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The Value of Faith.

The Value of Faith.

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Published by glennpease
BY BISHOP SETH WARD, D.D.


"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious
than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire,
might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the
appearing of Jesus Christ." (i Pet. i. 7.)
BY BISHOP SETH WARD, D.D.


"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious
than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire,
might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the
appearing of Jesus Christ." (i Pet. i. 7.)

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 22, 2013
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THE VALUE OF FAITH.BY BISHOP SETH WARD, D.D."That the trial of your faith, being much more preciousthan of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire,might be found unto praise and honor and glory at theappearing of Jesus Christ." (i Pet. i. 7.)THIS first chapter of the Epistle of St. Peteris so rich in its teachings, the great thoughtsthat were in the mind of the apostle so link them-selves together, that it is with some difficulty thatwe detach a single verse or a distinct subject forspecial consideration. This passage, though nota complete sentence in itself, speaks of the valueof faith, the trial of faith, and the triumph of faith; and this faith rests upon the invisible buteverliving Christ as its object and issues in eter-nal salvation as its final result. You can see atonce into how wide a field a full discussion of this text would lead. It is my purpose to speak of only one aspect of the truth, the value of Christian faith. This is an old theme and lacksthe charm of novelty. My reason for the selec-tion and discussion of this subject is its practicalimportance, its vital relation to the life of theindividual and the progress of the race. Thatii (161)162 COQUERIG FORCES.ought to enlist and hold the interest of everythoughtful man.That inspiration of the Divine Spirit that guar-
 
anteed trustworthiness and the sufficiency of theHoly Scriptures did not destroy the personalityor remove all the peculiarities of the individualwriters. In his earlier years St. Peter had beenaccustomed to estimate the value of a night's toilin the sea by its equivalent in silver and gold, itsmarket price in current coin. More than once inthis chapter he uses the same terms to express hishighest thought of earthly values as he put themin contrast with the higher values of the spiritualrealm. "Ye were not redeemed with corruptiblethings as silver and gold, but with the preciousblood of Jesus Christ." Here faith is declared tobe "more precious than gold which perisheth,though it be tried with fire." Gold, tested gold,that in the furnace has been purged of its drossand raised to the highest degree of purity, willultimately perish; but the faith of which hespeaks, the faith more precious than gold, willendure unto the appearing of Jesus Christ.Let us submit this teaching of the apostle to themost searching consideration; let us apply to itTHE VALUE OF FAITH. 163the most practical tests. Is his estimate of thevalue of faith a correct estimate? Is the state-ment of the text a true statement? If such in-quiries should seem to be irreverent, I assure youthat nothing could be further from my thoughtthan an irreverent treatment of this subject, butwe owe it to ourselves to be thoroughly sincereas we endeavor to answer these questions.I. First of all, let us understand what we meanby the terms that we use. In apostolic teachingfaith was not a technical term; certainly it was
 
not such in the teaching of our Lord. It was aliving word; it stood for a vital truth. It did notstand for a theological conception, but expresseda human experience. It is in that vital and prac-tical sense that I use the term. We may say,speaking broadly, that Christian faith consists of belief and trust. I suppose the apostles did notthus analyze faith; they did not consciously an-alyze it at all; no more did Adam analyze theatmosphere of paradise; but then, as now, theatmosphere was composed of its constituent ele-ments, and in the days of our Lord, as now, faithhad its elements of belief and trust.1. In order to the possession and exercise of 164 COQUERIG FORCES.Christian faith man must believe the essentialteachings of the Christian system. I will notundertake to state with exactness just what theessentials of Christian faith are — just how mucha man must believe, how large his creed must bein order to have a Christian faith. But he mustbelieve in the living God, the God revealed inChrist — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit ;he must believe in Jesus Christ as the Saviour of man and the Deliverer of the world; he mustbelieve in man as a being, capable and worthy of salvation; he must believe in a trustworthy rec-ord of God's revelation of himself and of his willconcerning man. This much, at least, is involvedin Christian faith. This faith is wholly rational.It rests upon evidence. We believe these greatteachings of Christianity for the same reason thatwe believe the facts of American history or theprinciples of physical science because there issufficient evidence to assure us of their truth.

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