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May Almighty God, of his great mercy, be pleased, not only to give us a right judgment in all things, but also to incline our hearts, that we may continue in firm faith and uniform obedience to his Commandments even unto our life's end!

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SERMON VII.

LUKE xvii. 5.

And the Apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

IN a country where the people in general profess themselves to be Christians, it is a very common thing to suppose that there can be no great deficiency of faith. The very name of Christian implies a number of articles of belief in which all are conceived to agree, if not exactly, yet nearly So. It may seem, therefore, surprising, that so much should be said, both in the Old and New Testament, concerning the importance and necessity of faith; also, that so much should be said in disapprobation of the prevalency of a want of faith. Our Lord, in the very next verse to the text, tells his disciples that they had not faith so

much as a grain of mustard-seed; and that this want of faith was the reason why their powers for the discharge of their ministry were so much contracted.

Whoever reads the Old Testament with any degree of attention, must be struck with the perpetual complaints of the sacred writers of the unbelief of mankind. How very little effect had the most signal miracles on the minds of the ancient world, and especially of the ancient Jews, with whose history we are so well acquainted! The most unexceptionable appeals to their senses had very little effect in producing any permanent conviction. The plagues of Egypt; the extraordinary deliverance of the Israelites; the waters of the Red Sea standing on a heap on both sides, and the dry land left in the middle; the returning of the waters upon their infatuated followers, Pharaoh, and his chariots and horses; then the feeding of the people, day by day, both with bread and meat; and their miraculous deliverances from the want of water to drink, and from the poisonous bites of the serpents-how very soon were all these gracious tokens of God's regard and compassion absolutely lost upon that hard-hearted

and stiff-necked generation! Lastly, when they had obtained the promised land, and God had caused the wicked inhabitants to flee before them, like chaff before the wind, how very soon did they become faithless, and were again besotted with idolatry!

It cannot be without design that so much is said in our Bibles concerning unbelief. It is, no doubt, for the purpose of more effectually awakening our minds to a sense of this our evil propensity; and I therefore think we are very well employed, when we look over our Bibles with an especial view to this point, and contemplate gravely the numerous instances there recorded of the sad effects of unbelief.

You observe, that it was through unbelief that sin made its very first entrance into the world. Our great female ancestor, Eve, did not believe the threatening, "Ye shall die. .... In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt die." How very easily did the serpent persuade her to break 'the solemn command of God! She had no one thing to set against the express command of God, except the impudent representation of the serpent, that God had deceived the man and the woman;

that He knew they would not die, but become wiser by eating of that fruit. And, what I think is very remarkable in this most important event, it took place while the minds of our first parents were in a state of innocence. Then it was that sin entered the world, and death by sin. It took place at a time when the general propensity was to good, and not after that propensity had changed and shewn its evil tendency. The sad event

of breaking the only law of restraint which God had made, had the effect of breaking up the communion between the Creator and the creature, The holy Creator drove the miserable creature, as soon as he had sinned, out of the garden of Paradise. A holy God could no longer hold communion, no longer preserve harmony, with his disobedient creature,

Brethren, after much thinking, I find it impossible to explain distinctly how an innocent being, created with good propensities, should have been induced to forget the Lord his God, and eat the forbidden fruit; but I observe the important fact

-the fact, too, so very material to my present subject that the disobedience of Eve arose from unbelief. Eve did not believe that God would do,

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