Friday, January 22, 2010

strait is the gate...

Charles Timothy Brooks gets to the heart of things in this second part of his sermon, "Doing and Believing."  Faith is not the work of a moment but a "patient continuance..." 

" is, or should be, the design of our Sabbathkeepings and public services to awaken and establish in us that faith which is the one thing needful. Once believe in Christ, and you will not be asking " What must I do ? " but " what can I do ?"

In conclusion, I would revert to the matter of getting this faith which is so essential. It does not come by what is called hearing, the hearing of custom or curiosity; it comes only by meditation, by study, by practice, and by prayer. We must fix our minds on the appeal which comes to us out of the life of Christ; we must see and judge for ourselves what he teaches and what he requires; we must look into ourselves and consider whether God is or is not speaking to us in the revelation and the example here presented ; and above all, we must maintain a spirit that is neither too indolent nor too timid nor too time-serving to really desire truth more than anything else.

But just here is the great trouble...we want to be saved in some easier way than by thinking for ourselves, wrestling with ourselves, watching and ruling over ourselves. We want to be carried into Heaven passively, rather than to make an effort for it. On the wing of a Sabbath dream, on the soft pillow of a Sabbath melody, by the storm of persuasion, or terror, or sympathy, we would fain be borne into the kingdom of faith, anyhow but by calmly considering and embracing the truth as it is in Jesus. But the admonition comes to us as to them of old, " strait is-the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life ;" it is not the beaten way of custom, not the thronged way of fashion, but the way the Master trod, — the road of independent reliance upon God, of patient continuance in believing."

(iillustration is an etching by Jan Luyken)

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