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From the views already exhibited, it may be feen, that the whole gofpel fystem is a fyftem of faith; and, whether we look back to the glory which Christ had with the Father before the world was, or confider the present difpenfations of the divine will, or look forward to the glory which believers will enjoy with Christ in his heavenly kingdom, we fee the whole comprifed in faith, or the unchangeable truth of the eternal convention between the Father and Son.
The fubftance of things, which is the ultimate object of the believer's hope, is expressed in the fcriptures by a great variety of names, all which are wifely chofen and best calculated to reprefent its divine nature and adorable properties. Because it is a frame of things, and a work most fkilfully devised and wrought, it is called a building. We have a building of God, an houfe not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Because of its fullness, authority and ministrations, it is called a kingdom.-Come ye blefed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Becaufe of its fecurity, focial order and its being founded in a compact, it is called a city.--For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whofe builder and maker is God. Becaufe of its holiness, and being the habitation of God, and the home and dwelling place of the faints, it is called the fanctuary, and true tabernacle which the Lord pitched. Because it adorns, covers, and gives a character to its proprietor, it is called a garment and robe.-What are thefe
which are arrayed in white robes? Because of its felicities, fpiritual power, and incorruptable nature, it is called life and immortality. -Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gofpel. Becaufe the whole work is perfect, according to the rule of the perfect will of God, and guilty finners find a perfect standing with God, in believing the report of it in the gofpel, it is called righteoufnefs.-Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteouf nefs. And because it exifts in covenant truth and righteoufnefs, and is evidenced in the word of God and teftimony of Jefus Chrift, and thereby is anticipated in the minds of believers, and refted upon as their hope and portion, it is called faith. All this is the fubftance of things hoped for.
This fubftance, infinitely rich! bestowed upon believers of free grace, is the reason and ground of their juftification; hence it is faid, that God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city.To be juftified by the faith of Christ, and, to be juftified by the righteoufnefs of Chrift, mean the fame thing." Faith is taken for "Chrift and his righteoufnefs, in all thofe paffages where we are faid to be juftified by faith." (Cruden.)" Accordingly," fays Dr. Guyfe," "to be juftified by the faith of Christ, and to be juftified by Chrift, are "ufed as terms of the fame import." And as faith is the fubftance of things hoped for; or, as all thofe things, exifting in the covenant truth of Chrift, are fummed up and exprefs
ed by the word faith; fo, also, they are fummed up and expreffed by the word righteoufnefs. Thus it is faid of the city, the holy Jerufalem, which believers look for, and on account of which, it being prepared for them, God is not afhamed to be called their God, Jer. xxxiii. 16. And this is the name wherewith fhe fhall be called, The Lord our Righte oufness.
In this view, we contemplate the merit of faith; it is a princely eftate!-Confidered as the fubftance of things, it appears fufficient to give its poffeffors, whoever they may be, the highest and most honorable standing; and to the account of which alone, all the distinguifhing honors and glories of the faints, through time and eternity, is to be placed.Should we fee a man refpectfully noticed by the prefident, governor, or prince of a great people, we might enquire for the reafon of fuch honor; and fhould it be answered, that he is a man of fcience, or one in high office, or that he is rich, and has at command great funds, the answer would fatisfy us. We perceive that these things have weight and influence among men,-Abraham was called the friend of God, and the reafon is clearly affigned, he had faith. And this is a property fo fubstantial, the evidence of it is a fcience fo divine, and to teach it to the world is an office fo dignified, that we perceive it is a matter, altogether, to have weight with the eternal God.
The unbelieving world have often been offended at the distinguifhing names given
to believers, as Saints, Friends, and Children of God; but when those things which God, has prepared and laid up for them that love him are fully disclosed, now foon to take place, it will appear to all, that their honors are meetly bestowed, even the unknown honors of that day. It will then be seen, that the faith of God, as being the fubstance of things, has in itself an excellence and merit to raise the believer above the heavens, to justify him standing at God's right hand, and to glorify him upon the throne of the eternal Son.
From the views we have taken of the na, ture of the divine will, it appears that there is a heaven, a kingdom, &c. which belongs to the effential glory of God; and is infeparable from his eternal power and Godhead. These things, therefore, which believers hope for, and on account of which they are juftified, are wrought in God, and compofe his divinity; fo that, being juftified by faith, the ground of their juftification is none other than God himself. The hope of believers is raifed by nothing lefs than the promises which God made unto their Father Abraham, which are all comprised in this, I will be a God unto thee, and to thy feed after thee. All the exceeding great and precious promifes, are fummed up in this promife of himself. This is the fubftance of things hoped for—our life is hid with Chrift in God.
In the new heaven and new earth, which believers, according to the promife, look for, and where all their hopes will be fatisfied,
this promife will be perfectly fulfilled, and God himself fhall be with them, and be their God. Who fhall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that juftifieth! And not only are they justified by him, as being himself their judge; but also, It is God that juftifieth, as being himself their righteousness.
Section 2. Faith, the Evidence of Things not feen.
The evidence of things not feen, which is the word of promife and gofpel of our Lord Jefus Chrift, together with the fubftance of things hoped for, is taken into the definition of faith; for the fubftance of things, all the treasures of the kingdom of heaven, even God himself, are invested in the gospel promife; which, therefore, represents truly the fubftance of things hoped for.
The promife of God in Chrift Jefus, is of the nature of a bond; and it is given, in good faith, to the full amount of this infinite fubftance; and the whole inheritance of the Father is infallibly holden by it. For men verily fwear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all ftrife, Wherein God, willing more abundantly to fhew unto the heirs of promife the immutability of his counfel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impoffble for God to lie, we might have frong confo lation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold up