And the angel answering said to him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak to you…
If, then, utter unbelief is utter repression of the best in man, and if further partial belief is partial escape from this galling bondage, what must complete faith in God be, entire acceptance of His Son as Eternal Righteousness, unclouded hope in the perpetuated life of the soul, but the free expression, the joyous utterance, the complete realization of the whole spiritual life of man? Whatever destroys the best in human life cannot be true. It is impossible to believe that the best life of the individual, the family, the nation; it is impossible to believe that the heroism of the solitary soul fighting its solitary but momentous battles, the purity and sweetness and selfsacrifice of home, the advancing righteousness of our land and all lands — spring out of beliefs that are a fountain of lies. Whatever destroys human life must be a lie; whatever builds it into strength and beauty must be true. Human life, in order to complete realization of its best possibilities, needs a God, needs a Christ, needs a hereafter, needs Supreme Love as its minister, needs a supreme manifestation of that Love, and a timely future in which to do its will and enjoy its ministrations. The Jewish priest asked for a sign whereby he might know the angel's message to be true. The sign came. Dumbness was his sign. The amazed soul, trying to believe, and yet afraid, in accepting the faith of its fathers, of building its hope upon a dream, asks for a sign. The sign is given; the dumbness that falls upon the speaking, singing spirit is the sign that unbelief is disease. The priest silent at the altar, with his prayers unsaid, his thoughts unspoken, his praise unsung, his worship unuttered, is but the type of the soul in the dumbness of doubt, in the paralysis of unbelief, its whole best life denied expression, and shrivelling under the doom of an eternal sentence of repression and death. The priest at the altar, but no longer silent; the priest at the altar, naming his firstborn, his tongue loosed and uttering in sublime, prophetic strains his whole grateful life — is a type of the soul that has found the utterance of faith, from which all paralysis, all dumbness, has passed away, whose thought, feeling, and volition, mind, heart, and will, are winning their noblest expression; whose whole life is in the attainment of its eternal satisfaction.
(G. A. Gordon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.