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not satisfied ; he has not got the one thing needful. The trials and conflicts of his inner life press heavily upon him, and he humbly and earnestly asks-what shall I do to be saved ? And not till this great question is fully solved by the cheering gospel of New Testament faith can man enjoy true rest and enduring peace. Hence is it that all who really seek the blessings of salvation naturally try to pass beyond the little sphere of the rationalistic and prudential religion of the world, and the powerless ethics of the Old Testament, and press forward to the kingdom of heaven, where man is regenerated in truth and holiness, not by the law, but by Divine grace. I would ask you, my brethren, individually and collectively, whether, with all your knowledge of right and wrong, and your ideas of God and immortality, you do not feel helpless, and often hopeless, amidst the trials and temptations of the world ?' In the grand enterprises of moral life, and even in the petty details of worldly transactions, you have always to make a choice between good and evil, right and wrong ; and you know very well what insuperable difficulties you have to contend with in determining your
will to pursue the former and eschew the latter. I am ready to give you credit for your force of character, your manliness, uprightness, benevolence, and philanthropy. But are your hearts proof against temptation ? Is not the power of evil greater than the power you have? And, if you have vanquished evil once, and in some of its forms, has it not often captivated you in its more enticing forms ? Do you not feel afraid that even those sins of your past life, which you have already destroyed and buried, may one day rise up from their graves, and again terrify you into submission ? Ah! my friends, we cannot but feel that, situated as we re, we cannot repose in
confident security. The foundation of what the world calls “character” is not strong and deep enough, and temptations may at any time come in full showers and sweep it away.
“ Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Our conscience has the right to rule over us, but not the might. God demands of us entire loyalty ; we fain would give it, but we cannot ; our lower propensities are so rebellious, our higher nature so weak. In such circumstances what do we naturally wish to do in order to afford our troubled hearts rest? We wish to throw off the carnal nature, and live altogether in truth and God. We would be free not only from actual sin, but from liability to temptation and sin. We want, in short, a new life-a life of divine holiness. This the world's religion cannot give, though 66 reform" us.
This our wisdom and energy cannot secure, though they may lead us to virtue and honesty. Let us then alienate our hearts from the religion of the world, to which we are all more or less attached, and trustfully rely upon the religion of God, which alone can give us new life, holiness,
What is this new life as distinguished from the life which men ordinarily lead, and how is it to be attained ? Man, you know, is a composite being ; he is possessed of a bodily and a spiritual nature. This bodily nature he has in common with the lower animals : like them, he instinctively seeks the preservation and happiness of the body, like them, he is swayed by carnal appetites and passions, and the lusts of the flesh, which, when excited by temptations often prove irresistible, and lead him into the extravagances of sensuality and sin, detrimental ailke to his own true interests, and to those of society. This low life of animals, which man leads in his natural
condition,--and which is made up of grovelling desires and sensual gratifications, and is ever exposed to temptation and sin,-does not, and cannot satisfy him as he grows up to manhood : he must minister to the wants of his soul, and seek the safety and welfare of his higher nature. But what means does he usually employ to accomplish this object? He simply strives to impose some kind of restraint on his carnal passions, and to curb them as often as they prove refractory, always holding the reins in his own hands. Such half-measures seldom
effectual, as our experiences amply testify. The beast within us is too strong and intractable to be subdued by a system of artificial self-restraint. The wild fury of the carnal heart may be curbed for awhile by threats, or mollified by persuasion ; but so long as its power of evil is not destroyed, it may at any time break through the flimsy barriers within which it may be encaged. The fact is, man retains within him the perversity of his evil nature, his lusts and love of the world, and only seeks, by restraining them a little, to effect a compromise between religion and the world, his secret object being no other than to realize a life of convenient virtue. But this is not the new life man is destined to attain. To have that, one must be altogether above the old animal life, and enter upon a new and higher sphere of existence, where he may seek the welfare and happiness of the soul as naturally and as passionately as he seeks carnal enjoyments in the lower stage of life. There must thus be a clear turning-point in our career.
This turning-point is Faith. Once brought to this point the heart of man undergoes a marvellous change, not a superficial change in his outward pursuits or habits of thought and feeling, but a constitutional and organic change in the root of his
being. He gives up his old ideas and schemes of self-reformation, and believing that salvation cometh from God alone, he puts his humble but firm faith in Him. Thus arrogance and selfsufficiency make room
room for humility and selfabnegation; and instead of man struggling in vain to help himself out of the slough of wickedness, behold him humbly rising in the strength of the Merciful God. Observe the distinction between the
Look at the worldly man, boasting of his patriotic achievements as a reformer, or of the signal triumphs achieved on the battle field by his valour and prowess as a soldier, or of his thorough honesty in some of the most important and responsible positions of mercantile life ;-how proud and conceited he is—how rejoicingly he glories in the honours which the world, as blind as he, accords to him ! But how humble is the man of faith! His patriotism, and heroism, and honesty, may be truer, but yet they are counted as nothing : he feels that, with all that, he himself is nothing, and that God is all, and he humbles himself to the dust in order to exalt the glory of his God. He believes and acts on the great truth that man is justified by faith, and not by deeds, however excellent. The worldly man's boasted prudence, which, with such certainty and confidence, calculates upon buying salvation with the limited resources of human knowledge, power, and honesty, is but the " arithmetic of fools ; but faith, which ignores human power, and builds redemption on the rock of grace, is wisdom indeed. The worldly man, in spite of his so-called virtue, his respectable honesty, fails because of his pride : the man of faith, in spite of his sins and shortcomings,
cceeds at last because of his humility. Hence
it has been beautifully said, that the first shall be last, and the last first ;” and “ whoso exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
Let us proceed to consider what faith is. It has been very appropriately defined to be “the evidence of things not seen, and the substance of things hoped for.". What. the eye is to things visible, what reason is to things demonstrable, that is faith to the invisible realities of the spirit world. Faith is the eye of the soul whereby it sees spiritual realities, directly and vividly. For verily_the soul hath its eyes just as the body hath. That is not true faith which passes as such in the world. Nothing, indeed, is so common as to hear men talk of their faith in God, as if it meant the mere rudiments of religious knowledge, which all who profess to believe in His existence are süre to possess. On careful consideration, however, such faith would appear to be nothing but an intellectual cognition, an assent of the understanding to the truth of the logical proposition-God is. It is the result of reasoning ; it rests on arguments. And, as such, no doubt, all who are not thorough atheists have it. But very few have faith in God in the true sense of that term, namely, spiritual perception. Do we vividly see His reality? Do we feel His awful presence ? Unless we do so, how
we be said to have faith in Him? Now, in regard to the light before me, nobody doubts its reality,--and why? Because we all clearly see it; it is not argument or hearsay evidence, but eyesight that assures us of its reality. No amount of false logic can dim the clearness of our vision, or make us sceptical about the reality of the light. Have we similar faith in the reality