Excerpt from Counting the Cost: A Sermon Before the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions at the Seventy-Second Annual Meeting, Held in Pilgrim Church, St. Louis, Oct. 18, 1881
Sion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Ghost, bearing witness by and with the word in our hearts. The gospel compels recognition and acceptance in advance of personal experience, as really and inevitably as does the light of heaven before we have walked under its guidance. We do not believe in that light because we have tried it; rather do we try it because we believe in it. Robertson reports how once, on a journey up the Rhine, he made the acquaintance of an intelli gent and brilliant but skeptical young Frenchman, and as the conversation drifted into religious subjects, the preacher avoided the apologetic tone and emphasized the contents of revelation, when suddenly his hearer exclaimed: It is a beautiful faith! What the world needs is the gospel, not the evidences of the gospel. The congruity between man and the Bible is perfect; and there is no better evidence of its divinity than its pure and perfect humanity. It is a faithful mirror of human life in its bondage, its painful contradictions, its universal restlessness. Its moral precepts compel recog nition, and the good news it proclaims is adequate and grate ful. Carry the Bible where you will, it makes its own way and finds men. The fall has not modified nor broken either the moral government of God or the essential nature of man. The deepest apostasies, the foulest abominations of heathenlsm, cannot destroy the moral nature, extract the sting from an accusing conscience, and secure peace to the wicked. Even Felix trembles when Paul preaches. Here is the pou sto, the living fulcrum, securing the natural leverage for the world's conversion. This makes it possible and rea sonable. Christianity needs only to expound the moral law, and proclaim the gospel of forgiveness to compel a hearing and draw the hungry to her feast. No criticism'can discredit the Sermon on the Mount, and the third chapter of John's Gospel.
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