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cans which the Spirit uses; and of the word He clares, It shall accomplish that which I please, and it ■ all prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Conviction sin is one great design of God in sending his minisThus Nineveh was led to repent.* Thus Baruch Ls directed to go and proclaim the words of the Lord der this hope-It may be they will present their suprication before the Lord, and will return every one from es evil way. Jer. xxxvi, 7.
Another blessed result of hearing aright is, that IT
EOPLE. Faith is undoubtedly God's gift. (John
44; Matt. xvi, 17; Phil. i, 29;) but the way in hich it pleases him that it should BEGIN, is by hearing e truth. Rom. x, 17. We look in vain for faith mong those who know not divine truth, and never hear he word of God. But Paul describes the faith of
* Alluding to the repentance of the people of Nineveh, the Latimer says, "Jonah was but one man, and he preached but ne sermon, and it was but a short sermon neither, as touching the number of words, and yet he turned all the whole city, ps the great and small, rich and poor, king and all. We be many
heart Preachers here in England, and we preach many long sermons,
and yet the people will not repent nor convert. This was the Pa fruit, the effect, and the good, that his sermons did, that all the whole city, at his preaching, converted and amended their evil living, and did penance in sackcloth. And yet here in this Our sermon of Jonah is no great curiousness, no great clerkliness, no
rts, a great affection of words, nor of painted eloquence; it was none
other but Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be destroyed! It was
and sipping sermon, a pinching sermon, a biting sermon, it had a
or the f nce,
fall bite, it was a rough sermon, and a sharp-biting sermon.
Christians as following hearing the word of truth Eph. i, 13. Faith springs from the word, as the living plant from the root, and as the rays from the Sun. B is impossible for any one to become a believer in Christ but through some part of revealed truth made know to him.* The PROGRESS of faith proceeds in the san way from hearing. At first, we are weak in faith, lik little children, but the word is as milk to the young (1 Cor. iii, 1, 2.) and as meat to the strong men, (He v, 14.) by which both are nourished and strengthene And the PERFECTING of faith is connected also with the ministry of the word. St. Paul shews at some length that ministers are appointed for this end, eva the perfecting of the saints. Eph. iv, 11-13. Righ hearing of the word nourishes till it perfects faith. will be found true, in general experience, that in pr portion as the whole truths of God are clearly brough before the minds of men by the public ministry of th word, and as they faithfully and constantly attend i so true Christian faith, with all its blessed effects, wil spread and increase.
The reason is, it is promise
* Latimer thus meets the objection made from his admitting that some of our forefathers might be saved without hearing"But some will say, What need we preachers then? God ca save his elect without preachers. A goodly reason! God can save my life without meat and drink, need I none therefore? God can save me from burning if I were in the fire, shall I ru into it therefore? No, no; I must keep the way that God hath ordained, and use the ordinary means that God hathi assigned, and not seek new ways. This office of preaching is the only ordinary way that God hath appointed to save us all by." Sermon on Matt. xxii,
+ The Reformers insisted much on this. Cranmer, in bis Catechism published in 1548, gives this exhortation-"Fora much as faith is the work of God and the light of our hearts, which God putteth in us by his word and Holy Spirit, (so that we cannot attain faith and the knowledge of Christ without
t a divine power shall accompany the word-My rd that goeth forth out of my mouth, shall not return to me void. The word of man, or of angels, has no ch power. Certainly, though men by persuasion can oduce many important changes of sentiment, no voice word of men can by its native energy impart divine ith, and regenerate and convert the soul. John i, 12, 3; James i, 18. True Christian faith will not spring, r grow under mere human doctrine. Thus saith the Lord, is the only foundation for that faith which overcomes the world, and gives peace to the troubled conscience. St. Paul restricts the gift of faith in ordinary cases to the hearing of the word, as is evident from the whole passage. Rom. x, 8-17. All systems of ethics, all mere human philosophy, all the wisdom of this world, are utterly insufficient. In Jeremiah (xxiii, 28, 29.) it is asked, with amazing emphasis and force of contrast, What is the chaff to the wheat, saith the Lord? is not my word like as a fire, and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? The Holy Scriptures were written for the very purpose of producing faith in those who received them. These things, says St. John,
God's word and true preachers,) therefore accustom yourselves even from your tender age to hear the word of God, that he by his Holy Spirit may move and stir up your hearts to true faith and knowledge of him." Tindal also, in his Exposition of 1 John i, 3-4, says, "To bring unto the fellowship of God and Christ, and of them that believe in Christ, is the final intent of all the Scripture, why it was given of God unto man, and the only thing which all true preachers seek, and whereby ye shall ever know and discern the true word of God from all false and counterfeited doctrine of vain traditions, and the true preacher from the wily hypocrite. We preach unto you, says John, that everlasting life which we have heard, and in hearing received through faith, and are sure of it, to draw you to us out of that fellowship which we have with the damned Devils in sinful lusts and ignorance of God."
are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Chris the Son of God, and that believing ye might have be through his name. John xx, 21.
Hereby OUR JUSTIFICATION IS CONFIRMED. È is true that we are justified freely by the grace of Go through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Ron iii, 24. But how do I receive the blessing? by faith What is the warrant of that faith? the word of God
by hearing. How by its conforming
How are we to obtain that faith? is that faith proved to be genuine? the soul to the word, and producing correspondis fruits in the life. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John x, 27. When we hear Christ's voice and follow him, then we may be sure that he knows us, and we are his sheep, and among his justified people. Whom he called, them he also justified. Rom. viii, 30.
Hereby OUR ADOPTION IS CERTIFIED. God gives to his people the spirit of adoption; the power (ɛžovσias,) the right or privilege, to become the sons of God. John i, 12. This is given to those that believe on the name of his Son. When Christ is preached, and I hear, and, hrough the Holy Spirit, accept the offer of mercy in Christ, I become a child of God, and am reckoned in that family of which it is said, As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ge have not received the spirit of bondage, again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. Rom. viii, 14-17. By nature men are the servants of sin and under its tyrannical bondage; but the receiving of the truth breaks the chains and admit
em to the glorious liberty of the children of God. om. viii, 21. Our Lords says, ye shall know the truth, nd the truth shall make you free. John viii, 32. Who an tell the blessedness of looking up to God with filial confidence and love as our Father? Surely, no tongue can express the delightful bliss of seeing the love of a Heavenly Parent in our own paternal feelings, aud discovering in our care and tenderness towards our children, day by day, fresh traces and emblems of his parental care, and love, and tenderness towards us his children, elevating the heart to him, and filling it with joy and gladness. O what fulness of joy is it to have such a father, so wise and so mighty, so rich and so bountiful, so kind and so tender, so holy and so unspeakably excellent, our reconciled Father in Jesus Christ!
Hereby OUR ELECTION IS SECURED. We are charged, Give diligence to make your calling and election sure. 2 Pet. i, 10. By diligently attending the meaus of grace, we obtain divine strength enabling us to be holy and to glorify God, and thus have a sweet assurance given that we are chosen in Christ. Eph.i, 4. And what love is here! that God should, from his own good pleasure, before time began, have planned salvation, and purposed, to the glory of his own grace and the praise of his name, to save us from sin, make us holy, and bring us to his kingdom: I say, this is such a display of divine mercy and love, as, if once reasonably made out from the word of God and the work of his Spirit on the heart, cannot but fill us with love, and gratitude, and assured hope, and the most joyful anticipations of future glory, and deeply humble our souls in the conviction that all we are and have is of sovereign grace and love. Latimer says, "Whosoever heareth