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the scripture sense of the word, never believed it; and I will go even further, and say, that many who have doubted the fact, even in the very moment of their doubting, have shown more of Christian faith than many who never doubted it at all. This sounds like a paradox; but it is a plain and certain truth to those who are familiar with the Scriptures on one side, and have ever watched the workings of their own hearts on the other. Many have doubted it, like the Apostle Thomas in the Gospel, from their exceeding wish to find it true; they believe not for very joy. Alive to their own sins,-alive to the utter darkness of all beyond the grave, without the aid of revelation, alive to the surpassing wisdom and excellence of the great revelation of God in Christ Jesus, it is almost too good to be hoped for, that, for all they most lament and shrink from, there should be so perfect a remedy, that all, and more than all, that their fondest imaginations could picture, of good and excellent, should be a real and sober truth. Surely all those who know the Gospel and the nature of man, would pray earnestly that thousands who never have doubted of Christ's resurrection might doubt of it this instant, so that they might have
with their doubt so much of a real Christian faith, a heart and mind so much in agreement with the mind of the Spirit of God. On the other hand, and this is to our present purpose most particularly, it does not at all follow that they who do not doubt, therefore believe. Taught the facts of our religion from childhood,-taught to consider them as very certain and very sacred, but too often not taught how to use them, the events of Christ's life and death have no more occupied their hearts and minds than the movements of the sun, and moon, and stars: as far as practice is concerned, they think of the one no more than they do of the other. As children, they have said their Catechism as a lesson, as boys, they have gone to church, when at home, because it is the custom of their families, and when at school, because the rules of the school oblige them to do so. But neither the Catechism nor the church service have gone beyond the particular portion of time-I may almost say, the particular part and corner of the mind-that has been given to them. They have never fully entered into the system, so as visibly to affect the health and strength of the constitution. It is possible that, in many cases, a boy knows
nothing of what may be called faith, till he begins to prepare for confirmation. But it is possible also that even that solemn service, admirable as is its design, and great as are its uses, if understood and applied, may pass over to some unprofitably. They may look upon it as a sort of examination in divinity, and think that if they can answer the questions put to them, so as to be reported fit for confirmation, in point of knowledge, they have done their business, and are qualified for the ceremony; and, after it is over, they look upon it as on an examination when past, as a thing with which they have no further Then comes the preparation, for the first time, of receiving the communion of the Lord's supper: and this, perhaps, is the first time that some have ever acquired a notion of what Christian faith really is. And for this very reason, because there is a general feeling, that the receiving of the sacrament is different from our common religious services, that it cannot be trifled with in the manner in which we know that we do trifle with those other services;-it is, in short, because the sacrament does really require faith, and faith is a thing which our evil nature knows not and shrinks from,-that
therefore we so often find young persons so unwilling to come to the Lord's table. Nay sometimes, even if they do receive it, they do not yet learn fully what it is to believe. So manifold are the tricks of our self-deceiving hearts, that some go to the communion itself as a matter of form, because they think that it would be marked in them to stay away; and then they try to persuade themselves that they cannot help going; and if they cannot help going, then they do not profane it by going unworthily;-that it is not their own free choice to go, and the guilt of profaning it will not rest upon their heads. Strange and shocking as it seems, I know that this argument has been used where the rules of a school or college have required every one to attend as a matter of regulation;--I fear it may have been used even where no such rule exists, and where it can only be supposed that an habitual absence from the communion, in persons of a certain age, cannot fail to be remarked as strange, and as a just matter of regret. But so it is, that from whatever cause, whether from wilful neglect before they went, or more commonly from inveterate carelessness afterwards, too many of those, who do attend the communion, still appear to
be strangers to the principle of faith. They cannot be said, like the Apostles, to "have continued with Christ in his temptations," for they have never known what it is to struggle against temptation for Christ's sake. They have never made it their deliberate choice to abide with him, let who would forsake him, because they were sure that he had "the words of eternal life." As to leaving him outwardly, that is, of changing their religion, and becoming heathens and Mahometans,that is a question which has never come before their minds, as there is nothing to tempt them to do it; but, as to leaving him really, that is to say, ceasing to obey him, to honour him, to love him, they do not cease to do these things, only because they have never begun to do them at all; they do not turn back from Christ, only because they have never really followed him. However much then we may be called Christians, and however little we have ever doubted the fact of Christ's life and death, we cannot on that account lay claim to that true and lively faith which Christ saw in his eleven Apostles, and for which he did not hesitate to pronounce them to be "clean every whit."
But what follows then? If we are not thus