John 20:29
Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
A Simple FaithJ. Everett.John 20:29
Dr. Arnold's DeathBp. Westcott.John 20:29
Faith and SightT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 20:29
Faith in an Unseen ChristH. Bonar, D. D.John 20:29
Faith of ThomasH. Kollock, D. D.John 20:29
Faith with and Without SightProf. Shedd.John 20:29
Faith Without SightC. H. Spurgeon.John 20:29
Faith, not SightJ. B. Walker, M. D.John 20:29
Meditation a Help to the Sight of FaithC. H. Spurgeon.John 20:29
Sight and FaithC. H. Spurgeon.John 20:29
Sight of FaithR. Sibbes, D. D.John 20:29
The Bible a Help to the Sight of FaithW. Birch.John 20:29
The Blessedness of FaithJ. D. Geden, D. D.John 20:29
The Blessedness of FaithJ.R. Thomson John 20:29
The Eternal ManhoodCharles KingsleyJohn 20:29
The Higher FaithGeorge MacDonaldJohn 20:29
Who is BlessedW. J. Frankland.John 20:29
DoubtsBishop Temple.John 20:24-29
Our Lord's Interview with ThomasPreacher's MonthlyJohn 20:24-29
St. ThomasBp. Ryle.John 20:24-29
St. Thomas's DoubtW. F. Adeney, M. A.John 20:24-29
The Church in its Treatment of DoubtR. H. Lovell.John 20:24-29
The Doubt of ThomasF. W. Robertson, M. A.John 20:24-29
The Doubting DiscipleC. S. Robinson, D. D.John 20:24-29
The Folly of DoubtingWilliam Bridge.John 20:24-29
The Honest Sceptic and How to Treat HimD. Thomas, D. D.John 20:24-29
The Man Who Missed the MeetingBp. Cheney.John 20:24-29
The Scepticism of ThomasF. J. Calthrop, M. A.John 20:24-29
The Unbelief of ThomasD. Katterns.John 20:24-29
The Unbelief of ThomasD. Young John 20:24-29
Thomas Called DidymusT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 20:24-29
Thomas DoubtingA. Raleigh, D. D.John 20:24-29
Thomas not There: a Lost OpportunityDavid Davies.John 20:24-29
Thomas: the Honest ScepticW. J. Cooke.John 20:24-29
Two Passages from the Life of Thomas the ApostleC. Stanford, D. D.John 20:24-29
Unbelief Convinced: or Thomas with His LordT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 20:24-29

This saying of Christ was not so much a reproach directed against Thomas, as it was a comfort and benediction for the Church of the future. The apostles had their advantages, in that they had personal intercourse with Jesus. Yet we are not without our counterbalancing advantages, in that we can believe in him whom we have not seen. Let Christ's faithful disciples and friends take to themselves this consolation, and let them be assured that wise and benevolent purposes are secured by the provision that they must walk, not by sight, but by faith.

I. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR ALL TO SEE; IT IS POSSIBLE FOR ALL TO BELIEVE. It seems as if our Lord's ministry were itself an evidence of the difficulty of establishing a universal religion by a living Lord in the body and accessible to all men's sight and knowledge. It would have been, as far as we can see, physically impossible for men of all lands and through all ages to have seen Jesus. His ministry was confined to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; and even in Palestine there must have been multitudes who were never brought into contact with him, who never knew him. Whereas the spiritual dispensation permits of disciples being gathered to Christ from every country, and through all the centuries, all of whom can fulfill the required conditions of faith.

II. IT IS UNNECESSARY FOR ALL TO SEE; IT IS NECESSARY FOR ALL TO BELIEVE. It was indeed needful that some should see. Our Lord's personal friends and attendants saw and heard him, and had the opportunity of knowing him as he was in his humiliation and ministry. But when their ears had heard, their eyes seen, their hands handled, the Word of life, they were competent to testify of him whom they had come to know so well. Then the testimony of the few was sufficient to convince many. The sight of some was the means, the preparation, for an end, and that end was the faith of all. In order that men may enjoy the favor of God and may participate in the Divine nature and life, it is indispensably necessary that they believe the gospel, and exercise faith in Christ. Sight may be dispensed with, but not faith.

