« IndietroContinua »
MARK IV. 40.
AND HE SAID UNTO THEM, How IS IT THAT YE HAVE
There is a no more simple word in our language than the word faith. We are never at a loss to understand its meaning, whenever it occurs in books or common conversation. I shall spend no time, therefore, in endeavoring to define what is clear without any words of explanation, and shall take throughout this discourse that common meaning of this word which we give to it in every day conversation - an earnest, hearty feeling, which prompts man to try, to do. The subject which I would take up and follow out as I may be able, is this question which Jesus asked, why is it that we have no more faith? Why is it that we do not feel a more earnest desire to seek religion, to understand it, to feel it, to enjoy it, to press forward in it?
And when I first ask this question, it seems to me as if there must be some hidden deep reason for man's indifference to religion, which has never yet been fully stated or explained. For is it not true that every motive that we can possibly conceive of urges him to feel interested in religion -- and yet how many have no faith. It is not generally pretended that there is any deficiency in the evidences that prove to the understanding the truths of religion or of Christianity. Here and there you will find a man, the turn of whose mind is so peculiar, or whose situation in life has been so adverse to fair inquiry, that he gives no intellectual assent to religious truths. He throws them all away from him as if they were còn. jectures and dreams. But this is the case with but a very small number. Religious truths rest on so stable a foundation, that nearly all, from the profoundest intellects to the humblest minds in the cominunity, assent to them. It is not pretended that they are not well established — that they are doubtful, and that thus men are justified in withholding their concern from them. The community, I repeat, receives them, men and women around us believe in them ; it is one of the clearest of well-settled things, that by all fair argument they must be assented to. And yet here, with this assent, these truths too often rest. They are not, with the great majority, objects of a deep, hearty interest. They play round the head, but to most persons come not near the leart. For all that the understanding sees them to be truths, the greatest and most important of all truths, still we must inquire, how is it that ye have no inore faith?
We see further cause for surprise in this matter if we look at it in another point of view. Man's nature, we know, is a mixed one, having the germs both of good and evil in it; yet of this we are well assured, that it was made for religion. In all men's hearts there are religious wants which do at times make themselves felt there are religious fears — religious hopes. How often does man see that he is dependent upon a power higher