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to fear, that circumstances of the same nature, are no less common in other christian countries, than in that which gave birth to the writer of these pages.
Thus the worldly minister, instead of preaching this important doctrine in its purity, seeks to destroy even the curiosity, which would engage an irreligious man to enquire into the necessity, the nature, the origin, and the effects of evangelical faith. And while the generality of those, who are required to publish this victorious grace, are seen to reject it with contempt, no wonder that tiie true minister esteems himself obliged to contend for it, with increasing earnestness, both in public and in private.'
To close this section. When the christian minister proclaims salvation by faith, he adhere's not only to the holy scriptures, but also to those public confessions of faith, which are in common" use among the churches of Christ. « We believe, say the churches of France, “ that every thing neces« sary to our salvation, was revealed and offered to “ us in Christ, who is made unto us wisdon, righ“ teousness, sanctification, and redemption." Art. xiji. “ We believe, that we are made partakers of "righteousness by faith alone ; since it is said, that che (Christ] suffered in order to procure salvation “ for us, and that whosoever believeth in him shall « not perish.” Art. xx. « We believe, that, we 66 are illuminated by failh, through the secret grace “ of the Holy Spirit.” Art. xxi. “ We believe , “ that, by this faith, we are regenerated to newness co of life, being by nature in bondage to sin. i So
* that faith, instead of cooling in us the desire of " living righteously and godly, naturally tends to « excite such desire, and necessariiy produces every " good work." Art. xxii.'
Such also is the doctrine of the Helvetic Confession. 66 We believe, with St. Paul, that sinful inan
" is justified by faith alone in Jesus Christ, and not " by the law. Faith receives Jesus, who is our righ
teousness ; and on this account jutification is at" tributed to faith. That by means of faith we re
ceive Jesus Christ, he himself has taught us in the "Gospel, where he significantly uses the terms ap, “plied to eating for believing : For, as by eating we "receive bodily nourishment, so by believing, we
are made partakers of Christ." Chap. xv.“ Man "" is not regenerated by faith, that he should continue « in a state of indolence, but rather that he should o apply himself, without ceasing, to the performance % of those things, which are useful, and good : since
the Lord hath said, “ every good tree 'bringeth o forth good fruit : He that abideth in me, and I “ him, the same bringeth forth much fruit." . · The church of England expresses herself in the following terms upon salvation by faith, and the good works produced by that faith. “We are accounted “ rightecus before God, only for the merit of our “ Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for « our own works and deservings. Wherefore, that o we are justified by faith only, is a most whole6 some doctrine, and very full of comfort.” Art. xi. “Good works do spring out necessarily of a true “ and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively W faith may be as evidently, known, as a tree discerned “ by the fruit." Art. xii.
THE TRUE MINISTER GOES ON TO ANNOUNCE A
" GODLINESS with contentment is great gain :" And the pastor, who is possessed of so invaluable a blessing, cannot be backward in soliciting all, within the circle of his acquaintance, to share it
with hiin. Happy in the enjoyment of that precious secret, which enables him !o rejoice without ceasing, be readily communicates it to the afflicted, by lead. ing them to that lively hope, which consoles and sustains the heart of every believer, in this
In a world, where the bitterness of evil is conti. nally increasing : where we discover the scourges of a God, who will not fail 10 chastize his rebellious creatures; where disappointment and death suc. cessively deprive us of our dearest comforts, and where the forerunners of death arc continually weakening all our imperfect enjoyments: in such a world, it is evident that the inost exalted pleasure we are capable of, must'spring from a well-grounded hope of those inimortal joys, which are reserved for the righteous. The language of mortality is too feeble to describe either the power, or the sweetness of such an hope. Here we can only cry out with the Psalmist,“ O taste and see how gracious the Lord is,” in providing so potent a cordial for those, who are travelling through a vale of tears..
* The lively hope, which gives birth to a believer's felicity, is one of the most exhilarating fruits of his faith, and is inseparably connected with it, since • true faith is, the substance of things hoped for." In proportion as the truths and promises, upon which faith is founded, are evidenced and apprehended, such will be the hope with which that faith is accom. panied. If Moses then, by the faith which he pro, fessed, was enabled to renounce the prospect of an earthly crown, with the hope of oblaining a more glorious inheritance; if he esteemed “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, having respect unto the recompence of reward;" what may not be expected from an hope founded upon those precious promises, which have been sealed with the blood of that condescending Saviour, who "s brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel? The law,” saith the Apostle, “ made
nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better bope did ; by the which we draw nigh unto God. Seeing then, that we have such hope," continues the same. . Apostle, “ we all, with open face beholding, as in a. glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory." 3: We every day observe the inen of the world exe ulting in the hope of some temporal advantage. The prospect of an honorable title, an augmentation of fortune, an advantageous marriage, or even a poor party of pleasure, is sufficient to allure, to animate, to enrapture them. They will even acknowledge, that the fattering hope of future pleasure is sweeter than enjoyment itself. Who then shall attempt to declare those transports, which flow from the lively hope of a'triumphing christian? A hope which is founded upon the Rock of ages, and which has for its object, riches, honours and pleasures, as much su. perior to those of worldly men, as the soul is superior to the body, heaven to earth, and eternity to the present fleeting moment."
The true minister publicly announces this hope to the world, persuaded that if mankind were once happy enough to possess it, they would exchange ą load of misery for a prospect of blessedness. But since he knows, that this hope can never be admitted into hearts replete with sin, his first concern is to overthrow the vain confidence of the impenitent, to undermine the presumption of the pharisaical, and to point out the true distinction between a sin. ner's groundless expectation, and the well-founded hope of a believer in Christ.
In every place, there are many to be found, who, without evangelical faith or hope, are filled with a presumption as blind as that of the Pharisees, and as fatal as that of Heathens hardened in their sin. To every such person, the true minister uniformly de. clares, that he is without Christ, without "hope, and without God in the world.” These very nen, it is
probable, may offer to the Deity a format worship, and indulge high expectations from the mercy of a divine Mediator, though they are totally destitute of an unfeigned “ repentance toward God, and a true faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." Thus far the unconverted may proceed in a seemingly religious course. But the regenerate alone can truly say, “ The grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared unto all men, teaching us that, denyingi ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world: looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
The hope of unrighteous men is founded upon pride, false notions of the Deity, ignorance of his law, and those prejudices, which the irreligious com municate one to another. On the contrary, the hope of believers has for its basis, the word of him " who cannot lie." Whatsoever things were written aforetime," saith the Apostle, “were written for our learning that we". [the children of God] “ through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." It is founded not only upon the word, but equally upon the oath, of God. “Men verily swear by the greater; and an oath, for confirmation, is to them an end of all strife, Wherein God, willing inore abundantly to shew unto the heirs of the pro. mise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie" (namely his word ". and his oalh] " we might have strong consolation, who have fied for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us, which hofre we have as an anchor of the soul, boih sure and stedfast." r
: ! ! When ihe faithful minister has rooted up every i false hope, he then announces Jesus Christ, who hath +/brought in a better hope than that of Heatheus or Jews. Observe here the reason, why those pastors, . who preach not Christ, are incapable of doing any