III. IT IS INEXPEDIENT AND UNDESIRABLE FOR ALL TO SEE; IT IS EXPEDIENT AND DESIRABLE FOR ALL TO BELIEVE. 'We know that it is possible for men to see Jesus, and not to believe. The Jews saw our Lord and his miracles, yet many of them were none the better for the sight. There is danger lest sight should end in itself, lest men should be satisfied when their curiosity is gratified. But the ends of the Christian religion are secured through faith. The higher life of the spirit is by this means secured.

IV. IT IS WELL TO SEE AND TO BELIEVE; IT IS BETTER TO BELIEVE WITHOUT SEEING. Those who see and believe may indeed be happy; but they are happier still who accept testimony, who exercise spiritual intuition, who gain experience which itself confirms their faith. This happiness is not - as is sometimes supposed - the happiness of ignorance. It consists in submission to the Divine plan and appointment, in the pure spirituality of the process of religious experience, in the harmony which exists between the foundation and the superstructure of the new life, and in the prospect which animates the heart of those who look forward to that bright vision of the future - the seeing the Savior as he is. - T.

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen yet have believed.
? — Thomas's conduct was strange but honest. How much better to be doubting Thomas than the believing priests! They believed the resurrection, or they would never have given to the soldiers the price of a lie. They believed, but they would not believe. Thomas doubted, but would gladly have believed. In the matter of faith and unbelief men may be divided into four classes.

I. THOSE WHO WILL NOT BELIEVE EVEN WHAT THEY SEE. Such were the men who apprehended our Lord. Not one of them in his past life had fallen, or seen another fall, at a word. But now they all fall. Yet they apprehend the mysterious Man, just as if nothing special had occurred. Such was Pharaoh. What evidence will ever convince him that he had better let Israel go? But nothing less than ruin will convince him. Such was Ahaziah (2 Kings 1). More sad and shocking still, perhaps, is the case of Stephen's judges. Whether the accused be like an angel or a fiend, matters little or nothing to the Sanhedrim. Yes; there is a class of men like Solomon's fools, whose folly will not leave them, though they be brayed in a mortar; men who can hear nothing softer than thunder, who can feel nothing lighter than vengeance.

II. THOSE WHO BELIEVE ONLY WHEN THEY SEE. To this class Thomas for a time belongs, and Abraham and the apostles Our Lord, in the plainest words, and more than once, had said that He should rise OH the third day. Who believed it? To this class, of course, belong the men of the world. One can hardly draw a line between saint and worldling so strong and so clear as this. The worldling trusts in himself, or his friends, or his wealth, or his stars; the saint trusts in God.

III. THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN, AND YET HAVE BELIEVED. Without this faith it is impossible to please God. Without faith a man may be a logician, a mathematician, a general, a man of business; but by what possibility can he be a child of God? Take faith from the earth; let everything be done by sight; let the consequence of every action be immediate and irresistibly evident; and what is left but calculation and business, time-tables and statistics? Life has become a counting-house, in which all we want is a sharp eye and a strong hand. With faith has gone every high and holy feeling — all patience, courage, largeness of heart. The believer is every way blessed.

1. He has the best moral education which even the All-wise can give him. What better exercise than to rise from the seen to the unseen? Who can be more noble than he who, in the very sunshine of prosperity, refuses to trust flattering appearances, or even flattering facts? And of all brave men is not he the bravest who, in the darkest and saddest hours, maintains an unflinching trust in the God who hides Himself?

2. He wins an infinite prize. Eternal life is the goal of faith. Do we want an example of steady faith? See it in Noah, who for one hundred and twenty years built the ark. How the faith shines through the long, slow years!

