Imatges de pÓgina

is established upon the foundation of the ever lasting truth and righteoufnefs, which fubfists in the divine, eternal and unchangeable expreffion of paternal and filial love, and is the fubstance of things hoped for; which righteousness of God without the law is manifefted, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jefus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe.



Section 1. Faith the Subftance of Things hoped for.

THE word faith is used in the fcriptures to exprefs the truth of God, concerning the kingdom and glory of Christ, in three feveral views, viz. The fubftance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not feen, and the anticipation of future things; which distinct views of the glorious subject we shall confider feparately.

The Apostle to the Hebrews, chap. xi. 1. gives a plain definition of faith; and though it differs greatly from the definitions commonly given, yet, with fome, this will not be regarded as light authority. Now faith is the

fubftance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not feen.

In the truth of the divine principle, we have contemplated an eternal expreffion of the divine will; which expreffion conftitutes an eternal heaven, and is the glory which Chrift had with the Father before the world was: this is fubftance, and the fubftance of all divine things; for the things which are feen are temporal; but the things which are not feen are eternal. All within fight is fhadow, all beyond is fubftance. And for this glory, which comprifes all the riches of the kingdom of God, believers in Chrift are allowed to hope.

If it be enquired, why the fubftance of things which the believer has in prospect, is called Faith? the anfwer is, becaufe it exists in covenant truth, and has fo exifted from eternity; and covenant truth, with the greateft propriety, is called faith. When one covenants with another, and keeps his engagement, we fay, he has faith, and that he keeps his faith; but if he fails to fulfil his folemn contract, it is faid, he is faithlefs, or that he has no faith. The word is ufed properly, and in the ftricteft fenfe in relation to covenant truth, as in the cafe of nations or states, ftipulating with each other in treaties or conventions, their refpective negociators and reprefentatives will fay, In faith of which we have hereunto fet our names, &c. and if this faith be not kept, and the stipulations be not fulfilled, the compact is made void, and the party which has broken it, is called a faithlefs nation, or a faithlefs state.

From the views already exhibited, it may be feen, that the whole gofpel fystem is a fyf tem of faith; and, whether we look back to the glory which Christ had with the Father before the world was, or confider the prefent difpenfations of the divine will, or look forward to the glory which believers will enjoy with Christ in his heavenly kingdom, we fee the whole comprised in faith, or the unchangeable truth of the eternal convention between the Father and Son.


The /ubftance of things, which is the ultimate object of the believer's hope, is expressed in the fcriptures by a great variety of names, all which are wifely chofen and best calculated to reprefent its divine nature and adorable properties. Because it is a frame of things, and a work most fkilfully devised and wrought, it is called a building.-We have a building of God, an houfe not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Because of its fullness, authority and ministrations, it is called a kingdom. Come ye bleffed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Becaufe of its fecurity, focial order and its being founded in a compact, it is called a city.-For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whofe builder and maker is God. Because of its holinefs, and being the habitation of God, and the home and dwelling place of the faints, it is called the fanctuary, and true tabernacle which the Lord pitched. Because it adorns, covers, and gives a character to its proprietor, it is called a garment and robe. What are these

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which are arrayed in white robes? Because of its felicities, fpiritual power, and incorruptable nature, it is called life and immortality. -Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gofpel. Becaufe the whole work is perfect, ac cording to the rule of the perfect will of God, and guilty finners find a perfect standing with God, in believing the report of it in the gofpel, it is called righteoufnefs.-Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteoufnefs. And because it exifts in covenant truth and righteoufnefs, and is evidenced in the word of God and teftimony of Jefus Chrift, and thereby is anticipated in the minds of believers, and refted upon as their hope and portion, it is called faith. All this is the fubftance of things hoped for.

This fubftance, infinitely rich! bestowed upon believers of free grace, is the reason and ground of their juftification; hence it is faid, that God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city.To be juftified by the faith of Chrift, and, to be juftified by the righteousness of Chrift, mean the fame thing." Faith is taken for "Chrift and his righteousness, in all those paffages where we are faid to be juftified by faith." (Cruden.)—" Accordingly," fays Dr. Guyle," " to be juftified by the faith of "Chrift, and to be juftified by Christ, are "used as terms of the fame import." And as faith is the fubftance of things hoped for; or, as all thofe things, exifting in the covenant truth of Christ, are fummed up and exprefs


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ed by the word faith; fo, alfo, they are fummed up and expreffed by the word righte oufnefs. Thus it is faid of the city, the holy Jerufalem, which believers look for, and on account of which, it being prepared for them, God is not ashamed to be called their God, Jer. xxxiii. 16. And this is the name where. with fhe fhall be called, The Lord our Righte oufness.

In this view, we contemplate the merit of faith; it is a princely eftate!-Confidered as the fubflance of things, it appears fufficient to give its poffeffors, whoever they may be, the highest and most honorable standing; and to the account of which alone, all the distinguifhing honors and glories of the faints, through time and eternity, is to be placed.— Should we fee a man refpectfully noticed by the prefident, governor, or prince of a great people, we might enquire for the reafon of fuch honor; and fhould it be answered, that he is a man of fcience, or one in high office, or that he is rich, and has at command great funds, the anfwer would fatisfy us. We perceive that these things have weight and influence among men,--Abraham was called the intend of God, and the reafon is clearly affigned, he had faith. And this is a property fo fubstantial, the evidence of it is a fcience fo divine, and to teach it to the world is an office to dignified, that we perceive it is a matter, altogether, to have weight with the eternal God.

The unbelieving world have often been offended at the distinguishing names given

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