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sing this Truth firmly believ'd, that there is a God, it will have a great in- Sermon fluence upon Men to make them Re- I. ligious. For the Apostle having before spoken of the power of Faith upon Abel and Enoch, that it put them

upon pleasing God, he assumes in the next' words, but without Faith, &c. As if he had said, that you may know what was the Principle of their Religion, of their Holiness and Obedience, let us imagine that a Man should believe nothing concerning the Being of a God, or the blessedness of those who serve him; what would be the issue? Why this certainly, there would be no Religion, no such thing as Serving of God, or endeavouring to pleale him : for unless we believe that he is, and that he will reward those who seek to please "him, it is impossible, that is, it is unreasonable to think Men should attempt to please hiin. So that Faith is the Cause and Principle of Religion, it is the thing, quo posito, ponitur effectus ; & quo fublato, tollitur; do but suppose and admit that a Man truly believes there is a God; and he will seek to please him : but if you suppose a Man believes no

such

ma such thing; he will caft off all Religion. Volume This is the plain meaning of the Words; XII. not as forhe have thought, that without

Faith a man may perform Religious Actions, but then they would not be accepted, or pleasing to God: but that which the Apostle means is, Without Faith'tis impossible there should be any Religion : Not that Religious Acts should be performed in an acceptable manner; as if Cain had offer'd as good a Sacrifice as Abel, only Faith made the difference: but Cain did not believe, was not perswaded of the Being of God and his Excellency, therefore thought to put off God with any thing; Abel believed, and did offer a more excellent Sacrifice, not more excellent because it was mix'd with Faith, but it was more excellent in it self.

a

The Observation therefore from these Words is this, that Faith is one great Principle of all Religious Actions.

In the handling of this, I shall endeavour,

First, To fix and settle the true Notion of Faith, whereby we may come

to

to understand the general Nature of it.

Sermon

1. Secondly, To confirm the Truth of the Propofition.

Thirdly, Draw some Inferences from hence,

First, To settle and fix the true Notion of Faith, whereby we may come to understand the general Nature of it. I find that most who write upon this Subject have marvellously puzzled themselves with the various Acceptations of this word miss, and the verb TISÉUEY, insomuch that some have undertaken to enumerate above twenty diftinct significations of this word, I cannot find so many,

be others may: but hereby, instead of clearing the notion of Faith, they have involved it, and made it more intricate, and have made men believe, that it is a Notion very remote from common Understanding: whereas there is not any Word that is in common use, that is more plain and easie, and which any one may understand better than this of Faith and Believing.

it may

Therefore

/

Volume Therefore in the Explication of it, XII. I shall attend to the use of it in com

mon speech, and in all Authors as well Prophane as Sacred; and I shall not guide my felf by Terms of Art, which have been received in the Schools, and have confounded the meaning of Words, by distorting them from the common and received use of them; but shall govern my self by the nature of things to which this Word in common use is apply’d.

I shall remove two Acceptations of it which are less usual, and then fix the common and general Notion of it, to which all the other more particular Significations may be referrd. The two less usual Acceptations are these.

First, It is sometimes put for the particular Grace or. Virtue which is call’dFidelity,or Faithfulness in our Promises and Contracts; and in this sense it is sometimes used in common Difcourse, and in all sorts of Writers. I Shall only mention à Text or two where it is so taken. Matt. 23: 23. And have omitted the weightier things of

the

the law, judgment, and

mercy,

and faith, a that is, fidelity. And Rom. 3. 3. with Sermon relation to God, Shall their unbelief I. make the faith of God of none effect ? that is, his faithfulness in his Promises. Tit. 2. 10. Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity, nav złozy, all Faith.

Secondly, It is sometimes put for spiritual Gifts, and particularly the Gift of Miracles, which were wrought by the power of Faith. Rom. 12. 3. According as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith; that is, of spiritual Gifts, of Prophesying, or Minia stry, or Exhortation, as it is explain'd afterward. 1 Cor. 12. 9. To another is given faith by the same Spirit, that is, a power of Miracles in general, as learned Interpreters think. Nor doth that which is added afterward, that to another is given the working of miracles, prejudice this Interpretation ;, for êvepγήματα δυνάμεων, the operation of poινers, which we render of miracles, seems to signifie some special fort of Miracles, not the power of Miracles in general, And this seems to be favour'd by the acceptation of it in the next Chapter, ver, 2. And though I have all faith, to

that

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