O THE I CREASE OF FAITH.

BY SIMO CLOUGH

"And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith." — Lukexvii., 5. : Of all the graces which adorn the Christian's soul, faith is the most valuable and important, because it gives strength and stability to all the other graces. By faith we live, by faith we stand, and by faith we walk : we also suffer by faith, and in faith we die. Indeed, faith is the principal subject of disquisition and encomium, in the ew Testament. It is so important in the Christian scheme

284 O THE I CREASE OF FAITH. of redemption, as to be considered equivalent to Christianity itself. Hence, the apostle terms the Christian religion, with all its doctrines, precepts, and institutions, the faith — the faith once delivered to the saints. In the discussion of this subject, we propose to illustrate the nature, degrees, and importance of faith. I. We are, then, in the first place, to illustrate the nature of faith. Lord, increase our faith. Faith is the medium of knowledge, which we derive from testimony, and should he carefully distinguished from sense and reason. Sense is the medium by which we obtain that knowledge, which strikes immediately upon the senses. Reason is the medium of that knowledge, which we derive by reflecting upon the testimony of our senses, and by comparing one part of this testimony with another, making deductions by a process of argument, more or less long and complicated. Whatever, then, is proposed to the senses, must be something visible, palpable, and present ; and whatever is offered to the reason of man, must be within the comprehension of the human understanding. But the province of faith relates to objects that are invisible, spiritual, and incomprehensible. Reason cannot receive anything incomprehensible, but incomprehensibility forms no objection to faith, provided that the

testimony which commands that assent be clear and credible. We are not, however, called upon to believe we know not what, or we know not why ; no — faith is so much an act of reason as to require that we understand the simple meaning of the proposition we are to believe, and likewise the grounds of credibility upon which it challenges our assent. 1. Faith, then, is the medium of receiving those truths which God has communicated by his inspired servants, which we receive upon his authority, which are not objects of sense, and would not be discovered or comprehended by reason. Hence, it necessarily implies a revelation ; and nothing which is not revealed in the word of God is, in the Scripture sense of the term, an object of faith. 2. By the term faith, however, we are to understand something more than merely a bare assent to some particular doctrine ; for there is not any particular doctrine to which the most abandoned sinner, or even the devils themselves, may not give their assent. In this sense of the word, St. James says, The devils believe and tremble. The true faith of the gospel not merely credits the truth of divine revelation, but approbates it as excellent, and accepts it as suitable. Assent is an act of the understanding only ; but true faith is a consent of the will also, with a full concurrence of our warmest affections. It is called, in one place, a believing with the heart ; and in another, a believing with the whole heart. In short, faith is a new and living principle, by which we are enabled to rely upon the Lord Jesus Christ, for all the ends and purposes for which he came into the world — a principle which, at the same time that it takes us off" from self-dependence, leads us to purify our hearts from the love and practice of all sin. To such faith as this

O THE I CREASE OF FAITH. 285 our Lord frequently annexed a promise of eternal salvation. In his discourse with icodemus, he says : As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that ivhosoever belkveth in hbn should not perish, hut have everlasting life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-hegotten

Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not per ish, but have everlasting life. He that believeth on him is not condemned ; but he that BELIEVETH OT O HLM is Condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And in the close of the same chapter, it is added : He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life ; but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. ot that there is anything meritorious in this grace, more than in any other; but salvation is annexed to this rather than to any other, because this alone unites us to the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom we have acceptance, and by whom we are saved. 3. This faith is a sjnritual p)erc€j)tion in the mind, by which it realizes the attributes of God, the glories of the Redeemer, and the economy of redemptioji. It is the only instrument of connexion with God — the only point of contact with the invisible state. Faith discerns God as everywhere present to succor and support his people, by his providence and grace. It beholds myriads of angels, also, waiting upon God, and ilying at his command, to execute his will, and to minister to his people. The chariots of fire and horses of fire were not more visible to the eye of sense, when God withdrew from the face of Elisha's servant the veil that concealed them, than they were to his master by the eye of faith. If we could only conceive aright of Elisha's views -at that moment, we should have a right idea of the power and office of faith, and of the high privilege that belongs to every believer. Faith is, also, in reality that principle, by which, and by which alone, we obtain all spiritual blessings. Certainly it is that by which we receive the forgiveness of our sins ; for nothing but faith will unite us to Christ, or interest us in his salvation. It is by faith, likewise, that we must he sanctified ; for we can only be renewed by the Holy Spirit; and it is only in the exercise of faith that we can receive the Spirit, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Finally, it is by faith that we must obtain that inheritance, wliich God has prepared for them that love him. 4. Faith is a seminal principle of holiness and virtue ; the seed by which all other graces are produced by a sort of spiritual vegetation,

