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The World's Great Sermons, Volume 02 Hooker to South   By: (1868-1953)

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THE WORLD'S GREAT SERMONS, VOLUME II (of 10)

HOOKER TO SOUTH

COMPILED BY GRENVILLE KLEISER Formerly of Yale Divinity School Faculty; Author of "How to Speak in Public," Etc.

With Assistance from Many of the Foremost Living Preachers and Other Theologians

INTRODUCTION BY LEWIS O. BRASTOW, D.D. Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology in Yale University

IN TEN VOLUMES

HOOKER

THE ACTIVITY OF FAITH; OR, ABRAHAM'S IMITATORS

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Thomas Hooker, graduate and fellow of Cambridge, England, and practically founder of Connecticut, was born in 1586. He was dedicated to the ministry, and began his activities in 1620 by taking a small parish in Surrey. He did not, however, attract much notice for his powerful advocacy of reformed doctrine, until 1629, when he was cited to appear before Laud, the Bishop of London, whose threats induced him to leave England for Holland, whence he sailed with John Cotton, in 1633, for New England, and settled in Newtown, now Cambridge, Mass.

Chiefly in consequence of disagreements between his own and Cotton's congregation he, with a large following, migrated in 1636 to the Connecticut Valley, where the little band made their center at Hartford. Hooker was the inspirer if not the author of the Fundamental Laws and was of wide political as well as religious influence in organizing "The United Colonies of New England" in 1643 the first effort after federal government made on this continent. He was an active preacher and prolific writer up to his death in 1647.

HOOKER

1586 1647

THE ACTIVITY OF FAITH; OR, ABRAHAM'S IMITATORS

And the father of circumcision to them who are not of circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had, being yet uncircumcized . Romans iv., 12.

I proceed now to show who those are, that may, and do indeed, receive benefit as Abraham did. The text saith, "They that walk in the steps of that faith of Abraham:" that man that not only enjoyeth the privileges of the Church, but yieldeth the obedience of faith, according to the Word of God revealed, and walketh in obedience, that man alone shall be blest with faithful Abraham.

Two points may be here raised, but I shall hardly handle them both; therefore I will pass over the first only with a touch, and that lieth closely couched in the text.

That faith causeth fruitfulness in the hearts and lives of those in whom it is.

Mark what I say: a faithful man is a fruitful man; faith enableth a man to be doing. Ask the question, by what power was it whereby Abraham was enabled to yield obedience to the Lord? The text answereth you, "They that walk in the footsteps" not of Abraham, but "in the footsteps of the faith of Abraham." A man would have thought the text should have run thus: They that walk in the footsteps of Abraham. That is true, too, but the apostle had another end; therefore he saith, "They that walk in the footsteps of the faith of Abraham," implying that it was the grace of faith that God bestowed on Abraham, that quickened and enabled him to perform every duty that God required of him, and called him to the performance of. So that I say, the question being, whence came it that Abraham was so fruitful a Christian, what enabled him to do and to suffer what he did? surely it was faith that was the cause that produced such effects, that helped him to perform such actions. The point then you see is evident, faith it is that causeth fruit.

Hence it is, that of almost all the actions that a Christian hath to do, faith is still said to be the worker. If a man pray as he should, it is "the prayer of faith." If a man obey as he should, it is the obedience of faith. If a man war in the Church militant, it is "the fight of faith." If a man live as a Christian and holy man, he "liveth by faith." Nay, shall I say yet more, if he died as he ought, "he dieth by faith." "These all died in faith." What is that? The power of faith that directed and ordered them in the cause of their death, furnished them with grounds and principles of assurance of the love of God, made them carry themselves patiently in death... Continue reading book >>


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