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A Matchstick a Horse and Man: Chapter Seven

THINGS VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE

Have you met a person who says that he only believes what he can see? Have you, perhaps, been that man or that woman? Are you, perhaps, that man or that woman now?

In the many thousands of letters that I receive, this underlying idea reveals itself at times like a dark thread. Nothing will induce most people to admit that they don’t really and truly believe in God’s promises to man their very unwillingness to admit it shows that they are afraid of God, instead of gladly and confidingly taking His ‘hand’ and accepting all He has promised as “Gospel Truth.”

If, then, you are aware that you have not a true belief, and if you will admit itto yourself particularlythen you can be very sure that you are beginning to make good progress towards that belief which you know would give you so much joy, in fact, you can “rejoice exceedingly!”

As you know, there are many people who refer to religion as dope as a kind of soothing syrup to make people accept their trials and tribulations. These “doped” people are popularly supposed to be weak and easily kept down. All these ideas make me smile Nobody could be less “dopy” and “soothed” than I am; nobody could be less ready to “sit down” under trials and tribulations, instead of realising their source is in myself, putting my thinking right and saying “goodbye” to them as soon as possible. And anybody who has tried to “ride roughshod ” over me because of my religious convictions has very soon discovered that I am a follower of the One who said scathingly: ” Ye hypocritesye whited sepulchres ” to those who tried to trap Him.

On one occasion when a man tried to pick a quarrel with me I replied: “Don’t be foolish; you don’t mean any of thatyou have just lost your temper. Actually you like me very much and think I am sincere and genuine. ” A slow grin spread over his face and  we parted the best of friends – and still are.

Belief in Things Invisible, then, need not make anyone nambypamby and that fear is the cause of much shedding of belief. Faith, I think, is actually an acceptance and belief in Things Invisible. The other day a Student wrote: “At last I am realising that thought building is a reality and not just a beautiful thought.” So this Student realised that up to now thought building had been just “a beautiful thought !”

“I can’t thought build and I can’t visualise,” writes another Student, “and I’ve just realised why. I don’t really believe, deep down, that abundance is flowing towards me and is mine for the asking. I want faith. You see, I couldn’t, if I had a hundred orphans to feed, not know where their next meal was coming from. It wouldn’t seem practical or sensible to me.”

That’s the mental state of lots of people but they haven’t always the courage to say so, as this Student has. “It wouldn’t seem practical or sensible to me.” In fact if it is not visible this Student does not believe it is.

Now let’s see what Paul has to say about Things Visible and Invisible:” For by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible.” . . .” Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever, Amen.” . . .” Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things notseen … Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things that are seen were not made of things which do appear . . . He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him… By faith, Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. . Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive … because she judged Him faithful who had promised. . By faith Moses forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him Who is invisible … By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land. . . By faith the walls of Jericho fell down… And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and of Barak and of Samson and of Jephthae, of David also and Samuel, and of the prophets, who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong. . . Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight… Rejoice in the Lord alway… Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God … Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true . . . think on these things .

I know both how to be abased and how to abound; everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry … I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me… I have all, and abound. I am full… My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”. .

Now, my friends, see the Invisible by means of this great cloud of witnesses.

- Bernard