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seems to have been, by God's grace, strongly impressed upon the hearts of many of the most pious characters which adorn the annals of the Jewish people. They felt deeply their own degraded nature, and the need they had of strength and support from above. Hence the remarkable declaration of the prophet Habakkuk, given in the words of our text, “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith :” in which we trace an evident allusion to the presumption of the selfrighteous, and a warning to all, that if they desire to be welcomed into the life to come, they must build their hopes upon Another's foundation, not upon their own. The expression “the just shall live by his faith,” is three times quoted by St. Paul, in corroboration of his own arguments; and this clearly proves, that the prophet intended it to be taken in the same sense in which we have been considering it.

But a question, of the last importance now arises. What is this faith by which the just shall live; what is its nature, and what are the proofs of its presence in our hearts?

St. Paul, in the beginning of the eleventh chapter of his epistle to the Hebrews, “is the substance," or as the margins of our bibles have it, perhaps with more clearness, "the confidence of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This

Faith,” says

definition he immediately proceeds to illustrate, by adducing instances from the Old Testament, of holy men who served God acceptably by faith. After citing the example of Enoch, he observes, that “ without faith it is impossible to please him : for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” This, it must be remembered, was said of the obedience of the patriarchs of old, and refers, in consequence, rather to the light which shone upon them, than to that brighter effulgence, which, by God's blessing, has beamed upon us. Still, the nature of our faith must be essentially the same, although it will be enlightened by a more perfect knowledge of the objects, towards which it ought to be directed. The « confidence of things hoped for," the “evidence of things not seen, of which the apostle speaks, áre, first, the firm persuasion, that “God has prepared for them that love him” a crown of unfading glory in the heavens, which they will receive when this earthly tabernacle is dissolved, and the dark vale of death has been passed in safety. But this trust must spring from a deep and fervent acknowledgment, that it is not our own hands which have wrought this salvation for us; that we are too weak and sinful to do any thing that is good; and that if we had been left to ourselves, we should, “ without doubt, have perished everlastingly.” And, with this confidence, there will arise in our hearts a sense of fervent gratitude to our Redeemer, who has done for us what we never could have accomplished; who has, by the merits of his precious death, made an atonement for the sins, which must otherwise have remained unatoned for; and by his own sinless life of sorrow and suffering, has perfected that obedience which God required, but which we ourselves never could have paid. This does not, however, comprehend the whole extent of the Redeemer's mercy. He came, not to save us in our sins, but to rescue us from their debasing bondage. He died, not in order that the persevering and presumptuous offender might be forgiven, but that pardon might be granted to the pious and the penitent. He knew well, besides, what was in man; he knew that holiness and repentance are God's gifts; and be left us, therefore, his blessed Spirit to fill our hearts with those heavenly graces, which we can attain by bis inspiration alone. To this gracious Comforter, then, must we look for that chastening of the soul, that humility and meekness of temper, that disregard to the things of this world, that longing after heavenly treasures, that sure hope of a joyful resurrection through the merits of Jesus ; which constitute the truly Christian character.

This is the nature of the faith in Christ. It

remains, now, that we consider briefly what are the proofs of its presence in our hearts. And bere, my brethren, let us not deceive ourselves, for it is a point on which many have been deceived. The indwelling of this faith may be as easily known, as a tree by its fruits. We read, that "In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love." Faith, therefore, worketh, and it worketh by love. It consists not in a mere profession of belief; no such declaration, bowever solemnly made, however long persisted in, will be of the slightest avail, if no signs of the humbled and grateful heart appear. For the due consideration of the manifold and unmerited mercies we have received, through the death and resurrection of our blessed Lord, must excite in our souls a holy and reverential love to him, and that love will of necessity impel us to practice all those duties and charities, which he has enjoined. And let us bear in mind, that although we may not hope to approach that perfection of holiness which he exhibited in his own character, and

proposed to us as our model ; yet may we, through God's grace, daily come nearer and nearer to the glorious pattern. And whilst we mourn over the sinfulness of our hearts, whilst we acknowledge that they are in themselves incapable of devising any thing that is good, that “they are deceitful

for no

above all things, and desperately wicked ;” let us not pervert these expressions to our own destruction, and madly imagine, as some have done, that we can work out our own salvation without either fear or trembling; or that, because God works in us, we are, therefore, called

upon exertion, no vigilance, no painful self-denial. St. Paul declares, “Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all know, ledge ; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity," or as the more correct rendering would be," and have not love, I am nothing."

At some future period, my brethren, with God's blessing, I may advert to this most important and interesting subject again, and point out the beautiful harmony which exists between St. Paul and St. James on the very point, in which they have not unfrequently been absurdly arrayed against each other. Let us, at present, ere we separate, deduce a brief lesson of comfort from what has preceded.

It appears, then, that God has been pleased in his mercy, for Jesus Christ's sake, to accept our faith in the inerits of his atonement, instead of that perfect obedience, which, however powerful it might have been, when observed, to unbar the eternal gates of God's

mercy, was a service which, with our imperfections, we never could have dis

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