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has no faith is not of Christ ; but he who has some saving apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ is united to the Saviour by indisso. luble bonds. It is not our FATHER's good pleasure that any one who believes in his only begotten Son should be considered as an alien.
God favourably regards the weakest faitk. He asks, "who hath despised the day of small things?” He has not, and we should be criminal in deviating from his example. The diseased sheep he will not destroy; the lame he will not reject ; but will bind up the broken, and give strength to the feeble. The bruised reed he will not break; and if the grace of any one should resemble a spark in smoking flax, instead of the brightness of a lamp trimmed and burning, he will not extinguish it.
We should not despise weak faith, because it will become stronger. The little infant will become a man: the trembling steps will become firm ; the soft hand will be taught to fight; the aukward soldier will become an experienced veteran, and he who "stumbled over a wrinkle in the carpet"* will surmount the hill of difficulty. Where faith has been communicated, it shall in due season be perfected. The progress may be imperceptible and irregular, but he will give more grace. The rivulet shall become a river; and the
* Rev. William Jay.
dawning of the morning proves the approach of noon.
By the weakest faith a sinner shall live, and inherit everlasting glory. The life is not sup. ported by the hand which serves the mouth, but by the necessary nutriment which the hand conveys. The hand of a feeble
person may tremble while performing its office, but by his proper food man shall live. Faith is merely the hand by which the soul is fed with the bread of life. The palsied hand of a beg. gar may receive a gift, and secure it for his personal advantage ; and the woman who tremblingly touched the hem of Christ's garment, was as truly saved as the Syropheni. cian, to whom he said, "great is thy faith.” It is said, “he that believeth shall be saved," and of course, since there is no limitation, he who has faith as a grain of mustard seed shall not fail of entering the kingdom of heaven, Beware then, of contemning feeble faith. If God has wrought it in you, honour his work by publicly confessing it ; for you would enjoy no Christian grace, even in its lowest de. gree without the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.
That men may not abuse the doctrine of weak faith, let it be remembered, that the person who is contented with his present attainments is deluded, and knoweth nothing as he ought. It is not in the nature of the weakest faith to render any believer satisfied with
himself. If you have a little faith you will earnestly desire more. If you have tasted of the good word of grace, the delicious morsel will make you hunger and thirst after righteousness. Although a weak faith assures us of salvation, yet it is not to be disguised, that if it continue long, it will cause distressing doubts, fears, and perplexities. Who would not prefer strong confidence to doubt in matters of immortal concern? Who would not prefer a firm to a palsied body? Who would willingly be a babe in form and strength, while a man in years ? Who that loves Christ and can honour him a little, would not wish to honour him much?
Men of faith must ascend the mount, and conquer their enemies. The man of weak faith, like one in the consumption, ascends slowly with much pain and difficulty, while the vigour of the strong man makes toil a pleasure, and his rest sweet.
VI. The text teaches believers in what man. ner they are to treat their weak brethren. They must receive them as brethren, and seek to promote their increase in strength. Because the youngest child of the family has the understanding, the knowledge and the strength of an infant, is he, therefore, not of our kindred, when it is ascertained that we were born of the same parents ? Because a little child, who is led by the hand, does not make equal strides with his leader, does it fol-,
low, that both do not walk in the same direction? If we have brethren in the Lord who are not so intelligent, and orthodox, and con. sistent, as we might wish them to be, still we must receive them to our fellowship.
The weak are to be fed, lead, and regarded as children. If they have any degree of precious faith they have a right to a seat at our Father's table ; and if our eating meat cause them, through their weak consciences, to offend, we are not to eat meat in their
presence, while the world stands.
6. Ye that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak.'
If that God, who cannot lie, can say no more, O may he
to each one of us, “I know thy works; behold I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it, for thou hast a little strength, and hast not denied my name.” AMEN.
THOSE PERSONS DESCRIBED WHO HAVE NO
“ All men have not faith.” 2 Thess. II. 2.
ONE who should speculatively consider the force of truth would be disposed to think, that the evidence of any divine oracle, clearly presented to the mind, must produce faith. When the sun shines on any man, who has eyes, can he help believing in the existence and influence of that glorious orb, which rules the day? When the truth beams on his immortal faculties, with rays of clearest light, can he remain in unbelief?
Alas! “ all men have not faith.” They have eyes, but they are closed; the light of the glorious gospel is reflected from the face of Jesus Christ, but they turn away from it, and love darkness, because their deeds are evil. , In every land, whether it is visited by the Sun of Righteousness, or remains under the obscurity of the shadow of death, there are . many persons " without Christ, being aliens to the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Ephe. sians ii. 12. Even in this assembly there