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expressed. Yet, my brethren, such a faith penetrates to the heart, and involves the essence of true faith. If we cannot lay hold on the power of Christ, and feel that “ He is able to save to the uttermost," that “ He has power on earth to forgive sins,” that “ All power in Heaven and Earth is given unto Him,” it is useless to pray, and it is mockery to trust. If we allow lingering suspicions to remain in our mind about the atonement that He has made for us, the completeness of His righteousness, the supremacy of His power, the extent of His dominion, the Omnipotence of His love, our faith degenerates into an experiment, a risk, a mere suspension of judgment. It is no longer faith, but only a qualified desire; it is not the trust of the heart, but a dubious venture of the understanding.
There can be no appropriate feeling towards Christ unless we have conquered our scepticism and hesitation, until we have at least explained to our own minds the apparent delay of mercy by some other consideration than His incapacity to help us.
Christ knows that when we deeply believe in His power, we never hesitate about His willingness. Still what could these men have meant by their exceeding earnest cry for His grace if they had any doubt about His power? Does not your own experience help you to understand that question ? Have you not sometimes gone to Him with a feeling of desperation, saying, "If I perish, I will perish at His feet. I will risk myself on Him, and throw the responsibility upon His word.
I will test His promise, and if it prove a delusion I can be no worse off than I am now. If He cannot save me there is no other who can ?' But Christ says, 'Do not approach Me with suggestions of My impotence.' 'If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth :' “ Believe ye that I am able to do this?”
(6) Lastly, the faith here mentioned appropriates and applies the Divine power to its own case. lieve
that I am able, not merely to raise the dead, to cleanse the leper, to cast out the devil, but to open your eyes ? in other words, to do for you that which you want? to appease this strong desire of your nature, and prove myself to be your Christ?'
The opening of the blind eye was an act which prophecy had referred to Christ, and it is a peculiar feature of His work which He has never ceased to exhibit. One principal cause of our wretched condition by nature is the imperfection of our spiritual vision. Sensuality blinds us to spiritual realities. The mists, clouds, smoke, and dust of this busy world, conceal from our view the great realities of God's spiritual universe. We are not “ alive unto God.” His works are great, but we do not seek them out; we take little pleasure in them; often we do not see them. Even when we have some perception of these things, our vision is oblique and confused. “We see men as trees walking;" we blunder and stumble and fall. We are led by others; we follow the crowd ;
we are influenced by those who say "We see,' and we try to keep near them. Even Christ is obscure and shadowy to our minds; we do not see Him; heaven and hell are remote contingencies that fail to influence us; and perhaps we have a vague dread of both, which does not affect our conduct. We do not even see one another; it is only the dimmest outline that we discern through the gray mist that intervenes. Light and vision seem to be the great things that we need; our "eye is evil, and our whole body is full
; of darkness.” But faith, which is intelligent, earnest, personal, and appreciates Divine power, believes that He who is “the Light of the world” is able to do this, to “ turn the shadow of death into the morning” to reveal Himself to us, so that He is no longer a mere VOICE, a mighty WORD, but a Person whom we may trust, a Priest who will intercede for us, a King who will rule over us in righteousness, and whom we shall see in His glory as He is. Such faith believes that He is able to reveal, to uncover God to us ;--for "no man knoweth the Father save the Son, and He to whom the Son shall reveal Him,"- to purge away the scales from our eyes, to pierce the gloom of our old nature, and enable us to gaze on all things in something like a true proportion. He is able TO DO THIS, to reveal heaven and hell, the dangers on our journey, the pitfalls at our side, the glory that awaits us. This faith is that which Christ demands from all blind men. God help us to say and feel that Christ is “able to do this ;” to give us all the light we need, to
reveal God, man, life, death, sin, hell, heaven, and eternity to us in such fashion that our souls may be satisfied and may be at rest! Are not multitudes walking in the light which He has shed on them? Why should not we walk in the light with Him and them? If the light that beams from Him be darkness, then welcome darkness! Then there is no such thing as light. “Lord, we believe; help Thou our unbelief !” As we tell Thee this even now, great Light of the world, put Thy hands on us, touch our eyes and we shall see, and we will “ follow Thee in the way."
, Yes, my brethren,“ Be it unto you according to your faith.” Oh the mighty force of faith in Divine power ! Imagine these words stealing like a sunbeam into every family circle, into every Church of the living God, into all the assemblies of God's people: conceive them as falling on the lonely spirit of the missionary of the cross as he gazes on the valley of dry bones, as cheering the spirit of every worker, lightening the burden of every sufferer, and as speaking of infinite consolation to every agonized, tempted, dying man,“ Be it unto you according to your faith.” What a revolution would pass over human affairs ! How would the New Jerusalem descend at once from heaven! the new heaven and the new earth be revealed, and the mystery of God be finished ! Why is it not so ? “Lord, increase our faith," that we may see Thee ! and follow Thee, and have daily experience of Thy power, and all Thy glories and virtues until we see Thee as Thou art, and enjoy Thy Presence for ever!
THE MEANING AND MEMORIES OF SUNDAY.
MATTHEW XXVIII. 1.
The first day of the week.
THE observance of the first day of the week in England is a notorious and interesting fact. By this I mean that the English Sunday is a thing talked of, inquired into, philosophized about, from one end of the world to another. One day out of seven we witness a strange phenomenon, a sudden cessation of ninety-nine out of a hundred of the businesses of ordinary life. The great thoroughfares of the busiest city in the world are comparatively forsaken for some hours of that day; the miles of shops are shuttered, and dark, and silent as midnight; the rattle of ten thousand mills is hushed. Great orders may have arrived, but they lie idle in the post-bag or the desk. Even the railways and the post-office are compelled to yield, in some measure, to the general pause. Justice does not summon her courts; Equity, Exchequer, and Chancery must wait