IV. THOSE WHO BELIEVE NOT ONLY WITHOUT BUT AGAINST APPEARANCES — as Abraham when commanded to offer Isaac, and Job when he said, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him," and the three Hebrew children.

(W. J. Frankland.)


1. The evidences of Christ's Godhead and Divine Apostlate. At first sight it would seem impossible that any evidences should transcend that accorded to Christ's contemporaries. Yet against this was the constant presence of the Lord's manhood, which must have been fruitful in misgivings. But this wellspring of incredulity is now sealed. We know not Christ after the flesh. When we connect this with the moral effects of Christianity, the testimony of millions to Christ's power to bless and save, it is clear that a return to the Apostle's position would be a loss.

2. The substance of Christian truth. The multitudes to whom Christ spake in parables had no pre-eminence over ourselves; for they were left in ignorance of much that Christ taught His disciples. But these disciples were left in ignorance of many things they were net able to hear until the descent of the Spirit, and all the fruits of their subsequent inspiration we enjoy.

3. The prime grace of the gospel, the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins. Here, perhaps, more than anywhere, we are apt to draw unfavourable contrasts. Could we but bring our spiritual pollution to where the leper knelt! The music of that word "forgiven," uttered by Christ's own lips — did that but fall upon our ears! But are we sure that if Christ were upon earth we should be inclined to seek Him? That the same hindrances of shame, worldliness, &c., would not still operate? And then why should the utterance of Christ's own lips be more satisfactory than the inward witness of the Holy Spirit? But in two respects one privilege is immeasurably higher.(1) We understand better than they did the way of salvation by Christ.(2) Christ is accessible to us, as He was not to the bulk of mankind then.

4. The comparative means for obtaining a perfect preparation for eternal life.(1) The aids incentive to holiness with which Christ's attendants were privileged were transcendently great. Think of His teaching on the character of God, the evil of sin, the excellence of religion; His miracles; the moral force of His example.(2) Yet we may easily over-estimate this privilege. It was not of itself, and as a matter of course, an instrument Of salvation, as the case of Judas makes only too clear.(3) Besides, the disciples had no such opportunity of securing holiness as we have, for the Holy Spirit was not given till Jesus was glorified.


1. Inward satisfaction in the service of God is in proportion to the difficulties of the service. Were it not for the renunciation of the world, the crucifixion of self, the wrestling with evil, which go hand in hand with the return of a sinful spirit to God, there would be little of that joy which come so often with the first revelation of Christ. If evangelical truth in its sublimer mysteries were accessible to every vagrant aspiration, how poor a harvest of Divine delight would they furnish compared with that now yielded to the toilsome husbandry of thought and devotion! And when we pray, and labour, find peace, thereby we owe it to the spiritual hindrances which block our approach to God and to outward pressure and trial.

2. A life of faith is fitted to produce a symmetry and perfection of Christian character such as could scarcely come by a less trying process. Those Christians are the wisest, and meekest, and most spiritual to whom the largest share of providential trouble has fallen, and the perfecting of the Church for the duties of time and for the felicity and services of heaven is only to be secured under the operation of faith in the unseen Saviour. Were the presence which faith imposes lifted off the Church, pride would take the place of humility, and self-worship consecration to Christ, and hardness charity.

3. The ultimate rewards of creatures like ourselves are determined by the severity of the ordeal which constitutes moral probation. If there be creatures whose final estate is determined apart from probation, we can hardly imagine them possessors of a blessedness comparable to those who have suffered and so are perfected. There is not a good, even of this world, the fruits of pains and trouble, which is not the sweeter from the price we pay for it.


1. Towards Christian belief. It shows a strong shadow on millinarianism. Whatever advantage such a state of things might be supposed to confer on the Church, on the principle of the text it would be a diminution, not a heightening, of its present privilege.

2. Towards Christian sentiment and observance. It distinctly frowns upon all interposition of the material and human between God in Christ and our souls. The entire genius of Christianity is hostile to religious symbolism, and the history of the Church utters a strong caution against the use of sense as a helpmate to faith. Faith needs it not. It is impious to set up Moses' candlestick again now that the Sun has risen.