and from which they derive sustenance and growth. The unbeliever has respect to nothing but earthly things : he sees nothing, knows nothing, cares for nothing, but what is visible and temporal. His hopes, his fears, his joys, his sorrows, are altogether carnal. So it was once with the believer ; but it is now so no longer. By faith, the realities of the external world are opened to his view ; he sees heaven with all its crlorv, and hell with all its terrors. Earthly

286 O THE I CREASE OF FAITH. vanities flee away ; and hope and fear spring up spontaneously in the mind, and move him to action. Thus, by the exercise of faith the behever overcomes the world, dedicates himself to God, and consecrates all the powers of his mind, and all the members of his body, to the service of his Maker. By faith he lives, by faith he walks, and by faith he perseveres to the end of the Christian race. While his faith continues strong and vigorous, he never relaxes ; hut forgetting the things that are behind, and reaching forward to that ivhich is before, hej)resses on towards the mark of the jrrize of his high calling of God in Christ Jesus. He gives all diligence to make his calling and election sure, by adding to his faith, virtue ; and to virtue, knoioledge ; and to knowledge, temperance ; and to temperance, patience ; and to patience, godliness ; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. Thus, faith is the spring of every religious action, and the seed of every Christian grace. 5. To this faith, and to this alone, is the justification of our persons in the sight of God annexed. This doctrine is affirmed by the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, where he is discussing the subject. He asks, '• What shall we then say, that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found ? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God. For what saith the Scripture ? Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. ow to him*that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt ; but to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness ; even as David describeth the

blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without work, saying, blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whosesins are covered ; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." Here the doctrine of justification by faith, without works of law, is fully asserted. Justification, or the pardon of sin, is annexed to faith, not because it is the seed of holiness or spring of virtuous action, but because it is the instrument by which we lay hold upon the mercy of God as revealed in the gospel, by which our sins are pardoned. It also appears, from this prayer, that faith is capable of increase. We proceed to observe, then, 11. That faith, even when sincere and genuine, admits of degrees. And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. The principle of faith is implanted, that it may increase. It is intended that the inner man should grow stronger and stronger, for it is to survive the outer man ; and when this is fallen into decay, to remain a receptacle of the divine grace forever. The tabernacle is to perish, but the graces which inhabit it are to subsist and flourish forever ; and these graces are sustained by faith. 1. Faith admits of degrees, as to its extent. The subjects of faith may be increased ; the number of those truths apprehended by

O THE I CREASE OF FAITH. 287 faith, may be augmented. The sincere behever may, at first, have a very Hmited and contracted view of the Christian scheme, which may, in the course of time, be greatly enlarged by the perception of new ideas. These ideas are received by iaith, and incorporated into the mind. Although, strictly speaking, this may be considered an increase of knowledge, yet it gives to faith a wider scope, and furnishes new food for the soul. At first, the ideas of a believer are but few, and these perhaps confused ; but as faith comprehends within its grasp the past, the present, and the future, new prospects rise, and new scenes open to the vision of faith. By it, he perceives that the universe had no existence, and that it was created out of nothing by the word of God. By it, he sees everything upheld

