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lieve in God, and he has sent you his word, invited you to come to him, made you many promises, and to prove his sincerity and displayhis love, sent his only begotten Son to suffer that you may not suffer, and to die that you may never die ; and yet his word has no effect on you! The apostle, when accounting for the word having no good effect on the Israelites of old, says, The word did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. If you really be. lieved in God, you would fear his wrath, and seek his love. If you believed the Bible to be God's book, you would read it, try to understand it, and act upon it. And, if you believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, you would renounce all dependence on yourself and your own doings and sufferings, and depend for your salvation on his finished work alone. You would be sorry for your sins, because they occasioned his sufferings and caused his death. You would endeavour to square your life by his precepts, and do all you could to please him. The fact is, John, you have no faith. You are an unbeliever. You do not believe. You may not be an avowed infidel; I do not believe you are, but you may almost as well be, for any good your believing does you.”
“But now, Tom, don't you be too hard upon a poor fellow, I know I am not all I ought to be, but I often feel as if I should like to be right. Now, suppose I had the faith you talk of, what then?"
“What then, why you would realize that God is present with you, and that he hates sin. You would treat God's word just as you would treat a letter from home. You feel yourself to be a sinner, a poor, feeble, helpless, lost, and ruined creature; and feel this, you would accept the invitation of the Lord Jesus Christ at once. You would get alone to read your Bible, to pray, and to cast yourself upon Christ to be saved by him. You would daily feel more and more your need of Christ, and see more and more the exact suitability of the Lord Jesus Christ to you. He would appear as if prepared on purpose for you, because he has, and has to give, all that a poor sinful soldier like you wants. You would get altogether out of conceit of yourself, your prayers, yourduties, your feelings, and everything about you, and think more and more highly of the Lord Jesus Christ, his obedience, sacrifice, and in. tercession for us. You would also rely on his precious promise, that whosoever believ. eth on him shall have everlasting life; and having committed your soul into his hands, and trusting to him to save you, you would feel in yourself that you were safe. And when doubts work, or fears arise within you, you would look to that promise again and again, realizing that as the note your father sent you would bring you ten pounds at the bank, so the promise of Jesus will ensure you everlasting happiness at the end of this mortal life. You would embrace the Saviour himself. Your faith would not centre in a promise so much as in a person, and that person the Lord Jesus. As he is God's gift, you would receive him; as the refuge for sinners, you would flee to him ; as he is the only Saviour, you would rest on his word, rely on his obedience, and depend on his blood alone for your acceptance with God. True faith has to do with Christ as a person, one present, able to save, and who has passed his word that he will save all who trust in him. You would give yourself to Christ. True faith always leads a man to do this, so that the believer becomes the soldier of Christ, to fight his battles; the servant of Christ, to do his will; and the subject of Christ, to be ruled by his laws. Faith makes Christ wholly ours, and makes us wholly Christ's. So that Christ becomes our complete and everlasting Saviour ; and we become the friends, soldiers, subjects, and servants of Christ for ever. We carry all to Christ that troubles us, and receive all from Christ that is needful for us."
"Well, Tom, I never heard so much about true faith before, nor ever heard it set forth exactly in this way. I tell you what, I shall think very seriously over this; for if you are right, I am wrong—and not only I, but a great many more.”.
“Let me beg of you, John, to do as you have said, not only think of it, but read your New Testament, and as you read look up to the Holy Spirit, who indited it, and beseech him to enable you to understand it. Not only so, pray God to give you faith, for true faith is the gift of God, who works it in our hearts by his Spirit, and may you soon believe in the saving of the soul. Let me give you one solemn text at parting, it was one of the last sentences that dropped from the lips of Jesus on earth, 'HE THAT BELIEVETH AND IS BAPTISED SHALL BE SAVED, AND HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT SHALL BE DAMNED.'
Fly, ye awaken'd sinners, fly!
Your case admits no stay;
Come, wash your guilt away.
The blood and water flow;
Your souls are white as snow.
Lost sinners find release;
Will God accept but his.
HEREIN IS LOVE.
God saw us as his enemies, was grieved at his heart with our conduct, and had threatened us with everlasting destruction. But his infinite mind pitied us, his heart glowed with love to us, and rather than execute his threatening upon us, he gave his only-begotten Son to produce a righteousness, and make an atonement, that whosoever believe eth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. To what an expense has love gone! How low has love stooped! What sufferings has love endured! With what patience has love waited! With what in. sults has love put up! How have we treated a God of love, during our past lives ? How have we requited his love? Oh, the baseness of our conduct, the aggravation of our sins! And, yet, after all the past, God sends to us again. He touchingly asks, “ Why will ye die?" He solemnly assures us, that “he is ready to forgive." He makes oath, that he desires not our death. “As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, but would rather that he turn from his wickededness and live.” He beseeches us to be reconciled, and promises us, if we will, that