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it is to fight for the truth; for the honour of God; for everlasting life; to strive for the noblest prize; to wear celestial armour; to have free access to that Tree, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations, and which heal every wound upon the immediate application; to fight with the Captain at our side, and to be sure of the victory.
It were in vain to seek to escape from the condition of our place in the dominions of God. A mind of wandering and melancholy thought, impatient of the grievous realities of our state, may at some moments almost breathe the wish that we had been a different order of beings, in another dwelling place than this, and appointed on a different service to the Almighty. In vain! Here still we are, to pass the first part of our existence in a world where it is impossible to be at peace, because there has come into it a mortal enemy to all that live in it. Amidst the darkness that veils from us the state of the universe, we would willingly be persuaded that this our world may be the only region (except that of penal justice), where the cause of evil is permitted to maintain a contest. Here, perhaps, may be almost its last encampment, where its prolonged power of hostility may be suffered, in order to give a protracted display of the manner of its appointed destruction. Here our lot is cast, on a ground so awfully preoccupied ; a calamitous distinction ! but yet a sublime one, if thus we may render to the Eternal King a service of a more arduous kind than it is possible to the inhabitants of any other world than this to render him; and if thus we may be trained, through devotion and conformity to the Celestial Chief in this warfare, to the final attainment of what he has promised, in so many illustrious forms, to him that overcometh. We shall soon leave the region where so much is in rebellion against our God. But we shall go where all that pass from our world must present themselves as from battle, or be denied to mingle in the eternal joys and triumphs of the conquerors.
METHOD OF LIVING BY FAITH.
When a truth has fully received the sanction of the judgment, the second office of faith is, by attention and conception, to keep it habitually before the mind, so that it may produce its proper influence upon the character. This is to live by faith ; and in this consists that operation of the great principle which effectually distinguishes it from all pretended feelings and impressions assuming its name. We speak, in common language, of a head-knowledge which does not affect the heart; and of a man who is sound in his creed, while he shows little of its influence upon his conduct. The mental condition of such a man presents a subject of intense interest. His alleged belief, it is probable, consists merely in words, or in arguing ingeniously on points to which he attaches no real value. These may have been impressed upon him by education; they may constitute the creed of a party to which he has devoted himself; and he may argue in support of them with all the energy of party zeal. In the same manner, a man may contend warmly in favour of compassion whose conduct shows a cold and barren selfishness; but this is not benevolence; and the other is not faith. Both are empty professions of a belief in certain truths, which have never fixed themselves in the mind 80 as to become regulating principles or moral causes in the mental constitution. We may in. deed suppose another character, slightly removed from this, in which the truths have really received the approbation of the judgment, and yet fail to produce their proper influence. This arises from distorted moral habits, and a vitiated state of the moral faculties, which have destroyed the healthy balance of the whole economy of the mind. The consequence is, that the man perceives and approves of truths, without feeling their tendencies, and without manifesting their power:
latimately connected with this subject, also, is a remarkable principle in our mental constitution, -namely, the relation between certain facts or truths, and certain moral emotions which naturally arise from them, according to the chain of sequences which has been establislied in the economy of the mind. A close connexion thus exists between our intellectual habits and our moral feelings which leads to consequences of the utmost practical moment. . Though we have little immediate voluntary power over our moral emotions, we have a power over the intellectual prom cesses with which these are associated. We can direct the mind to truths, and we can cherish trains of thought, which are calculated to produce correct moral feelings; and we can avoid or banish mental images or trains of thought which have an opposite tendency. This is the power over the succession of our thoughts, the due exercise of which forms so important a feature of a well-regulated mind in regard to intellectual culture ; its influence upon us as moral beings is of still higher and more vital importance.
The sound exercise of that mental condition which we call Faith consists, therefore, in the reception of certain truths by the judgment,—the proper direction of the attention to their moral tendencies,--and the habitual influence of them upon the feelings and the conduct. When the sacred writers tell us that, without faith it is impossible to please God,—and when they speak of a man being saved by faith,—it is not to a mere admission of certain truths as a part of his creed that they ascribe consequences so important; but to a state in which these truths are uniformly followed out to certain results which they are calculated to produce, according to the usual course of sequences in every sound mind. This principle is strikingly illustrated by one of these writers, by reference to a simple narrative. During the invasion of Canaan by the armies of Israel, two men were sent forward as spies to bring a report concerning the city of Jericho. The persons engaged in this mission were received in a friendly manner by a woman whose house was. upon the wall of the city ; when their presence was discovered, she hid them from their pursuers ; and finally enabled them to escape by letting them down by a cord from a window. Before taking leave of them, she expressed her firm conviction that the army to which they belonged was soon to take possession of Jericho, and of the whole country ; and she made them swear to her, that, when this should take place, they would show mercy to her father's house. The engagement was faithfully fulfilled. When the city
was taken, and the other inhabitants destroyed, the woman was preserved, with all her kindred. In this very simple occurrence, the woman is represented by the sacred writer as having been saved by faith. The object of her faith was the event which she confidently expected,—that the city of Jericho was to be destroyed. The ground of her faith was the rapid manner in which the most powerful nations had already fallen before the armies of Israel,- led, as she believed, by a divine power. Acting upon this conviction, in the manner in which a belief so deeply affecting her personal safety was likely to influence any sound mind, she took means for her preservation by making friends of the spies. Her faith saved her, because without it she would not have made this provision ; but, unless she had followed out her belief to the measure which was calculated to effect this object, the mere belief of the event would have availed her nothing. When we therefore ascribe important results to faith, or to any
other mental operation, we ascribe them, not to the operation itself, but to this followed out to the consequences which it naturally produces according to the constitution of the human mind. In the same manner, we may speak of one man in a certain state of danger or difficulty being saved by his wisdom, and another by his strength. In doing so, we ascribe such results, not to the mere possession of these qualities, but to the efforts which naturally arose from them in the circumstances in which the individual was placed. And when the inspired writer says, that without faith it is impossible to please God, he certainly refers to no mere mental impression, and to no barren system of opinions ; but to the