The Unbelief of Thomas.


Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed : blessea are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. S. JOH xx. 29. r I HOMAS S scepticism, and his proposed test. J. When the time came to apply the test, he did not care for it, but believed on other grounds. What will produce faith here when it is lacking ? (It is always lacking in vividness.) * Blessed is he who not having seen, 1 etc. : is this a benediction upon credulity ? Who are the heirs of the benediction ? I. The disciples were misled by their own observation ; assuming, like other men, that their experience was exhaustive. They supposed it to be natural for all men, including Him, to die. (The notion that Death is universal conqueror ; a precipice over which the stream of humanity falls at last.) This is not true ; the triumph rests with life. Since the first primordial germ planted by God on the bald, bare, newly-cooled earth, life has persistently grown, spread, conquered. Christ the first-fruits of a new order achieved. Jesus was not an exception, a prodigy, in overcoming death, but the first-fruits of a natural order. So that, not having seen, I am prepared to believe, because it is intrinsically probable. II. But the objection is urged that things are not seen to turn out as they ought, if this view be true. [The natural progress of human existence ought to pass from stage

to stage easily, without shock. Death should be seen to be an apotheosis. But the contrary is the fact. It is shock, surprise, fear.] This lack of agreement between theory and observed fact is con fessed ; but my faith in the truth is steadied when the scientific explanation of the discrepancy is pointed out ; i.e. the sting of death is sin ! It is so, not as involving penalty, but as importing doubt of recovery. Sin is the disturbing element ; deranging function, stopping move ment. III. Jesus therefore, being free from sin, survived death naturally, as was to be expected. VOL. vn. G 97

EASTER DAY ( otice the entire absence of surprise in the witnesses.) 1. He has taken the sting out of death. 2. He has in some way bound men to His fortunes. The pathetic way in which the instinct of the race fastens upon the new hope which His Resurrection imports. The dream of the poet, the burden of the seer, the prophetic conscience of the priest, the harmony of the artist, and the clamour of stricken love, all find their rest and stay in Him, in whom, not having seen, they yet believe. S. D. M CO ELL. 1. 68 FREE BOOKS


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