The life of those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High may be called a Hidden Life, because the animating principle, the vital or operative element, is not so much in itself as in another. It is a life grafted into another life. It is the life of the soul, incorporated into the life of Christ; and in such a way, that, while it has a distinct vitality, it has so very much in the sense, in which the branch of a tree may be said to have a distinct vitality from the root.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Faith is the Basis of All Great, Active Enterprises

Faith is the basis of all great, active enterprises. If a man cannot think well, nor write well, without faith; so in all difficult enterprises, which imply physical as well as mental effort, he cannot act well. Without faith there would have been no Parthenon, and no Pyramids of Egypt. Without faith there would have been no Thermopylae, and no memorable Marathon. Hannibal could not have passed the Alps without faith. Cincinnatus could neither have ploughed nor have left the plough; could neither have sowed for the harvest, nor trained soldiers for victory, without faith. Columbus could not have crossed the ocean without faith. And we speak here, not of religious, but of natural faith. Cortes could not have conquered Mexico without faith. Park, and Ledyard, and Cooke, and Bruce could not have explored unknown countries without faith. The English Revolution, the French Revolution, the American Revolution, whatever faults or crimes may have accompanied any or all of them, could not have been accomplished without faith. The same may be said of all great civil and political movements. A mere sneerer, the man who sits in his easy chair, believing in nothing and laughing at every thing, could have done nothing of these things. No oceans are crossed by him; no nations are conquered; no boundless forests are subdued; no rude barbarism is tamed; no new civilization is planted and reared up, at the expense of toil and blood, in mighty triumph.

It is one of the favorable signs of the times, that the existence of this important element of our nature begins to be generally recognized. Philosophy, though lingering long, has at last come to the aid of religion. She endeavored to solve the problems of human nature, without admitting this principle; but found herself unable to do it. Men of literature, men of philosophic inquiry, unite in acknowledging, not merely the existence of faith, but its mighty influence, even when considered out of its religious relations. As men of observation and thought, they see clearly, that there are a multitude of facts in human history, both individual and national, which preclude altogether any satisfactory explanation, except on the ground of its existence and its great power. And these men, men whose testimony is weighty, and whose concurrence every good man would desire, begin to look, in consequence of the advance of their philosophy, with a more favorable eye on religion. They found the Bible filled with declarations in relation to faith, which they did not understand; declarations which they found no where else, and which they hesitated to receive. But it is now no longer a matter of surprise, that a principle should effect so much in religion, which is seen and acknowledged to be so powerful in nature.

— edited from The Life of Faith (1853) Part 1, Chapter 2.

No comments:

Post a Comment