תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

“ Abraham, when he was called to go out into a “place which he should after receive for an “ inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not “knowing whither he went." And so with all the holy men of old—“ These all died in faith, “ not having received the promises, but having

seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them "and embraced them, and confessed that they “were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” A special blessing is promised by our Lord to those who have not seen, and yet have believed.

Now, my brethren, are you in the way to gain this blessing? Have you faith? Are you passing through life as seeing Him Who is invisible ? as men who look not at the things which are seen, which are temporal, but at the things which are not seen, which are eternal? Faith is behaving and acting as if we really saw and heard what is hidden from our bodily senses, but revealed to us by God in His Word and through His Church. For instance, see how differently people behave themselves in public worship! Some are reverent, some are irreverent. Some are evidently trying to join heart and soul in the worship of God, some are as evidently thinking of other things. Some kneel at prayer, and repeat the responses,

others sit at ease and seldom or never open their lips. Some enter and leave the House of God humbly and thoughtfully,while others do not enter till the last minute or hurry in after the service has begun, their manner shewing that they look upon the place as no holier than a common dwellinghouse, and they hasten out again as soon as they can when the service ends. Now what makes this difference between the manner and behaviour of different members of the congregation?

Simply this—some believe the promise of our Lord, “where two or three are gathered together “ in My Name, there am I in the midst of them," while others believe it not. Some by faith realise that they are in the House of God and worship Jesus as if they really saw Him present in their midst; they try to behave as they would do if they did see Him, knowing that although their eyes are holden that they cannot see Him, He is just as really present as if He were visibly before then. The others, because they cannot see Him, are careless and indevout, and would be more openly irreverent were they not restrained by some respect for the clergyman and their fellowmen whom they can see. It is the same with all other religious acts, private prayer, Holy Com

munion, hearing or reading God's Word, these are reverently and devoutly performed or not, according as men believe or disbelieve the unseen. The man who believes, prays as speaking to God, realises that God is listening to him; he prepares for Holy Communion as one who knows that he is going to be the guest of the Lord of Heaven and earth, and behaves himself there as one who is feasting at God’s board; he reads or hears the Bible as the voice of God speaking to him, and listens to sermons as God's message by His ambassadors. But it is not only in the house of God and while engaged in devotional acts, that the believer's conduct is influenced by his faith in the realities of the unseen world. In his daily life, in common place every day duties and pleasures, he keeps, or strives to keep, a continual sense of the presence of God. Whatever he does, he does it “heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” Whether he eats or drinks, or whatsoever he does, he does all to the glory of God, at least, this is his aim and desire. This is the true meaning of the text, “ The just shall live by his faith.” His faith affects his whole life. He walks by faith, not by sight.

Now, faith, remember, is the gift of God. “ All

66

“men have not faith.” No man has it naturally.

' Our fallen nature is opposed to faith. Our pride rebels against the idea of trusting in another, and inclines us to trust in ourselves. We are naturally disposed to believe nothing beyond our actual experience, nothing that cannot be so clearly proved to us as to leave no possibility for any sane person to doubt it. But this only applies to our faith in God and in what He has revealed, for men are not so sceptical and incredulous in their dealings with one another. For instance, a man readily believes on the evidence of his fellowmen in the existence of gold diggings or diamond fields, and he acts upon his belief, makes his preparations, leaves his native land and friends and kindred, and goes forth an emigrant to a far distant land on the faith of what he has heard. But when God tells men by His messengers of a far better land, and of far more lasting and certain riches, how few are found ready to believe it! How few make their preparations, and submit to any sacrifice of pleasure and comfort, to set out in earnest to seek that good land! But God gives the gift of faith to those who seek it. He would not mock us by bidding us believe while He withheld the need-.

a

a

ful grace.“ Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, , "and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened “unto you.” Indeed, faith comes in the very act of seeking it. It is strengthened and in creased by exercise. For if a man prays to God, the very fact of his praying is an act of faith. “He that cometh to God must believe that he is, " and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently "seek him.” Your faith, my brother or sister, may be as yet very imperfect, very weak, so weak that you almost fear at times that you have no real faith, but if you have faith enough in God to pray to him, it is something, something to encourage you to persevere, enough to convince you that your heavenly Father has given you this gift in some measure, a pledge and an assurance that he will strengthen and perfect your faith if you be in earnest.

« הקודםהמשך »