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His hands and His side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. ... . But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, 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. And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them; then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side; and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed : blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
After our Lord's ascension into heaven, St. Thomas is said to have preached the Gospel in Parthia and in India, and there are still in the latter country (India) churches which profess to have received the Christian faith and to have been founded by St. Thomas. Like his brethren,
the apostles, he is also said to have died a martyr; a witness to Christ in his death, even as he had preached Christ in his life.
What then is the chief lesson which we are to learn from this festival ? Surely it is none other than that is contained in the words of the text,
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
” They are chiefly blessed, who, with simple and child-like hearts, believe, although they have not seen. In this (as in all other things) the spirit of the world and the spirit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are contrary the one to the other. The world counts it wisdom and prudence to doubt, to hesitate, to withhold assent, to require a full proof; the world will not believe so long as there exists a chance that it may be deceived : even in the things of God and of another world it counts it better and wiser to believe too little than to believe too much; as if it were better and wiser and more reverent to reject what, after all, may be God's own truth, God's own revelation, than to receive that as God's, which, in the end, shall prove to be man's; as if, of two extremes, what men call superstition were a worse evil than unbelief itself :
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 Ilim. 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