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SERMON XI. 303
count for. And it may be observed, as an Illustration of this Point, that when any Man of Superior understanding expressly declares the Truth of Something, which other Men of Lower Capacities cannot conceive, and which, according to their weak manner of Thinking, is Highly Improbable; Their Disbelief of such a Truth, which he professeth himself to be Clear in, must be a Provoking instance of their Disregard and Disrespect to him. For such Disbelief would be built upon a supposition, that their own Thoughts are as proper Standards of Truth as His, and they will not so far depend upon him, as to believe what he affirms to be True, and what he declares himself to have a perfect Knowledge of, because they have not the like Knowledge of it upon their own minds.
And since there is so great a Disparity between the Thoughts and Conceptions of one Man and another, Disparity sufficient to render it Reasonable and Necessary, in many cases, that One man should depend upon Another, for the Truth of 'Things, which Himself not only cannot
Clearly believe ye that I am able to do this 7 They said unto him, yea Lord. Then faith he unto them, according to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opend. And when the Woman was cured, who had thus exprefled the stedfastness of her Faith, if I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole, He thus pronounceth of her, * thy Faith hath made thee whole. In all these, and other the like cases, 'tis abundantly manifest, that the act of Believing was the acceptable Duty, and ground of the reward. How remarkably was Noah recompensed for his Faith, for his firm dependance upon the Truth of what God had declared, in a Point far exceeding all Humane Expectation and Conception? And, to use the Apostle's expressions under this argument, The time would fad me to tell of Gede
on and of the prophets, who through
faith subdued kingdoms, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword—r- women received their dead raised to life again.
* Mark v. 34.
Upon the whole matter: The Reasonableness of God's giving a Law to our Understandings that it may pay it's Homage and Submission to him, by a Ready and firm Assent to the Truths he hath Revealed: The certainty of his having given us such a Law requiring such acts of Faith in the Understanding, as the Tests of it's Subjection and Obedience: The Indispensable Obligations of this Law, arising from the Authority, Wisdom, and Veracity of the Lawgiver: The Perverseness of our Will, in our refusing to submit our Understanding to this Law: The Tremendous punishments denounced against Infidelity: The Glorious and Endless rewards, which are prepared in a suture State, for all those who shall be sound, in the solemn day of Judgment, to have paid entire Obedience to this great Law of Faith: The wonderful Demonstrations God hath given of his High, t Peculiar esteem of this Duty, by crowning it frequently and Amply with Blessings in This life, as the Pledges and Earnest of that Inestimable reward which is laid up in store for it in t the
. the World to come: These Considerations, and some others of Affinity with these, have in all ages effectually induced Judicious and Wise men, to suppress all Pride, and Arrogance and Self-conceit, rising up in their Breasts as the great springs of Infidelity, and to depend, with Humility and Stedfastness of Faith, upon God's Knowledge and Wisdom, rather than their own.
idly, The Second Thing signified by conversation becoming the Gospel os Chrijh is Obedience to the Precepts and Rules of Practice deliver'd in the Gofpel. The Reality of our Faith is to be demonstrated by the Holiness of our Lives. Notwithstanding the Necessity of Faith, yet the Highest degrees of it, without Obedience attending it, and grafted upon it, are utterly insignificant, and unavailable to Salvation. * By works a man is justified, and not by faith only. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. An Obedient and Spiritual Life is the evidence, which we are Indispensably required to give of our being filled with all wisdom and spiritual understanding. It was the great Design of our Blessed Saviour's Manifestation in the flesh, to destroy the works of the Devil, to reduce us from the Dominion of Sin, and restore us to the similitude of God, by the Conformity of our Lives to his Holy Will revealed from Heaven. Whofoever nameth the name of Christ, does it Unprofitably and in Vain, if he fails of departing from all Iniquity. . We can have no claim to the Privileges and Promises of the Gofpel, but by our Fidelity in performing the Conditions of them. For we can have no Just hope of entring into Life, but by keeping the Commandments, or, by taking effectual care, that our Lives be, as the Commandments themselves are, Holy, and Just, and Good. 'Tis the Highest excellency of Conduct which we are to arrive at, before our Conversation can be indeed suitable to the Gofpel; For 'tis to be observed, that besides the Rules prescribed to all our Outward actions, relating to God, our Neighbours, and our
* Ja. ii. 24, 26.