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filled with love to God and man- at once happy in himself, and doing whatever may lie in his power to make others happy.

Equally interesting is it to remark, that this mighty change is not to be brought about by miraculous agency, but simply by means of man communicating to man the knowledge of God. Those who possess this knowledge will give it to others till all the world shall rejoice in its light. Every individual who receives the knowledge of God, in the love of it, becomes a moral sun, diffusing light and warmth around him, the glorious effects of which shall be felt through all the changes of time, and in eternity itself. When we contemplate, for instance, the thousands of the young who, in connection with this congregation, have been taught in the knowledge of the Scriptures; and especially when we remember the many scores who have been morally renewed by it, it is impossible for us to calculate the good which it has effected, or fully to conceive of the infinite ramifications of this river of life, scattering its blessings through the world, down to the very end of time and then anew displaying themselves in the eternal world.

But we must hasten to a close. The very soul of preaching is practical application. We have seen something in the history of the people of God which tends to confirm all that we have said; and have been fully convinced, that the church of Christ has been most prosperous when it has been most attentive to the spiritual interests of the rising generation. But we are desirous of leading you very fully to

act on our text.

Will you permit the preacher to indulge for a moment or two in the narration of a plain, unvarnished tale? Some three or four and thirty years ago, a little company of the followers of the Redeemer, in connection with this Christian church- some of whom continue to this day, but many are fallen asleep — resolved on directing the attention of the children of the poor more fully to Christ. Their number was not large, their attainments, generally speaking, were not great, and, in the esteem of the world, their prospect was not cheering; but God has always commenced his great proceedings with small means; among some of the earliest of its scholars was a little orphan boy,

"The son of parents passed into the skies,"

both of whom once communed with this Christian society. The Sunday School taught him to read his Bible, to weep over sin, and to entertain high thoughts of the Savior; while its best friends provided for each of his temporal wants. As time rolled along it brought with it new mercies, till that boy, it was humbly hoped became a follower of Jesus, was numbered with his people, entered the Christian min

istry, and labored in the Christian cause of Christ it is believed not without success. And now at the end of eight-and-twenty years, he appears among you this morning to erect his stone of Ebenezer in grateful remembrance of divine mercies, to weep over parental and friendly dust, and to avow his increasing attachment to Sabbath schools. The fathers are gone; the very prophets depart hence; but turning to these young persons, we say to your pastor, your deacons, and to every Christian, "These same shall comfort you concerning the work and the toil of your hands."

Pardon, my brethren, this allusion to the personal history of the preacher; it has been called forth by grateful recollections of bygone days. "If I forget thee," O, thou Sunday school, "let my right hand forget her cunning, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I prefer not thee to my chief joy. For my brethren and companions' sakes I will now say, peace be within thee. Because of the house of the Lord my God I will seek thy good."

SERMON XXVIII.

WHAT IS THE NATURE OF JUSTIFYING FAITH?

BY THE HON. AND REV. B. W. NOEL.

"Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood."-ROM. iii. 26.

THE previous verses of this passage teach us these important truths: that all of us are, by nature and practice, condemned by the law of God, and consequently that no obedience to that law which condemns, can justify us; but that there is, notwithstanding, a justification provided for a certain class of persons by God himself, which is here termed "His righteousness:" that this justification is a free gift to sinners absolutely, divinely free; yet, nevertheless, that it has been obtained for them by the costly sacrifice of the Son of God, and is not granted of mere mercy, but is granted to them of mercy "through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Having stated these truths, the apostle tells us, in the words which I have read, to what class of persons that blessing is restricted. It is not granted to all mankind, but it is granted to those who believe in Christ; "whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood."

The original cause, then, of the justification of a sinner, is the absolute mercy of God; the meritorious cause of a sinner's justification, is the obedience and the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ; and the instrumental cause of a sinner's justification is faith in that Redeemer. There is but one original cause, which is mercy; there is but one meritorious cause, and that is redemption by Christ; and there is but one instrumental cause, and that is faith in Christ.

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"Whom

God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood." Let us look to God the Spirit, who alone can make his own word profitable, while we consider what is the nature of justifying faith, the extent to which it justifies, and the manner in which it justifies. The whole statement is very simple, but it is of great moment to every single person of this congregation. It is of the last consequence to us, that we not only know what this faith is, but have it. It is of the utmost moment to you and me, that we have this faith; and it is my object, in the simple exposition which may follow these words, to lead you, as an instrument in the hands of the great God, not only to know what justifying faith is, but to have it.

Let us think, first, what it is not: because, this may enable us the more clearly to observe what it is.

The faith, of which the apostle speaks in these words, through which Christ becomes a propitiation for any individual sinner, is not a belief in the truth of the fact, that Christ is come, or that the New Testa ment is a divinely inspired revelation of that fact and its consequences. Because, faith in Christ is evidently trust in Christ; it is the meaning of the word. No man can pretend to have faith in Christ, and not trust Christ: just as a person could not pretend to have faith in his physician, and not trust his physician. But a person may believe in the truth that Christ is come, and may believe that the New Testament reveals that fact, its character and its consequences, and yet have no trust in Christ, and therefore not have the "faith in his blood," which is spoken of here.

