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WAVERING IN FAITH.

(S. JOHN BAPTIST.)

BY REV. EDWIN C. COLLARD,

(Vicar of Alton Pancras, Dorset.)

S. MATT. XI. 3.

“ Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another ?

I. The very greatest of God's saints are but imperfect, feeble men. At times we see them wavering in their holy course ; nay, even falling into actual sin. We have many and notable instances of this in the word of God: Noah

gave way to excess; Abraham once was untruthful ; Isaac fell into the same sin; Jacob was again and again deceitful; Joseph was boastful; Moses rash in his speech; David an adulterer; and S. Peter a coward.

And in the text we have another instance of the same kind of thing. The words are some of those of John the Baptist; and they plainly show us that even the very herald of the LORD Jesus Christ was himself, at this time, feeble and wavering

No. 13.

Cyprus: Paul wended his way through Syria and Cilicia. Distressed for the loss of the other, no doubt, was each,—but lonely neither; for both had the same Rod and Staff to guide, support, and comfort them.

So be it with ourselves! Journey we on along the same pilgrim-path which was trodden by them : seek we Jerusalem together, if so it may be; and let no light matter separate us! But if so it may not be, then apart: but still be ever making towards Jerusalem. Follow we on, as Paul and Barnabas followed Christ, with stedfast resolves, and single hearts, praying evermore for light, and walking in what we believe to be the light; and in a little while, we shall find ourselves side by side once more,—“the blessed “ towers," and gates of pearl, it will be granted us to see; and hand in hand, and side by side, we shall enter the City “which hath founda“tions, whose Builder and Maker is God.”

WAVERING IN FAITH.

(S. JOHN BAPTIST.)

BY REV. EDWIN C. COLLARD,

(Vicar of Alton Pancras, Dorset.)

S. MATT. XI. 3.

“ Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another ?"*

I. The very greatest of God's saints are but imperfect, feeble men. At times we see them wavering in their holy course ; nay, even falling into actual sin. We have many and notable instances of this in the word of GOD: Noah gave way to excess; Abraham once was untruthful; Isaac fell into the same sin; Jacob was again and again deceitful; Joseph was boastful ; Moses rash in his speech; David an adulterer; and S. Peter a coward.

And in the text we have another instance of the same kind of thing. The words are some of those of John the Baptist; and they plainly show us that even the very herald of the LORD Jesus Christ was himself, at this time, feeble and wavering

No. 13.

in faith. From his prison house, sorrow stricken and unrelieved, he sent two of his disciples to Christ with this sad, desponding question, "Art “thou He that should come, or do we look for 6 another ?" In his solitude, and removed from the bustle and life of his ministry, he seems for a time, at least, to have become a prey to doubts. Perhaps he had expected to be saved from his prison and sufferings by Messiah.

But alas, though week after week passed by, no sign of relief came to him. There neglected, seemingly forgotten, he lingers on still. Is it wonderful, then, that at length his faith shonld in some degree waver, that the thought should pass through his mind, can this Jesus be the promised One; and that in such a frame of mind he should send two disciples with the sorrowful, doubting enquiry, "Art thou He that should come, or do 66 we look for another?” As much as to say, “O send me some sign, or, at least, give me Thy

assurance, that Thou art the Messiah that 66 should come.”

The faith of the first Elijah once for a time was feeble, and he bitterly cried, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” Is it strange, then, that the faith of the second Elijah, tried even more sorely, should fail him too, and he should doubtingly ask, “Art thou He that should come,

or do we look for another?”

Again and again, the first Elijah was comforted by the words of an angel. Is it strange, then, that the second should need the strengthening assurance and the solemn warning conveyed back to him by his chosen two.

II. I know well that sometimes this enquiry of the Baptist is otherwise explained. It is said that these disciples were sent by him, not for his own sake but for theirs, to strengthen and confirm their faith in Christ.

But such an explanation is alike unreal, and unborne out by the Scripture narrative.

It is unreal, for it is very hard to conceive the bold, outspoken Baptist going so indirect a way to accomplish a purpose.

It is unborne out by the Scripture narrative, as there is not one single incident mentioned, which supports it.

The other view, however, that the Baptist's faith did for a time actually waver, is both natural, as we have already seen, and further is borne out by various circumstances mentioned in the

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