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as if Holy Scripture were full of promises to a hard and cold and unloving temper; and not rather full of promises and comfort to a humble, ready, unquestioning faith, which looks abroad out of itself for the signs and tokens of God's presence; in every sound it hears listens for God's voice; in every thing it sees traces some impress of His divine perfections. Surely it is the privilege, no less than the duty of the Christian, to walk by faith and not by sight, to see Him that is invisible, to feel after Him, and to find Him. Serious persons, who have made the Holy Scriptures their study, would do well to consider whether the whole tone and tenor of Holy Scripture be not in favour of such a spirit of simple, confiding faith. Almighty God, in His holy Gospel, has called us to be His sons in Jesus Christ; sons, no more servants; and is it not the place and duty of sons to be very watchful and jealous, that they suffer not any of the will of their Father to escape them? Shall they do nothing, shall they believe nothing, but what they see, and know, and are assured, is from their Father, by such proofs as cannot possibly fail, and as must sway all persons alike? Surely not far other was the faith of the early Church, far other the faith of the first believers;
and far other must our faith also be, if we would, like them, attain unto a knowledge of God and of heavenly things. Had Almighty God so willed it, had it been good for us, He might have made all His revelations to man so clear, and confirmed by so strong witness and proof, that no man in his senses would have doubted of them. But Almighty God has seen fit to do otherwise. Why He has done so, we do not fully know; yet this we know, that thereby they become a test and trial and proof of our moral nature, of our heart, affections, feelings, conscience. They who are of a humble, gentle, teachable temper, (such a temper as is formed by self-denial and distrust of self,) will at once receive them as from God: whereas the evidence that they are from God will be hidden to men of a contrary temper and life.-Even as it was in our Lord's parables; to the many (of careless or worldly lives) they were but as dark sayings: their sense and meaning hidden: whereas they were full of divine wisdom to the meek and loving. And this takes in a larger scope than persons usually think. Not only do persons by unbelief cut themselves off from all saving knowledge of Christ, but (as a general law) they who believe most know most; they who believe
least know least.-Alas, how much do men lose of what should be their blessedness and privilege! Although the prophets had foretold that Christ should suffer, and that He should rise again although our Lord had Himself warned His disciples that He should suffer, and encouraged them with the assurance that He should rise again from the dead: although St. Thomas had with his own eyes seen our Lord's miracles, the sick healed, the evil spirits cast out, the winds and sea calmed with a word, nay, the very dead raised again although they who witnessed to him that they had seen the Lord were his brethren, whose faith and honesty he could not question; still St. Thomas preferred to doubt; nay, (instead of submitting to receive such evidence of the resurrection as God should see fit to vouchsafe,) he rashly and presumptuously desired to fix what was the alone evidence on which he would believe; "Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe." It was indeed a dangerous and perilous thing to reject all evidence, save that which fell in with his own views. But our merciful Saviour, who
reads the heart, saw in His servant Thomas something that was better than his rash words; He gave to him that evidence which he required, but He so gave it as to shew both to him and to the Church in all ages, that it had been better for him not to have asked or received that evidence that it had been better for him to have received the truth on the witness of others.
By demanding evidence other than what God had vouchsafed to him, by choosing "sight" rather than "faith," St. Thomas lost a higher blessing, to which he might otherwise have attained. "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." Few of us, possibly, but at one time or other of our lives have had the wish pass through our minds that we had lived in our Lord's days, had seen His miracles, and those of His apostles; had heard His teaching, and that of His apostles. At times, when our faith seems weak, or when doubts are raised which we cannot solve, or when hard questions of doctrine are discussed, such would seem to be almost an instinctive wish.-Now, of course, we all allow that what God has ordered for us, is better than what we could order for ourselves; that He knows best in what state of life, in what country, in what age, it were best for us to be born and live;-but do
we realize, and bear in mind, that there is a sense in which they "who have not seen" are more blessed (if only they believe) than they who have seen; that, if they truly believe in Christ and obey Him, the lot of the men of this day is therein blessed, that "they have not seen and yet have believed." And (even
where, by God's grace, the evil habit of this day, to doubt and question, has not extended to the great saving truths of the Gospel, those articles of the Christian faith, without a belief in which we cannot be Christians) still how much does this unhappy temper and spirit keep from us: how many high and holy truths, which Almighty God proposes to faith, and which faith alone can apprehend! The frame of mind (which men have been taught to think safe and wise) is far other than what befits weak, and fallen, and sinful, and ignorant creatures, listening for the voice of their Creator, that they may hear it and obey it. Men seem to think that probable evidence, such as guides them in every-day life, has nothing to do in religion; men are every day obliged to believe things which they cannot be sure are true; to do things which they cannot be sure are for their interest: i. e. men are obliged to "walk by faith not by sight" in the things of this world: or else they must believe