.

memory and distinctness fake, to these
which follow. Ift, The word, Faith, in
some places signifies That earnest Trust and
Confidence in the Power of God, to which
in the Apostles Times was annexed the
Gift of working Miracles. Thus Mat. xvii.
20. If ye bave Faith (says our Lord to his
Apostles ) as a grain of mustard-feed; (if ye
have That Trust in God, That particular
Kind of Faith or Dependence on him, That
assured Reliance on his Power without
Doubt or wavering, required of you peculi-
arly at This time;


have This Faith, though ever so small in comparison, answerable in any measure to your present Office and Advantages;) ye shall say to this mountain, remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove. This, was a Faith required of the Apostles at That particular Time, and of Them only. 2dly, In other passages, the word, Faith, signifies the duty of Veracity, Faithfulness, or Truth. Thus Matt. xxiii. 23. Ye have omitted the weightier matters of the Law; judgment, mercy, and Faith; Faith, that is, Fidelity, Truth, or Faithfulness, in the discharge of any Trust reposed in Men. Analogous to which, it is also some


B }

« PreviousContinue »