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in three Persons ? If we are assured of that SERM. by the Dictates of our own Minds, so are III. we no less of this by the Dictates of his Holy Spirit.
This then is the Trial of our Faith, to embrace all Divine Communications on the Credit of their Author ---to curb the Vanity of our unenlightened Reason so, as it may submit to this higher Principle,---not fit as Judge, where it ought to appear only as Evidence -----not dare to require of the Almighty a full Account of his Matters (2),--not presume to think and say, as some affect to do, who will not trust in the Lord, but lean on their own Understanding, that Religion and Mystery are incompatible, and where the one begins, the other ends.
Were there nothing in the Gospel more than what is easily fathomable by our fort Line ;---nothing beyond a just System of sound Morality, it would want one main Proof of its Divinity, which it now enjoys. For no Revelation can come from God and be worthy of him, which is not in numerous Respects enveloped in an awful
Obfcurity :: (=) Job xxxiii. 13.
SERN. Obfcurity: It is moft rational to fuppofe,
Man's Understanding: The Nature of the ,
Thus far we have considered, what is meant by Faith, as it is an Assent of the Mind to the Doctrines of revealed Religion ; an Enquiry the more necessary, now it is grown the fashionable Topic of Declamation to decry whatever carries with it a dark and mysterious Aspect. We have seen it to be a very reafonable Subjection of our Understandings to God's infallible Declarations, when conveyed to us through sure Hands. This is one constituent Part of a found
Belief; yet to render it effectual to Justi- Serm. fication there is another no less effential : If III. it rests in Speculation and Amusement, what desireable End can it answer? Is it not common to bad as well as good Men,---to those in Favour and those in Enmity with God,---and do not even the Devils themselves believe in this unprofitable Sense of the Expression ? :
A JUSTIFYING Faith must also have an Eye to the Duties of the Gofpel, and enjoy the Concurrence of the Will, moved by its Promises and Threatenings, in order to be enlivened by Practice ; that, through the gracious Prevention and Afstance of the Blessed Spirit, there may be a settled Difposition to perform those good Works, which God has ordained for every true Believer to discharge : And whoever lives not according to this Rule, has in Effect renounced his solemn Engagements and is in some Respects worse than an Infidel. Forasmuch as this Man's Actions tally with his Notions; whilft in That the Performances stand in a shameful Opposition to his Professions. ·
ligion to repent be made by our Saviour a:
but with great Presumption, hope for the Sern. End of our Calling, even the Salvation of III. of our Souls : For without Holiness, we are expressly told, no Man Mall see the Lord (a). An acceptable Faith is always actuated by Love, and in the Streams of a hearty Obedience suitable to its Spring is its Perfection seen. Whilst they who in Words believe in God, yet in Works deny bim, are abominable (b).
Would we therefore be ranked among those true Saints, that keep both the Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus (C), let us not dare to divide what he has in feparably joined ---let us not rely on the strictest Morality exclusive of an Orthodox Assent to Revelation---let us not trust to the most zealous Profession of Gospel-truths without a pure Conversation; As both are necessarily included in that Faith, by which we must be justified.
What Justification means, I come in the next Place to consider ; towards which, a brief Disquisition will suffice : Since Mankind are of themselves much more prone to H 2 .