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therefore, if for any of these reasons we do indulge ourselves in an unconcern about our spiritual interests though I am not used to the language of fear, still less of threatening - it is assuredly true that we put in jeopardy our everlasting interests and — why should I refrain from saying it — we do it at our peril.
From that peril, my friends, how may we escape? The door is open, and the way is plain. In the sincerity of an honest heart, and in humble reliance upon the grace of Almighty God, we must resolve to attend now to the things that concern our peace. Our religious nature may be educated. We can do it, just as truly as we can educate our intellectual nature, just as truly as we can change our habits, preferences and tastes. It is unimportant that I speak of the means. The first great want is a determined and persevering will. From the midst of our selfishness and worldliness the spiritual man may yet be reclaimed. The longer we defer the more our habits become welded as in bands of iron and steel.
And it does seem that if we only realized the value of a hearty religious faith, we should count all things but loss if we might gain that. Indeed, for man's well being it is the one thing needful. Take that away, and you take away the meaning and dignity of life, take it away, and the Universe is without a Father, and man becomes an orphan. Give him this faith, and the solemn purpose of life is revealed to him, you lay an imperishable basis for all his virtues, and give him a motive by which he can cheerfully do and suffer. You give him a Father whom he can trust through ill and through good, whom he may dare to meet on the bed of sickness, and beyond the grave.
HOW IS IT THAT YE HAVE NO FAITH ?
Brethren, we need this fạith to convert our worldly hearts, we must have it if we would escape the guilt of neglecting so great a salvation. . And unto Him who can work in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure, and who has promised of his grace to help our infirmities, let our prayer be, Lord, increase our faith.
PRAYER is the natural expression of religious senti-. ment. But there is a mode of philosophizing that tends to discourage and suppress the instinct of devotion. We often hear it said that “we have no need to pray, because God knows all our wants, and is always willing to satisfy them, so far as they ought to be satisfied, -- without our asking." We may admit the truth of the statement without accepting the inference. He does, indeed, know what we need better than we do ourselves; and he is ever full of benignity and love. We must consider, however, that it is not the design of his government that we should passively receive, but create rather, the good we enjoy. What we obtain is less important to our highest well-being than what we do and what we are. He does good to us chiefly by means of what he has enabled us to do for ourselves. His providence blesses us through our virtues and our efforts. By the activity of our souls the higher wants of our being are satisfied, — the lower, by the work of our hands. We toil outwardly for our daily bread, — inwardly for the bread of eternal life. In