I envy no quality of the mind or intellect in others; not genius, power, wit, nor fancy; but, if I could choose what would be most delightful, and, I believe, most useful to me, I should prefer a firm religious belief to every other blessing.
Serve God, and God will take care of you. Submit to His will, trust in His grace, and resign yourself into His hands with the assurance that the Lord is well pleased with those that hope in His mercy.
The soul seeks God by faith, not by the reasonings of the mind and labored efforts, but by the drawings of love; to which inclinations God responds, and instructs the soul, which co-operates actively. God then puts the soul in a passive state where He accomplishes all, causing great progress, first by way of enjoyment, then by privation, and finally by pure love.
The last decisive energy of a rational courage which confides in the Supreme Power is very sublime. It makes a man who intrepidly dares every thing that can oppose or attack him within the sphere of mortalitywho will press toward his object while death is impending over him who would retain his purpose unshaken amidst the ruins of the world.
So for us, the condition and preparation on and by which we are sheltered by that great hand, is the faith that asks, and the asking of faith. We must forsake the earthly props, but we must also believingly desire to be upheld by the heavenly arms. We make God responsible for our safety when we abandon other defense? and commit ourselves to Him.
God cannot lie; and if, fleeing for refuge, you have run to the hope set before you in the gospelif, nestling in some invitation or promise of Gods changeless word, you are resolved that Death and the Judgment shall find you there, you are safe. The way to honor God is to trust His truth, and hidden in His word you are also hidden in His love. Rest there.
Faith, then, generically, is confidence in a personal being. Specifically, religious faith is confidence in God, in every respect and office in which He reveals Himself. As that love of which God is the object is religious love, so that confidence in Him as a Father, a Moral Governor, a Redeemer, a Sanctifier, in all the modes of His manifestation, by which we believe whatever He says because He says it, and commit ourselves and all our interests cheerfully and entirely into His hands, is religious faith.
In reviewing the most mysterious doctrines of revelation, the ultimate appeal is to reason, not to determine whether she could have discovered these truths; not to declare whether, considered in themselves, they appear probable; but to decide whether it is not more reasonable to believe what God speaks than to confide in our own crude and feeble conceptions. No doctrine can be a proper object of our faith, which is not more reasonable to believe than to reject.
Entireness, illimitableness is indispensable to Faith. What we believe, we must believe wholly and without reserve; wherefore the only perfect and satisfying object of Faith is God. A Faith that sets bounds to itself, that will believe so much and no more, that will trust thus far and no further, is none.
There is a power in the soul, quite separate from the intellect, which sweeps away or recognizes the marvelous, by which God is felt. Faith stands serenely far above the reach of the atheism of science. It does not rest on the wonderful, but on the eternal wisdom and goodness of God. The revelation of the Son was to proclaim a Father, not a mystery. No science can sweep away the everlasting love which the heart feels, and which the intellect does not even pretend to judge or recognize.
Never more than to-day were needed the men of calm and resolute faith. Brothers, to your knees and to your ranks! To your knees in humblest supplication; to your ranks in steadfast bravery which no foe can cause to quail. Stand forth in courage and in gentleness for the truth which you believe to be allied to Freedom and Progress and God. Be so strong that you are not afraid to be just. Cherish a tender humanity and a catholic heart. Then take your stand, calm and moveless as the stars.