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The Analogy of Faith.

The Analogy of Faith.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
by HUGH SMITH CARPENTER.



HE who dwells in a valley can drink of the stream,
though its source be inaccessible in the mountain
clefts.

So a soul may taste the flow of spiritual life, though
it be at the same time utterly unable to trace a course
of theology. Theology climbs the mountain, or clam-
bers and slips. Religion dwells by the stream.
by HUGH SMITH CARPENTER.



HE who dwells in a valley can drink of the stream,
though its source be inaccessible in the mountain
clefts.

So a soul may taste the flow of spiritual life, though
it be at the same time utterly unable to trace a course
of theology. Theology climbs the mountain, or clam-
bers and slips. Religion dwells by the stream.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Apr 06, 2014
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THE A ALOGY OF FAITH. by HUGH SMITH CARPE TER.

HE who dwells in a valley can drink of the stream, though its source be inaccessible in the mountain clefts. So a soul may taste the flow of spiritual life, though it be at the same time utterly unable to trace a course of theology. Theology climbs the mountain, or clambers and slips. Religion dwells by the stream. A man must return from his theology in order to reach his religion ; and then he will find that his religion is his supply of theology. The secret of spiritual life is in the cross of Christ. The secret of his cross is in his crown. The secret of his crown is hidden in the nature of God. And that natural theology must be mistaken which bids the soul define the nature of God before it may take the blessing of God. And all that spiritual theology must be mistaken whiclvdetermines to know. what- Christ. is

18 THE A ALOGY OF FAITH. in the essence of glory, before it consents to know what Christ is in itself the hope of glory. There is an analogy between human entrance on this mode of existence, which we call Time, and human approach to that mode of existence which we call Eternity. There is a Time GospeL

In order to hear it, we may conceive for ourselves a state of preexistence, so that we shall seem to be looking forward to an earth birth, just as here we anticipate a life to come. Imagine a concourse of human spirits unborn as yet to any flesh life, but lingering in a preliminary and nebulous existence. Shadow books are in their spectral grasp- Among them there are ethereal poets that murmur spirit cadences almost articulate, the .melodious hints and instincts of a more substantial life. Messengers from another sphere announce such a future more distinctly. Preachers rise, who are shadows like themselves, and yet seem to have already a denser and more solid organism — a fibrous mystery, which, to many, is too opaque to be real. In their tampering with materialism, and their tints of form, these soul preachers become obscure to the native tenuity of that frameless lot They interpret the Gospel of a bodily substantial life ; they condition it for each one on a personal acceptance of the headship and the life of the human race as already defined upon this globe.

THE A ALOGY OF FAITH. 19 Many of the throng to whom this Gospel is proposed decline it, and drop away through flutters of a partial embryonic consciousness to ultimate inanity and void. Others believe, obey, and grasping any filament of substantial space that touches them, however slender and untraced, begin to weave about them the vesture of this organic mode, as albumen forms in eggs or air cells deliquesce to water, and find themselves at length awake, alive, in human infancy. This would be a sketch of fancy. But the only difference between their introduction to this life and our introduction to that before us, is that they are uncon-

scious of what is awaiting them, in other words, that in point of fact there is no preexistence on the threshold of this world, while to us, upon the verges of the next, there is. But for them, as for us, the terms of life would be terms of simple trust in representative, arrangement and simple acceptance of previous provision. . Hence this is the law of child-life in nature. Each one is born a child, helpless, dependent His bond of being is to fulfill the plan of nature within him and around him. Two forces engird and educe vitality, which it must learn to trust They are the forces of Love and of Law. Mother love is the first token of God's notice, the first trace of God's care. Father power and right construct order and constitute home. Acceptance is the instinct of life. And it is by this