and ordered by the hand that formed it, and not so much as a hair of our head falling to the ground without permission. By it, he foresees that all the human race which have lived in successive ages passed away, shall be recalled into existence at the last day, and be judged according to their works. But faith more particularly views the great and mysterious work of redemption. It beholds the plan foi-med in the infinite wisdom, goodness, and benevolence of God ; and in due season, with gradually increasing light, revealed to man. It sees the incarnation, the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was sent into the world to save the chief of sinners. It views the descent of the Holy Spirit in all his miraculous and new-creating powers, to attest the truth of Christianity, and to render it eflfectual for the salvation of a ruined world. It beholds this work still carried on in heaven by the Lord Jesus Christ, as our great high priest within the vail, and as the living and life-giving head of his church and people. And carrying its eye forward to future ages, it sees the Redeemer's kingdom fully established, and every subject of his empire seated with him upon his throne of glory. Thus, faith increases its sphere of action, and by the acquisition of new ideas, sees things in a clearer light, and the mind is led to embrace them with a firmer grasp. 2. Faith may also be increased in the augmentation of its strength and intensity, as well as in addition to its knowledge, or enlargement of its creed. The weakest faith, if truly sincere, will bring us to God with reverence and humility, and will make us urgent with him to bestow upon us his benefits. or shall we regard any trouble in seeking him, provided that we at last obtain the desired blessing; but if our hope he deferred, it will make our heart sick. We shall become impatient, if the pardon which we seek be not instantly sealed upon our consciences, or the victory we solicit be suspended for a time in dubious conflict. We shall be ready to dictate to God both the time and manner of his interference, and to limit his powers according to our own narrow apprehensions of them. But, by an increase of faith, we shall rest more simply on his declarations and promises. We shall not, like Zecha-

288 O THE I CREASE OF FAITH. rial), want a sign to confirm them; or, like Rebecca, use sinful means of hastening tlieir accomphshment. We shall be willing to let him work in his own way. Though we see not his word accomplished, nor know in what way it shall be fulfilled, yet we shall be satisfied and content to wait till he shall clear up to us what is dark and intricate. Thus, a strong and vigorous faith will perceive things clearly, and feel them forcibly ; and hence it will be the means of expelling doubts, and of disposing the soul to possess itself in patience under delays, confiding in the power and faithfulness of him who has promised. The Christian who has arrived at the full assurance of faith, is not staggered at any of the promises of God, but gives him glory for his faithfulness and omnipotence. 3. One great employment of the apostles, in the discharge of their ministerial office, was to augment and strengthen this divine principle in the hearts of believers ; more fully to confirm their belief in the truths they had received and acknowledged, and to pe?-fect that which loas lacking in their faith. And, indeed, this should still be one great object of the Christian ministry ; for, where the faith of a church is languid, and her members full of doubts and fears, she will be powerless ; all her efforts will be marked by weakness and imbecility. Hence, the importance of cultivating a strong and vigorous faith ; a faith that will sustain the soul under the sharpest trials, and that will urge it through the most complicated difficulties. o great achievements ever have, or ever can be, accomplished by a feeble and slender faith. It should, however, be remembered, that the principle of faith will, of necessity, be always weaker than that of sight. The strongest conviction we can attain in this world of invisible realities and spiritual truths, will be far short of that we shall attain in the world of glory ; but it is impossible to say, how near our faith may approach to vision — how near we may live to heaven. Genuine believers, who improve the means of grace, and are obedient to the manifestations of duty, are continually advancing to a more complete acquaintance and familiarity with the heavenly world ; and none can say they have attained the most perfect and realizing degree of faith, which,

even here, it is possible to enjoy. 4. The subjects of faith are of two kinds — existing objects and future promises ; and in reference to both these, faith is capable of increase. The attributes of God, the glories of the Redeemer, and the economy of redemption, may all be rendered more habitually present, more visible and palpable to the mind. The happiness of a future state may also become so clearly revealed to our faith, that, though the hope of future good must necessarily be inferior to the possession, it shall far exceed and transcend the highest present enjoyments we can here possess. Thus, faith presents these objects to the mind, not only as true, but as good, as desirable, and as promised ; and it so apprehends them, as to give them an actual

O THE I CREASE OF FAITH. 289 subsistence in the soul. These things, as far as they are good, and future, are the objects of hope ; and, therefore, as we might suppose, unpossessed. But, though future, they are made present by the exercise of faith ; and, though only hoped for, are actually enjoyed. This is a wonderful property of faith. Consolations, victories, triumphs, glory, though remote in ultimate experience, are by anticipation rendered present ; so that the first fruits, the pledge, the earnest, the foretaste, are in the actual possession ; and while the grapes of Eschol assure the soul of the final possession of its inheritance, the views of Pisgah transport it thither, and enable it to realize its most enlarged hopes and expectations. Such are the effect and influence of a strong and vigorous faith. How important, then, that our faith should be increased and enlarged. These considerations will lead us, III. To enforce the prayer of the text upon your minds, that you may be led to adopt it as your own. And, in the prosecution of the subject, I shall derive my arguments from the advantages which an increase of faith will confer upon ourselves, and from the relation in which it stands to the divine glory. 1. The advantages of an increase of faith, as it respects our-

