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And now I have done with the first thing that I propounded, which was to Sermon open the Nature of Faith to you in general. I have been the longer upon this, because I thought it very material, and important to the fettling of right apprehenfions in us concerning Religion,and Divine things; and I have all along endeavoured to make things as eafie and plain as the nature of the fubject would permit. And tho' probably many things that I have faid, might not ~ be within the full reach and comprehenfion of all capacities, yet because I hoped they might be ufeful and beneficial to fome at leaft, I could not think the other confideration a fufficient reafon why I fhould wholly omit them, and pass them by; remembring what St.Paul fays, that he was a debter to the wife, as well as the unwife. And St.Peter tells us, that St. Paul in his Epiftles wrote many things, which were hard to be understood by fome Perfons; yet because thofe things might be of ute to others, the Spirit of God did not think fit to omit the writing of them. What remains I fhall referve for another Dif course, with which I fhall conclude this Subject.
The Efficacy, Usefulness, and
The Sixth Sermon on this Text.
HEB. XI. 6.
But without Faith it is impoffible to pleafe God.
N Difcourfing on these words, I have dispatch'd the first thing which I propos'd, viz. to give an ac count of the Notion and Nature of Faith in general; under which I have largely treated of a Religious or Divine Faith in particular.
The Second thing which I propos'd, XII. and to which I now proceed, is to confirm the truth of the Propofition which I laid down from the words, viz. That Faith is the great Principle of Religion. I told you that thele words, Without Faith it is impoffible to pleafe God, do not only imply that Faith is a neceffary condition, with out which men cannot be Religious: but likewife that it is a Cause and Principle of Religion. Without Faith a Man cannot be Religious: and where there is true Faith, it will have this Effect upon men to make them Religious. Therefore I fhall diftin&tly speak to these two things.
Firft, That without Faith there can be no Religion.
Secondly, That where there is a true Faith, it will have this influence upon men to make them Religious.
First, That without Faith there can be no Religion. And this will appear by enquiring into the Nature of all human actions, whether Civil, or Re
ligious and this is common to both of them, that they fuppofe fome kind of Sermon Faith or Perfwafion. All human acti- VI ons have an order and reference to fome end, and confequently fuppofe fome knowledge of the end, and of the means whereby it may be
attained. So that unless a Man do be lieve and be perfwaded that fuch a thing is fome way or other good for him, and confequently defireable and fit to be propounded as an end, and that this end is attainable, and the means which he useth are probable and likely for the attaining of this end, he will fit ftill and do nothing at all about it. So that without Faith it is impoffible to do any thing; he that believes nothing, will do nothing.
To inftance firft in Civil actions, tnd the common affairs and concernments of life; all these are done by virtue of fome Faith or Perfwafion concerning them. For example, Husbandry, or Merchandife; no Man will apply himself to thefe, but upon fome belief or perfwafion of the Poffibility and Neceffity, or at least usefulnels and convenience of thefe to the ends L 2 of