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Faith and Reverence

Peter Hynd

There are truths in the Bible which, in their sublime grandeur, and when received with child-like faith, fill the soul with awe and the spirit with worship; and this although they are not, nor can be, fully understood whilst we are in this body. Some, however, by the irreverent prying into such truths, not only lose the support their very greatness gives, but bring upon themselves the judgment of God. Of the men of Bethshemesh there were smitten in one day fifty thousand and seventy, because they presumed to look into the ark of God (1 Sam 6.19).

The Incarnation is a truth of this kind. Any attempt to explain, or demonstrate with precision, how Christ could be very God and very man is akin to the sin of the men of Bethshemesh. To the Apostle Paul was grace given to reveal many mysteries which before had been hid, but this, the "Mystery of Godliness", remained to him at the close of his life a mystery still (1 Tim 3.16) - a fact, however, in which he unhesitatingly believed "without controversy".

The description of the heavenly city, "New Jerusalem", is one of the most gorgeous scenes even drawn before our eyes. But if the thought of a mason wielding his mallet, or using his trowel, be allowed to intrude the picture has lost its power of entrancing the soul. To watch the pure white snowflake fall is a pleasure; grasp the flake and it is gone; it will not bear handling. And so it is with the Incarnation and kindred truths. Let us beware of the rationalising spirit, if we would maintain the spirit of dependence and reverence. How painful it is to hear Christians argue and dispute over subjects which God has, in His wisdom, only partially revealed or wholly hidden! Precious hours can be wasted on things too high for us, while the rich feast spread before us remains untasted.



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