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the object : “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.”
2nd. That Jesus himself declares, that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." And he announces, also, on the other hand, that it is the rejection of this faith which occasions condemnation. “ He that believe not, is condemned already, because he has not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God.” And many other passages might be quoted of the same purport.
3rd. That he commisioned the apostles “to go out into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,” declaring that he that believed and was baptized should be "saved,” and that he that believed not should be “ demned.” Now, “ the gospel" is simply the glad tidings concerning Christ; that “ he died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, was buried and rose again, according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. xvi. 4.) It consists of the simple story of the cross —of those wonderful facts of Christ's history which reveal him as the promised Lamb of God, who should take away the sins of the world. To believe these facts is to receive Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, and the Saviour of men.
4th. That the apostles, in fulfilling this commission to preach the gospel, gave to those whom they addressed a concise statement of those facts in Christ's history, and presented the evidence on which they rested; thus endeavoring to produce in the minds of their hearers this belief in Jesus as the Messiah, and requiring no larger faith than this, and no more extended knowledge than this involves, for introduction into the kingdom of Christ. Take, for example, Peter's discourse, Acts ii.-—"Ye men of Israel hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles, and wonders, and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know; him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain ; whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. * * Therefore, being by the right hand of God exalted, and haying received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” The effect of this discourse was, as we are told, that three thousand
persons were pierced to the heart and converted to Christ. Or take, in the following chapter, Peter's address to a different audience : “The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you: and killed the Prince of Life, whom God hath raised up from the dead, whereof we are witnesses.” The result of this was, we are told, that about five thousand men “believed.”
“ Howbeit, many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.” Or take the first discourse to the Gentiles : “ The word which God sent unto the children of ael, preaching peace by Jesus Christ, (He is Lord of all.) This word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judea and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed of the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did, both in the land of
the Jews and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree. Him God raised up the third day and showed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained to be the judge of the quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that, through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Or, again, take Paul's preaching at Antioch (Acts xiii. 17-41.).
6th. That this faith in Christ is that which is expressly enjoined in order to salvation. See the address of Paul and Silas to the Philippian jailer (Acts xvi. 31)—"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Or Philip's declaration to the eunuch (Acts viii. 37—“ If thou believest, with all thy heart, thou mayest;" and the satisfactory reply, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." Again : John says, “ And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment."
7th. That it is this faith which not only introduces the believer into the Christian institution, but enables him to maintain his profession and sustain himself against the temptations of life. 6 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him and he in God.” Again : “ Whosoever is born of God, overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God.”
But I need not multiply quotations, to show that a sincere belief in Jesus as the Chirst, the Son of God, is emphatically and truly the Christian faith, and the only faith which can lawfully be demanded in order to admission to Christian privileges and church fellowship. This is the CHRISTIAN'S CREED, and the only creed to which any one may be justly called to subscribe. And this being so, all other creeds and confessions are at once nullified and repudiated, as without Divine authority, as mere inventions of men, leading the mind away from Christ and a direct and personal reliance upon him, to mere intellectual conceptions, abstract propositions, and human opinions; or, if not wholly to these, at least to subordinate truth, collateral questions, remote conclusions, which belong not immediately to what is properly the Christian faith, but to thc subsequent chapter of Christian knowledge. Hence, even upon the hypothesis that the religious formularies of doctrine now in vogue contain nothing but truth, we deny the right of any one to complicate the simplicity of the Christian faith in this manner, and to demand, in advance, a degree of knowledge and experience in the child which, in the very nature of things, can be expected only in one who has attained to the stature of a man in Christ Jesus.
