But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is…
1. First, the belief in His existence is universal, and what is a universal belief has the force of a law of nature. This belief we see alike in the savage and the highly civilised. The soul has it sunk into itself that it is an uncompounded spiritual substance. But this impersonalness in the soul implies a personalness in Him who made it.
2. Our moral nature attests the same thing. Conscience in every man says: "Thou shalt and thou shalt not." We are conscious of responsibility, and this implies a personal being to whom we are responsible. This is the testimony of the moral nature. Besides, there is an instinct of the infinite in every mind. This, indeed, is the highest part of our nature. Unless there is an answering reality in God, that part is an enigma — eyes without light, lungs without air.
3. We see, thirdly, a progress in history. It is absurd to suppose that all the tangled elements of early European history — Greek, Phoenician, Roman, Scythian — of themselves made Europe's present civilisation, as to suppose that a combat of Arctic and Tropic winds could have made the Yale College of now.
4. We see, fourthly, the Scriptures coming to assert a God, not proving Him, but bringing Him to light; affording an explanation of all things in Him, and it is in a sense a proof.
5. We have, fifthly, evidence that God is of the highest purity and holiness. We must have that answering fact in Him, for it is in us. This leads us to ask how we may find Him? Discern Him? It is the greatest of questions, for all of our highest living depends on it.
(1) We cannot find Him by the senses. We cannot see gravitation steady the mountains; we cannot hear light drop on the world, with its vivifying power. We can see the jewel, but not the crystallising power. Life shows itself in the flushing cheek, the beaming eye, the bounding step, but we cannot see it. We could not see it go if it should fly away from our dearest one. It eludes us, and so does God.
(2) We cannot find Him by physical analysis. In Shakespeare's brain, the knife finds no Othello; in Raphael's, no mother and child; in Angelo's, no high poised dome; in Napoleon's, no moving armies, as if they were but fingers. That scientists cannot find God thus must grieve them, till they can pull out genius with a pair of forceps, or showy character and probe.
(3) We cannot find Him by metaphysical analysis. We are to find Him rather through our highest part; through that in us which accords with Him. Love finds love. "The pure in heart shall see God." We see now why scientists do not find God. They do not use the right instruments. We cannot find love with a microscope, nor sweep up music with a broom. We see why the failures of scientists to find God do not discourage believers. It matters not to him who has seen them that a man pronounce Naples a dream of the fancy; Venice, that dream in stone, reposing ever in blessed stillness on its lagoons, a myth; Merit Blanc, as seen from Geneva, gleaming like the very throne of God on earth, a speculation. We see what a magnificent democracy God has set up on earth to come to this sublimest knowledge in the universe. No university lore, and no grand diploma are essentials. The poorest, the humblest, may have it. We see the sphere of the Church. The objective point is to bring to the world the capability of so seeing God, and then by all good ordinances and methods to develop this seeing of Him and growth toward Him.
(R. S. Storrs, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.