3. Towards Christian character and life.

(1)It rebukes the spirit of religious discontent and envy.

(2)It suggests the greatness of our religious obligation as Christians.

(3)It opens a glorious prospect of blessing from God as the recompense of faith.

(J. D. Geden, D. D.)

A peasant of singular piety, being on a particular occasion admitted to the presence of the King of Sweden, was asked by him what he considered to be the nature of true faith. The peasant entered fully into the subject much to the King's comfort and satisfaction. When the king was on his death-bed he had a return of Ms fears as to the safety of his soul, and still the same question was perpetually put to those around him, "What is real faith?" The Archbishop of Upsal, who had been sent for, commenced in a learned and logical manner a scholastic definition of faith, which lasted an hour. When he had finished, the king said, with much energy, "All this is ingenious, but it is not comfortable; it is not what I want. Nothing but the farmer's faith will do for me."

(J. Everett.)


1. Ancient — the sin of the Jewish people.

2. Common — the sin of many now.

3. Great — since that which in Christ is presented to the eye of faith and reason ought to lead to heart acceptance of Christ.

II. FAITH AFTER SIGHT — salvation. Exemplified —

1. In the disciples (except perhaps John) (ver. 8), who believed in Christ risen after they had seen Him.

2. In those who to-day believe in Christ only after their intellectual difficulties as to Christ have been solved.


1. It implies a larger measure of Divine grace.

2. It exhibits a higher degree of Christian virtue.

3. It secures a richer experience of inward felicity.

4. It wins a readier commendation from the lips of Christ.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

You may have stood on the sea coast while a friend has been looking out to sea through a telescope, perhaps it was when you were at Douglas waiting the arrival of a steamer from Liverpool, on which you were expecting a beloved relative. While you are standing on the rock, your friend is looking through the glass, and saying, "Yes; I see him!" You reply, "Let me have the glass! I cannot believe it, unless I see too." You lift the glass, and in a little while, you say, "Ah, I see him; now, he sees us, and is waving his handkerchief to us!" Here is a telescope which God has provided for every man. We can see, through it, that the record of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, are facts, as plainly as if we had seen Him with our eyes and touched Him with our hands. We also see that He is our Saviour, who died in our room and stead; and that we are saved from the penalty of eternal death, because our iniquities were laid on Him instead of on us. We see through this Divine telescope, that when Jesus was nailed to the cross, He died, not for His own sins, but for ours! Through this glass we see the water of life, and notice to our joy that any thirsty soul may drink thereof, without money and without price. Through this blessed glass, we see the hand of the Lord directing our paths, and holding us up in slippery ways. It is the most wonderful telescope in the world. It shows us our departed friends and children in a beautiful land, where they wear white robes and have neither any sorrow nor sin; and it shows that we have a mansion in paradise on which our names are written; but, best of all, it reveals that we — we! — shall actually enjoy the blessedness of heaven!

(W. Birch.)

Meditation and contemplation are often like windows of agate, and gates of carbuncle, through which we see the Redeemer. Meditation puts the telescope to the eye, and enables us to see Jesus after a better sort than we could have seen Him if we had lived in the days of His flesh; for now we see not only Jesus in the flesh, but the spiritual Jesus; we see the spirit of Jesus, the core and essence of Jesus, the very soul of the Saviour. O happy you, that spend much time in contemplations! I wish that we had less to do, that we might do more of this heavenly work.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Walking by sight is just this — "I believe in myself;" whereas walking by faith is — "I believe in God." If I walk by sight I walk by myself; if I walk by faith, then there are two of us, and the second one — ah! how great, how glorious, how mighty is He — the Great All-in-all — God-all-sufficient! Sight goes a warfare at its own charges, and becomes a bankrupt, and is defeated. Faith goes a warfare at the charges of the King's Exchequer, and there is no fear that Faith's bank shall ever be broken. Sight builds the house from its own quarry, and on its own foundation but it begins to build and is never able to finish, and what it does build rests on the sand and falls. But faith builds on the foundation laid in eternity, in the fair colours of the Saviour's blood, in the covenant of grace. It goes to God for every stone to be used in the building, and brings forth the top-stone with shoutings of "Grace, grace unto it!"