It will appear, then, from the above, that while we regard the Bible as the great and only repository of knowledge in religion, and as the volume which is to occupy the mind and heart of the Christian student, we consider that particular portion of it which is imm tely concerned with Christ's personal history and ministry, as that which is to be presented to the unconverted world as embracing the subject matter of the Christian faith—the simple gospel of Christ. This may be either read in the book itself, or presented by the living preacher. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” It is a plain and simple narrative, the truth of which was confirmed by signs and miracles“ those demonstrations of the Spirit” which attended its introduction, and which were then faithfully recorded, in order to accomplish the same purpose in all future ages. It is this gospel which is the “power of God for salvation, to every one who believes it.” It is not a power of God—one of the methods which God employs to save- -but it is emphatically the power of God for salvation — the only revealed way in which God can, in consistency with his own attributes, justify and save the sinner. It is the cordial belief of this love of God, thus manifested in the life, death, resurrection, and glorification of Christ, which reconciles man to God, which overwhelms the soul in penitence and contrition for its past offences, and through the influences of the Holy Spirit, produces an entire renovation of heart and reformation of character. In brief, it is Christ himself who is thus made to us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption.
(To be continued.)
THE LIFE OF FAITH. The life of faith being works, all | Bethel,” between it and Hai, and here, faithful men are of necessity working again, he erected an altar “unto the
Abraham is called the father of Lord, and called upon the name of the the faithful, because to him, pre-emi- Lord.” So it appears Abram was a nently faithful, the promise was made devoted worshipper of God, for whereof the blessings flowing to the world ever he pitched his tent there he raised through the Lord Jesus Christ; and to an altar unto the Lord. He confided him the Apostle James refers, in illus- in the Lord, and hence, when commandtration of the perfection of faith by ed to leave his father's house, his kinworks.
dred, and country, he hesitated not to Abraham, according to the common obey the divine order; he knew not or Hebrew computation of time, was whither he should go. born two years after the death of his After the separation of Abram from ancestor, Noah. But little is said of his relative Lot, again the Lord aphim till he arrived at the age of seventy-peared unto him, and renewed the profive years, when he appears on the mise of a numerous progeny. " Then theatre of action, as a most interesting he moved his tent and came and dwelt and important character. At this time in the plain of Mamre, in Hebron, and of life, he is first presented by the sacred built there an altar unto the Lord.” historian as the subject of a conmand Passing by some interesting occursomewhat trying. “Now the Lord had rences in the life of Father Abram, he said unto Abraham, get thee out of thy again stands before us the object of country, and from thy kindred, and especial care, and the recipient of refrom thy father's house, unto a land newed assurances of future fruitfulness. that I will show thee." Connected “Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield, and with this injunction were promises of thy exceeding great reward.” But for a highly important character, well cal- the first time the faithful man seems culated to inspire Abrabam, for such to doubt, seeing he is without a child, was then his name, with courage and and calls for some token of assurance devotion. These promises respected whereby he might know the certainty his posterity and himself. “And I of that whereof he had received the prowill make of thee a great nation, and I mise. It was under such circumstances will bless thee and make thy name that God made him an unambiguous great; and thou shalt be a blessing.” and clear promise of an heir and a nuWhy this man was selected as the sub- merous family, saying to him, “ Look ject of Providence, is not stated by the now toward heaven and tell the stars, if historian, but we can be at no loss to thou be able to number them, for so conjecture. Men had become wicked shall thy seed be.” The good man be-already had they aspired to build a lieves. “ He believed in the Lord, and tower which might reach to heaven, but he counted it to him for righteousness.” God frustrated their designs by con- He was then ordered to make an offerfounding their tongues. Amidst so ing, which he did, in all particulars, as much and so great wickedness, Abra- directed; and in the evening, as the sun ham must have been pre-eminently up- was going down, Abram fell asleep. In right, and possessed of just such a cha- this sleep was revealed to him the soracter as fitted him to receive the pro- journ of his seed in bondage, in a mise, and become the head of a family strange land, their redemption and final too numerous to be counted; yea, entrance into the land of promise (Canumerous as the stars of heaven. naan.) Again the promise is renewed.
