, , , ,


Thus, it is almost a received formula on the evidences of the Gospel, that the province of reason is antecedent to that of faith ; that we are on grounds
of reason to believe in Revelation, in other words, to receive Faith, and then on the ground of Faith, to receive its contents, which are not to be contrary to
Reason. True, as is urged, since reason is a gift of God, it will not conflict with His other gift, Revelation or Faith. But then, what Reason? Reason, such
as Adam had it, before the Fall, unwarped by prejudices, unswayed by pride, undeafened by passions, unallured by self-idolising, unfettered by love of independence, master of itself because subdued to God,
enlightened by God, a mirror of the Mind of God, reflecting His Image and likeness after which it was created; a finite copy of the perfections of the Infinite ? Truly, no one would demur to the answer of such
an oracle as this. A work of God, which remained inharmony with God, must be in harmony with every other creation of God ; for both would be the finite
expressions of the one Archetype, the Mind of God.

But that poor blinded prisoner, majestic in its wreck, bearing still the lineaments of its primaeval beauty and giant might, yet doomed, until it be set free, to grind in the mill of its prison-house and make sport for the master to whom it is enslaved, this, which can not guide itself, is no guide into the Mind of God.

More truly might that saying be reversed, and it might be affirmed, that the province of reason is after faith, not before. Reason, unaided, cannot even penetrate into the sphere of the objects of Faith ; nor can it, in any case, discern their substance or measure them by earthly laws. But reason, healed, restored, guided, enlightened, by the Spirit of God, has a power of vision above nature, and can spiritually discern a fitness, and correspondence, and harmony in the things of God which, through faith, it has received and believed. But to what end to measure by a crooked rule ?

The fall perverted the whole of man’s nature ; not his sensual appetite only, nor his will, nor his under standing, but his whole being. In its outward act, it was rebellion against God. In its motive, it was pride and ambition ; “Ye shall be as gods.” In its effects it was a poison running through his whole physical nature, and rousing his passions into a phrenzied rebellion against himself. And henceforth sensual pleasurestupifies his judgment ; passion disturbs it ; pride and vain-glory distort it ; self-will blinds it. There is not one way only to blindness of spirit. Every thing blinds the mind of man, which is not according to the Mind of God.

It was then a poor and insufficient plea, when it has been said in behalf of this or that unbeliever, that he was, what is called “a moral man.” It was a short-sighted theory, which was anxious to point out this or that flagrant moral defect in the lives of unbelievers. The fallen spirits have no sensual temptations. Our first parents’ sin was spiritual sin. Whatever may have been the inward life of the Pharisees in our Lord’s time, (and He Who “resisteth the proud ” often leaves them, so that they fall into disgraceful sensual sin) on the whole, they lived strict, obedient lives. ” After the straitest sect of our religion,” says S. Paul, ” I lived a Pharisee.” Our Lord Himself contrasts their lives, at one time with the Publican, at another with the Publicans and harlots ; yet, on both occasions, only to warn them, that the grosser sins of the Publicans and harlots did not keep them so hopelessly alien from the Kingdom of God, as the more subtle sins held back the Pharisee. The love of the praise of man made faith impossible. ” How ‘ can ye believe who receive glory one of another, and seek not the glory which cometh of God only?” “They loved the praise of man, more
than the praise of God.”