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Sight is the noblest sense; it is quick; we can look from earth to heaven in a moment: it is large; we can see the hemisphere of the heavens at one view: it is sure and certain; in hearing we may be deceived; and, lastly, it is the most affecting sense. Even so, faith is the quickest, the largest, the most certain, the most affecting grace: like an eagle in the clouds, at one view, it sees Christ in heaven, and looks down upon the world; it looks backwards and forwards; it sees things past, present, and to come.

(R. Sibbes, D. D.)

By constant sight, the effect of objects seen grows less; by constant faith, the effect of objects believed in grows greater. The probable reason of this is, that. personal observation does not admit of the influence of the imagination in impressing the fact; while unseen objects, realized by faith, have the auxiliary aid of the imagination, not to exaggerate them, but to clothe them with living colours, and impress them upon the heart. Whether this be the reason or not, the fact is true, that, the more frequently we see, the less we feel, the power of an object; while, the more frequently we dwell upon an object by faith, the more we feel its power.

(J. B. Walker, M. D.)

1. Those who saw and believed not were far from being blessed.

2. Those who saw him, and believed, were undoubtedly blessed.

3. Those who have not seen, and yet have believed, are emphatically blessed.

4. There remains the superlative degree of blessedness in seeing Jesus face to face without need of believing in the same sense as now.

5. But for the present this is our blessedness, this is our place in the gospel history — we have not seen, and yet have believed. What a comfort that so high a degree of blessedness is open to us!


1. By wishing to see.

(1)By pining for some imaginary voice, or vision, or revelation.

(2)By craving marvellous providences, and singular dispensations.

(3)By hungering for despairs or transports.

(4)By perpetually demanding arguments and logical demonstrations.

(5)By clamouring for conspicuous success in connection with the preaching of the Word, and the missionary operations of the Church.

(6)By being anxious to believe with the majority. Truth has usually been with the minority.

2. By failing to believe. Believe —

(1)Practically, so as to act upon our faith.

(2)Intensely, so as to laugh at contradictions.

(3)Livingly, so as to be simple as a child.

(4)Continually, so as to be evenly confident.

(5)Personally, so as to be assured alone, even if all others give the lie to the doctrines of the Lord.

(6)Thoroughly, so as to find the rest of faith.


1. This blessedness is linked for ever with the faith which our Lord accepts: in fact, it is the appointed reward of it.

2. God deserves such faith of us. He is so true that His unsupported word is quite enough for faith to build upon. Can we only believe Him as far as we can see Him?

3. Thousands of saints have rendered, and are rendering, such faith, and are enjoying such blessedness at this moment, We are bound to have fellowship with them in like precious faith.

4. Hitherto our own experience has warranted such faith. Has it not?

5. Those of us who are now enjoying the blessed peace of faith can speak with great confidence upon the matter. Why, then, are so many cast down? Why will they not believe?

III. DO NOT LET ANY OF US MISS IT. The faith which our Lord described is exceedingly precious, and we ought to seek after it, for —

1. It is the only true and saving faith. Faith which demands sight is not faith at all, and cannot save the soul.

2. It is in itself most acceptable with God. Nothing is acceptable without it (Hebrews 11:6). It is the evidence of the acceptance of the man and his works.

3. It is a proof of grace within: of a spiritual mind, a renewed nature, a reconciled heart, a new-born spirit.

4. It is the root-principle of a glorious character.

5. It is exceedingly useful to others: in comforting the despondent, in impressing unbelievers, in cheering seekers, &c.

6. It enriches its possessor to the utmost, giving power in prayer, strength of mind, decision of character, firmness under temptation, boldness in enterprise, joy of soul, realization of heaven, &c.Conclusion:

1. Know you this faith?

2. Blessedness lies that way. Seek it!

(C. H. Spurgeon.)


