« PreviousContinue »
45 of this earth, and bids him look
And so he
smile at his But what they call in Abraham's conduct we saw of faith. God called him to a He laid on him a command
of him a saly painful. To human reason man feeling, the act prescribed and unaccountable. rcb reflected, Jehovah cannot Co do as He directs.
It is hard : does seem strange and unac. God will only order what is do Christians find themselves God's
path of duty
dispensations trying! His dealings are beof his people to understand, ist, and not be afraid. 0 : faith will be satisfied: nmands, to do them: satisfied to make them : to meet them: prepared to say
Satisfied with then is faith ? we have now done, what do we
Even only It involves repentance for Christ as a Saviour, separation obedience to God's commands,
Christian, this is your faith. Being warned of God of judgment not seen as yet, moved with fear, you get into your appointed place of refuge, and calmly and confidently you wait the coming storm, thankful to know that you are safe-safe in Christ.
Again, we read of Abraham, how, at the call of God, having the promise of another home, he left his native land, and followed where Jehovah led, in full assurance that, however he might be a stranger and a pilgrim for a time, he should have his hope fulfilled at last.
What a beautiful illustration is this too of our faith. Our native land is this poor world. God calls us thence. He tells us of a better country. He does not shew it us. He gives us his word that there is such a country. And his word is to be all our dependence. If we do indeed believe it, then shall we set our affections on things above, not on things on the earth.” The truly Christian man does this. I say the truly Christian man. Alas, that there should be need to say it. But, dear brethren, I look around me, and I do see men, Christians in name, professing to believe in Christ, but their hearts, their affections, are in the world, set upon its gains, prospects, pleasures ; I cannot but ask, ' are these Christians indeed ?
No: Christian faith grasps heavenly things. Christian faith weans men from earth. Christian faith makes men live as pilgrims: their hearts are in their home. Christian faith makes a man check and restrain himself from pursuing so eagerly as his nature de
sires, the things of this earth, and bids him look upwards, and see his portion above. And so he comes out from the world. Men smile at his folly ;-—so they deem it. But what they call folly, God calls faith.
Once more : in Abraham's conduct we saw another example of faith. God called him to a most trying course. He laid on him a command hard indeed to obey. He required of him a sacrifice inexpressibly painful. To human reason also, as well as human feeling, the act prescribed was most strange and unaccountable. But the patriarch reflected, ' Jehovah cannot
My part is to do as He directs. It is hard : it is painful : it does seem strange and unac. countable : but God will only order what is right. All will issue well.'
And how often do Christians find themselves called upon for like faith.
for like faith. Their path of duty is plain, but how difficult ! God's dispensations are right, but how trying ! His dealings are beyond the capacity of his people to understand, yet are they to trust, and not be afraid.
Faith will do so : faith will be satisfied : satisfied with all commands, to do them : satisfied with all sacrifices, to make them : satisfied with all dispensations, to meet them: prepared to say at all times, “it is well.”
Brethren, what then is faith? Even only glancing at it, as we have now done, what do we find it to involve ? It involves repentance for sin, reliance on Christ as a Saviour, separation from the world, obedience to God's commands, submission to His dispensations, entire acquiescence in His will ; nay, in one word, faith, true faith, includes every thing that is essential to the christian character, and so far from being a mere inactive sentiment, a notional, uninfluential matter, it is the very life and soul, the principle and mainspring of all godliness.
Yes, my brethren, and hence the declaration of our text : “ Without faith, it is impossible to please God.”
Our object, therefore, now shall be, in the remainder of this discourse, to make an application of this matter to ourselves.
God, we are told, will be pleased with none who have not true faith. They may satisfy themselves : they may satisfy their fellow men: but with God they are weighed in the balances and found wanting
Will any ask, why so much is made of faith? I would not suppose such a question, were it not that really there are those, and not a few, who do seem to think it very unreasonable that faith should be represented as so indispensable a thing. * If,' say they, 'if a man lives well, why should the want of a particular belief be made so serious a matter ??
But do such persons consider what is meant by living well ? Do they at all understand what God considers living well ?
No: otherwise they would be aware that to live well, is to live according to right principles and right motives, and from a right state of mind ; that it is to live from the power and influence
of that very faith of which they think so lightly; they would know that in God's sight there is no good life, save that which has its root and spring in faith : they would know, as our church teaches, that works, however good they may appear, are not, and cannot be acceptable to God, if they "spring not of faith in Jesus Christ,” nay, rather, as the church then adds, “forasmuch as they be not done, as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.”
Besides, when men ask why make so much of faith, do they consider the insult which by that very question they put upon God?
Insult, I say : for it is so even with a fellow creature. What greater offence can I give to a fellow man, than to say that I think the belief of his word a matter of little moment ? And shall I then dare to say this of God ?
Consider, brethren; our Maker teaches us certain things in his revelation of truth : He sets forth his instruction ; He makes known to us variety of matters, the knowledge of which He declares to be needful for our present and eternal happiness. Then to make the belief of all this a secondary concern, or a point of no concern at all; to treat faith as a thing not essential ; to flatter men who have not that faith which God's word requires, that they shall yet do well ; what is this but, in the language of St. John, to “make God a liar ? God declares one thing, we the contrary. God speaks in his word and says, “He that believeth shall be saved, he that believeth