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Christainty

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Christainty

THIS terrible sentence was uttered by our Lord in his last interview with His disciples before He ascended to heaven. It is a fearful utterance when properly considered in its relations and bearings. Paul says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God," and again, "He who comes to God must believe" (Heb. 11: 6). The Lord says, "He who believes not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him" (John 3: 35). We learn from Rom. 5: 1 that justification is by faith. It is a matter of profound gratification, that, in the midst of the confusion, misunderstanding, and mysticisms of these times, there are some important points on which all are agreed. One thing in which all are agreed is that there can be no justification or spiritual life without faith. No man can come to God, please God, or be accepted of God without faith. Without faith, no man can be saved from his sins now, nor from eternal condemnation in the world to come. The condemnation of heaven rests on the man who believes not. This is stated in the Scriptures as clearly as language can make it. It is a matter settled and agreed to by all who receive the Bible.

If, then, it is settled, that a man can not be saved unless he believes, a question of momentous importance rises. That question is, "What must we believe?" This question contains the theme for the present discourse. It is useless to perplex our minds about the question whether justification is by faith alone, or by faith and something else combined, till we settle the one about what we must believe. This lies at the [39] foundation. It is the first matter to be settled. We can take no other step correctly, do no other thing acceptably, nor please God at all till we believe. Nor is the question, What must we believe to become a Quaker, a Shaker, a Romanist, a Unitarian, or a Universalist. What a man must believe to become one of these, or one of a hundred more similar to them, is a matter of no consequence compared with the question, What must a man believe to be justified before God? This is the great question among those now agitating the minds of men. Among all the beliefs of our time, there is but one through which sinners can be justified and saved in the sight of God. Among all the questions of our day, there is none of the same importance with the one, What is the belief without which the soul of the sinner can not be saved at all? This is the great question. If this can not be settled, and that, too, without ground for a doubt, it is useless to proceed to discuss others. We must live in doubt and die in despair. But, thanks to our heavenly Father, it can be settled. By His blessing, it shall be settled in this discourse.

The inquiry is not what it would be well to believe, or what it would be better to believe than something else; nor what it would be respectable or popular to believe, but what is it that a man must believe, or be condemned--lost for ever?

No doubt, many look on this question as so plain and easy that it is useless to discuss it. True, it is so plain that all ought to understand it; yet many do not. Many of the fashionable and educated, in the highest circles of life, who go to and belong to church, could not tell what they believe if it were to save them from perdition. A reason why such can not tell what they believe is, that they do not believe any thing. They are simply non-believers. It is a fact, that a large number go into a church, commit themselves to the church, without ever reading, or hearing read, the creed, and utterly without knowing what is in the creed. It is useless for these to talk about faith, their creed, or any other creed. They know what church they have joined, [40] but know not what is in the creed, or what is the belief of their church. Faith has nothing to do with the action of such people. All creeds are the same to them. They know nothing of what is in any of them. They have started out with the popular idea, that "there is good and bad in all churches; that all ought to belong to some church, but it is no difference what church, 'if the heart is right.'" They have fallen in love with some church because of its fine organ, delightful music, pleasant minister, fine house, respectable members, or their special associates being there, and not on account of any creed or any belief, for they know nothing of any creed and have no belief. They simply know that they belong to a different church from some of their neighbors, but do not know what the difference is. They are deceived, thinking that they are believers, when they not only believe nothing themselves, but do not know what a man should believe to become a Christian.

A Calvinist and an Arminian can not fellowship each other, because the one is a Calvinist and the other is an Arminian. The one holds the five points of

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