1. To a considerable extent the pious Jews and the first Christians believed because they saw. Not that they walked wholly by sight. Noah was "warned of God of things not seen as yet." Abraham went out of his old home, "not knowing whither he went." And those worthies mentioned in Hebrews 11. acted without assistance from the objects of time and sense, in the instances that are specified. But taking into the account the whole course of their lives, they were much more aided by sight than we are.(1) For it was a dispensation of supernaturalism. Who could be an atheist as he stood under Mount Sinai. Who could query the possibility of miracles, when he saw the waters of the Red Sea rising up; when he saw the shadow go back upon the sun-dial: when he heard Christ call up Lazarus from the tomb.(2) Now there was something in this, unquestionably, that rendered faith in God's power comparatively easy. Jacob, e.g., must have found it no difficult thing to trust in a Being who was directing him, watching over him, and delivering him.

2. How differently the modern believer is situated! Generation after generation has come and gone, but no celestial sign has been given. Christians have believed that God is, but they have never seen His shape nor heard His voice. They have had faith in immortality, but no soul has ever returned to make their assurance doubly sure. In some instances, this reticence has produced an almost painful uncertainty, and wakened the craving for some palpable evidence of unseen realities. And all the attempts of Spiritualism are another testimony to the craving natural to man for miraculous signs. Sceptics contend that the miracle is irrational. But, certainly, nothing is irrational for which there is a steady and constant demand upon the part of human nature.


1. Is a stronger faith; and the stronger the faith, the greater the blessedness.(1) If Thomas had put credit in the affirmation of the other disciples, it is evident that his faith in Christ would have been greater. For Christ had foretold that He was to be crucified and to rise. Thomas had witnessed the crucifixion, and knew that this part of his Lord's prophecy was fulfilled. If, now, he had believed the remainder, he would have believed the disciples' report. But his demand evinced that his faith needed to be helped out by sight.(2) If we examine the Scriptures, we shall find that that faith is of the best quality which leans least upon the creature and most upon the Creator. Take the case of Abraham. He was the subject of miraculous impressions; but there were some critical points in which His experience resembled more that of the modern believers, and it is with references to them that he is styled the "father of the faithful." Consider the trial of his faith when commanded to sacrifice Isaac.(3) It is to this high degree of faith that the modern believer is invited. We have never seen a miracle. We have only read the record of what God did, in this way, thousands of years ago. Our faith must therefore rest more upon the simple authority of God, and be more spiritual. The inward powers of the soul are nobler than the five senses; and their acts have more worth and dignity than the operations of the senses. There is no very great merit in following the notices of the five senses. An animal does this continually. But when I believe that God is great and good, when phenomena seemingly teach the contrary; when my faith runs back to the nature and attributes of God Himself, and is not staggered by anything that I see, then I give God great honour. All that this kind of faith requires is, to be certain that the Divine promise has been given; and then it leaves all to Him.

2. Honours God more. We cannot show greater respect for any one than to take his bare word. There are comparatively few men of this first class and standing. And just as far as we withhold our confidence in God until we can see the wisdom of His ways, we dishonour Him. Suppose a sudden and inexplicable sorrow — a missionary is cut down in the midst of great usefulness; a wise and kind father is taken away from a family that leans entirely upon him: if in these instances no doubts are felt, what an honour do they render to God by such absolute confidence. For the faith in such cases terminates upon the very personality and nature of God. It passes by all secondary causes and reposes upon the First Cause. Oftentimes our faith is of such a mixed character, that it honours the creature as much as the Creator. For example, if we expect that the whole world will be Christianized, partly because of the Divine promises and partly because the wealth and civilization and military power of the earth are in the possession of Christian nations, we honour the creature in conjunction with the Creator; and this is to dishonour Him, for He says, "My glory will I not give to another." The faith of the Church is of the purest, highest kind only when she trusts solely and simply in God, and looks upon all favouring circumstances as results, not as supports, of His promise. Take away the promises and agency of God, and where would be the wealth, &c., of Protestant Europe and America? "Sufficient is Thine arm alone, and our defence is sure." The early Church, with the civilization of the Greek and Roman world arrayed against them, could not lean upon it in conjunction with God, if they would. They were shut up to the mere power and promise of the Most High. And what honour did they give Him in this: and how did He honour them in return? Conclusion: From this subject it is evident —

