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of Christ, we must go on unto perfection, not resting in that which is but the foundation, repentance from dead works, and faith towards God, but we must shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end, that through faith and patience we may inherit the promises.” Thus is it we are to proceed from faith to faith, from knowledge and confession of the mercies of God, to their practical influence over our hearts, that we may so believe as to render our belief the moving principle of all our thoughts and actions, A mere professional belief, the mere repetition and acknowledgment of the truths of the creed—what can it avail us? Is there any one, my Christian brethren, among us, who believes such to be the faith of the Scriptures ? if such there be, the very first principle of Gospel truth has not yet been laid in his heart. I believe-you will perhaps say, All the truths of the Gospel have been acknowledged by me from my infancy; is not such an acknowledgment faith? Yes,
that elementary faith which the apostle speaks of, when he says we must proceed from faith to faith. Such is that faith which St. James also speaks of, in words well worthy our attention : “ Thou believest, thou doest well; the devils also believe.” But do they believe to any good purpose ? has such a belief any saving influence ? No: they believe what they cannot deny; they believe and tremble. Let us learn to make this belief the stepping-stone to our further advancement; let us proceed from faith to faith, adopting the words of Christ's trembling disciple, “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.” Thus by daily improvement in holiness, by prayer, by anxious study of God's revealed word, as a work not of a day, or an hour, but as the most important labour of our lives, shall we attain to that saving faith, which shall be unto us the power of God unto salvation ; we shall learn justly to appreciate our own situation, and the mercy and long-suffering of God; we shall know the nature of
our own imperfect services, and the efficacy of that saving faith in the sacrifice of the Son of God, by which alone even the just shall live.
Romans, 11. 28, 29.
“ He is not a Jew which is one outwardly : 'neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh.
“ But he is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”
THERE is no part of the Scriptures which will be read with deeper interest than the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans. It is a train of such close and convincing reasoning, and such interesting questions are therein debated, that it is impossible any attentive reader can hurry over it without pausing to consider the arguments of the apostle, or feeling the forcible manner in which many of them appeal to him. It is an easy transition from the Jew of the
apostle's time to the Christian of the
present: nor is it unnatural; for we who were not a people, are taught by the Scriptures now to consider ourselves the Israel of God. It was to those who were the Israel of God these expostulations were addressed : we may easily then transfer the interest to ourselves; nor shall we unprofitably examine the rebukes and argumients addressed to those who thus in olden time were our representatives. In order to this I propose to your consideration the contents of the second chapter of this Epistle. The first chapter having fully explained the state of those who lived without the law,—that is, of the Gentiles, who had merely their own reason and philosophy to direct them,—and the monstrous errors into which they had run, the apostle contrasts their situation with that of the Jews, and turning on those who had gone along with him in pointing out and decrying the wickedness of the Gentiles, proceeds to examine in what those are superior who are thus ready to condemn the