A little over a week ago, I took delivery of an antique book from the United States. It was printed in the UK back in 1910. It is now out of copyright and out of print, but I decided to do the honourable thing and request permission from the publishers to reprint the book here on the Wind Farm .. which they have granted.
I have not yet finished reading the whole book, but the half of it that I’ve read so far has been leaving me open-mouthed from its insightfulness and its prophetic relevence to the hour we find ourselves in today .. and to think, it was written just short of a century ago!
I may, or may not, reprint the entire book, but what I will do is commit to you that any chapters I choose to reprint, will be reprinted in their entirety to maintain as much context as possible. You’ll also note that while the chapters are short they are succinct in their message and their power.
At this stage, I do not intend to tell you the title of the book nor its author. I want the content to speak for itself so that you will read it with no preconceptions. Either at the end, or near the end, I’ll be sure to divulge that information .. and I’m sure you’ll be as surprised as me.
So here, for your edification and exhortation, is chapter 1, both in print and as a podcast which you can either download or stream at the end of the text. I hope it effects you in a similar way to how it has me …
I. The Decay of Faith
Faith is passing away, and it is the most terrible of all misfortunes. No other disaster can be compared with it, for no possession is so precious as faith, which is the foundation and root of all good. What is a nation deprived of faith? What is a man whose faith is wavering? Every nation, like every individual possessing faith in his own destiny, succeeds in accomplishing something that is useful but without faith of some kind, nothing is done; life without faith is barren, and this is true with regard to the supernatural even more than to the natural. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 10:6).
Every man and every nation who has done anything for God, has done so in proportion to the faith within him.
Faith is passing away! Such is the triumphant cry of the wicked and the complaint of the good; and the number of the former is ever increasing, whilst believers are becoming more rare. Agnostics boast of their scientific knowledge, the faithful seem to know nothing. The enemies of God redouble their audacity whilst even His friends allow themselves to waver. Evil grows bold and goodness becomes lukewarm. Blasphemy and atheism proclaim themselves with triumphant audacity and strong, deep convictions give way.
There are, it is true, some faithful souls still left, but how few they are! What is the faith of the great majority of those who are called Christians? Is it anything but an ignorant kind of assent, a superficial religion, a piety that is chiefly external, consisting of some shreds of truth and a confused mass of outward observances? The shadow remains, but there is very little substance, and it is precisely because the substance is passing away that good and evil alike, with very different feelings, utter the cry: “Faith is becoming extinct.”
It is indeed passing; will it leave us altogether? The duty of reviving the divine flame rests with those in whom some spark of it still glimmers.
O faithful souls, suffer it not to be said that faith is becoming extinct! We have it in our power to prevent God from removing our candlestick, and to retain the light in our country; yes, we have the power, and we ought to use it. Let us determine to do so with all the energy that we possess. Let us cling to our faith and bring it back, a true and living faith, strong and fruitful, sincere and pure, simple and practical; a sturdy and efficacious faith, able to conquer all the forces of the world.
Let us preserve our faith and revive it in the souls where some trace of it still lingers, and strive to impart to them that fulness of light which will make them see our Lord in all things, and that fulness of love, which will make them respect all His claims upon them. Under all circumstances the human soul needs to recognize the Lord who has made us and governs us, and to remember how He does so. He is the Master who has planned our existence and is directing our work according to His good pleasure. He is the Master, and it is for us to do His will and carry out His designs, and in order to do this, we must keep them ever before our eyes, and there fore we require the bright light of living faith, to turn away our gaze from the vanities of things created and to fix it thoroughly upon our Master. Not only must our eyes be fixed on Him, but our hearts also; for we must love what He claims of us, love His will truly and respect it loyally. Let us give back to the souls of men this upright and living faith in their Lord.
Let us give back to them their faith in God, their only good, the end and consummation of their lives. Why have we to pass through this earthly existence? Are we to seek either amusement or weariness here? No, we are here in order that we may go hence to our heavenly Father, and live with Him for ever and ever. Alas! how apt we are to forget that our journey in this world belongs only to time, and our joy in heaven to eternity! How often do the mists of this material existence obscure the brightness of eternity, our hopes based on faith, the promises given by faith, the everlasting realities, and the immortality of life in God! We are so steeped in lower pleasures that we forget what is higher. It is indeed necessary to bring back mens’ souls to the warm rays of the divine light, to disperse the clouds that envelop them, and to restore to them the thought of eternity and the desire to rise to heaven.
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