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God, for his protection here, and his re- LECT. wards hereafter.
The apostle having taught us throughout the Epistle that the spiritual things of the gospel, called the good things to come, were described as a body is by its shadow, under the priesthood and services of the law; and that outward forms of worship were ore dained to keep up an inward principle of faith in the promises of God; sums up his whole doctrine, by Thewing us how faith operated, and what effects it produced in good men from the beginning of the world; in order to demonstrate, by their examples, that true religion always was what it now is; that Jesus Christ is the Jume yesterday, to day, and for ever*; that the faith and patience of the gospel were nothing new ; that the whole revelation of the Old and New Testament is one consistent scheme for the salvation of man ; and consequently, that Christianity is indeed, as some in mockery have advanced, as old as the creation. This is the design
* Ch, xiii, 8.
LECT. of the 17th chapter, which begins with a
definition of faith, as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. It is the substance of things hoped for, because nothing can be the object of our hope till it has first been the object of our faith. It is the evidence of things not seen, because they are capable of no other : the ear is the witness of sounds, and the eye is the witness of visible objects ; but faith alone is the faculty which discerns invisible things, and receives them on the word of God: and if men do not with this faculty admit and embrace them, we shall not succeed by reasoning with them. Spiritual things must be received by a spiritual sense, which sense is called faith, and the scripture tells us, that all men have not faith: and where it is not, all the reasoning upon earth will not produce it; therefore let no man be so vain as to think, that his arguments will persuade those whom God hath not presuaded.
After his description of faith, the Apostle proceeds to Thew how it operated in the
faints: first, in Abel, who offered a bloody LECT. facrifice for the remission of fins; while som Cain brought only of the fruits of the earth, not signifying his faith in the remission of sin by the shedding of innocent blood. Enoch is said to have walked with God, which no man can do but by faith, be'cause God is invisible: therefore he walked by faith and not by sight. Noah believed that the flood would come upon the earth, when as yet there was no signs of it; and that his house might be saved, when the world should be drowned, by the preparing of an ark. Abraham gave himself up to God's direction, and went out in search of a land he had never seen, and did not so much as know the name of it. He laid Isaac upon the altar to be slain, though he had no other son to inherit the promises : whence his faith concluded, they would be secured by his son's resurrection. Joseph when he was dying, commanded that his bones should be carried into Canaan ; in faith that the whole nation would follow them; and that the promises would be fulfilled to him after his death. Moses Bb
LECT. gave up his project of preferment at courti
knowing that the ministry of God and the
By these and many other like examples, it is proved, that nothing great or acceptable to God was ever done, but only from a sight of things invisible, and the expectation of what is to come after death. It was this faith which subdued and cast out the kingdoms of Canaan, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, and turned to fight the armies of the aliens.
There are no motives to the observation of a Christian life more striking than those which are drawn from the facts of the law. These the Apostle hath set before us abundantly in the Epistle to the He
brews, as I may shew you hereafter. In LECT. the mean while the moral of the whole doctrine hitherto delivered, is to look, as they did who went before us, unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; that seeing him to be the beginning of our strength, and the end of our hope; we may follow him through the dangers of life and the terrors of death to that rest which remaineth for the people of God.
END OF LECTURE II,