selves, are two-fold ; effecting both our happiness and our holiness. First : as effecting our happiness. It was one of the principal designs of Christianity to make men happy. The excellency of the Christian dispensation is displayed in the advantages which it connects incidentally with the prosecution of its ultimate end. The gospel is justly denominated good news ; it is glad tidings of great joy, and faith renders it glad tidings to us. Our enjoyments will have a constant relation to our faith ; the stronger our faith, the greater our happiness. (1.) An increase of faith will deliver us from that perplexity, lohich arises from an unsettled state of mind, with regard to the great truths of the Christian religion. This is an affliction which embitters the life of many sincere Christians. Under a weak faith, the mind, at times, staggers at the truths and promises of divine revelation ; not that any Christian believer utterly denies them ; but their faith on these subjects is so weak and feeble, that it admits of many distressing doubts. And this is especially the case with some believers, in reference to their own acceptance with God. They are all their life-time, subject to bondage, through doubts and fears. The consolations of religion, with them, are both few and small. Instead of walking, they creep through life ; and instead of soaring up on the pinions of faith and love, they trace their way along through mist and darkness. ow, the best mode of rising above this affliction, is to cultivate the principles of vital religion in the heart. A stronger faith in the essentials of Christianity, will produce a settlement of mind, respecting abstruser and more difficult points, which disputation will never afford. (2.) An increase of this divine principle will also relieve us from 26

290 O THE I CREASE OF FAITH. anadety respecting our personal safety. It is the nature of light, not only to manifest the existence of other things, but to manifest itself. At the dawn of day, while , the light is extremely feeble,

its very existence may appear questionable. The limit which divides light from darkness is so slight and indefinite, that we are in doubt whether to call it night or morning ; but the increasing power of the light evinces its genuine nature, and while it reveals other objects, removes all uncertainty respecting itself. So, a believer may be so full of doubts and fears, arising from the darkness of his mind, as to question his acceptance with God ; but an increase of faith will remove this darkness and disperse these doubts, and thus he will be enabled to judge of his true character and condition. Again, it may be very difficult to distinguish the grain of mustard-seed, while in the state of seed, or in the early stages of vegetation, from the other small seeds ; but when it grows up into a plant, puts forth its stems, and becomes the largest of herbs, all doubts respecting its nature is expelled. The faith of a Christian, in like manner, discovers its genuineness by its growth, and the increase of its power over the mind produces an increased conviction of its existence. Under its fostering influences the mind becomes established, those distracting doubts and fears removed, and the Christian goes forward to a possession of the full assurance of faith. (3.) The more we see of God in Christ, the more beauty we shall behold, and the more satisfaction enjoy. All earthly glory is only the reflection, or rather it is only a shadow of the divine glory. If, then, the contemplation of earthly excellence fills us with admiration, how much more will that of heavenly excellence ? If the charms of a perishable world, and the faculties of moral creatures excite pleasurable sensations of wonder and delight, how much more will the glories of the celestial kingdom, and the attributes of the Most High ? We are interested and pleased in exploring the progress of society, and the policy of princes ; but how much nobler is it to trace the designs of divine Providence, gradually unfolded, amidst the changes and revolutions of human affairs ! how much more delightful to watch the development of his scheme of mercy from the first disclosure, to the final consummation of his purposes ! What subject can be more interesting, what theme more transporting, than the character of the Son of God, who was with the Father before the foundation of the world, and whose delights were with

the sons of men ; whose appearance in our likeness was obscurely announced for the consolation of our first parents, prefigured by a multitude of types and emblems, and gradually declared with increasing certainty and precision, by a succession of prophecies ! What more interesting than to contemplate his mysterious incarnation, his holy and beneficent life, to follow him in his humihation, to behold the agonies of his crucifixion, and hail his entrance into

