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VARIETIES, FROM MISTRUST.
Is it your desire to glorify God? You know and confess that it is your duty. There are also some ways of glorifying God on earth, which
you would be glad to try, if you had the
Were you wealthy enough to found a Mission in China, where the Gospel was never fully preached; or in Asia, where its golden candlestick has long been extinguished; or in the yet unvisited wilds and islands of Africa and the Pacific; would not you help to fill the earth with the glory of God? Were you even wealthy enough to relieve (without injury to yourself) all the real poverty in your neighbourhood, and thus to bring all the poor under the
Gospel, would you not count that way of glorifying God to be both duty and pleasure ? Or, could you write a book in favour of the Gospel, which would command as much attention, and take as strong a hold upon the public mind, as the works of Shakespeare or Milton, would you not feel bound to trade with that talent at once, and thus to glorify God with your spirit, by pouring all its intellectual wealth and splendour around the Cross? Or, were it only signified to you, as to Peter, "by what death you should glorify God,” would you not prepare for that death with much diligence, that thus your triumph or tranquillity might illustrate and commend the power of faith ?
None of these things, upon this scale, may be within your power. There is, however, one way of glorifying God, which is completely within your reach, and would remain so, even if you were in abject poverty, or had only a
weak mind : for God condescends to consider
himself glorified, by “ strong faith.” We learn this pleasing fact, from the history of Abraham. “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory unto God.”
Perhaps you are ready to say,—“I feel as unequal to exercise strong faith, as I am unable to bestow much charity. There is nothing so weak in my piety, as my faith. I have, at times, strong convictions, strong fears, strong desires ; but strong faith, I am a stranger to. I can say at any time, with the poor man in the Gospels, “Lord, help thou mine unbelief :" but I cannot always preface this prayer as he did, by saying, "Lord, I believe." Indeed, I hardly know what to think of myself, when I examine whether I am in the faith. I can neither class myself with Believers, nor with Unbelievers. I have not the real peace of the former, nor the false peace of the latter. The state of my mind seems something between both. Besides, I become fluttered, and confused, and intimidated, whenever I go far into the question of saving faith.”
You are not singular in all this. Many feel exactly as you do on this point. Indeed, all Christians are, at times, more or less embarrassed on the subject of faith. In general, however, those who are most jealous and fearful of the genuineness of their own faith, have least occasion to be so. Perhaps this is the case with you? I do not throw out this hint, that you may drop the question, nor that you may take for granted the reality of your own faith in Christ : but that you may sit down with composure to examine " whether you be in the faith."
Now the weakness of your faith may, perhaps, arise, in part, from your being some
what afraid of strong faith. We are not always thinking of Abraham, when we think of the faith of assurance. They are not often very like him, in character or spirit, who say most about their assurance. In general, those who are most like him in humility and holiness, say least about their own faith : and even the little they do say, is uttered in the spirit in which Abraham prayed,—“Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak." Thus, between the much speaking,” of those who are least humble, and the almost silence of those who are most humble, we are in no small danger of becoming rather suspicious of the tendency of strong faith itself. Whilst we look at it, and judge of it, in Abraham or in Paul, or in the death-song of “such an one as Paul the aged,” we feel no more doubt of its holy tendency, than of its happy influence. In the presence of such examples, we catch ourselves exclaiming,