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The Voice Behind Thee

The Voice Behind Thee

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By T. Harwood Pattison, D. D.

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying,
This is the way, walk ye in it. — Isaiah JO : 21.
By T. Harwood Pattison, D. D.

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying,
This is the way, walk ye in it. — Isaiah JO : 21.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Feb 17, 2014
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE VOICE BEHIND THEE By T. Harwood Pattison, D. D.And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it. — Isaiah JO : 21. Religiously, the age in which we are Hving is an age marked by two very strong and apparently conflicting characteristics. On its active side it is distinguished by aggressiveness ; on its passive side it is full of doubt. The first of these, Christian ag-gressiveness, need not excite our surprise. A cen-tuiy which has gathered in the great countries of Christendom such vast stores of wealth, almost in-evitably comes to measure eveiything by a mate-rial standard. The force which can bring things to pass is the force to be respected. If by no other motive our religion is impelled to aggressive action that it may vindicate its right to exist. Nor, I think, is there anything mysterious in the religious doubt of our age. The material develop-ment of to-day has been immensely indebted to science, to the genius of experiment. The spirit of experiment, however, is necessarily a spirit which questions. We " prove all things " that so we may
"hold fast" that which is good. Consequently, this questioning habit has become a characteristic of our minds, and we need feel no astonishment 155 156 THE VOICE BEHIND THEE when it is carried into the region of our religious be-hef. Now one and now another of the great truths on which we have been nourished is seen quiver-ing, as it were, in the white heat of the furnace ; or perhaps about it gather the mists which obscure its clear outlines and leave it dim and undefined. Under such conditions — and I believe that they have only to be mentioned for us at once to recog-nize them as familiar in our own thinking — what is our duty? Two answers are given to this ques-tion. The first counsels that, abandoning the sphere of speculation, we simply confine ourselves to action. Let us resolutely practise that " pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father." But I am persuaded that in the end such a course
as this must be fatal. How can a man long con-tinue to do this when he has no certainty that there is a God, but only a belief in some mysterious force, or a faint reverence for what he calls " the power which makes for righteousness " ? Faith is the motive to action, and if faith be dead or dying, then before long all energy must die away as surely as the wheels slacken and stop when the steam is shut off. The second answer to our question while en-couraging religious activity bids us now and then pause. Listen to the words of Isaiah in this chap-ter : " Their strength is to sit still. In returning and rest shall ye be saved." Their ears shall THE VOICE BEHlNt) THEE t^^ hear a voice behind them saying, This is the way, walk ye in it. To do this is not unscientific. It is true to the teachings of all time. The discov-eries by which the world is ennobled and enriched have been attained after months and years of pa-tient research. The laboratory and the study

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