• O THE I CREASE OF FAITH. 291 the kingdom of glory ! If light is sweet, and it is a pleasant thing to behold the material sun, how much more ravishing and extatic to trace the Son of righteousness, and to be absorbed in the contemplation of his splendors ! Who would exchange this for any earthly knowledge ? Who would not exclaim with the apostle, Yea, doubtless, I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. How justly might he cry out, God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. He not only believed in the sacrifice of Christ, but rejoiced and gloried in it, which is the fruit of faith. The Christian, whose faith is thus increased, dwells in a calm and holy light, in the midst of a heavenly illumination, which infuses joy and serenity into the soul. It discloses to him the invisible world, it reveals the wonders of futurity, it unveils the glory of God, and breaks down the bearer, by which his soul is prevented from rejoicing and blending itself with the infinite Spirit. It removes the irhpediments to his intercourse with the blessed, it transports him into the very presence of the Eternal. He is elevated to the privilege of walking within the precincts of heaven, and to hear the multitude of voices ascribing Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever. Such are the transports which result from believing, and such are the joys which arise from faith. As no stream can rise higher than the fountain from which it springs, so our faith will be the measure of our joy. Secondly. But an increase of faith will have the most desirable influence on our sanctification. »¦

(1.) It will diminish our sensibility to the pfeasures of sin. As far as our gratification is criminal, it will destroy it, and moderate it as far as it is innocent. The joys of earth will appear too feeble, transitory, and inconstant, too worldly and unsatisfactory, to engage the heart which has tasted the fruits of this precious faith. Every man has his favorite pleasure. We are sensitive creatures, led by the desire of enjoyment, and governed by the pleasure we prefer. God has consulted this part of our nature, in making our holiness conducive to our happiness, and rendering the delights of piety far superior to the pleasures of sin. The Christian who has enjoyed the favor of God, and tasted of his love, has a new appetite imparted, which controls every criminal desire, and makes him hunger and thirst after righteousness, his highest delight and chief joy. In such a man the power and dominion of sin is controlled, overcome, and subdued ; he has crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts thereof (2.) Faith brings the strongest motives of holiness into contact with the mind. It is so important to the growth of holiness, that it is represented as the seed from which every virtue and grace of the Christian life originates. Faith is the only eye that sees God, the only ear that hears his voice, and the only hand that lays hold

292 O THE I CREASE OF FAITH. upon his promises. Let faith be turned into unbelief, and every Christian grace would faint, and languish, and die. But while faith remains strong and vigorous, all our other graces will be in a flourishing condition. This efficacy is natural, inasmuch as faith has a direct tendency to produce and strengthen the other graces ; and it is constituted, inasmuch as faith unites us to Christ, from whom, as the branches from the root, we derive supplies of divine help and influence. It is faith that lays hold of our eternal inheritance, and renders us indifferent to the calamities and afflictions of life : thus it produces resignation. The believer takes joyfully the spoiling of his goods, knowing that he has in heaven a better, and an enduring substance. It works by love, kindling a fire in the breast

which grows stronger and stronger, and purifies the heart from all its pollutions. It works by hope, giving steadfastness to the soul, and opposing a shield to all the assaults of the tempter. Who is he that overcometli the vwrld, hut he that helieveth that Jesus is the Christ ? And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. (3.) By faith, our eyes are kept fixed upon Jesus ; ice are brought near to the fountain of influence, and receive out of his fulness grace, according to that measure of grace which he has received of the Father for us. Hence, St. Paul could say : I am crucified icith Christ, nevertheless I live ; yet not I, hut Christ liveth in me ; and the life which I now live in thefiesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. It was faith in Christ Jesus that expelled out of him a life of sin, and imparted to him a holy and spiritual life. .It is the office of faith to sustain and nourish this divine life in the ^ul, by supplying it with necessary food. Hence, it is through faith that we receive the bread and water of life. The more lively and active a Christian's faith is, the more closely will he be brought in contact with Christ, who is his life ; and the more abundant will be all his necessary supplies. How earnestly, then, should you, my brethren, endeavor to increase your faith. 2. By the increase of faith, the glory of God is promoted. It glorifies God, by sanctifying the character of his people : Herein is your Father glorified, that ye hear nmch fruit. Thus your light will be made to shine forth among men, so that others, seeing your good works, will glorify your Father which is in heaven. The perfections of God are revealed in the lives of his saints ; and they show forth his virtues by a well-ordered life, and a godly conversation. Faith glorifies God, by renouncing all self-dependence, and all hope from any other source than his mercy. It makes us rich, yet consciously poor ; it realizes the veracity and faithfulness of the divine character ; it confides in his unlimited power ; it leans on him in the dark, trusts him in all worlds, and takes his word for eternal happiness. It looks forward, upon his promise, to the possession of joys, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor heart

