Sidor som bilder

man's faculties themselves be to be believed, he cannot be mistaken ; and this is called certain knowledge.

3. There is a belief grounded upon the divine revelation, or the word of God's and this is properly called faith,

The first of these kinds of belief, to wit, opinion or conjecture, hath nothing to do in matters of religion, being no sufficient foundation to build any religious principles upon.

The second sort of belief, which is, knowledge, - grounded upon clear and evident arguments --is both useful and neceffary in religion : for we must know something by the light of reason, before we can know any thing by divine revelation. Wecome to the knowledge of God, and of the holy scriptures being the word of God, by the deductions of reason, and the natural faculties of our own minds and understanding; and then we advance to prove the precepts and doctrines of our religion from thence.

And here comes in the third kind of belief, which is, faith; for faith is the


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

belief of the word of God, of every thing revealed in that word, whether matter of fact or precept, prohibition, promise, or threatening: and as reason makes a man, so faith makes a Christian: There he begins, and there he ends : For as reason makes us capable of faith ; so faith supports and guides us afterwards, - for the just shall live by faith.

In discoursing upon which words, I shall thus proceed :

I. I shall Thew, How and in what manper a just man lives, and ought to live by faith. And then,

II. I shall shew the excellency of that life, and the advantages he bath by so


I. I AM to thew, How and in what manner a just man lives, and ought to live by


One instance thereof is this ; That he expects all his fupports and supplies from



God.-This is a natural effect of faith in God. The juft man considers who it is that clothes the lilies of the field, although they neither toil nor fpin ; he remembers who plumes the sparrow's wings, who feeds the young ravens when they cry unto him, and therefore he doth not difpute the cause with divine providence, saying, What shall I eat, or what shall I drink, or wherewith Shall I be cloathed ?-but leaves him that gave life, to give meat; and also him that made the body, to provide cloathing: only he employs himself, according to God's will, in a just calling; he doth the business which God requires ; but for the success, he is not troubled; for that, he doth his part, which is to obey God's will, and he leaves God to do the rest, which is, to take care of him, and to provide for him in that obedience. For it is too great a care, for bim to take care of himself, who did not from himself receive his life.

The government of the world is an unwieldy thing in the hands of a man ; It is not for him to take thought for to-mörrow, who for ought he knows may die to-day. God hath not so far parted with the government of the world out of his own hands, as to leave every man's particular affairs to himself; that would be to let us live without dependance upon him, and to suffer an estrangement to grow between God and his creatures : but he reserves our meat and drink, our food and raiment, in his own hands, so that we may live upon him for our daily bread.


And as the just man lives in expectation of the supply of this life from God, fo also (and more especially) of the reward of the life to come. He that lives by faith, móft always have heaven in his eye; he must continually abide in the expectation of a better world : and by this consideration he must live, by this end he must be governed, by this promise he must be influenced, in every occasion, in every affair, in every concernment, – that there is a reward for the righteous.

Here he muft begin, and here he must end every affair; hence he must derive his principles, and hitherto he must direct his ends. For whatsoever is undertaken, whatfoever is acted, whatsoever is spoken, nay whatsoever is thought, without an actual or habitual influence from the hope of eternal life, -- hath not the faith of a Christian in it.


Here therefore doth a good man, a man that lives by faith, always begin, and thus doth he frame and purpose all things, Verily, there is a reward for the righteous, therefore will I be just and righteous in my employment. The poor in spirit shall inberit heaven, and therefore I will labour to subdue my pride. I will forgive the injuries that are done unto me, becaule he that forgives shall be forgiven. I will be merciful to them that are in misery, because the merciful shall obtain mercy. I will love my enemies, because that will make me like unto God, and fit for heaven. I will bless them that curse and hate me, because they that bless shall at last most certainly be blessed.

And thus you see one instance of the life of faith. The just man expects all

- his

« FöregåendeFortsätt »