Hè obeyed the divine command, and So far Abram is found to be a most went into the land of Canaan, “unto faithful, confiding, devoted servant of the place of Sichem, unto the plain of God. Wherever he pitches his tent, Moreh,” when “the Lord appeared there he builds an altar, and calls upon unto him” and made a second promise, the name of the Lord. He was indeed saying, “ Unto thy seed will I give this the “confident” of God, so faithful and land.'
.” Then Abraham erected an altar, devoted was he. But, as yet, he has upon which, no doubt, he offered sacri- no child, and to all human appearance, fices to God. From this place he “re- no prospect of any. At ninety-nine moved to a mountain on the east of years of age, however, the Lord ap
pears to him, makes his covenant with him there upon one of the mountains him, renews the promise of fruitfulness, which I will tell thee of.” To this seand changes his name to Abraham. To vere command Abraham hesitated not Sarai, also, the promise of a son is to move in obedience. He stayed not made, and her name changed to Sarah. to remonstrate against its severity, or “ Abraham fell upon his face and said plead its unlawfulness, but “rose up in his heart, shall a child be born unto early in the morning, and saddled his him that is an hundred years old ? and ass, and took two of his young men shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, with him, Isaac his son, and clove the bear?” Yes, indeed. 6 Sarah, thy wife, wood for the burnt offering, and rose shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt up and went unto the place of which call his name Isaac, and I will establish God had told him.' The good old man, my covenant with him for an everlast- with anxious heart, hastened on till the ing covenant, and with his seed after third day, when he “lifted up his eyes him.” These are remarkable circum- and saw the place afar off.” Oh! what stances, and ought to be well pondered. must have been his feelings, when his
In due time the child was born, eyes first looked upon the place where whose name was Isaac. He was a his son-his lovely, dutiful Isaac, must child of promise, and no doubt a pro- be offered, and that, too, by his own mising child. His father circumcised fond parental hand? He keenly felt him at eight days old — his mother all the journey, but at this instant his suckled him—the child grew and was feelings must have been heightened to weaned; and “ Abraham made a great a degree most intense. « Abide here,” feast the same day that Isaac was said he to the young men, “while I and weaned.” For this son of promise, of mi- the lad go yonder and worship, and raculous birth, upon whom rested the come again to you.” The wood for the fond hopes of generations then unborn, altar is placed upon the victim, while it is not unreasonable to suppose Abra- the father--the executioner-carries in ham entertained the fondest affection of his own hands the fire and the knife. which the tender heart of the faithful The intensity of the father's feelings is parent was susceptible. He was the now, if possible, increased, when the son of his old age--the pride and glory innocent, unsuspecting son asks Fa—the prop and stay of his declining ther, here are the fire and the wood, years. Day after day, as the boy grew, but where is the victim ?” What must the fond parents looked upon him with have been the old father's feelings? the most exquisite delight, and indulged No human being can fully realize. For with the most pleasing emotions, the an instant he is almost overcome; he happiness that his maturity would con- turns his face from the lad, to hide the fer upon themselves—the highest de- falling tear; then gathering up his resogree of earthly happiness; and that lution, replies, “ My son, God will prothrough him, would flow to the world, vide himself with a burnt offering." blessings far beyond anything they were They hasten on, and soon the spot is then able to understand or properly approached-an altar is erected—Isaac appreciate.
is bound and placed upon it. Now the Hitherto, under all the eventful cir- fatal moment is come. Fond, parental cumstances of his life, Abraham had affection yearus over the lovely lad-a remained faithful; and now, when his victim bound upon the altar; on the son has become fully twenty years of other hand, faith – unwavering faith, age, the Lord determined to put the nerves for the trying moment, to strike faithful patriarch to a most trying test, the fatal blow. The uplifted hand, that should be maintain his character, grasping the sharp knife, bespeaks the he might indeed be the “ Father of the faithful determination to strike. Just faithful through all succeeding genera- at this instant, the good man nerves tions. Now, at an advanced age, he himself to the highest point to strike must be tried—sorely tried. His faith successfully. " Behold! Abraham !" must be perfected, and perfected, too, calls out an angel, “ lay not thine hand by a test severer than any that ever upon the lad, for now I know that thou went before, or that should ever come fearest God, since thou hast not with. after. “Take now thy son, thine only held thy son, thine only son from him." son, Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get " I know thou fearest God," said the thee into the land Moriah, and offer angel. " 'Tis enough; thy faith is per
fected.” “Seest thou how faith wrought works, for as the body without the by works, and by works was faith spirit is dead, so faith without works made perfect?” The life of faith is is dead.
