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Full Assurance of Faith
But to all this the sceptic will reply that he does not blindly trust in others, but that he has reason to believe that he will be carried safely, that his message will be sent correctly, and that the letter will reach his wife in good season. His faith in these things is based on the following grounds:—
  1. Others have been carried in safety, and thousands of letters and telegrams have been correctly sent and promptly delivered. Whenever a letter has been misplaced, it has almost invariably been the fault of the sender.

  2. The men to whom he entrusts himself and his messages make a business of carrying people and messages; if they should fail to fulfil their agreements, nobody would place any confidence in them, and their business would soon be ruined.

  3. He has the assurance of the government of the United States. The railroad and telegraph companies receive their charter from the government, which thereby becomes in a responsible for their faithfulness. If they do not do as they agree, the government can revoke their charter. His confidence in the letter box was due to the fact that he saw upon it the letters "U.S.M.," and he knew that they mean that the government has promised safely to deliver any letter placed in the box, if it is properly addressed and stamped. He believes that the government will fulfil its promises, because if it does not, it must soon come to an end. It is to the interest of the government to fulfil its promises just as much as it is to the interest of the railroad and telegraph companies to fulfil theirs. And all these things form a solid ground for his faith.

Well, the Christian has a thousand-fold more ground for his faith in the promises of God. Faith is not blind credulity. Says the apostle, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence [ground, or confidence] of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1. This is an inspired definition, and therefore we may conclude that the Lord does not expect us to exercise faith except on evidence. Now it can readily be shown that the Christian has a great deal more reason for exercising faith in God than the sceptic has for his confidence in the railroad and telegraph companies or in the government.

  1. Others have trusted the promises of God, and have found them to be sure. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews contains a long list of those who have verified the promises of God; who "through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, our of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again." And this is not confined to the days of old. Anyone who wishes, can find abundance of testimony to the fact that God is "a very present help in trouble." Thousands can testify of prayers answered in so marked a manner as to leave no more doubt that God answers prayers than the United States Government carries the mails that are entrusted to it.

  2. The God whom we trust makes a business of answering prayers, and of protecting and caring for his subjects. "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not." Micah 7:18. "For I know the thoughts that i think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." Jeremiah 29:11. If he should break one of his promises, men would cease to believe him. This was the ground of David's confidence. Said he "Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name; and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake. Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God?" Psalm 79:9, 10.

  3. The existence of God's government depends on the fulfilment of his promises. The Christian has the assurance of the government of the universe that every lawful request that he makes will be granted. Government is especially for the protection of the weak. Suppose now that God should fail to fulfil one of his promises to the very weakest and most insignificant person in the world; that single failure would destroy the entire government of God. The whole universe would at once be thrown into confusion. If God should break one of his promises, no one in the universe could ever have any confidence in them, and his rule would be at an end; for trust in the ruling power is the only sure ground of obedience. Nihilists of Russia do not obey the czar, because they do not trust him. Any government that, through failure to meet its obligations, looses the respect of its subjects, is in an unstable condition. Therefore the humble Christian depends on the word of God, knowing that God has more at stake than he has. If such a thing were possible as that God should break his word, the Christian would lose only his life, but God would lose his character, the stability of his government, and the control of the universe.

Moreover, those who put their trust in human government, or in any institution of men, are liable to be disappointed.

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