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Faith and Its Power

Faith and Its Power

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HEb. xi.

HEb. xi.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 01, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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FAITH AND ITS POWER BY H.CG.MOULE.D.DHEb. xi.THE eleventh chapter of the Hebrews is a pre-emineut Scripture. With the fullestrecognition of the Divine greatness of the wholeBible, never forgetting that " every scripturehath in it the Spirit of God" (2 Tim. iii. 16),we are yet aware as we read that some volumesin the inspired Library are more pregnant thanothers, some structures in the sacred city of theBible more impressive than others, more rich ininterest, more responsive to repeated visits. Sucha scripture among books is this Epistle, andsuch a scripture among chapters is that onwhich we enter now.It is impressive by the majestic singleness of its theme ; Faith, from first to last, is its matter and its burthen. Further, it carries one longappeal to the heart by its method ; almost fromthe exordium to the very close it deals with itstheme not by abstract reasoning, nor even by a6i62 FAITH AND ITS POWER citation of inspired utterances only. It worksout its message by a display, in long and living procession, of inspired human experiences. Itis to an extraordinary degree human, dealingall along with names as familiar to us as anyin any history can be ; with characters which
are perfectly individual ; with lives lived in theface of difficulty, danger, trial, sorrow, as concreteas possible ; with deaths met and overcome under conditions of mystery, suspense, trial to courageand to trust, which for all time the heart of mancan apprehend in their solenmity. Meanwhile,as a matter of diction and eloquence, the chapter carries in it that peculiar charm which comesalways with a stately enumeration. It has often been remarked that there is a spell in the mererecitation of names by a master of verse :"Lancelot, and Pelleas, and Pellenore."Or take that great scene in Marmion, wherethe spectral summons is pealed from EdinburghCross :"Then tliunder'd forth a roll of names;The first was thine, unhappy James !Then all tliy nobles came ;Crawford, Glencaini, Montrose, Argyle,Ross, Botliwell, Forbes, Lennox, Lyle,Each chief of birth and fume."And the consummate prose of this our chapter moves us with the like rhythmical power uponA GREAT SCRIPTURE 63the spirit, while from Abel and Enoch onwardswe hear recited, name by name, the ancestors of the undying family of faith. No wonder thatthe chapter should have inspired to utterancesformed in its own style the Christian eloquenceof later days, as in that noble closing passageof Julius Hare's Victory of Faith, where he carries
on the record through the apostolic age, and theearly persecutions, and the times of the Fathers,to Wilfrid and Bernard, the Waldenses, Wiclif,Luther, Latimer, down to Oberlin, and Simeon," and Howard, and Neff, and Henry Martyn."So we approach the chapter, familiar as it is(and it is so familiar because it is so great), witha peculiar and reverent expectation. We look forward to another visit to this great gallery of " the portraits of the family of God " with a pleasure as natural as it is reverent and believ-ing. True to our plan in these expositions,however, we shall not attempt to commentupon it in the least degree fully or in detail.Our aim will be rather to collect and focustogether some main elements of its teaching, particularly in regard of their applicability toour own days.The first question suggested as we read is,what is the connexion of the chapter ? Whydoes the Writer spend all this wealth of exampleand application upon the one word Faith ?64 FAITH AND ITS POWER The reason is not far to seek. The tenthchapter closes with that word, or rather withthat truth : " My righteous man shall live byfaith " ; " we are of them that have faith, untothe saving of the soul." And this close is onlythe issue of a strain of previous teachings, goingfar back towards the opening of the Epistle." The evil heart of unbelief," of " unfaith," if theword may be used, is the theme of warning iniii. 12:" They could not enter in because of unbelief" (iii. 19). "The word of hearing did

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