O THE I CREASE OF FAITH. ^93 conceived ; it unites itself to the vivifying principle, which lives eternally, and gives all things life — to that power which will, in due time, call into existence a wonderful scene of life, beauty, and glory, which the visible world cannot contain. It attaches itself to the footstool of the divine throne, and feels itself firm amidst the shakings and convulsions of the universe. From hence, it appears how highly necessary is an increase of faith. The desire of its increase is essential to true religion. If you feel no want of faith, no desire for an enlarged and confirmed persuasion of divine truth, you are utterly destitute of vital religion. If there are any of this description now present, let me entreat you to beware of danger. If there are any who are desirous of increasing their faith, permit me, in the conclusion of my remarks, to recommend to you the most effectual means of confirming your faith. 1. The first is />m?/er. Our text affords an encouraging example. The apostles were successful in their application ; their faith was increased. Although, at one time, it was wavering and feeble, yet it was strengthened from above ; they became the ministers of mercy to an afflicted and guilty world, and are now exalted to the regions of glory — to the very vision and presence of God. And our faith may be strengthened in the same way. The throne of grace is as accessible now, as it was in the days of the apostles ; and we are invited to come that loe may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. The Scriptures abound with promises and encouragements, and God is ready to impart the energies of the Holy Spirit, to increase your faith. Ask, and it shall he given you ; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall he opened unto you : for every one that asketh, receiveth ; and he that seeketh, findeth ; arid to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. What man is there among you, ivhom if his son ask bread, iv ill give him a stone ? Or if he ask a fish, will give him a serpent ? If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him ? One of the good things you desire, and greatly need, is

an increase of faith. Approach God, then, with confidence, and pour out your souls before him. Plead with him, earnestly and fervently, for an increase of faith ; and I humbly trust you will soon find your faith to be springing forth with new life and vigor. 2. Converse much loith the objects of faith. Mankind insensibly become assimilated to the persons with whom they associate, to the books they read, to the sentiments they hear, and to the manners they behold. If you desire an increase of faith, you should, therefore, study the Scriptures, and reflect upon the truths of religion. There is a holy infection, or, I would rather say, a sweet, a divine influence, in these contemplations, that will infuse life and vigor into the soul. That Christian is wanting to himself, who suffers a day to pass without searching the Scriptures, or who satisfies himself with a careless and hurried perusal of these Sacred Oracles. 26*

294 O THE I CREASE OF FAITH. It was a description of a saint, in days of old, which has never yet been cancelled. — God forbid it ever should be cancelled — that His delight was in the law of his Lord ; that he meditated in the law of his God day and night. The Scriptures are a receptacle of spiritual truth, an inventory of the riches of heaven, a divine register of the treasures of eternity. As a taste for literature is produced by studying the noblest works of human genius, so your moral taste will be purified, and your spiritual discernment improved, by the study of the Scriptures. 3. WatcJt against all objects that icould have a tendency to diminish your faith ; set a guard upon your senses ; shun everything that encourages the luxury, and increases the corruption of the heart. There is nothing which obscures the atmosphere of faith so much as the sullen, dark, and polluting damps of a sensual mind ; even moderate and innocent gratifications have a tendency to diminish the influence of faith. To walk by sense, is directly opposed to walking by faith. Love not the world, seek not to be wealthy ;

if riches increase, set not your aficctions upon them. Dread the consequences of sudden prosperity. Walk in this world as strangers and pilgrims, as sojourners, that have no continuing city ; this is not your rest — you cannot secure two worlds. Seek a better country, that is a heavenly country, a country out of sight. Be content to secure a building of God, when this earthly house of your tabernacle is dissolved ; a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 4. Wait upon God in the institutions he has appointed. ever neglect the services of religion, nor the means of grace, but be diligent in attending upon both. In all the exercises of devotion, make it your constant object and aim to attain an increase of faith. In this way your doubts and fears will be removed, and your faith will become strong and invincible, and you will be enabled to triumph in God as did the saints of old. You will be enabled to adopt the expressive language of the prophet : Although the fig-tree should not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines ; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the field shall yield no meat ; thejlock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls ; yet I will rejoice in the Lord ; I will joy in the God of my salvation. You will triumph in the celebrated strain of the apostle : Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect ? It is God tliat justificth ; icho is he that condemneth. It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ay, in all these things we are more than conqucrers, through him that loved us. For I am j^ersuaded, that neither death., nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor j^owers, northings present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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