20 THE A ALOGY OF FAITH. instinct that spirits live, as animals by theirs. Keason is just the choice of instinct, the balance in which it weighs things and thoughts. Faith is the instinct that accepts a life to come on its own terms. We find this globe prepared for man just as the breast is prepared for infancy. Humanity comes as readily to its lot here, as the child to its mother's arms. The globe nurses these children by taking them upon its lap. Its surface life is a process of lactation that they may be fed and grow. Provision meets and matches the instinctive quest. Wherever we see the trustful creature coming, we

see the careful God providing. He provides as a householder, a hospitable host, for expected guests. Creatures come, as guests, just when he expects them. In every element, in every realm, there is a nicety of adaptation. The sea shell plates its grooved mail about the shell fish. The bark knits its fibrous rings around the tree. The bud is wrapped in calix care until it is a ready bloom. Fur muffles the Arctic creature's skin. Feathers grow on skins of birds. o one can tell why or how the one skin secretes furry down, and the other downy plumes. These things do not make each what it is. Yet tbey find and fit each as it is. The nest charms the fledgeling until it can fly. At the moment when it can fly, it is disposed to fly. At the moment when it tries to fly, it can fly. The young stag begins to soent water for himself. There is a water pool de-

fHE A ALOGY OF FAITH. 21 termined by the scent. The lion's roar that craves his meat, is the lion's roar that quells his prey. The heart of man obeys the same instinct, and finds the same fitness. When young hearts begin to love, accepting the law that invests them, they begin to find loves. The instinct of solitude discerns the beauty of solitary scenes. The impulse of companionship meets with companions. Social thought accepts the laws and the facts of society. Home love nestles in the home that broods to enclose it. The hungry mouth no more readily finds food than the hungry mind finds truth. The thirsty lip loves water, — the thirsty spirit thrills to soothing syllables. Crisis concentrates strength, as cold air makes the blood tingle. Tasks of strength stir strength, as the clenched hand knots the muscles. Unusual need meets unusual supply. o man is prepared for the morrow. But the morrow prepares itself For every man, and so prepares every man for itself.

Tou have observed the aquarium. Within that little enclosure one may place animal life providing for plant life, and plant life providing for animal, in mutual moment of dependence; — the same element affording their separate aliment. The water in its consumption, is restored, and in its yieldings to each separate need, retained. This terrestrial life is an aquarium, exhaustless in supply for all, because exactly fitted, and exactly furnished to the need of each.

22 THE A ALOGY OF FAITH. The only life of every living thing is to take its portion then in its relation to all other portions — its portion in due season. It is the instinct of acceptance. The same acceptance will receive a portion, and secure a life in the adjoining world. That is the instinct of faith. We are little children, after all; the tallest and most boisterous, still little children, that think these grounds a bleak common, a wilderness, without pathway or landmark ; while we are only straying in our father's park, gardened and lawned for us ; or in our father's orchard, where we seem to have discovered by our wisdom the ripe, loaded fruit-trees, which his own hand planted for us, in our way. He has also other grounds and other grafts. To discover them, to invent them, to enjoy them, is to find them as they are, and to take them as we find them. Provision for the first man — the man representative or collective, is adequate for all individuals. Our Maker gave this globe and its abundance to the human, family, just as one might deed a piece of ground or bequeath an estate, to a man, his children and his heirs.

In the same lineal descent he pledged his own justice and goodness for government and for guard. The represented race shares in the blessing of the representative. It shares, too, in his losses and his death. The soil is ours in right of succession only. It was once theirs who are not here to claim it. These fields were owned in other names, and marked and mapped in

THE A ALOGY OF FAUST. 28 other title deeds. The very acres of the sky on which we gaze, belonged to other eyes. These joys are like the downy beds in lodging houses— other tired travelers have dreamed in them. These glooms are bat the ghosts that haunted former travelers. "We only dream them in these haunted chambers. ow, the individual claim of any man here on earth is his acceptance of his place in the human family ; his trust in the tenor and the terms of this provision. Every hill has been built for man, standing patiently for him in generations. But it is his, who climbs it to seize the splendid prospect. If by climbing I accept it> it .is mine. The water spring is filtered through its clay bed for man. If you dig to its flow, if you dip in its ripple, it is your well. The sun shines on this hemisphere as it shone ages ago— as it shone on ages of people, and unpeopled ages. If you throw your casement wide, the sun leaps into the room to greet you — it is your sun. There is the same general provision of the life to come. There is the same individuality of acceptance. The essential difference between the groundwork of

this life and that of the next, is a different reason of constitution in the latter. But that can make no difference in the principle of its reception. Forfeiture of this life by the first type of man occasions the founding of a higher life by the second. But we have noth-

