« PrécédentContinuer »
persist in their obstinacy, and treat the persuasions of their friendly advisers with neglect and contempt. What is the chief means by which repentance is produced ?
A view of a crucified Saviour. The penitent, looking at the cross of Christ, sees himself a sinner, and mourns over those sins which crucified the Lord of life.
Unless we feel something of this, we are not real Christians. The only entrance to the way which leads to eternal life, is by this godly sorrow and heart-felt repentance. The passage is very difficult, and we must strive to enter in at the strait gate.
Notwithstanding the necessity and benefit of repentance, we must remember that it does not atone for sin, How are we to obtain repentance ? By prayer.
Prayers for Repentance, in the Liturgy. Collect, Ash-Wednesday.-- Create and make in us
new and contrite hearts. Absolution. Let us beseech him to grant us true repentance. Litany. That it may please thee to give us true repentance.
How necessary is it for those who have not already repented, to set about the important work immediately! Do not trifle with God. Difficulties will increase with age.
IV. On Faith.
What is Faith?
St. Paul briefly defines it to be The substance of thivgs noped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Heb. xi, 1. Christ is the object of a Christian's faith, and the hope set before us; faith is not a state of the understanding merely, but of the heart. To believe testimony, and rely on the promises of men, is natural; bui spiritual things are so far beyond our apprehension, so humbling, and so opposite to worldly pursuits, that we cannot believe the things which concern our eternal salvation, so as to love them and act upon them, (and none is true faith, but that which worketh by love,) until the heart be changed by grace.
Faith is founded on knowledge-a knowledge of God, and of our oyn ruined condition, as revealed to us in the Scriptures. It includes a determination not to continue in this state. “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?" It produces a conviction that if help comes, it must come from God, and leads us to breathe such petitions as these; “ Turn thou me!"-" Undertake for me!"-"Wilt thou not revive us?” It brings us to the Redeemer, unites us to him, and enables us to walk in that liberty wherewith he hath made us free.
Thus if Christ be called A Refuge, (Is. xxv, 4.) Faith leads us to flee to him for shelter from
the wrath of God. A Fountain, (Zech. xiii, 1,) Faith induces us to come to have our
guilt washed away. The Bread of Life, (John vi, 35.) Faith draws us to him as our
spiritual food and sustenance. Living Water, (Jobo vii, 37.) Faith brings us to him to have our
thirst quenched. A Shepherd, (Isa. xl, 11.) Faith causes us to follow him, and seek
his protection and guidance. A Physician, (Matt. ix, 12.) Faith leads us not only to believe in his
power, but to go to him to be healed. A High Priest, (Heb. iv, 14.) An Advocate, (1 John ii, 1.) Faith
depends only on his atonement and intercession for pardon and
acceptance, A Prophet, (Luke xxiv, 19.) Faith leads us to ask bim to teach us
his will, with an intention, by his belp, to do it. A King, (Matt. xxi, 5.) Faith leads us to submit in all things to his
authority. Such a faith has great power. All things are possible to him that believeth. Mark ix, 23.
All men have not this Faith, (2 Thess. iii, 2.) which is very different from a mere historical belief of the facts, and a general and cold assent to the doctrines contained in the Bible. Such Faith even bad men may have; nay, the devils themselves believe thus far, as firmly as the holiest saints. James ii, 19.
Eminent Examples of Faith. Abrabam offering Isaac his son, Gen. xxii, 10-16. David said to Goliath, The battle is the Lord's, and he will give
you into our hands. 1 Sam. xvii, 15, 47;
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. Job xiii, 15.
Lord. Habak, iii, 17, 18.
Acts xxvii, 25. Heb. xi, mentions Abel, Enoch, Noah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses,
and others, as patterns of faith, Why is faith necessary for all men ?
1. Because, without it, it is impossible to please God, to profit by luis word, to resist the assaults of Satan, or to have Christ formed in the heart, the hope of glory. The sbield of faith, wherewith to quench the fiery darts of the
wicked. Eph. vi, 1ô. The word did not prufit, not being mixed with faith. Ileb. iv, 2. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Heb. xi, 6.
