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The subject, which has been considered, may, by serious, personal APPLICATION, be useful to all my hearers. It may ultimately be of benefit to them, if they should come to opposite conclusions. Some of you should reason thus, with yourselves :
66 We do not reject the scriptures; we do not consent to immorality of life ; we do not belong to the class of merely moral persons ; we are not hypocrites; we are not fatally deluded with the belief that any thing but the blood of Christ can save us; we are not completely destitute of hope, evangelical repentance, and love ; therefore, we are not of the number of persons who have NO FAITH. We must take our place with those who HAVE NO faith, or with those whO HAVE SOME faith. Since, then, we are not of the first class, we are of the second, and must cherish the persuasion that we are believers.” In this manner some timid souls may be brought to the admission of the truth concerning themselves, and may be induced to give God thanks for the inestimable gift of saving faith.
The other conclusion, to which the personal application of our discourse must bring persons, is an alarming one ; but the conviction that we are lost, must precede the reception of a Saviour.
Some of you should reason thus :
“ We reject the Holy Scriptures ; or, live in the allowed practice of some known sins or, have nothing but the show of morality; or, make professions of religion which we know to be false ; or, lightly esteem Christ, rest satisfied with our own obedience, and are well pleased with our own hearts : or, we possess no hope of heaven, no desire to be holy, no regret for past offences, no love which binds our affections to Jesus, no love to mankind; and therefore have not faith.” This reason. ing must be true ; and either the first or the second course of reasoning is applicable to every hearer. If you have no faith, consider your situation. You have no promise of pardon, no present peace of conscience, no prospect of heaven. "God is not your friend, but your unreconciled enemy. Jesus Christ does not acknowledge you. The pious cannot account you joint-heirs with themselves to the blessed world. You have no warrant to believe that God will prolong your day of grace ; and you may die, immediately. Should you be taken away, in your present state, the devil would claim you as his subjects, and you would enter into that world, where hope, peace, friendship and consolation never enter. The gate to hell opens only inward, and none can return. Between the state of misery and happiness there is no communication. Not one angel of light, not one saint in glory can fly across the horrible gulf which lies between.
Before Jehovah shall say, “I am weary with repenting," and seal your doom, O consider, be wise, believe, accept of salvation, antici. pate heaven, be prepared for death, and when death shall come, enter into glory. AMEN.
6 Increase our faith.” LUKE XVII. 5.
THE Pharisees, “ who were covetous,' when they heard our Saviour's parable of the unjust steward, and felt the pangs of self-condemnation, vented their malignant emotions in ridicule. “ They derided him," they ato tempted to banter the Lord of Glory:
Christ was a man, and could feel when insulted : he was God, and had a right to take vengeance; but instead of resenting the af. front, he continued to teach the perverse, by repeating the affecting story of the rich man and Lazarus.
When he had concluded his discourse to the Pharisees, he turned to his disciples, with
such salutary instruction as this: "offences will occur, but beware of giving needless offence ; beware of exposing others to fall; and if others trespass against you, and profess repentance, forgive them. Yea, ifthy brother trespass against thee, my disciple, seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn to thee, saying, 'I repent,' thou shalt forgive him.”
The twelve Apostles had expected their Lord to punish his enemies, and could scarcely believe that this meek Jesus was the King of Zion. They felt too, that his lesson of mercy and forbearance was hard for human nature to learn. Under these circumstances they “said unto the Lord, Increase our
This was a prayer for the increase of faith, which proceeded from faith, for had the apostles been destitute of the saving belief of the truth as it is in Jesus, they would have deserted their Master. Their petition implied a persuasion that Jesus is “the author and finisher of faith," that he had bestowed on them a weak faith, and that he could increase it in vigour. Men do not ask for that which they know cannot be given ; they do not pray for faith, without believing, in some feeble manner at least, that God is able and willing "to confer on them the mercy which they seek. This prayer of the apostles, who were then
children in divine things, has been adopted by sincere believers in every age:
It pleases the Spirit of God to open the eyes of the blind, so that they see divine things in a new light. They discover, what they could not discern before, that they are lost sinners, who stand in need of a Saviour to deliver them from hell. They perceive that God would be just in punishing them for their ingratitude, their want of love to him, and their neglect of duty, as well as for their positive transgressions. It is then discovered to them, that they who have “ come, short of the glory of God,” and cannot save themselves, máy find salvation in Jesus Christ. They believe that Christ has actually lived on the earth, and died for sinners; are firmiy persuaded that God intends to save men by the Redeemer ; and do actually desire to be delivered from sin and the punishment of it, by the Son of God. They see that it is an evil thing to sin against the just and merciful Jehovah, and desire to be made holy. In the very act of desiring to be saved by Christ, and to be made holy through the Spirit, the sinner evinces the existence of saving faith. He had no power to desire sanctification, salvation, and the enjoyment of the divine favour, before he was renewed in the spirit of his mind: but when God had made him a new creature, he had such spiritual