Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
That in Hebrews it is the general idea of faith, or, to be more exact, the subjective nature of faith, that is dwelt upon, rather than its specific object, is not due to a peculiar conception of what faith lays hold upon, but to the particular task which fell to its writer in the work of planting Christianity in the world. With him, too, the person and work of Christ are the specific object of faith (13:7, 8; 3:14; 10:22). But the danger against which, in the providence of God, he was called upon to guard the infant flock, was not that it should fall away from faith to works, but that it should fall away from faith into despair.
What is faith?—It is that feeling or faculty within us by which the future becomes to our minds greater than the present; and what we do not see more powerful to influence us than what we do see.
Faith, in the N.T., is applied solely to the exercise of the mind on the divine testimony. It denotes a reliance on the veracity and faithfulness of God,—his veracity respecting the truth of what he has affirmed, his faithfulness in the accomplishment of what he has promised.
Faith substantiates and realizes, evidences and demonstrates those glorious objects, so far above the reach and sphere of sense. It is constantly sent out to forage in the invisible regions for the maintenance of this life, and thence fetches in the provisions upon which hope feeds, to the strengthening of the heart, the renewing of life and spirits.
It is faith alone that takes believers out of this world whilst they are in it, that exalts them above it whilst they are under its rage; that enables them to ...1
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