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Of the Nature of FAITH
The first Sermon on this Text.
• HEB. XI. 6.
D EFORE I come to the Words
themselves, in order to our bet
ter understanding of them, we will take into consideration the Désign of this Epistle, that so we may fee more clearly the relation that these Words have to the foregoing Discourse. Who the Penman of this Epistle was
· i · B
m I shall not tell you, because I do not Volume know, nor is it much material to know XII. it; but whoever wrote it, he had this
very good Design in the writing of it, to perswade the Jews to hold fást thé Profession of the Gospel, 'notwithstanding all the Sufferings and Persecutions it exposed them to. And to this purpose he shews at large, what Prerogatives the Gospel hath above the legal Administration. The Law was given by the disposition of Angels, in the hand of a Mediator, that is, Moses: but the Gospel is revealed to us by the Son of God; a Person, not only above Moses, who was a meer man; but above Angels. The Gospel is the substance and reality of the Types and Ceremonies, and the very good things themselves, that were obfcurely represented by those Shadows.
It is a Testament establisht upon better. - Promises, the clear Promises of eternal-Life, which were but darkly re-:: vealed in the Old Testament, that being establish'd either solely or prina cipally upon temporal Promises: and it is a perfect and compleat Dispen- sation, that hath in it all things requifite to attain its end, and therefore
shall never stand in need of any far:
Now the Gospel having in these
Jeem to come his regt being letters therefore
Volume. After which he declares the danXII.
ger of Apostacy, or falling off from the Belief and Profession of the Gofpel which they had entertained ; v. 26. For if we fin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for fín. He tells them they would be Threwdly tempted to Apostacy by the Reproaches, Amictions and Perfecutions that they would meet withal : but the Promises of the Gospel were fufficient to support and bear up good men under these, if they were but firmly perswaded of the truth of them; and tho’ they did not for the present receive the things promised, yet a firm belief of them would carry them through all Sufferings, and make them hold out under them. The just shall, live by faith. v.38.
And having mention'd the power of Faith, that is, of a confident perswa-. sion of the truth and reality of the Promises of the Gospel to support. Men under Sufferings, he gives an account, how Faith uses to have this influence,
ver. 1. Faith is the substance of things so
oing Sermon "hoped for, so we render the word Utószó is : but it might be much better render'd, both according to the frequent use of it in the Septuagint, and in the New Testament, a confidence of things hoped for, that is, a confident expectation of things hoped for, or a firm perfwasion that our Hopes will not be frustrated. And as this is more agreeable to the Scope and Design of the Apostle, fo likewise to the common acceptation of this word in the New Testament, for which I will appeal to two places. 2 Cor. ix. 4. That we be not put to shame in this confidence of boasting, év v Á UTOOO a táuly. The other Text is in this Epist. Ch. iii. 14. That we hold fast the beginning of our confidence, την αρχήν υποσάσεως, which is of the very fame sense with nappnoia, at the 6th ver. If we hold fast the confidence παρρησίαν, and rejoycing of the hope firm unto the end. And the Evidence of things not seen, taeyza, the conviction,a being convinced, or perfwaded of the truth of those things, for which we have no occular or sensible demonstration. Now if Faith in the Promises of the Gospel do perswade us