Imatges de pÓgina

is established upon the foundation of the ever lasting truth and righteousness, which subfists in the divine, eternal and unchangeable expression of paternal and filial love, and is the substance of things hoped for; which righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe.



Section 1. Faith the Substance of Things

hoped for. THE word faith is used in the scriptures to

express the truth of God, concerning the kingdom and glory of Christ, in three leveral views, viz. The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, and the anticipation of future things; which distinct views of the glorious subject we shall consider separately.

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 some, this will not be regarded as light authority, Now faith is the

substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

In the truth of the divine principle, we have contemplated an eternal expression of the di. vine will; which expression constitutes an eternal heaven, and is the glory which Christ had with the Father before the world was; this is substance, and the subfiance of all divine things; for the things which are fuen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.-All within sight is shadow, all beyond is substance. And for this glory, which comprises all the riches of the kingdom of God, believers in Christ are allowed to hope. From the views already exhibited, it may be seen, that the whole gospel system is a sył tem of faith; and, whether we look back to the glory which Christ had with the Father before the world was, or consider the present dispensations of the divine will, or look forward to the glory which believers will enjoy with Christ in his heavenly kingdom, we see the whole comprised in faith, or the unchangeable truth of the eternal convention between the Father and Son.

If it be enquired, why the substance of things which the believer has in prospect, is called Faith? the answer is, because it exists in covenant truth, and has so exilted from eternity; and covenant truth, with the

greato eft propriety, is called faith. When one covenants with another, and keeps his engage- .. ment, we say, he has faith, and that he keeps his faith; but if he fails to fulfil his solemn contract, it is said, he is faithless, or that he has no faith. The word is used properly, and in the strictest sense in relation to covenant truth, as in the case of nations or fiates, stipulating with each other in treaties or conventions, their respective negociators and representatives will say, In faith of which we have hereunto set 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 faithless nation, or a faithless state.

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The substance of things, which is the ultimate object of the believer's hope, is expressed in the scriptures by a great variety of names, all which are wisely chosen and best calculated to represent its divine nature and adorable properties. Because it is a frame of things, and a work most skilfully devised and wrought, it is called a building.We have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Because of its fullness, authority and ministrations, it is called a kingdom.--Come ye blessed of my Fa. ther, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Becaufe of its security, social order and its being founded in a compact, it is called a city. For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Because of its holiness, and being the habitation of God, and the home and dwelling place of the saints, it is called the fancluary, 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

which are arrayed in white robes? Because of its felicities, spiritual power, and incorrupt. able nature, it is called life and immortality.

-Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gofpel. Because the whole work is perfect, ac. cording to the rule of the perfect will of God, and guilty sinners find a perfect standing with God, in believing the report of it in the gofpel, it is called righteousness. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteoufness. And because it exists in covenant truth and righteousness, and is evidenced in the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ, and thereby is anticipated in the minds of believers, and rested upon as their hope and portion, it is called faith. All this is the substance of things hoped for,

This substance, 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 justified by the faith of Christ, and, to be justified by the righteousness of Christ, mean the same thing.--" Faith is taken for " Christ and his righteousness, in all those

passages where we are said to be justified

by faith.”. (Cruden." Accordingly,” says Dr. Guyse," “ to be justified by the faith of “ Christ, and to be justified by Christ, are “used as terms of the same import.” And as faith is the substance of things hoped for; or, as all those things, existing in the covenant truth of Chriit, are summed up and express

med up

ed by the word faith; so, also, they are sum

and expressed by the word righre. ousness. Thus it is faid of the city, the holy Jerusalem, 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 frie fiill be called, The Lord our Righteousness.

In this view, we contemplate the merit of faith ; it is a princely eltate!--Considered as the fubilance of things, it appears

suflicient to give its pofleffors, whoever they may be, the highest and most honorable standing; and 10 the account of which alone, all the distinguilhing honors and glories of the saints, through time and eternity, is to be placed. Should we see a man respectfully noticed by the president, governor, or prince of a great people, we might enquire for the reason of such honor ; and fhould it be answered, that he is a man of science, or one in high office, or that lie is rich, and has at command great funds, the an{wer would satisfy us. We perceive that these things have weight and influence among men,--Abraham was called the i: tcud of God, and the reason is clearly afligned, he had faith. And this is a property fo fubstantial, the evidence of it is a science fo divine, and to teach it to the world is an office fo dignified, that we perceive it is a matier, altogether, to have weight with the eternal God.

Ilie unbelieving world have ofien been offended at the distinguilhing names given

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