Excerpt from These Three: A Sermon Preached at Woodbury, Conn., On Occasion of Its Bi-Centennial Celebration, July 5, 1859
It serves the important purpose of introducing us Within the circle of divine grace; leads us to an apprehension of the hope of eternal life set before us in Christ Jesus; brings us within reach of the promised salvation which grace provides, and nerves the soul to lay hold upon and appropriate it. Both in its nature and in its function, faith is inferior and subordinate to charity. As an instrumentality it brings us to the law of our filial duty, while charity embraces it - for love is the fulfilling of the law. The simple exercise of faith brings us to Christ: The operation of love makes us like Christ, conforming us unto His image inrighteousness and true holiness. Thus with charity abideth faith: but greater than faith is charity.
Let us not be understood in this connection, as seeking or de siring in anywise to lower the due estimate of faith: we are far enough from that. We acknowledge and accredit it, as the initial doctrine in the scheme of divine grace - the condition upon which our justification before God depends and hinges. With out faith it is impossible to please Him. It is only through faith in the atonement effected by Christ, that we can look for any lasting benefit to accrue to us from His mediation.
We are, indeed, (as the Apostle says, and repeats, ) saved by grace. But that grace of God which bringeth salvation can only reach us through faith It is the appointed medium the way and means through which we fall in with the gracious plan of God concerning us, and work out our own salvation.
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