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feel this distress, and that they go to God, and tell
him the source of their trouble, saying with the
man in the gospel, Lord, I believe, help thou
mine unbelief. Mark ix. 24.
With Mr. Newton each believer may inquire,

Should I grieve for what I feel,
« If I did not love at all ?"

CHAP. II.

THE NATURE AND OPERATIONS OF UNBELIET,

PARTICULARLY AS LEADING TO A REJECTION OF THE GOSPEL.

UNBELIEF supposes a rule of faith, and that rule is the word of God. The scriptures are given to instruct us in our state before God, as fallen, depraved creatures, and exposed to divine wrath. They also set before us the method which infinite love has devised for the redemption of mankind.

Unbelief, therefore, may generally be consider-ed as a refusal to admit or abide by the decision which God has made respecting these momentous. subjects. Those who admit these truths, may, as far as the assent of the mind goes, be considered believers. But it is plain from the scriptures, that something very different from a nominal, or dead faith, is necessary to constitute us real believers. Yea, we may have the faith of miracles, and yet be nothing more than unbelievers. 1 Cor. xii. 2.

There are, however, two classes of unbelievers ; viz. those who reject the gospel altogether, and those who, though they profess a belief in all the truths of the gospel, are nevertheless strangers to its genuine influence.

As to the first class, many words need not be used to show they are unbelievers. With them there is not any deception; because they make no profession of faith in the scriptures; nay, they openly declare their disbelief. Upon what grounds their rejection of the gospel rests, they do well to consider. An inquiry indeed this of serious import; for it will be found upon every turn of argument, that a certain and invaluable advantage lies on his side who embraces the gospel. For instance: if I believe the gospel, I embark eternal consequences in the adventure; I risk

I risk my all upon it. If the gospel be true, I am brought safely into my desired haven: I realize all my expectations--my hope makes me not ashamed I win the prize of my high calling. If the gospel I embrace prove falsé, I still secure every point attained by the unbeliever: I am disappointed indeed, but, upon the principles of an unbeliever, { lose nothing, because my faith was built upon fiction. But if the unbeliever should find the gospel true, he has then to endure the consequences of having rejected it. What these are the Apostle has forewarned us. “The Lord Jesus

“ shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, “ taking vengeance on them that know not God, “ and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Je

sus Christ.2 Thess. v. 7, 8. Moreover, should the truth of the gospel fail in its promises of eternal blessedness,still the believer has no small advantage over the unbeliever in this world. Virtue, it has often been remarked, brings its own reward; while shame follows hard

the heels of sin. Now if there be found among us a book, which more than any other inculcates the love of virtue and the dread of sin; and there certainly is a book of which this is preeminently true, and the belief of which is found to turn the heart from sin to holiness, from darkness to light, from Satan to God, from the power of lust to self-mortification; if after tasting both the pleasures of worldly honours, mirth, and riches, and the pleasures of godliness, we are constrained to choose rather to suffer afAictions with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, Heb. xi. surely this must be, because even the afflictions of the one are better than the pleasures of the other. That the gospel does both enjoin and secure a more strict regard to morals than any human system of ethics, I believe none will deny: for I am not aware, that an instance has ever occurred of any one having rejected the gospel, on account of any deficiency or laxity in its moral precepts, The enemies to the gospel will grant this; nor will they in their consciences deny, that, with all the imperfections discovered in real lovers of the gospel, they at times, like Agrippa, are almost persuaded to the belief of the truth, by their spirit and walk. Yes, there is something in believers which libertines often wish to attain : it is not their creed, but the inward peace and joy resulting from it. Surely then he is the happy man, who “ binds the gospel to his heart.”

upon

The Infidel rejects the gospel, not because this rejection is the result of a fair and deliberate investigation of that confidence, to which the gospel lays claim: not because there is any reason to believe, that it promises more than it realizes to its possessor : not because it fails in times of affliction and sore outward trials, when its supports are mostly wanted : neither is its rejection in general to be ascribed to a conviction that it is not of God; far from it: but while the heart remains unrenewed, and under the power of unbelief, the rejection of the gospel is easily accounted for, on the ground of its dislike to it. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Rom. viii. 7. Leaving this class of men to the award of an approaching judgment, we proceed to notice that rejection of the gospel, which will apply to many of those who

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