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inwardly in the heart. It is not without the love of God and our neighbour, nor without the desire to hear God's word and follow the same, in eschewing evil, and doing gladly all good works. Of this faith this is first to be noted, that it does not lie dead in the heart, but is lively and fruitful in bringing forth good works. As the light cannot be hid, so true faith cannot be kept secret, but shows itself by good works: and as the living body of a man ever exerciseth such things as belong to a living body, so the soul that hath a lively faith in it will be doing alway some good works, which shall declare that it is living. For he who possesseth it is like a tree set by the water-side, his leaf will be green, and he will not cease to bring forth his fruit."
It appears then, both from scripture and the testimony of our church, that where faith is genuine, obedience is its constant companion. Both in their place are indispensably necessary; faith as the root, obedience as the branches; faith as the spring or source, obedience as the stream that flows from it. And thus I have endeavoured to show, from the testimony of
scripture and of our church, in reference to the nature of faith as the instrumental cause of our salvation, that it is not barely a speculative opinion, a cold and lifeless assent to the truths of scripture, but a divine principle productive of universal obedience.
It now only remains for us to add a few reflections which seem to arise from the subject: and,
First, From the points that have been discussed in these discourses, we may behold the harmony of divine truth. The whole of the gospel may be summed up in these few words of the apostle, "by grace are ye saved through faith, which worketh by love." This apostolic declaration subdivided, will form the three pillars on which the whole doctrine of Christ is
built. First. " by grace ye are saved;" that is, by the free, boundless, undeserved mercy of God, through Christ, as the only procuring or meritorious cause of our salvation. Secondly,
by grace ye are saved, through faith;" that is, through faith, as the instrument or the means by which we accept and apply to our souls the benefits of Christ's redemption: and,
Thirdly, "by grace ye are saved, through faith, that worketh by love;" that is, through a faith active and operative, fruitful in every good word and work.
Let us then, my brethren, beware that we do not destroy this harmony of divine truth. It hath been by interrupting this harmony by a partial reception of the truth, that the peace of the Christian church hath been so often disturbed by angry disputants and endless controversy. Let us beware that we do not substitute works in the place of a lively faith in Christ, or faith in the place of works; lest by the first error we become Pharisees, or by the latter we rank among those who "hold the truth in unrighteousness; who sin, that grace may abound."
Again, we may be cautioned by this subject not to mistake knowledge for faith, nor to rest in a mere assent to the truths we have been enumerating, without seeking a personal interest in those truths. Let us remember that a mere belief, without living under the influence of those truths which we believe, will avail us nothing; yea, worse than nothing, as it will
only tend to aggravate our guilt and complete our condemnation; because the principle of faith, in such a case, is inactive; it does not influence the conduct, and therefore will bring us under the same condemnation with those "who knew their Lord's will, but did it not." A man may go very far in knowledge and profession; he may be well acquainted with the doctrines and the precepts of the gospel; he may be perfectly able to explain and to defend the same; same; he be orthodox on every point, may and yet have no part or lot in the matter:" his faith may be merely historical, or what in scripture is called a dead faith; being destitute of that vital energy which alone can produce an active, a self-appropriating, and a lively belief.
Finally, my brethren, let us examine ourselves whether we be in the faith. Have we diligently searched the scriptures with prayer, with an humble and a teachable mind, to ascertain what they testify of Christ? Do we believe this testimony-believe it not merely theoretically but practically? The faith that bringeth salvation is something more than a
bare acknowledgment of the truth; it is a sincere and hearty acceptance of the person, the doctrines, and the precepts of Christ, as the Saviour of the world: an earnest desire that he will become such a Saviour to us; an actual dependence or recumbency of the soul upon his merits and atonement; an actual committing and trusting ourselves to be saved by him, according to his own merciful grace and goodness: for in a true Christian faith there is not only an act of the understanding, but answerable exercises of the will and the affections. Hence we read of "believing with the heart, and of "cleaving to the Lord with full purpose of heart;" to show us that not only the reasoning faculty, but the whole soul must be brought into a holy subjection to Christ our Saviour: and as this divine principle, this living faith, is the gift of God, let our prayer be that of the disciple, "increase our faith;" or that of our text, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." For it is by this divine faith only that we can have any evidence or conviction of the invisible and eternal world. This alone opens as it were the eyes of the understanding to see