It is not, further, a belief in the truth of all the principal doctrines of the gospel. This is a step beyond the last; for there are many persons, that do credit the gospel to be a revelation from God, and yet know little of the doctrines it contains; nay, reject most of its doctrines. But a person may reject none of them may admit in terms their truth, see the proofs of them in the Scripture, and maintain them all, and yet that person may have no faith in Christ. Because, Christ has come to offer salvation to us as sinners; but it is obvious, that a person may credit the truth of these doctrines, and not trust in Christ

to save his soul. And if so, he is an unbeliever: he disbelieves that Christ has come to save his soul. He may be destitute of all trust in Christ, and yet believe the great facts of the gospel, to a certain de gree and in a certain sense. And this faith is that which is possessed by fallen spirits, who know very well the great truths of the gospel, and are busily engaged in opposing them in the world. That which a man only shares with the great enemies of God and man, cannot be the faith which saves.

The same remarks will apply to this further stage. the state of a person, who believes that Christ Jesus is able and willing to save others, but does not believe in Christ as about to save him. For this also he shares with fallen beings. "The devils believe and tremble," when they think that Christ has come to save others, but has not come to save them; and this belief, instead of teaching them to love Christ, only embitters their hatred. It may do so with a sinful man, and consequently is not that trust in Christ which will save him.

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And again, to believe in our own personal safety through Christ is, on the other hand, not justifying faith. Because, many an ignorant and criminal enthusiast has believed this, while his whole life was one of disobedience to God's commands, and of manifest enmity to God. To believe that we are personally safe, that we are the elect of God through Christ, that we are through Christ children of God, and the favorites of heaven, and sure of being saved, may be to believe a falsehood a mere delusion. It may be, that the person who has this belief, is none of those things. And it is obvious, that if the great enemy of souls could desire any thing respecting one of his miserable captives, he would mostly desire this; that while he is living in his sins, and posting down to destruction, he should be perfectly persuaded, that he was one of God's elect, a child of God and an heir of glory through Christ: because, that delusion would prevent repentance, and would, more than any thing else, deepen and perpetuate his sleep of sin.

None of these things can be the justifying faith, of which our text speaks. But justifying faith is

The trust which a sinner feels in Christ, to save him from hell, as a divine Savior, in the method he has revealed, by his atoning sacrifice, and by his sanctifying Spirit.

This is justifying faith. Let us briefly illustrate its various characteristics.

It must be a trust in Christ to save us. We must see, that the Lord Jesus Christ is able and willing to save us. Because, my brethren, Christ is come for this purpose. It is this blessing he offers to us,

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as ruined sinners. He has assured you and me, that he is able and willing to save us. It is the purpose for which he died for which the Bible has been written; and to disbelieve that, would be to disbelieve one of the very principal truths that he has revealed, the principal act he came to accomplish; and would be, not faith, but unbelief. To disbelieve that, is not trust in Christ, but distrust of him; and no one can suppose, that he has justifying faith in Christ, while he disbelieves one of the principal things revealed concerning him. As we have seen, to disbelieve that, is to be in the condition of rebellious and apostate spirits; and that is not the trust, that he will bless. On the contrary, to believe that he is willing and able to save us, notwithstanding all our guilt, in the midst of all our dangers, with the sentence of God's law pronounced against us, in the face of an obedience required which we cannot pay, in the sight of a disobedience which merits eternal death that is the trust he asks from us all. The eternal Son of God demands of every one of you, and of me, that we do individually trust him to save us.

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It is, in the next place, a trust in him to save us from hell. should trust Christ to save us from any thing less, this would not be to credit the great truth revealed concerning him. We do in fact deserve to perish; we are on our road to perdition, till that blessed moment when we believe on Christ; God's law condemns us, and gracious as he is, he will certainly execute the sentence of his law; from that Christ has undertaken to save us; and to disbelieve that, is, again I say, to be an unbeliever. It is not to trust him, but to want trust in him; it is not faith, but unbelief; and he who should believe any thing else of Christ, but should not believe that he is able and willing to save him from hell from eternal wrath from all the consequences of his transgression would not be a believer in Christ. But if we should actually perish without Christ, and he has come to save us from perishing, as his word continually declares, then we deserve it; for the Almighty could not inflict upon us that which we do not merit. Hence, to believe that Christ is able and willing to save us from hell, is to believe that we deserve it; and it implies the conviction on our parts, that we are lost without him, that there is no method of salvation but in him, that he alone stands between us and everlasting ruin, that if God gave us our desert individually, we individually should perish. This is what faith in Christ implies; and if any man denies that of himself, does not own it, questions it, puts the thought aside, does not explicitly and solemnly confess it to himself and God, he may rest assured he has no faith in Christ. He may believe other things

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