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ready. Oh, may we be wise in time, now while yet it is the accepted day, for in such an hour, as we think not, the Son of Man cometh.
The Pilgrimage of faith.
[Preached at S. Giles' on the 29th of May, 1842.]
HEBREWS xi. 14.
“THEY THAT SAY SUCH THINGS DECLARE PLAINLY THAT THEY SEEK
It is not strange, that so high a place should be given to faith in the work of man's restoration to the presence and favour of God; for without it how could man on his part do any thing religiously at all! God, the object of religion, dwells unseen in that high and holy place, where no human eye can penetrate; and is a Spirit, to whom every worshipper must draw nigh in spirit likewise. True, He makes the clouds His chariot, and rides abroad on the wings of the wind, and His voice is heard in the thunder, and He smiles on us in the sunshine; but yet we only understand thereby, that One invisible is behind, and, notwithstanding these manifestations of His attributes, no man hath seen God at any time. Heaven, the promised reward of the religiousminded, and the aim of all their hopes, is unseen. No one has been admitted into the happy country, and returned to tell us, that he has beheld the mansions of eternal joy, and actually trod, where the curse is not, where all tears are wiped away, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. We are told also, that the wicked shall be turned into hell and all the people that forget God; we have heard of unquenchable flames,--of a never-dying worm,-of everlasting agonies; of torments reserved for sinners, who despise the long-suffering of God which calls them to repentance, such as we cannot think of without shuddering. But, though we may well believe that such shall be the case; though, were there no other grounds, the stings of a guilty conscience, the miseries of sin, and the woes which are its fruits, the consequences even here of offending the pure and holy laws of God, these,
alone,-might well make us believe all that has been told us of hell hereafter, yet is the fire prepared unseen by us, and no man hath been to the gate of hell, and returned to tell us where or what it is. It appears, then, that religion deals with the invisible; it teaches us to worship a God, whom we see not; it animates us with hopes of an unseen place of future reward; its place of righteous retribution and punishment is unseen; the enemies of our soul, and the angels which minister to the heirs of salvation, are alike unseen; and who has seen the soul that is to be lost or saved ?
Such being the case, we understand at once how, without faith, religion could not possibly exist. Without faith it would be impossible to please God, or to pay Him any act of worship at all. For it is by faith that the things which are not seen, become as sure to us as those which we behold with the eyes of our flesh. It is by faith, that the invisible world becomes present to our view, and we live with the unseen God for our Ruler and our Father, the Supreme Object of our affections, whom, before all, we strive