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alone, are the words of eternal life that there is the only light which will enable us to see what manner of men we arethe only teacher who can explain to us the meaning of this life, and the value of the next.—Do this, my brethren, in sincerity and truth, and you will virtually “ come to Jesus." - Do this in sincerity and truth, and you shall receive the same gracious answer, that was vouchsafed to the son of Timæus—“ Jesus said unto him, Go thy way ;-thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight.”
May all those whose faith shall obtain for them a share of the blind man's blessing, have grace also to imitate his subsequent conduct. Behold, they are made whole, they are brought out of darkness into light—their eyes are opened, and they have seen the Lord :- May they never leave him nor forsake him may they be deaf to all other calls :-- cast away all the lets and hindrances of the flesh :take up the cross deliberately and resolvedly, and “ follow Jesus in the way.”
THE POWER OF FAITH.
MARK ix. 24.
And straightway the father of the child cried out,
and said with tears, Lord, I believe: help thou mine unbelief.
This is one of the many passages to be found in the New Testament, the perfect naturalness and reality of which render it impossible to suppose that the narrative which contains them can be a counterfeit. We have here a father, whose son-and that son his “ only child,” as we learn from St. Luke, is afflicted with a most grievous and distressing malady.—Having heard of the wonderful works of Jesus, he brings the sufferer to him, in the hope of obtaining relief. At the moment of his arrival however, our Lord had taken Peter, James, and John apart with him
into a high mountain, that he might be transfigured before them, and make them witnesses of his heavenly glory, for the farther confirmation of their own faith, and that of their brethren. In the absence of the Master, the anxious parent makes application to the disciples, but they could not help him.-" I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out, and they could not." Either from the apparent difficulty of the case, or from some other reason not recorded, the Apostles appear to have doubted whether they had power to effect the cure. And with the admission of that doubt, their power vanished. They made the attempt, and because of their unbelief they failed.
While this failure was occasioning the bitterest disappointment to the unhappy parent, and affording a welcome triumph to the jeering Scribes, Jesus himself approached from Mount Tabor.—The glory, it would seem, in which he had been lately arrayed, had not altogether left him.—Perhaps, as in the case of Moses, a divine light still beamed from his countenance-for“ straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him, saluted him.” With this appearance the hopes of the father revived, and on Christ's inquiring the subject of the warm discussion which was going on between the Scribes and his disciples, he prepares to renew his application. But it is obvious that he must now do so with mingled and conflicting feelings. --However sure might have been his trust in Christ's power, when he first determined to appeal to him, the failure of the disciples must have staggered his confidence :-he could not but entertain a fear lest the Master, no less than the servants, should have overrated his own ability. — Accordingly, though his anxieties as a parent urge him to make one more trial, there is distrust and hesitation in his address. He feelingly describes the sad afflictions of his child, and adds,“ but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.”—“ If thou canst believe,” says Jesus in reply, “all things are possible
to him that believeth."— The difficulty lies not in my want of power, but in thy want of faith. Believe only, and according to thy faith shall it be done unto thee. --Touched by this rebuke, but at the same time reassured by the confidence of Christ's manner-sincerely anxious to dismiss every lingering doubt, but yet unable to feel implicit trust, he cries with unrestrained emotion, “ Lord, I believe : help thou mine unbelief.”—This is deemed sufficient, and immediately the evil spirit is cast out.
It will not be difficult, my brethren, to apply this passage to ourselves, in a manner which may afford us both encouragement and instruction. We have only to consider as figurative, that possession by evil spirits, which in the object before us was real, and the case is our own at once.
Our enemies are the same, and the same are the weapons of our warfare.- For example,
" Wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him ; and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth.' What have we here, but an accurate