1. That God is the sole object of faith. There is a difference between belief and faith. We may believe a man; but we may believe in and on God alone. Faith is the resting of the mind; and the mind can find no rest in a creature.

2. If God is the sole object of faith, then we must beware of a mixed or partial faith. We must not trust partly in God, and partly in His creatures. He will receive no divided honours. As in our justification we cannot trust partly in the blood of Christ, and partly in our own good works, so in our more general relation to God, our confidence must not rest upon any combination or union between Him and the works of His hands.

3. We know these things, happy are we if we do them.

(Prof. Shedd.)

Faith, resting upon the word of promise, upon a Divine testimony, is more noble, spiritual, and ingenuous; displays more candour and humility, and brings more glory to God, than that which is the result of sensible manifestation. In illustrating these words, let us —

I. EXAMINE THE NATURE OF THAT FAITH WHICH IS HERE COMMENDED BY OUR SAVIOUR. Faith, in its most general sense, is the strong persuasion of any truth, the firm assent of the mind to it. This persuasion may be founded on the evidence of our senses: thus Thomas believed that Jesus was risen, because he saw, felt, and heard Him; thus I believe there is a sun, because I behold it, and am warmed by its beams. Sometimes this persuasion is founded on the deductions of reason: thus, because I discover in the universe so many effects, to produce which there must have been an intelligent First Cause, I believe there is a God (John 10:37.) But though the word faith is thus used, both in common language and in the Scriptures, to signify that persuasion which is founded on the evidence of the senses or the deductions of reason, yet, in its more strict and proper reason, it denotes that assent of the mind which is founded on testimony. It is in this manner we believe, although we do not see. Thus I am told that there is such a city as Rome, such a river as the Nile; and though I have never seen them, I am persuaded of their existence, because it is confirmed to me by witnesses who had opportunities of knowing, and who had no interest in deceiving me. Their testimony fully supplies the place of the evidence of the senses or the deductions of reason. If the testimony be that of man, there results from it human faith; if the testimony be that of God, there results from it Divine faith; if it be of God through Jesus Christ and His apostles, there results Christian faith. But that we may more fully understand the nature of this faith, let us consider a few of its properties —

1. It is enlightened. To believe without seeing is very different from believing without evidence or proof. The believer is not a weak being, receiving every thing without examination; nor any enthusiast, assenting without motive or light.

2. This faith is humble. A thousand objects connected with the being, attributes, and purposes of God, with the schemes of providence, or the plan of redemption, necessarily present to him abysses which no finite mind can fathom; but, filled with veneration and wonder before the Infinite, the incomprehensible, he submits his understanding; he strives not to break through those barriers which the Eternal has placed around His throne

3. This faith is firm. The foundation of his belief is more stable than the heavens and the earth. It is not a mere probability, a wavering hope, an uncertain guess; but the declaration of God, on which he rests his assured belief and his everlasting interests.

4. This faith is universal in its object: receiving as true the whole of the sacred volume, its histories, its predictions, its doctrines, its precepts, its threatenings, its promises.

5. Finally, this faith is active, efficacious, purifying. It is not confined to a barren admiration of the truths and facts that are revealed; it descends into the heart, and sanctifies all its powers; it receives the precepts and commands of God as well as His promises; it requires the sacrifice of corrupt passions as well as the submission of our reason. Let us not deceive ourselves; the conviction of the understanding must pass to the heart, and then be manifested in all the actions of a holy life.


