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Whilst, on the other hand, if we have faith that "God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all," and, having this faith, endeavour to "walk in the light, as He is in the light," then shall we feel infallibly certain that whatsoever is pure, and good, and just, and true-in short, whatever will bear the light of day, and will bear to be looked upon on all sides and from every point of view— must certainly be of God; then shall we have fellowship one with another, and be assured that the pure life of Jesus Christ our Lord, in proportion as we lay hold of it and make it our own, must cleanse us from all sin.

III.

The "Polarity" of Faith.

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."-HEB. xi. 6.

THIS verse reads very much like a truism; for, of course, we cannot set about going to a person unless there is a person to go to, nor should we dream of seeking the assistance of one in whose power to help and befriend we have not the slightest confidence. Again, if we had any friend or benefactor whom we wished to please, we should never be so foolish as to act by him as if we distrusted him at every step, for nothing is so calculated to please and win as a loyal trust; and if any of our own friends or neighbours whom we are inclined to love showed that they had an implicit faith in our own characters and dispositions, we should feel ourselves drawn to them, and compelled to requite their confidence in a manner we could never be induced to do by the gift of any material blessing. Indeed, to be trusted and loved by those whom we ourselves deem worthy of regard, is the source, perhaps, of

the highest happiness; and the higher and nobler the object of our worship or admiration, the higher and nobler is the direction which is given to our lives. For our human life is ennobled in proportion to the worthiness of the object on which our faith is fixed, and to the worship of which we have consecrated our powers. Now, if you take a bar of steel and draw a magnet along it, the particles of which it is composed will henceforth be set in one direction, and if you suspend it in the air, the bar will point to the pole. So the soul of man, when magnetized with the love of God, will always point to Him, the true pole of our human energies, and whatever trials and temptations may beset it, and tend to deflect it from its aim, it will always swing back to the line of its true direction, where the path of duty lies clearly before us, and when the goal towards which we are travelling opens out more and more as we advance. Those who are given to the study of the heavens tell us that they have discovered the point towards which our solar system is moving by the manner in which the stars seem to open out in that direction, and in which they close in behind, just as when we journey through a wood the trees close in upon the path we have traversed, and appear to grow wider apart in the quarter towards which we are advancing. What new sights may await us when we have travelled further on our course we as yet know not, but the direction in which we are travelling is tolerably

certain. So is it with the direction which is given to our lives by a sound faith in God. What God is in His own inconceivable essence no human tongue can say, but we can tell when our souls point true to Him; we can tell when we are advancing towards the light, and truth, and life, and love that emanate from Him by the manner in which our duties open out clearly before us, and doubts and difficulties fall away behind and disappear.

Our text may be a truism, but it lies at the basis of all religion. It may seem so familiar and simple, that we may think that it is to be ranked among those rudiments or first principles which we should, indeed, teach to our children, but which we can scarcely suppose require to be thought over and dwelt upon by those who from their youth upwards have imagined themselves well instructed in all the articles of the Christian faith. But it is good even for the well instructed to go back from time to time to the very rudiments or beginnings of what they profess to know, and see how they would begin to teach them to those who have all to learn.

If we cannot put what we think we know into clear and simple language, we may be sure that we know nothing yet as it ought to be known. If our ideas are clear, our language will not be confused; and if we have ourselves faith in God, and know what we mean by it, we ought to be able to impart that faith even to a

child. But have we any faith in God? And do we know what we mean by it? Preachers complacently talk about declaring the whole counsel of God, and congregations assemble themselves in His sanctuary and pray for Jews, Turks, infidels, and heretics-for all who seem to them to be beyond the pale of His family on earth. But have they themselves any real faith in God? or could they explain what difference it makes to their lives whether they have faith or whether they have not? If they have faith in God, and mean by it faith and trust and loyalty towards the infinite and eternal Power in whom we live and move and have our being, in whom is life and strength and health— nay, who is the very Life and Soul of all that is, or was, or is to be—whence all this uncertainty and timidity of which the air is full, this quaking of religious men in fear lest the rise of some new opinion, the discovery of some new fact or process of nature, should wipe the name of God out of the universe of which He is the very Life? If God exists, can He not plead for Himself? If He has formed the heart of man, has He formed it to wander permanently apart from Him? If He has given him a brain to discover and reason upon the things that He has made, are the perplexities and doubts of individual minds a sign that our faith in Him from whom all things come may possibly be an idle dream ? Because this or that man does not know what to think about God, does it affect the great soul of the universe

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