Hebrews vi. 19, 20
Faith's Triumphs Amidst Present Difficulties.
An Address at Ecclesston Hall, on Bank Holiday
WHILE it is true that whenever our Lord has been permitted to decide for us in times of difficulty, the result has always proved for us His unerring wisdom and care for our good, still we, as His elect ones, should never forget, especially in these days of increasing trial, that the figure here before us implies that we shall have to ride at anchor on stormy seas.
This will be made increasingly manifest to the Church of God, in order that we may know practically the meaning of our Lord’s words, "Have faith in GOD."
As witness-bearers for HIMSELF down here, we are only beginning, as it seems to me, to enter into the meaning of "having our anchor in the things within the veil." One of the greatest hindrances to church life in the present day is, that we fail to live in the power of unseen realities. Our eyes are fixed on the seen and temporal; our attention drawn to feelings, experiences, and judgments, and our hearts are not fairly anchored in the realities of God. While the storm may rise, and the billows and wind be contrary, and we may no doubt experience to a greater extent than ever the increase and spread of false doctrine with its sad results, and see many drawn aside from the truth by the direct appeal which the false makes to the senses, and to human reason and intellectual power, nevertheless, we who are of the little band of believers, having faith in God alone, are called to know that all this confusion is to be for the little while till Jesus comes, in order that our faith may not rest in our brethren, in circumstances, in what seems to be, but in the unseen God, and in the power of our Jehovah Jesus.
In Ps. lvii., David shouts out, "My heart is fixed . . . I will sing." Ah! that is what the Church is needing. As we look round about upon the poor world that has come in and very much swamped things in the professing Church, we can, in spite of it all, with clear faith in our God, say, "My heart is fixed . . . I will sing praise." Even when David was fleeing from Saul, David’s heart was fixed, and he could sing and give praise to God. If we have our hearts thus fixed, and we walk by what we do not see-—that is faith. When I take God’s Word, and put it upon my eyes, and look through that word only, that is faith. It is not possible for me to shut my eyes of reason, look within the veil, and not see the blood. It is man’s foolish, fallen intellect that denies salvation through the blood of Christ. As we shut our natural eyes, so to speak, and look, through God’s Word, within the veil, we see everything which is of God, based upon eternal redemption through the blood; and we can sing, for we see that temporal things are only temporary, passing, fading away. Without this grip of God and things within the veil, through His Word, we may look at false doctrine, and be very much troubled about its prevalence; but we look to Jesus, through the Word, and find Him pleading for His true Church, in spite of all these things. We do not know those who are preaching false doctrine; they may, some of them, be the children of God, and may be under the snare of Satan; but we know that the whole true Church is borne upon the heart of the Christ of God, and we can sing.
Read Heb. xi. I begin to be tired of hearing what we may do, God here tells us what we SHALL do. Those who have true faith in the unseen, do the very things of which we find illustrations in that wonderful chapter. We see it in daily life. When our dear brother exhorted us to have a grip of prayer, he knew perfectly well that he had seen marvelous things resulting from it. When, in simple faith, we thus take hold of God, we cannot live a single day without seeing marvelous answers to prayer. When the members of the true Church of God live by faith on Him, they do see wondrous things, and are enabled to do wondrous things to the praise of the glory of His grace.
When the apostle Paul wrote that first verse of Heb. xi., he probably looked down through the ages and saw the absurdities of the evolution theory, and demolished it with this one master-stroke: "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." Who believes him? Surely the men who walk by faith in God’s Word; not those who say, "I will not believe any part of this Word till my intellect goes with it." No, no; by faith we understand. The little child believes this blessed Word. A man, though a fool as to mental acquirements, who takes the Word of God, and simply believes the great statements of God’s truth, he understands, he has what Daniel calls "the understanding of the holy," and sees, at one glance, the absurdity of the so-called scientific theories of the day.
By faith we do wonderful things. Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice by simple faith—another manifestation that "blessing" is by the blood only; it is only faith that can see it. Man’s mere reason or intellect is sure to reject the blood; but let faith in God’s Word take the place of mere intellect, and we ofier "a more excellent sacrifice than Cain;" and what is that sacrifice? The precious sacrifice that Jehovah can alone accept-—-the Lord Jesus Christ the crucified.
The times are coming when God will scatter His people. I thank God for it; for many of His people need it, in order to glorify Christ in testifying for Him, so as to bring souls in other spheres to Him. Only the men and women of faith will hear the call. By faith Abraham heard the call of God, and went out, not knowing where he was going. He did not look for comfortable quarters in a place before he made up his mind to go to it; he hadn’t a great committee at his back, with the appliances of the present day; but he had GOD, and, in simple faith and obedience, went forth, not knowing whither. God blessed him, made his life a blessing, and gave him sweet fellowship with Himself. So may it be with hundreds of God’s people present, for His name’s sake.