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How to live by Faith on divine Precepts,
Promifes, and Threatnings.


How to live by Faith for Pardon and


How to live by Faith in Profperity,

and Adverfity.


How to live by Faith in divine Wor
Ship, focial Connections, and
Imitation of Saints.


How to die in Faith; with the Con-
clufion of the Work.







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HEBREWS xi. 1.

Now Faith is the Subftance of Things hoped for, the Evidence of Things not feen.


Faith confidered as inftead of Sight and Poffeffion.

§ 1. Faith defined. § 2. The Connection and Meaning of the Text, with a general Plan of the Work. $3. [1] There is Certainty in Faith. § 4. [!!] This Certainty appears in the Manner of obtaining Faith. $5. A Sight of Heaven or Hell is not the Way to convert Sinners. § 6. How to know a fincere Believer. $7. The Faith of the Ungodly is a Dream. 8. Sincere Faith is rare, $9. and often weak. § 10. The Seriousness of fincere Believers is reafonable.

$ 1.


Have chofe this Text, which is a Defcription of Faith, that the opening of it may help us to open our Hearts, and to refolve the great Question on which our endles Life depends. To be a Christian, and a Believer in Chrift, are Words of the fame fcriptural Signifi

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cation. If you have not Faith, you are not Chriftfans. Faith is the practical Believing in God as promising, and in Chrift as procuring, Juftifi cation and Salvation. Or, the practical Belief and Acceptance of Life, as procured by Chrift, and promifed by God in the Gofpel." No Man believeth properly in Chrift, that believeth not in him for eternal Life. And Faith faves us, not by believing we are, but that we may be faved; not by receiving Salvation immediately, but by receiving Chrift for our Salvation; not merely by accepting Health, but by receiving the Phyfician and his Remedies, in Order to Health.

$2. It is the Design of the holy Spirit in this Chapter to demonftrate how Faith looks at Salvation, so as to move all the Faculties of the Soul, and fubdue the Inclinations and Interefts of the Flesh, and make the greatest Sufferings tolerable. While too many in the World fubject their Reason to their fenfual Intereft; there are others who fubject their Senfes to their Reason, as conducted and elevated by Faith. Things prefent, or poffeffed, are the Riches of the fenfual; and Things abfent, or hoped for, are the Riches of Believers, This is the Meaning of the Text, which, by oppofing Things hoped for, to Things prefent; and Things unfeen, to those that are seen, affures us that Faith fees that which supplies the Want of Presence and Sight. It is as if the Apostle had faid, Tho' the Glory promised to Believers, and expected by them, is ⚫ yet to come, and only hoped for; and is yet unfeen, and only believed; yet the true Believer is as much affected with it, and influenced by its attractive Force, as if it was prefent and before his


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Eyes. Juft fo any Estate in Reversion, or out of Sight, is regarded by the Heir, if his Title be good. It is therefore the Nature and Ufe of Faith to be, as it were, inftead of Prefence, Poffeffion, and Sight: Or, to make the Things that fhall be, as if they already exifted; and the Things unfeen, which God reveals, as if our bodily Eyes beheld them. And in Order to explain and apply the Subject in this View of it, this Chapter and the next will confider Faith as appointed to be inflead of Sight and Poffeffion; and (Chap. 3.) hypocritical and fincere Believers will be diftinctly addreffed: Then will, be fhewed (Chap. 4.) how the Life of Faith is exercifed in general; and more particularly (Chap, 5.) on the Father, Son, and Spirit ; (Ghap. 6.) on divine Precepts, Promifes, and Threatnings (Chap. 7.) for Pardon and Sanctification, (Chap. 8.) in Profperity, and Adverfity; (Chap. 9.) in divine Worship, Social Connections, and Imitation of the Saints; and alfo (Chap. 10.) how to die in Faith, with the Conclufion of this Work.

§3. [1] Such is the Nature of Faith, that tho' it neither changes the Object, nor gives the fame Degree of Apprehenfions and Affections, as the Sight of Things prefent would do; yet for the most valuable Purposes it is effectual instead of Sight. It clears the Apprehenfion, determines the Will, imprefies the Affections, and governs the Life. It is an Act of Wisdom and Knowledge; even Knowledge in which there is Certainty. The Believer knows, as furely as he knows there is a God, that God is true, and that his Word is true, it being impoffible for God to lie (a).' The Believer B 2

(n) Heb, vi, 184


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