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THE QUESTION OF QUESTIONS.
“ Hast thou faith ?"-Rom. xiv, 22.
What is FAITH ? It is a necessary grace. It is the great requirement of the gospel. Without it, we cannot please God. Without it, we can have no happiness. Without it, we can have no salvation. If we live without it, we are miserable. If we die without it, we are lost. The want of it leaves us without Christ, and leaves a barrier in our way to heaven, that we never can surmount. I would rather be without a home, without money, and without friends, than be without faith. Its object is saving truth. It grasps within its wide embrace, the whole word of God, but as Jesus is the sum and substance of that word, it especially grasps Him as its darling object. I stand, at this moment, on the threshold of the eternal world, but I stand, at the same time on the Rock, Christ; my faith is fixed and settled on Him, and from this sure foundation, my soul shall rise up at death, to everlasting glory. Its nature is “ belief of the truth.” It believes the whole truth of God's word, more especially the truth that refers to Christ. It receives Christ Jesus, the living embodiment of this truth, for faith without possession can neither be saving nor enriching, and it
THE QUESTION OF QUESTIONS.
claims, through Jesus, the great salvation, which cost Him his life. Youthful reader, hast thou this faith? Its warrant is the invitation, the command of Christ. A friend invites thee to a feast, and this invitation is a sufficient warrant
In like manner, Jesus invites, urges, requires thee to believe, and wilt thou not? “Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” 66 Him that cometh unto me, I will in nowise cast out.” It is of divine origin. Faith is the gift of God. The truth believed, and the Saviour revealed in that truth, are from above. The enlightening of the mind, and the yielding of the heart, are from God. The duty and the responsibility are thine, but the work is God's. “The fruit of the Spirit is faith.”
Do I POSSESS IT? If I have faith, I will be conscious of it. “ Hast thou faith?” “Dost thou believe on the Son of God ?” “Do ye now believe ?” are questions which I can answer, and which I must answer. Can I believe the truth, and receive and claim the Saviour, and yet not know it? Is not the moment of believing the happiest, and most interesting moment of my life? If I have felt myself sinking under sin, and ready to perish, and if I have laid hold of Christ, and received Him as my Saviour, is not this the turning point in the history of my soul, and shall I not know it? “I know whom I
have believed.” If I have faith, I will hope for
THE FOOLISH CHOICE.
“ Then cried they all, again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now
Barabbas was a robber."John xviii, 40.
The parties mentioned.—There is Pilate, the Roman governor, holding in his hands the power of life and death. He was a man more likely to be swayed by policy than by justice. There is the crowd outside the judgment-hall, consisting of chief priests, rulers, scribes, and pharisees. Their consciences were so tender, that they would not enter the hall of judgment, for fear of defilement, and yet so wicked that they could clamorously demand the death of the innocent. There is Jesus called, in contempt, “ this man;" truly a man, because He loved his enemies, and loved us, and yet a man who could challenge the world, and say, “ Which of you convinceth Me of sin?” There is Barabbas, the son of confusion, a noted criminal, guilty of sedition, robbery, and murder. Reader, what dost thou think of the pusillanimous judge, and the malevolent crowd, crying for blood ? What dost thou think of the meek and lowly Jesus, and of the lawless, murderous criminal ?
The choice made.-—Pilate informed the Jews that it was customary, at their feast, to release one prisoner, whom they might desire. The Roman authorities seem to have allowed this privilege, in order to please the people, and keep up some semblance of the power of which they had been deprived. According to custom, Pilate set before them, Jesus and Barabbas. What a contrast! Barabbas robbed and violently took from others, that which was not his: Jesus gratuitously fed thousands, and acted the part of the good Samaritan to all. His compassionate eye never turned away from a scene of suffering. His sympathetic bosom was never shut against any in distress; yet they cried, “Not this man, but Barabbas.” Barabbas excited sedition and insurrection against the government, to overturn it, or bring it into contempt: Jesus was loyal himself, and taught loyalty to all, “Render unto Cesar the things which are Cesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.” Barabbas was guilty of murder; he had taken away the life of one or more of his fellow-creatures, and sent their spirits, without time for preparation, into the presence of God: Jesus came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them, and in following up His benevolent mission, He had raised to life the daughter of Jairus, the widow's son of Nain, and Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary. Such were the objects of choice, and yet they all cried, “Not this man but Barabbas.” What prejudice, what malice, what infatuation !