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Faith the Way of Peace

Faith the Way of Peace

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By Rev. Arthur F. Winnington Ingram, D.D.

" Therefore, being justified by faith, let us have peace." —
Romans v. i.

By Rev. Arthur F. Winnington Ingram, D.D.

" Therefore, being justified by faith, let us have peace." —
Romans v. i.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on May 07, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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FAITH THE WAY OF PEACE By Rev. Arthur F. Winnington Ingram, D.D. " Therefore, being justified by faith, let us have peace." — Romans v. i. PEW will deny that the desire for peace is one ^ of the deepest and strongest yearnings of the human soul. At this moment one seems to detect, does one not, in the heart of the country a great longing for peace? Whatever view men have taken about the war, they long now to see its end. We should like to see our boys again. We have spared them for the country's work ungrudgingly, but now through the whole nation the prayer rises, " Let us have peace — if it can be permanent, and if it can be with honour — Let us have peace !" And is not the heart's desire of the nation to- day the permanent longing of every individual soul ? Truly, it is a very stirring thought to think 3 B 2 Faith that this great assemblage of human jjouIs is passing into the winter to face a future absolutely unknown. The late Dean of St. Paul's uttered a great truth when he said, '* We are all of us like children lost on a dark common at night by ourselves." And the thought that every one of us in this mass of human souls is passing into the winter, with unknown trials, unknown difficulties, unknown temptations, makes this certain : that what we
most need, if we are to play our parts like men and women in it, is peace — peace of conscience, peace of mind, peace of heart. Whatever we have or have not, let us have peace. ow, few would deny that this is true, least of all worried men of business ; but a great number, if they spoke out the real thought of their heart, would confess their surprise at St. Paul's announce- ment of the first step towards peace : " Therefore, being justified by faith, let us have peace." There is no doubt that, to an ordinary Englishman, there is a sense almost of irritation at the use of theo- logical terms. He does not understand them. TJiey may be clear to the clergyman, but they mean nothing to him ; they seem to have nothing to do with life, nothing to do with the world as ordinary men know it And of all phrases, of all 4 Faith the IVay of Peace theological terms which puzzle most the ordinary layman, I believe that this phrase, "justification by faith," is the most puzzling. *^Why," says the layman, " as far as I can see, St. Paul is wrong. In the City, on the Stock Exchange, a man is con- sidered justified by what he does. We respect a man's profession of faith, but the thing which we look to as practical men is the way in which that profession of faith is carried out in his life. After all, it can only be by conduct, by character, that anyone is justified at all." And so, again, from another point of view, it may be urged that this faith seems a far-away, unpractical thing. " One man has a strong imagination, and he has no doubt v/hatever in his mind that he is justified, that he is
all right with God ; while another, ten times as good a man, but morbidly inclined, very modest and self-depreciatory, seems to have no confidence about it at all." And yet another says — and this objector would have the late Professor Jowett on his side — "After all is said and done, is not this contrast between faith and works in the Epistle to the Romans out of date altogether, for whoever met a man who thought he would be justified by his works.?" It would seem that one use of the afternoon 5 Faith sermons at St. Paul's is to face and drag out such difficulties as these from the hearts of men, and see if there is not some sort of an intelli- gible answer to be given to them. Religion is in a poor and miserable place if it is to be held with the heart, but not with the mind and intellect at all. Let us see, therefore, whether such objec- tions as these are true or not. And first let us overthrow those very common and popular misconceptions about faith. Is the faith made so much of in the Bible really concerned merely with sentiment or feeling or imagination ? If it has nothing to do with character or life or acts, then there are no words strong enough to be found with which to hold it up to contempt. But let us take two or three illustrations from real life of what faith is, and from them we shall glean some sort of idea why such a tremendous stress is laid in the Bible on the possession of it. And, first of all, picture an explorer starting in his ship for the Arctic regions. He has planned out this expedi-

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