Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

We are

the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, 0 vain man, that faith without works is dead? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." All profane swearers may lay aside all preten sions to faith. Upon the flying roll in the vision of Zechariah, there was written a curse against swearers. False swearers, (and all profane swearing is of this kind, together with the beams and stones of their houses, were to be consumed. And profane swearing is not limited to taking God's name in vain. not to swear by any profane oath ; if we do, we may lay aside all pretensions to faith. “Swear not, neither by heaven, neither by earth, neither by any other oath.” Taking an oath is an act of religious worship, paid to God; and hence, to take an oath, except as prescribed by law, is always to take God's holy name in vain; and hence, too, to swear by any thing but God alone, is always to put something else in the place of God; it is idolatry. Our Saviour charged the Jews with profane swearing, because they swore by their head, and by the altar, and by the temple. Those, then, who swear by faith, or by conscience, or by any other oath habitually, must be destitute of faith.

ers.

The unclean, or those who live in the practice of lewdness, are undoubtedly unbelievers. And the apostle expressly classes them with unbeliev

- Unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” The works of the flesh are all works of unbelief. 6. Now the works of the flesh are manifest; which are these ; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred,” and such like; and then the Apostle adds, "they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."

Drunkards must also be classed with unbelievers. Drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God. And among these we may include those who waste their time in grog-shops, and among intemperate companions.

6 Wo unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them." Some destroy their reason by drunkenness; this is more than beastly; for the beasts are never guilty of it. Others glory in their shame. So it was of old.

“ Wo unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink.” Others go farther still; and

not only go to ruin themselves, but carry others along with them. 6. Wo unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that putteth thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken. The cup of the Lord's right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory."

All liars are among unbelievers. All such are called children of the devil, who is “ a liar, and the father of it." And " whosoever loveth and maketh a lie" are to be shut out from the · holy city, New Jerusalem.” In short, among the openly profane, all of whom are unbelievers, must be reckoned all thieves, murderers, evil speakers, deceivers, and Sabbath-breakers.

Third. Those who habitually neglect secret duties, particularly prayer, are unbelievers. Prayer is the very breath of the new creature. As soon as created, it

prays;

and where there is habitual neglect of secret prayer, there is not the new creature—there is not faith.

Fourth. All who expect to be saved by the merit of their own good works are unbelievers, And what multitudes are there who have no other foundation of their hopes than this. They make their own works their Saviour; thus proving that they have not faith in the Saviour of sinners.

SO,

Sccrion II. What are no true marks of faith.--First. A man's thinking that he has faith, and confidently affirming that he has, does not prove it to be so. Where there is the least faith, there is commonly the most selfconfidence. Faith occasions a holy jealousy, of which unbelievers know nothing. It discovers to a man the deceitfulness of his heart; and this makes him distrustful, rather than self-confident. But our Lord positively says, that many who think they believe will be miserably disappointed. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name ? and in thy name cast out devils ? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

Second. Some think they are believers, because they never doubted the truth of the Gospel. You say you never doubted, therefore you believe. Might we not rather say, you never had doubts, therefore you do not believe ? Freedom from doubt may be nothing but your indifference. If we should hear it reported, on good authority, that a man in another quarter of the world has a vast estate, we should not be inclined to doubt it at all. But,

if we were farther told, that our maintenance depended upon our obtaining a share in that estate, and that if we would take the necessary steps, the owner would give us that share, we should not so easily credit the report. When we begin to discover our personal interest in the matter, we then begin to entertain suspicions that it may not be true. So it is with many who hear the Gospel report. They do not regard it as a thing in which they are personally concerned, and therefore do not take the trouble to dispute or doubt it. While they slumber on in carnal security, and see not their own need of Christ, they are quite sure that they believe. But when they begin to feel the convictions of an awakened and accusing conscience, and begin to see how much is depending, they find their former belief to be nothing but an easy credulity in that for which they felt no concern. When concern arises, then doubts and suspicions arise along with it. But their freedom from doubt may also arise from a “profound ignorance of the mystery of the Gospel;” or from their ignorance of God's holiness and their own sinfulness. They regard sin as a small thing, and reconciliation to God as very easy. But when awakened to some just impressions of the

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »