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believe, without, for the present, either seeing or handling the things told unto them by faithful men; and that, but for the willing disposition of many such persons, decidedly opposite to the example which he had set, the power of his Lord's resurrection could not have been propagated successfully in the world. Such grievous recollections and self-reproaches could hardly have departed from Thomas, during the exercise of his apostolical office: add to which, every adversary acquainted with his history, might take occasion to humiliate and reproach him, by offering to believe on the same evidence with that which he had formerly demanded and obtained. Leaving the perverse, however, who have hearts already hardened, to glory by themselves in this matter, and to nourish their inveterate unbelief, I propose, my brethren, to instruct you by it, on the subject of the faith or belief which, according to this time, we are required to have and exercise, in order to the Divine blessing.
Let me begin, therefore, from the text, with remarking, that what is therein said of Thomas may certainly be said of ourselves; we were not with the disciples when Jesus came to them after His resurrection: further also, be it noted, that Jesus will probably never shew Himself again in the same fashion, as that in which
He then shewed Himself to the ten, and, eight days afterward, to His formerly absent apostle. Truly, it is written, "every eye shall see him," (Rev. i. 7.) and He will, no doubt, accordingly come again; but not for the satisfaction and salvation of such as will not otherwise believe. The future and final coming of the Lord Jesus will be with His glorious majesty, as our Almighty King and Judge, and to the utter confusion of all that shall not previously have called upon His name. Meanwhile, His present abiding place is far above, out of our sight and reach; so that if there be one amongst us, who, like the Apostle Thomas, will allow nothing beyond what he can see and feel, verily his must be reputed a hopeless case. Our calling clearly is, to walk " by faith, not by sight." In fact, our faith should seem praiseworthy, and deserving the name, only while it is fixed on truths and objects, which of our own selves we cannot see and ascertain. Seeing and believing, so far from being (as they are proverbially said to be) the same, are in a Christian sense nearly opposite to each other. The faith of Thomas, which prompted him, after that he had obtained an interview, to cry unto Jesus, "My Lord and my God," was replied to with words scarcely amounting to an approval; and occasion was at the same time taken to pro
nounce a superior blessing on those, who, having not seen, would nevertheless believe. We cannot indeed believe any thing contrary to the sight of our eyes; nor is it, by Scripture, required of us that we should; still we must believe much which for the present is beyond our sight. and apprehension, or live and die without any comfortable hope in the " powers "of the world to come." There is no promise to any other faith than this, which "believeth "in Him that is invisible," and in " things not seen as yet," however on that account generally discredited by the world.
What then, it may be asked, are our grounds of belief in such things, which are no longer within the range of our senses; for instance, what proof have we of the resurrection of Jesus, on which event the whole truth of the gospel properly depends? The same proof which was offered to Thomas, and which, although at the first rejected by him, he found in time to have been good and true. Untó him said the other disciples, when he came into their assembly, "We have seen the Lord." Likewise unto us, with one accord-even Thomas having ceased to doubt-have they uttered words equally decisive, and more explicit. Hear the address of St. John, at the opening of his first general Epistle, which may justly be taken
as proceeding from all the Apostles: "That which was from the beginning, which we "have heard, which we have seen with our
eyes, which we have looked upon, and our "hands have handled, of the Word of life;
(for the life was manifested, and we have “seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you "that eternal life, which was with the Father, " and was manifested unto us;) that which we
have seen and heard declare we unto you, "that ye also may have fellowship with us: " and truly our fellowship is with the Father, "and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may "be full." Thus have we Jesus declared to us, by His beloved disciple, and, as it were, in the names of the whole number, that He rose from the dead, and proved Himself alive again, by many infallible tokens, to those who had been with Him from the beginning; and their intention in so declaring Him St. John professes to be, that we, and all to whom their writings shall be transmitted, may, through their testimony, have fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ, to the fulfilment of their joy in the gospel. A truly pious and benevolent intention, and one which it were a sin against our own souls to frustrate.
Perhaps, we would rather see Jesus with our own eyes, and handle Him with our own hands, than put confidence in the eyes and hands of another. But this is not within our choice. The great God, and our Saviour, hav ing, once for all, or out of compassion to the infirmities of all, interposed to convince a faithless disciple, justly requires us to be, not faithless, but believing, in the word of His chosen witnesses, who saw and conversed, yea, and did eat and drink with Him who had been crucified, after his resurrection from the dead. And we may observe abundant reason to rely on their testimony, as fully persuaded that hereafter we shall be made to perceive, equally with Thomas, that it is no deception. One of our most ordinary habits is, to give credence to, and to regulate our conduct by the report of worldly men, concerning such worldly things as are not within our own sight and knowledge. It appears necessary for us in many cases to do this, and, accordingly, we are apt to do it with little or no hesitation. Much more then, about things pertaining unto God, should we practically trust in what hath been related to us by the Apostles of His Son. Occasion hath already been taken to remark, that they who will not receive their written word, are guilty of rejecting the counsel of God, or the means