J. G. T.
SIMON PETER. SIMON PETER, an eminent apostle Christ, but it should be done with all of Jesus Christ, was a native of Beth- gentleness and affection. We should saida. His occupation was that of show a gentle spirit on all occasions, in fishing. Our Saviour saw that this ob- imitation of our divine model -- the scure fisherman would exercise great meek and lowly Jesus. courage and fortitude to preach the Peter was one of the three whom our gospel--to be a fisher of men. He was Saviour honored to witness his transone of the first whom our Lord called figuration on Mount Tabor, where he to be his follower. He gave him the had a foretaste of the glories of heaven. name of Cephas, or Peter, which means He saw his sufferings in the Garden of a stone — made him his apostle, and Gethsemane. He was with him when commissioned him to go and break he raised to life the daughter of Jairus ; down heathen superstition and Jewish and after being so highly favored by the bigotry—to proclaim the good news of Saviour, attending him through his salvation to all people. It appears from ministry on earth a witness to his reading the Acts of apostles, that Peter miracles—listening to his heavenly inwas a very bold character, and showed structions, and confessing him so boldly, great earnestness, zeal, love, and strong that he should have suffered the weakfaith in the Saviour that he was in- ness of his nature to overcome him so deed the Christ, the Son of the living much as to deny three times that he God, the Saviour of the world. He at- knew him! It was certainly a great tended him very often in his journey- infirmity in Peter; at a time, too, when ings about. Our Saviour seemed to his suffering Lord needed his smypathy. have a strong affection for Peter, and He should have kept close to him, inconferred on him many marks of favor. stead of following him afar off. When See how he loved the Saviour, and what our Saviour told him he would deny courage he showed when he walked on him, full of self-confidence, he would the liquid element to go to him. We not believe he would ever be guilty of think there are not many to be found such conduct, though all the rest among his followers who love him as should. How little do we know our Peter did — who are willing to make strength? After the third denial, Peter many sacrifices, and to practise much remembered the Saviour's words, and self-denial on his account, for the sake went out and wept bitterly. In deep of his holy cause which they advocate. anguish of soul he repented, and was That Peter walked on the water with restored. His faith in Jesus never Jesus must have strengthened his faith faltered again. After his resurrection, in him—that he was indeed the Christ, he appeared first to his penitent aposwho has power over all the work of his tle to encourage him, and gave him an hands, to calm the stormy billows by a opportunity to declare his love for him word, and make them submissive to his three times as often as he denied him, will. See the fervency of his love on then told him to feed his sheep. Alanother occasion : when they came to ways after that, Peter continued to be take the Saviour away, he thought he a very zealous and skilful fisher of men must resist them. He could not bear -suffering a great deal for his Divine to see him injured and badly treated. Master, whom he had so wickedly deIn the impulse of his feelings he cut off nied. Many allowances can be made for the ear of Malchus, a servant of the Peter, that cannot be made for us. High Priest. It is right for the follow- When he saw they were determined to ers of Christ to show their disapproval put the Saviour to death, not seeming of sin, even the very appearance of it. to understand his words, that he would They should have the boldness of Peter, rise again to set up a spiritual kingdom, to discountenance all such conduct as and that he would live and reign for will tend to bring a reproach on them ever-all his hopes left bim--he sank selves and others, to injure the cause of in despair-he was unmanned. Satan