24 THE A ALOGY OF FAITH. irig whatever to do with that Jesus Christ nowhere . alludes to Adam. Jesus Christ nowhere speaks of Eden, or even of antiquity. As one comes to a hut of poverty, bringing relief, and does not stop to parley till the starving children are fed, so he gives the bread of life. As one plows and plants in the soil which he finds, without analyzing the pulverized granules and debris of former organisms that compose it, so he undertakes and regenerates this human nature. Again, the plastic power of a Divine Spirit is sovereign in spiritual life. But no more so is it than in physical endowment— in growths and graces of nature, and in the powers of the human frame. In neither case does the secret source of vital force interfere with the simple terms of vital action. Spirituality, as seen from without, is an absolute regeneration. But from within, a man can no more perceive his regeneration than he could perceive his first creation. That is God's part. This is his. Regenerate life, like all other, is to be studied in its growth. In its birth it is simply to be accepted. It is but little that we know of Time. We are about as fit to describe it, as a traveler would be to describe the Oriental desert, — because he had crossed it, in a guided, guarded caravan.

In fact, the philosophic treatises of men, that range through ature, resemble most the tourist's book, who,

THE A ALOGY OF FAITH. 26 because he has been led by a route, claims to know all about the region. The inductions of this sphere gathered by the race, and published by the ages, are but the pages of its daily journal, after all ; a scrapbook, scrawled hastily, while the generations were whirled through the land — " on time" of their mortality, and, for the most part, in the ruts and beaten dusts of previous generations. Of course, such a diary is odd with blunders, and confused by contradictions. They who come after us, make mistakes, because we made them, or else waste time in the puzzle to unlearn them. The clear truth of this world is its gospel law of living And that is just as clear for the world to come. The conclusion is distinct. There is nothing more supernatural in the world to come than there had been in this world. Every thing there is natural to those who are there ; becomes natural as they come thither. The terrestrial race has one man, or type of man, for its head ; — ature teaches that. The race celestial has one man, or representative of man, for its head ; — what we call Eevelation, teaches that. The earth was given to the Adam — the red-clay man and his heirs. The new heavens and new earth are given to the Christ-man — the Son of Man who is Son of God. The first man was of the earth, earthy ; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, 2

26 THE A ALOGY OF FAITH. such are they also that are earthy ; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. The condition of life everlasting is therefore just the condition of life temporal; It is, to surrender the being to the Saviour of the being. It is, to exercise the powers in full expectation of his pervading vitality. It is to take holiness trustfully, basing our intent to cherish it on his intent to give it. It is to come as natively into his world of ordered glory and of reconciliation between the finite and the infinite, as we came nakedly into this disordered and transition world. This is to be born again, and to become as little children. It is not to make sure that we are strong ; it is to confess that we are strengthless. It is not to think a great deal, and say a great deal ; it is to stop saying and thinking. It is to take truth, as we have always taken food ; what we needed, what we could. It is to pillow the soul on his purpose, as we pillowed the head on a mother's heart. It is to look into the spiritual azure of Eternity, as our baby glances kindled on the atmospheric sky. It is to go forth falteringly, but bravely, upon the untried opportunities, as we crept and prattled on the nursery carpets ; and to climb services of difficulty, as we learned to climb the homestead stairs. It is to trust Christ's divinity, as we have trusted man's humanity, comprehending neither. It is to perceive and accredit the Divine faithfulness in the new man, as we have received that faithfulness in the first man.

THE A ALOGY OP FAITH. 27

And so it is to take eternal hope as instinctively as we have taken earthly hope ; to take Christian growth as we have taken muscular growth ; to study the walks of glory, as we have walked these paths and fields ; to breathe the fragrances of coming heaven, as we have breathed these flower odors ; to pass through mysteries, and leap over yawning doubts, as we have followed forest roads, and skipped across the ravine crags ; to cherish the thoughts of spiritual fellowship, as we listen to the songs of wayside birds ; to repose, when sorrow broods over us, as pilgrims pitch their tents, when evening drops its curtain ; to hide undei a prayerful shelter from temptation, as under a roof from the tempest ; and to drop to mortal sleep, in death dust at last, as into night sleep at our proper bed-time, looking for the morrow morning calmly.

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