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wounds with which Christ is wounded in the kouse of his friends. Injurious indeed may other sins be, but this is the root which produces them, and therefore ought to be considered particularly grievous.
Let then the departing believer, before he quits the body, be considered as looking back upon those various evils which have more or less dishonoured Christ, and we may suppose him saying,
• Each of my crimes became a nail,
“ But unbelief the spear !"
VII. Seek a growing experience of the power of religion upon the heart. It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace. Heb. xij. 9. It will not only be a preservative against the dangerous errors of the times, but will be sure to check the luxuriant growth of unbelief. If the soul be well grounded and settled in the freeness, fulness, and suitableness of the love of God to the chief of sinners, in the excellencies of Christ, in the efficacious work of the Holy Spirit, and in the various encouragements of the glorious gospel, and if the soul feel the savour of these truths, this will do more towards destroying the power of unbelief, than all the remedies which otherwise might be proposed : for this is the end to which all other means
lead, and in bringing the soul to this they have their accomplishment. Then we shall no longer live, but Christ will live in us, and the life which we live thus in the flesh, will be by the faith of the Son of God: and our being enabled to exercise a lively faith in him, will bring assurance, and then we shall not hesitate to say, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Gal. ii. 20.
We know the characters in which Christ was at first revealed to us by the Spirit, and how our hearts were opened to receive him. Well, the Apostle says, As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him ; rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Col. ii. 6, 7. This he enjoins as a preservative from that false phi. losophy and vain deceit, by which the times in which they lived were distinguished. If, then, those views which we have been taught of Christ grow upon us, our comfort and safety from falling will be great indeed; for we shall be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Faith has a wonderful adaptation to fortify the soul, and to raise it above difficulties : yea, faith boldly says, Who art thou, O great mountain, before Zerubhabel? A plain! Zech. iv. 7. What materials were there for unbelief to have worked upon in the case of Abraham, both as to the birth of Isaac, and his offering him up on mount Moriah! but who against hope believed in hopemand being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now deud. He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief ; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. Being fully persuaded, that what he had promised he was able also to perform. Rom. iv, 18, &c.
By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offe; ed up Isaac, and he that had received the promises, and who knew that the Messiah was to descend from the line of Isaac, offered up his only begotten son! Heb. xi. 17. Wbat faith is here! how victorious ! Are we surprised at its achievements? Our Lord explains the subject; all things are possible to him that believeth. Mark ix. 23. The scriptures uniformly urge the importance of believers seeking a further acquaintance with divine enjoyments. So run that ye may obtain.I press toward the mark. And to those who had escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust, the Apostle subjoins, And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue : and to virtue knowledge : and to knowledge temperance: and to temperance patience : and to patience godliness : and to godliness brotherly
kindness : and to brotherly kindness' charity. Here are the divine graces in beautiful assemblage and order.
Faith takes the lead, but true faith never can be alone, it therefore associates with it every disposition applicable to the new creature; each of these it unites, invigorates, and marshals, and makes them all bear their proportion towards the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Eph. iv. 13. « Nor can
we imagine that one of “ these good qualities can entirely subšist « without the other; but every one is to make “up, as it were, a part of the chorus, ap“ pearing together in a lovely and venerable “ train.” (DODDRIDGE Expos.) And what may we look for as resulting from the union, action, and growth of these sacred principles ? Nothing short of the death of the old man, or body of sin within us. For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither he barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For so an entrance shall be ministered unto yox abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Pet, i. 5. et seq.
C H A P. VI.
The preceding pages having been chiefly applied to the exposure of a principle, which, where it “ prevails and reigns,” will certainly be the loss of the soul, unless renewed by divine grace ;-a principle also attended with most unpleasant consequences, as a source of distress to many who are only under its partial influence, it may appear expedient - now to address a few lines to each of these characters.
J. To unbelievers. But who is an unbeliever? This subject has too generally been taken up in reference to those who are called Deists, as denying the divine inspiration of the Old and New Testament altogether. Certainly such are unbelievers in the grossest sense of the word; though perhaps it would be extremely difficult to show, that any of this daring class owe their rejection of the scriptures to a complete and strictly impartial examination of those evidences