2. Because all men are commanded to believe. Believe in the Lord your God. 2 Chron. xx, 20. Look upto me, and be ye saved. Isa, xlv, 22. This is my beloved son; bear ye him. Matt, xvii, 5; Mark ix, 7. Have faith in God, Mark xi, 22. This is the work of God, that ye believe in hiin. John vi, 29. Him sball ye bear in all things. Acts iii, 24, 23 ; vii, 37. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts xvi, 31. This is his command, that ye believe on the name of bis Sun Jesus
Christ. 1 John iii, 23.
Are all men invited to believe ?
Yes. John came.--that all men through him might believe. John 1, 7. What is the consequence of unbelief ? He that believeth not shall be damned, and is condemned already.
Mark xvi, 15, 16; John iii, 18. Take heed, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief.
Heb. iii, 12. The unbelieving shall bave their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, Rev. xxi, 8.
How are you to obtain this faith?
By asking for it, and diligently seeking it in the use of ordinances, remembering that faith is the gift of God, in the use of means Faith cometh by bearing. Rom. x, 17. To another, faith, by the same spirit. I Cor. xii, 9. The fruit of the spirit is faith. Gal. v, 29. By grace ye are saved, through faith--the gift of God. Eph, ii, 8. Through the faith of the operation of God, Col. ii, 12, Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Heb. xii, 2. We are exhorted to follow after faith. 1 Tim. vi, 11; 2 Tim. ii, 22.
The Christian's life is a life of faith, i.e. every blessing comes to him, by a believing application to Jesus Christ. Ye are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Gal, iii, 26. The just shall live by faith. Hab. ii, 4; Rom. i, 17; Heb. x, 38. I live by faith of the Son of God. Gal. ii, 20. A man is justified by faith. Rom. iii, 98. Being justified by faith, we have peace with God.
Rom. v, 1, To him that believeth---his faith is counted for righteousness.
Rom. iv, 5.
Eph. iii, 12.
1. Love to Christ and his people.
2. Hatred of sin. Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his com.
mandments. 1 John ii, 3. Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith. 2 Cor. xiii, 5.
If you have reason to fear that you have not faith, make application for it without further delay. If you find it to be a hidden treasure, dig for it. If you are convinced that it is a pearl of great price, sell all that you have that you may purchase it. Matt. xiii, 44, 46. If the principle have already gained admission into your breast, thongh it be yet as a grain of mustard seed, let it encourage you to persevere. Pray with the Disciples, “ Lord, increase our faith :" (Mark xvii, 5.) and adopt
the words and the spirit of him who said, “ Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.”. Mark ix, 24. Call to mind the promises contained in the Scripture, (Matt. vii, 7.) Ask and it shall be given you. But beware of - calling in question the power or the willingness of God to fulfil his promises, hy relapsing into unbelief. that believeth not, hath made him a liar.” Say not, that the object is beyond your reach, or that the means afforded you for obtaining it are insufficient. “Men do not believe, because they love darkness, and will not come to the light, that they might have life.”
Prayers for Faith, in the Liturgy. Collect for the 14th Sunday after Trinity.---Give unto us the
increase of faith, hope, and charity. Collect for St. Thomas's Day.--Grant us so perfectly, and without
all doubt, to believe in tby Son, Jesus Christ, that our faith, in
thy sight, may never he reproved. Collect for St. Mark's Day --Give us grace, that being not like
children, carried away with every blast of vain doctrine, we may
be established in the truth of the Holy Gospel. Collect in the Litany.--Grant, that in all our troubles we may put
our whole trust and confidence in thy mercy. Pray, that may hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life.”
V. On the Promises made at Baptism. What did your Godfathers and Godmothers for you at
your baptism? They did promise and vow three things in my name: First, that I should renounce the Devil and all his works, the pompe and vanity of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh. Secondly, that I should believe all the articles of the Christian faith. And, thirdly, that I should keep God's holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of my life. What is meant by the Devil ?
An evil Spirit, the prince of the fallen angels, who is invisible, but very busy and powerful. He is the implacable enemy of the whole human race, and especially of