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the world? They concluded that it must be so, and believed at her saying.
This is the foundation of all faith in Christ. It is far from being all that is meant by “receiving Him and believing in his name:" but it is the needful basis on which all future faith may stand. We believe that a Saviour of the world had been promised ; had been foretold by prophets ; had been prefigured by types ; had been expected by devout men ; and at last appeared in man's nature about eighteen hundred years ago. We believe that He did many miracles ; healed the sick, restored the dead ; taught an excellent doctrine, exhorted sinners to repent; suffered death upon the cross, but rose again from the tomb, and ascended to the place which He had left in the bosom of the Father. This we believe-on the report of others—on the , report of those who lived at that time, and witnessed these things. They delivered these facts to their children and contemporaries ; these handed them down to the generation that came after; and in this way they have always been believed by Christians, who could not possibly know the facts in any other manner, unless the Christ were to
appear in every age. It was thus with the Samaritans. They believed first on the woman's report. They could not have known, for themselves, whether Jesus had declared to her the secret actions of her life. But she assured them so, and they believed her.
Now this is the sort of faith in which the inhabitants of a Christian country grow up. They know that they have been baptized in the name of Jesus. They know the principal circumstances of his life. They know that he suffered death
the cross ; and they have a vague idea that his death was a great benefit to mankind.
Such is the belief of children ; and the belief of many who are no longer children goes no farther. The belief which they have is good, though not sufficient. They must believe that “the Word was made
flesh, and dwelt among us ;" that He “ died for our sins, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures. And these things they can only believe on the testimony of those who witnessed them. If the people here had not attended to their countrywoman, saying, Come, and see a man, who told me all things that ever I did, they would never have heard Him for themselves at all.
But still we must bear in mind that this is only the beginning of that faith, by which, “ being justified, we have peace with God." A person may believe all this, and feel no doubt of its truth :' and yet may be no way influenced by it in his heart and life. It is the same with belief in the existence of God. How few are found ready to deny that “there is one God !" And yet how few live as if they believed it, and either love, or fear, or reverence, or obey Him? Nothing is more easy, and nothing more common, than to believe that Jesus was sent from God ; that He was “approved as such by signs and wonders and mighty deeds,” that He most unjustly suffered a cruel death :-and yet to have none of that faith by which men are justified before God; and of which Jesus so frequently declared, “ Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”
It is one thing to know a man to be an excellent physician; it is another thing to apply to him, and follow his counsel. So it is one thing to believe in the history of Jesus, as related in the Bible : and another thing to rely on him as “the Christ, the Saviour of the world," by whom alone we obtain health or salvation,
But to this real and justifying faith the Samaritans proceeded, being led on to it by their own inquiry and experience. Now we believe, not for thy saying ; for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. On the testimony which the woman gave, they had besought Him that He would tarry with them. And He abode there two days.
į See 1 Cor, xy, 3, 4,
? See Jamos ji. 19.
And during those two days, though his discourses are not preserved, we may feel sure what their subject was. He would tell them, that, “except they repent, they must all perish.” But that they need not perish. “For God had sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” “ He that believeth on Him is not condemned, but hath everlasting life.” These things He was often repeating, and those to whom He addressed them, cavilled at his words: or went back, and walked no more with Him.” But here was more of that “honest and good heart,” which the Lord opens, , so that it “understands the things that are spoken.' So that many believed because of his word: and said, We have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
And all must be able to affirm the same, who have any Scriptural right to peace or hope as being “reconciled to God ” through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” They must have understood the description of Christ as suited to themselves, and the promises of Christ as offered to themselves. In infancy they had been enrolled within his covenant : in their youth they had named the name of Christ, and believed on their parent's word, or their country's creed. But now they have sought further, and learnt more, and themselves discovered that this is indeed the Christ. They can assume the language of the Apostle, “I know in whom I have believed, and that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him unto the great day."
Let none rest, till they can say this in their own persons, as the feeling of their own hearts. an entrance shall be ministered unto them into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour."
6. For so 6. For as 1 Rom. y. 19; 1 Cor. xv. 22.
FAITH IN CHRIST DECLARED TO BE THE WORK REQUIRED
JOHN vi. 29.
29. “ Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that
believe on Him whom He hath sent.'
A PLAIN and obvious reply, suited to the inquirers of every age.
You desire to do the works of God ;-to fulfil that which he expects of you. This is as it should be, that the creature should perform the work assigned him by his Creator. Nor is that work doubtful. He hath sent his message ; He has commissioned his own Son to deliver it ; and He requires you to believe Him.
“ This is his commandment, that ye should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ." This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.
As this is a sentence not belonging to the Jews alone, but to all whom the sound of the gospel reaches, it is right to stop awhile and inquire, whether we in this respect are working the works of God. Do we believe on Him whom He hath sent ?
He came to tell us, that in ourselves, and our natural condition, we are lost : lost through that sin which Adam brought upon the world, and of which he bequeathed to his posterity both the guilt and the penalty. 66 For in Adam all die." By one man's disobedience many were made sinners."
He came to tell us, that by the blood which He shed upon the cross, the ransom which He paid there, the sacrifice He then offered,—this sin has been atoned for, this guilt may be taken away, and the sinner restored to the favour of his God. 6. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.'' by one man's disobedience many were made sinners,
so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
He came to tell us, that this atonement is imparted, this benefit made over to those who receive its Author for what He was sent to be : receive Him in the affection and devotion of their hearts as the Redeemer by whom their souls are ransomed, are made acceptable to God, and endowed with everlasting life. As was declared in the last chapter, (v. 24,) “ He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation ; but is passed from death unto life.”
He came to tell us, that “ every man who hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as He is pure ;" is“ renewed in the spirit of his mind;" “ mortifies his members which are upon the earth ;” and gives all diligence that he may not be idle, nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, but may “be fruitful in every good work, unto all well-pleasing, being filled with the fruits of the Spirit, which are to the glory and praise of God.”
This He reveals : to the truth of this revelation God the Father hath set his seal: and to believe this, is the work which He would have us to do.
To the question, then, which an awakened mind is anxiously led to ask, How shall I be reconciled to God, and live more conformably to his will ?—to this question it would not be a proper reply to say, in the first place, “ Do justice, love mercy;" “ give alms of thy goods ;” “ keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips that they speak no guile.” These, indeed, are the works of God, the works which He requires : but the first thing that He requires is, that we believe on Him whom He hath sent : and then go forth in the spirit of that faith, and in obedience to his word, to walk before Him in righteousness and holiness. It is only through that faith that God will receive our works :