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two, or a prayer or two, or an agony of an hour or two, for the life-blood of a Saviour. For such repentance, we may well fear, there will be no place left, although we seek it carefully with tears. Instead of God's sending us then to repentance, he will send us to our grave. God has waited long; the grave will not wait. Sins, so long encrusted, will become a second nature. Sins, so long woven and worn, must be our grave-clothes. When the sun is so far in the west, darkness must follow,
We, therefore, as ambassadors for Christ; as though God did beseech you by us ; we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. Let us all so judge ourselves, that at the last we be not judged of the Lord. And let us do it now; before light is taken away ; before our feet stumble upon the dark mountains of age ; before the waters of the Jordan of death rise up to meet and overwhelm us. Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.
TRIUMPHS OF FAITH.
SERMON X X XII.
Heb. xi, 1. NOW FAITH IS THE SUBSTANCE OP THINGS
HOPED FOR, THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN.
Faith is defined to be, such a firm persuasion of the things, which God hath declared and promised, as clothes them with an evidence equal to that of sense. a present subsistence to the future things, which are hoped for. Hope hath for its object only the things promised; whereas, besides these, faith hath for its objects all the declarations of God concerning things not seen.
To illustrate this sentiment, the Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, devotes a whole chapter, which is itself indeed a noble and triumphant sermon, demonstrating the power of faith over the allurements and terrors of the world. In doing this, he runs through the Old Testament, as it were, and brings up before the Hebrew nation; and out of those Scriptures, which they sacredly received as the Oracles of God; a long array of persons, in every age, and country, who, by an unwavering faith in God, and his promises, had resisted the strongest temptations, sustained the heaviest persecutions, were preserved in imminent perils, obeyed the most difficult commands, and at length obtained the unfailing rewards of an obedient trust.
Saint Paul first tells us, that it is through faith in Revelation, that we believe this world, which did not always exist, was made by the will of God. That it was God, who said, Let there be light, and there was light. That it was God, who said, Let there be an earthly world, and there was an earthly world.
He then passes on, from the more dormant, inoperative faith, to the active, influential faith of man. And first he instances this noble grace among the earliest living men, the patriarchs of mankind.
First, he brings Abel. And what was the faith of Abel ? This youthful martyr believed the promise, that in due time the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. And, acting on that faith, he offered a humble, penitent, confiding heart to God, together with the firstlings of his flock ; which humble heart, his proud, rebellious brother did not bring, with his offering of the fruits of the earth. Cain haughtily brought a mere thanksgiving offering. But his pious brother brought the innocent animals, to be slain upon the altar, as typical of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God for sin. Thus God, probably by sending fire from heaven to consume it, had respect unto the offering of Abel, but not unto that of Cain.
Next, he brings Enoch ; called the seventh from Adam, because there were two of the same name before him, And what was the faith of Enoch ? His biography is a short, but a glorious one. His strong faith caused him to live in such a continued course of piety, singular virtue, and sense of the divine presence, that it is testified by Moses, that he walked with God; a most expressive eulogy, in three words. And in reward for this faith, and because he pleased God, he was early taken from this earth of sin, up into heaven, without death. He was not ; his friends could not find him ; for God had taken him. Thus, in like manner, was good Elijah afterwards translated alive into heaven. Their bodies were probably changed in a twinkling, as the bodies of the righteous will be at the resurrection.
Next, he brings Noah ; the last of the old world. And how did Noah show his faith? When he was warned by God, that he would destroy the earth by a Deluge ; and was commanded to build an Ark to save himself and family, he did not doubt, nor hesitate ; but although he had never seen, nor heard of, such a deluge, he was seized
with a confiding fear ; and notwithstanding the taunting and deriding people, he went on and built the ark. As God commanded, so did he. By this, he condemned the wicked world, to whom he was a preacher of righteousness for a hundred and twenty years, while the ark was building; and thereby became a subject of that eternal deliverance, of which his temporal deliverance was the pledge and type. The world without faith, and without repentance, was drowned. But he, upheld by the finger of God, floated upon the face of the waters, and was safe. So will the good be safe in the inidst of a dissolving world, while the wicked will be destroyed.
Next, comes Abraham ; the father of the faithful. Do you ask the evidences of his faith? They are many-fold. First, when God said, Up, Get thee out of thy country; leave thy home and thy kindred ; travel away from Chaldea to Canaan, into á land which I will there tell thee of; and which thou shalt afterwards receive as an inheri
he staggered not, for he accounted him faithful that had promised. He went out, not knowing whither he went; not knowing whether he was going to a good, or a bad country. Again, by faith that Canaan was only typical to him, and to his seed, of a spiritual Canaan, Abraham sojourned as in a strange land, dwelling in frail and moveable tabernacles, and buying no ground except a burial place. For he looked for a city, even the New Jerusalem, which hath immortal foundations, and whose builder and governor is God. This should teach Christians to be willing to leave this world at God's call, although ignorant of the world to which they are going; believing it to be the country whose inheritance is prepared by God for the faithful.
Through faith also, Sarah, although she at first laughed incredulously behind the tent door, when she thought the angel was a man who promised, received strength to bear unto Abraham a son, when she was past age, being ninety years old, because she judged him true who had predicted. And therefore there sprang to Abraham from one, and she as good as dead, a progeny like the stars of heaven in multitude, and as the sand by the seashore in
numerable. Sarah through belief became, as had been foretold, the mother of nations.
But another, and most severe trial, was reserved for faithful Abraham. He was called to offer up as a sacrifice to God, his son, bis only son, Isaac, the child of promise ; and even to slay him with his own hand. This startling command must have been not only excruciating to his feelings, but have appeared even contradictory to the word of God himself. For, in Isaac, it had been said, that his seed should be as the stars of the sky, and that they should inherit Canaan. But does Abraham refuse, or relent ? No. His faith in God sustains him in the trying hour. He bound Isaac, he laid him upon the altar on Mount Moriah, he stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son, his only son by Sarah, And why? He knew that God could raise him up even from the dead ; could re-animate and re-call him dead, even from the ashes upon the altar ; from which, indeed, he did, as it were, receive him ; in order that he might be a type of the sacrifice and resurrection of the future Messiah. If Abraham was willing to give up his only son, how much more ready should we be, to give up our beloved relations and friends, when God calls them away
Next, as an example of faith, is brought forward Isaac; the spared son of Abraham. By faith in the divine revelations, the patriarch Isaac foretold to Jacob and Esau, his two sons, the blessings which were in reserve for thern, and for their posterity. And when he had, through the maternal artifice of the son, given Jacob the principal blessing, instead of Esau the firstborn, and prophesied that the elder should serve the younger ; although he trembled very exceedingly, yet believing that the mistake, for some wise but inscrutable reason, was ordained of God; and that Jacob, the younger twin, should become the root of his visible church ; he had faith to confirm his benediction upon Jacob, notwithstanding Esau besought him with tears : I have blessed him, said the aged Isaac, yea, and he shall be blessed.