Изображения страниц

reasonable space how the case really stands with respect to our Christian belief. With true brotherly feeling I have tried to help them, and shall be grateful indeed if in any measure I have succeeded.

For these are not questions for scholars only. Intellectual men have their special perils as well as others and are often onesided in the direction of their own specialty. It is well, therefore, that their conclusions should be tested by men outside the study and the laboratory who are in the very thick of life's most serious duties and relations, and who are perhaps better fitted to judge the great questions of religious belief in their broad bearing on human life, and in the light of life's experiences.

The moral atmosphere of our time is electric and charged with elements of disturbance, but what is going on is merely "the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain."


December 6th, 1880.


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]



SOME years ago I happened to be sailing to Scotland in a Liverpool steamer, when, after we had passed the Isle of Man, there settled down upon the sea all round us a white blinding mist which made it dangerous for us to keep our course. First we went half speed, then quarter, the captain keeping a sharp anxious look-out all the while, and for hours we made scarcely any headway at all. There was no gale blowing, no heavy sea running, there were no opposing currents, nothing but a white mist, yet it was enough to keep us almost at a standstill. There is something like this too often in the spiritual life, when a white blinding mist of doubt settles down upon the soul. The man has by no means made up his mind to cast off his faith in God, his belief in immortality, but because he has heard some things questioned, and he does not quite know the truth about them, he is bewildered and hesitates, and makes no headway in his Christian life. Now it is good to remember that a thing may be questioned and yet be true. It may seem a very obvious thing to say, yet it is very necessary to say this, for the moment some people hear a truth, or principle, or fact called in question, without looking any farther into the matter they are disposed to let it go. No matter how ignorant and rash the questioner may be, nor how little ground he may have to go upon, they lose their faith when he smiles, and are infected with paralysing doubt when he


questions. To strengthen ourselves against such weakness it may be well sometimes to go down to the foundations on which our faith rests. If we do this we may have to give up some traditional opinions, we may have to revise some of our thinkings, we may have to clear off some human additions, which really were never a part of the foundations, but the foundations themselves we shall find to be as broad and firm as the human soul can need. If we do not put our theories into the Bible, but take it as it is, we shall come back with a firmer faith than ever, that in it God our Father speaks to us His children, and if we use it honestly we shall find that His word will prove a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path through the chequered experiences of this our mortal life.

severely in our What scenes it precious than it

The Bible is being searched and sifted time. But that is what it always has been. has gone through only to come out more went in! It has been tried in all the experiences of life, it has been turned into the artillery of battle in many a controversy, it has been cast and recast, sacked and ransacked, and yet it remains to this day a universal blessing. For it goes down below the conventional things of life to the fundamental experiences of men, blessing them in their very soul. It is the book of men who are in the thick of the battle, the book of the poor, the tried, and the sorrowful. So long as there is trouble in this world-and that will be a long time yet-men will flee to the Bible for comfort, and as long as they do the Bible will stand-stand not by reason of theories of inspiration or fact of miracle merely, but by reason of its inward life. The cry in our time is for facts, and next to the one life which it records the Bible is the supreme fact in human history. Beyond all contradiction whatever theory we may have about it, it is the one unparalleled book of the world. There is no other which for historical prominence can for a moment be compared with it. It has spanned longer ages, it has

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »