« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
If God peradventure will give them repentance. 2 Tim. il. 25. Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth. Luke
xv. 7. The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance. Rom. ii. 4. Not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to
repentance. 2 Pet. iii. 9. What promises are made to penitent sinners? If thou shalt return unto the Lord—then he will have compas
sion on thee. Deut. xxx. 2, 3. If my people shall humble themselves—then will I forgive their
sin. 2 Chron. vii. 14. Whoso confesseth and forsaketh his sins shall find mercy.
Prov. xxviii. 13. Let the wicked forsake his way-and return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy on him—and abundantly pardon
him. Isa. lv. 7. If thou wilt return, O Israel, then thou shalt not remove. Jer.
iv. 1. If he turn from his sin-he shall not die. Ezek. xxxiii. 14, 15. The returning prodigal was forgiven. Luke xv. 21, 22. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our
sins. 1 John i. 9.
The method in which God forgives sinners may be illustrated by comparing a man, in his unregenerate state, to a criminal under sentence of death. The prince, whose laws he has broken, and whose justice he has offended, is disposed to act with compassion towards him; but he chooses that the prisoner should throw himself on his mercy, and crave life at his hands, before he will consent to remit the punishment he has incurred.
Again: Sinners are placed in the situation of a company of condemned rebels in a dungeon. A warrant arrives; one is taken away and led out to execution, and his companions behold him no more. They do not see what becomes of him, and will not believe the report which is brought them of the pains he suffered. Another and another is taken away in the same manner; still those who remain suppose their companions are only released from misery, and carelessly expect their own turn. All this time, messengers from the king are employed in persuading them to submission, exhorting them to ask forgiveness and accept mercy.
A few are prevailed on to comply with these terms, and are dismissed: but the rest, seeing no difference between those removed by warrant and those set at liberty by pardon, persist in their obstinacy, and treat the persuasions of their friendly advisers with nego lect 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 heartfelt 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 con
trite 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.
WHAT is Faith 2 *
St. Paul briefly defines it to be
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; but 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
# See note at the end of the chapter, page 20.
which worketh by love,) until the heart be changed by grace.
Faith is founded on knowledge—a knowledge of God, and of our own 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
Thus if Christ be called A Refuge, (Isa. 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, (John 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 him to teach
us his will, with an intention, by his help, 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 a 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. Abraham 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. 45. 47. Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. Job xiii. 15. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Dan. iii, 18.
Jonah's prayer when in the fish's belly. Jon. ii. 4.
Lord. Hab. 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 it is by faith alone that we can be justified. By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his
sight. Rom. iii. 20. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the
deeds of the law. Rom. iji. 28. To him that worketh not, (that is as a ground of justification,]
but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Rom. iv. 5.-See also v. 1. Gal. ii. 16; iii. 8. 11. 21—24; v. 4, 5, &c. &c. See also note on justification by faith, page 21,
2. Because, without it, it is impossible to please God, to profit by his word, to resist the assaults of Satan, or to have Christ formed in the heart, the hope of glory. The shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to queñch all the
fiery darts of the wicked. Eph. vi. 16. The word did not profit, not being mixed with faith. Heb. iv. 2. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Heb. xi. 6.
3. Because all men are commanded to believe. Believe in the Lord your God. 2 Chron. xx. 20. Look unto me, and be ye saved. Isa. xlv. 22. This is my beloved son; hear 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 him. John vi. 29. Him shall ye hear in all things. Acts iii. 22, 23; vii. 37. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts xvi. 31. This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name
of his Son Jesus Christ. 1 John iii. 23. Are all men invited to believe?
John came—that all men through him might believe. John i. 7.
ready. Mark xvi. 15, 16. John iii. 18. Take heed, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief.
Heb. ii. 12.
The unbelieving shall have 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 hearing. Rom. x. 17.
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, though it be yet as a grain of mustard-seed, let it encourage you to perse. vere. Pray with the disciples, “Lord, increase our faith,” (Mark xvii. 5,) and adopt the words and spirit of him who said, “ Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.” Mark ix. 24. Call to mind the promises contained in the Scripture,