1. They are so because they display true wisdom, both in the choice of objects to occupy their mind, and in the rules they follow in giving their assent to them. They select for their belief, and contemplation, the most important truths. Place by their side the most sublime human sciences; and in comparison these sciences, to Him who judges without prejudice, and with a reference to the eternal duration of man, will appear only a vain and pompous ignorance. How trifling in reality are the pursuits of the greatest earthly philosopher, if he is ignorant of the science of salvation! More happy and more wise are they who are contented to behold with the eyes of God what they cannot behold with their own; who submit to be directed by the infallible Father of lights; who, "though they see not, yet believe."

2. Happy also because they act not only in the wisest, but also in the most advantageous manner, since they thus avoid misery and secure felicity. Without this faith, what overwhelming doubts, what cruel uncertainties, what multiplied fears surround us! Without it, what hope has the penitent? Can God forgive the rebel, in consistence with His holiness? In what mode can the remission of our sins be secured? These and a thousand other questions are unanswerable. Without it, what adequate consolation is there to the persecuted and oppressed? What relief to the bereaved? What comfort to the dying?

(H. Kollock, D. D.)

Here is another "beatitude" in addition to what Matthew gives. Christ was Himself the "Blessed One"; and well knew who were "blessed," and what made them so. But how and why are believers so specially "blessed?"

I. THEY THROW THEMSELVES UPON THE BARE WORD OF GOD. So that their faith rests on no divided evidence; and the foundation they build on is not partly strong and partly weak, partly iron and partly clay, partly rock and partly sand, but wholly rock, iron, strong. Sight may change; to-day bright, tomorrow dim; but God's testimony changes not.

II. THEY COME DIRECTLY INTO CONTACT WITH GOD HIMSELF. No medium comes between them and God. The soul touches Him who is a Spirit, needing no interpreter nor introducer.

III. THEY GET MORE INTO THE HEART AND REALITY OF THE THINGS OF GOD. Sight often crusts over spiritual things, or builds a wall. Simple faith goes in at once to the heart and core of things. Instead of cruising along the rocky sea-board, it strikes inland, and pitches its tent amid the gardens and by the streams of a richer and more glorious country. It is in itself simpler, purer, and more direct; and hence it finds its way into regions into which faith of a grosser kind could never penetrate: it rises up, with a buoyancy all its own, into a higher atmosphere, disentangled from the things of earth. Like a being without a body to clog it, it moves more at will, and rejoices in a liberty to which faith of a more material kind is a stranger.

IV. THEY TAKE FEWER FALSE STEPS, AND MAKE FEWER MISTAKES. Simple faith sees, as it were, everything with God's eyes, and hears everything with God's ears; and thus comes to no false conclusions, and is kept from the continual mistakes into which sense is falling. It not only sets the right estimate on the evidence of sense and feeling, but it puts the true interpretation upon all the facts and phenomena coming under the eye or sense. Exercising simple faith on the bare word of Him who has given me the record respecting His crucified, dead, buried, risen Son, I see myself crucified, dead, buried, risen with Him. Though seeing in myself the chief of sinners, I know and believe that there iS no condemnation for me. Thus I believe not only without, but against seeing; and put the right construction upon things seen and temporal, looking at everything with the eyes of God.

V. THEY ARE THUS SUBJECTED TO DISCIPLINE OF THE REST AND MOST EFFECTUAL KIND. This life of believing keeps the body under, while it lifts up the soul; it loosens us from the earthly, and fastens us to the heavenly. It calms us, too, in a stormy world. It awakes us and keeps us awake, amid scenes fitted to lull us asleep. It makes us more truly "children too of the light and of the day," by transporting us beyond this world of night and darkness, into the kingdom of the unsetting sun.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

When Dr. Arnold was suddenly stricken with his mortal agony, he was seen, we are told, lying still, with his hands clasped, his lips moving, and his eyes raised upwards as if in prayer; when all at once he repeated, firmly and earnestly: "And Jesus said unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen," &c.

(Bp. Westcott.)

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