Friday, October 22, 2010

an astounding spectacle...

John Brazer gets passionate about "The Great Salvation"

"But this is only a partial view of the great boon. It possesses, not only the negative character of preserving us from great evils, but the positive one of conferring upon us unspeakable benefits. But I cannot here enlarge upon this aspect of the " great salvation." The tongue of an apostle has faltered on this theme, and the language of inspiration only faintly essays to indicate it by saying that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

But, " great" as is this salvation, it is not yet " great " or attractive enough to secure it from the neglect of those to whom it is offered. This is implied in the inquiry of the text, — " How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ?" And how is this neglect manifested ?

In the hope of giving to the subject a practical turn, I shall attempt, very briefly, to answer this inquiry. And here, passing by in a single sentence, and that one of mingled pity and sorrow, the conduct of that unfortunate class of persons who live in a state of total unbelief in the " great salvation," and are hastening onwards towards their dread account in the dark and sterile path of a desolate skepticism ; — passing these, I observe that those may emphatically be said to neglect the great salvation who treat it with an habitual and cold indifference. This, if not the wickedest, is certainly the strangest state of mind that can prevail on the subject of religion. To see men living on in a world like this, amidst unnumbered cares, infirmities, sorrows; amidst conscious weakness and helplessness; liable constantly to dangers, seen and unseen ; exposed to death, and the consequences of death, whatever they may be, at every instant; continually feeling in their own souls irrepressible hopes, aspirations, misgivings, and fears; yet living on from childhood to old age in utter disregard of a light which purports, at least, to solve the mysteries of life ; of a revelation which claims, at least, to proceed from God; of a doctrine, which, whether true or not, has altered the whole tone of human thought; of a scheme of faith and duty, which, whether divine or not, has formed anew the whole system of human manners, and claims, whether rightfully or not, to be authenticated by the miraculous power of God in this world, and to be sanctioned by august hopes and awful fears in a world to come ; — to see, I say, men, claiming to be rational beings, passing through long lives in a state of total indifference and unconcern of calls and claims like these, is an astounding spectacle. And yet it is one that is not without a parallel in common life around us, and is to be regarded as an emphatic and most melancholy example of one class of those who neglect the " great salvation."

(painting is "Rainy Day, Boston" by Frederick Childe Hassam)

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