The life of those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High may be called a Hidden Life, because the animating principle, the vital or operative element, is not so much in itself as in another. It is a life grafted into another life. It is the life of the soul, incorporated into the life of Christ; and in such a way, that, while it has a distinct vitality, it has so very much in the sense, in which the branch of a tree may be said to have a distinct vitality from the root.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Faith Revives All the Christian Graces

Those, who are familiar with the life of Rev. Richard Baxter, a man not more eminent for personal piety than for abundant religious labors, will recollect, that he was sometimes tempted in a remarkable manner by doubts in relation to the Bible and some of the leading truths contained in it. These trials naturally led him to reflect upon the nature of faith and its relation to other Christian graces. In connection with a temptation to unbelief, such as has been referred to, he remarks as follows: “From this assault, I was forced to take notice, that our belief of the truth of the Word of God and of the life to come is the spring of all grace; and with which it rises or falls, flourishes or decays, is actuated or stands still; and that there is more of this secret unbelief at the bottom, than most of us are aware of; and that our love of the world, our boldness in sin, our neglect of duty, are caused hence. I easily observed in myself, that, if at any time, Satan, more than at other times, weakened my belief of Scripture and of the life to come, my zeal in every religious duty abated with it, and I grew more indifferent in religion than before.” “But when,” he adds, “FAITH REVIVED, then none of the parts or concerns of religion seemed small; and then man seemed nothing, and the world a shadow, and God was all.”

We close these remarks with referring to a few familiar passages. “Behold, his soul, which is lifted up, is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk  2:3.—“And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye, that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, according to your faith be it unto you;” Matthew 9:28, 29.—It is said of Barnabas, that “he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith;” Acts 11:24.—“Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God;” Romans 5: 1, 2.—“Therefore we are always confident, knowing, that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; for we walk by faith, and not by sight;” 2nd Corinthians 5:6, 7.—“The life, which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me;” Galatians 2:20.—“But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, is evident; for the just shall live by faith.” Galatians 3:11.—“For whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world; and this is the victory, that overcometh the world, even our faith; 1 John 5:4.—The Apostle, speaking of the ancient saints, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Sarah, says, that “these all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off; and were persuaded of them and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13.

— edited from The Life of Faith (1852) Part 1, Chapter 5.

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