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The Faith of the Church,

The Faith of the Church,

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Published by glennpease
BY THE REV. JAMES OWEN, SWANSEA.

" Nevertheless when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on
the earth ? " — St. Luke xviii. 8.
BY THE REV. JAMES OWEN, SWANSEA.

" Nevertheless when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on
the earth ? " — St. Luke xviii. 8.

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Published by: glennpease on Aug 28, 2013
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06/26/2014

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THE FAITH OF THE CHURCH,BY THE REV. JAMES OWE, SWASEA." evertheless when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith onthe earth ? " — St. Luke xviii. 8.This is the question which our Lord asks at the closeof the parable of the unjust Judge and the Widow — aparable which, as Matthew Henry says, "has its keyhanging at the door." " He spake a parable unto themto this end, that men ought always to pray and not tofaint." In the preceding chapter He has been speakingof the "revelation" of the Son of man, and of a suddenand terrible judgment that would befall men. Hisprophecies were not guesses; but the future was toHim like an open book. He was not merely quick tonote the tendencies of certain deeds or courses of action ;but He was already looking upon the results, the fruit, theautumn of a man's life or a nation's history. And asthe words of doom fell from His lips, the disciples askedHim, " Where, Lord ? " " Where, and on whom is this judgment to come?" "And He said unto them. Where-soever the body is, thither will the eagles be gatheredtogether." As the carcase everywhere attracts theeagles, or, more cprrectly, the vultures, so do moralcorruption and ripened guilt everywhere demand theDigitized by VjOOQICi86 THE FAITH OF THE CHURCH. judgment. As if Christ had said, You need not inquirewhere, or when, or how, or on whom the judgment willtake place ; but remember, wherever death is, wherevercorraption is, thither must the vultures come.
 
Life, then, is the only security against this judg-ment. If we are found among the living, the vultureswill pass us by ; they will hover far above us ; theywill not attack life. And the best evidence of spirituallife is communion with God. To live always, menought always to pray. Life is the only condition of escape from the coming doom ; and the great condition of life is fellowship with the Eternal. ** And He spake aparable unto them to this end, that men ought alwaysto pray, and not to faint ; saying. There was in a citya judge which feared not Gk>d, neither regarded man ;and there was a widow in that city ; and she came untohim, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary," — do me justice, — " and he would not for a while ; " but she didnot give up; though repulsed, she came again andagain and again ; and at last he said, " Well, she will nottake *o' for an answer, her compljdnts have becomeunbearable. Though I fear not Grod, nor regard man"(a terrible thing for a man to say of himself), "yetbecause this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lestby her continual coming she weary me. And the Lordsaid, Hear what the unjust judge saith ; and shall notGrod avenge His own elect which cry day and nightunto Him, though He bear long with them ? " that is,with the " elect " crying unto Him, or, as some prefer,with the adversaries, exercising longsuflFering towardsthem, and delaying the triumphant deliverance of theDigitized by VjOOQICTHE FAITH OF THE CHURCH. 187Church. '*I tell you that He will avenge themspeedily." And then comes this question — a questionthat seems to cast a gloom over the future, and to
 
suggest a doubt in regard to the prospects of the Church,We are accustomed to think of a coming era of right-eousness and peace upon the earth, when one shall haveno need " to say to another. Know the Lord ; but whenall shall know Him, from the least to the greatest."We are accustomed to pray for the advent of that era.Aijd there are promises and prophecies that direct andencourage us thus to pray. ow this question soundslike a discordant note, and seems to discredit the pro-phecies of the Scriptures and the expectations of theChurch. It appears strange, as if there were somedoubt as to the perpetuity of faith on the earth. Howshall we understand it? Well, mark, this coming of the Son of Man does not mean necessarily, or at anyrate exclusively, His last coming to judgment. Thewords may be applied to, and Christ probably meant, anycoming of the Son of man. And some have para-phrased the text, " When the Son of man cometh in thedestruction of Jerusalem^ shall He find faith in the land — the land of Israel ? " But the words should not berestricted to that; for we may speak of any revolu-tion, any crisis in the history of the individual, or afamily, or a Church, or a nation, as a coming of theSon of man. And the faith spoken of here is a faithlike that of the widow, that perseveres, that does notgive up. We might render it, " Shall He find this faith,or such faith on the earth ? " — the faith that can waitthough the deliverance is delayed. The question doesDigitized by VjOOQICi88 THE FAITH OF THE CHURCH.not suggest the probable extinction of all faith in theworld, but the possible weakening of that faith which isillustrated in the parable, the faith of unwearied prayer,

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