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clearly perceive, but which seem to him very Improbable; How highly do we dishonour God by that Pride of Reason, which will not suffer us to believe the Truths he hath revealed, unless our own groveling Perceptions could reach the Height of them. St. John thus rouzeth us into a just Sense of this flagrant Sin; * He that believeth not God, hath made him a Liar. And what Severities of punishment is such an Audacious Offender to expect? Some Other Thin Pretences there are, whereby Unbelievers are wont to deceive themselves; which I should scarce have thought worthy of Particular Regard, if the Time would have allowed me to take particular notice of Them. Some Fallacious Suggestions may be more Plausible than others; But Vain and Groundless must All the Arguments, and Inexcusable and Unaccountable that manner of Thinking be, whereby men are led into an opinion, that they may be saved without Believing, though God hath
* 1 John v. Io.
And as he hath caution'd us against Inftdelity by the Terrour of Threatnings; he
hath graciously Invited us to Faith, by the endearments of Promises and Rewards. And as he is oftentimes pleased
Blessings, as pledges of the future and eternal Rewards promised to Holy men; so hath he oftentimes crowned the great Duty of Believing, with present Rewards, and those conferr'd in a Miraculous manner, as Pledges of that Future Happiness which is prepared for all Those who are stedfast in Faith.
* Ruler's little Daughter lying at the
point of death; he made the Father's Faith, the condition of the Blessing to be bestowed, Fear mot, believe only, and she shall be made whole. And when the two blind Men + applied themselves to him for Relief, he saith unto them,
* Mark v. 23, 35, 36. Lu. viii. 50. f Mat. ix. 28, 29. 30,
believe ye that I am able to do this 2 They said unto him, yea Lord. Then saith he unto them, according to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were open'd. And when the Woman was cured, who had thus expressed 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 aët 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 Expediation and Conception? And, to use the Apostle's expressions under this argument, The time would fail me to tell of Gedeon—and of the prophets, who through faith subdued kingdoms, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quemched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword—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 Understanding, 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 ačts of Faith in the to. as the Tests of it's Subjećtion and Obedience: . The Indispensable Obligations of this Law, arising from the Authority, Wis. dom, and Veracity of the Lawgiver: The Perverseness of our //ill, 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 future State, for all those who shall be found, 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, 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 o the
the World to come: These Considerations, and some others of Affinity with these, have in all ages effe&tually 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. 2dly, The Second Thing signified by conversation becoming the Gospel of Chris', is Obedience to the Precepts and Rules of Pračtice deliver'd in the Gospel. 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 als). An Obedient and Spiritual Life is the evidence,
* Ja.. ii. 24, 26.