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* as doomed to certain Perdition. And thus the same Apostle testified, that faith towards our Lordjesus Chrift, as well as repentance towards God, is requisite to the attainment of Eternal Life, Acts xx. 21. And Parallel to this Text is the Charaćter given of the Saints, Revel. xiv. 12. They that keep the Commandments of God, and the Faith of jesus. Those therefore who Imagine, that they are not Obliged to Believe the Mysteries revealed in the Gospel, do break through a Principal obligation: And whilst they are Deficient in the Duty of Faith, they labour under a Defećt, which prevents the Perfeótion and Acceptance of every Other Duty. Faith is the very Foundation + of Virtue in a Christian; and if This be wanting, his Best performances are as an house built upon the Sand. For 'tis unto Faith that l’irtue must be Added, f if it recom— mends us to the favour of God; and all Those who call themselves Christians,
and yet content themselves with Moral virtues * alone, and those derived perhaps from no Higher principle, than what the Heathens ačted by, must fall under the charaćter given of the Heathens by the Aposile, that professing themselves to be wise, they become fools. When God hath Required our Belief, as the Ground of all our Duty, is it not extremely Absurd to conceive, either that we are Obedient unto Him, whilst we Disbelieve, or that He will be Gracious to us, whilst we Disobey him? 'Tis a strange Unhappiness of Judgment, to Ap
propriate the notion of Duty unto Vir
tuous A&tions, and to think that Nothing is Criminal but Immorality. The Rules of Moral Virtue must be Highly esteem’d, and Inviolably observed in their utmost Perfeótion, even in That perfection, which the Gospel hath given them: But let not the Rule of /irtue derogate from the Rule of Faith; nor the Necessity of the One be presumed to supersede the Other. Immorality renders us Ob
* Clemen. Alexandr. Strom, lib. i. p. 338, Edit. Oxon.
noxious to Divine Vengeance, but let us not forget, that Infidelity does So too: And the Event must be, in Both cases, the same, that if thou has reječfed the J/ord of the Lord, the Lord hath also reječfed thee. Heinous is the Sin of Envy, Extortion, Wrath, Hatred, Revising; Heinous every Sin committed againstour Brethren: But surely More Heinous must that Sin be, which is pointed direétly against God, and is an Immediate violation of His honour. Let all Those confider this, who dare to Impugn the /eracity of God, and with-hold their Asfent from what He hath Declared; * for he that believeth not God, hath made him a liar. Those who will not yield their Assent to any other Truth, but what they can, by the power of Reasoni, form Full notions of, and entirely Account for, are Absolutely Destitute of Faith, and do not Believe at all; for the evidence of Faith is altogether Different from that evidence, which ariseth from the Nature of Things:
* I John. v. Io. i Vide S. Bafil. M. adv. Eunom, lib. ii. vol. ii. pp. 64, 65. Edit. Paris & Homil. in Ps. 115. vol. i. pp. 313, 314.
L 4 which
In One case we are convinced of a Truth, and yield our Assent to it, because the Nature and Reasons of That truth, are evident to our Apprehensions concerning it: In the Other, we are Persuaded of a Truth, not because our Apprehensions and manner of Thinking can entirely reach the Nature and Reasons of it, but because it is supported by a 7estmony, which we can Depend on. Whosoever therefore wants This kind of Persuasion, is Void of Faith. And if it is not at all implied in Faith, as one of its Conditions, that we should Apprehend the Nature, and Manner, and Reasons of Things offer'd to our Belief, how comes the Want of such Apprehensions to be urged in Vindication of Unbelievers? It must be a very Perverse, or, a very Weak way of Reasoning, when we fail of any Duty, to conclude our selves Excusable, because we are under a certain Incapacity, wherein that Duty is
not at all concerned. Such Men as Generally indulge themselves a liberty of arguing at this rate, in favour of their Infidelity, concerning Mysteries Revealed, do yet profess to believe the Existence of God, notwithstanding that His Nature and Attributes do exceed the Measure of their Apprehension, and are confessedly Unaccountable. Those mighty Advocates of Human Reason, in Opposition to Divine Faith, will not easily clear themselves of Inconsistency, whilst one and the same Plea, which Equally affects Two different cases, is vehemently Urged by them in one case, and entirely Disavowed in the Other. The want of clear Apprehensions, concerning the Nature of Myserious Truths, can be no more an Impediment to the Belief of Those Truths, than the want of such Apprehensions, concerning God, is an Impediment to the Belief of a God. Let not Unbelievers therefore any longer Attempt to Shelter themselves under their Incapacity of Apprehending, and Accounting for, the Nature of Divine Truths proposed to them; for such an Apprehension is quite out of the Question, and Foreign to the purposes of Faith,