Mark 9:24
Immediately the boy's father cried out, "I do believe; help my unbelief!"
Sermons
Dealing Directly with GodMark 9:24
Faith and UnbeliefD. Fraser, D. D.Mark 9:24
Faith Only in GodC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 9:24
Faith Under DifficultyC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 9:24
Faith unto SalvationAndrew Gray.Mark 9:24
Faith Without AssuranceT. Manton.Mark 9:24
Faith Without ComfortC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 9:24
Faith's Dawn and its CloudsC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 9:24
Feeble Faith Appealing to a Strong SaviourC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 9:24
Lord, I Believe; Help Thou Mine UnbeliefB. Noel.Mark 9:24
Lord, I Believe; Help Thou Mine UnbeliefAnon., C. H. Spurgeon.Mark 9:24
Mine UnbeliefC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 9:24
Prayer is the Cure for UnbeliefVita.Mark 9:24
The Balance and the PreponderanceDean Vaughan.Mark 9:24
The Only Help for UnbeliefJ. Slade, M. A.Mark 9:24
The Spirit of Faith Amid UncertaintiesMorgan Dix, D. D.Mark 9:24
The Strife of Faith and Doubt in the SoulMorgan Dix, D. D.Mark 9:24
The Struggle and Victory of FaithJohn Ker, D. D., John Trapp.Mark 9:24
UnbeliefJames Smith.Mark 9:24
Unbelieving BeliefAlexander MaclarenMark 9:24
Weak Faith Clinging to a Mighty ObjectMilman.Mark 9:24
Weak Faith May be EffectualT. Adams.Mark 9:24
Weakness of Faith no SinMark 9:24
Worlds of FaithC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 9:24
The Healing of the Lunatic YouthR. Green Mark 9:14-28
Healing of a Demoniac Youth, After the Disciples' FailureJ.J. Given Mark 9:14-29
Sinful Men May be Looked Upon as Possessed of the DevilC. S. Robinson, D. D.Mark 9:14-29
The Afflicted ChildG. R. Leavitt.Mark 9:14-29
The Afflicted SonB. L.Mark 9:14-29
The Cure of the Demoniac ChildA.F. Muir Mark 9:14-29
The DemoniacE. Johnson Mark 9:14-29
The Disciples NonplussedC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 9:14-29
The Dumb Man Possessed with a DevilL. H. Wiseman, M. A., Joseph Taylor.Mark 9:14-29
The Evil Spirit Cast OutAnon.Mark 9:14-29
The Secret of PowerR. Glover.Mark 9:14-29
This is a case in which the revisers have introduced a dramatic play of expression into what has seemed a merely conditional statement; and apparently with the authority of the best manuscripts. The words of Christ are seen to be those of surprise and expostulation. He sends back the qualification which the man had uttered, and asserts the virtual omnipotence of faith, and, at the same time, the dauntlessness of its spirit.

I. The SPIRIT WHICH CHARACTERIZES THE BELIEVER.

1. Confidence and fearlessness. The true believer will never say, "If thou canst." The greatest difficulties will not seem insuperable, and the testimony of sight and ordinary experience will be distrusted. Inward weakness and uncertainty will be conquered. The one thing of consequence will be, "Is this promised?" "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him" (Job 13:15; cf. Habakkuk 2:17).

2. It is to be distinguished from self-confidence. There is no immediate reference to self in such a conviction; it bases itself upon the unseen and eternal, the laws and promises of God. Hence we may speak of the humility of faith.

3. It is exceptional and divinely produced. Most men are guided by their ordinary experience. When that experience is deliberately set aside or ignored, it must be because of some fact or truth not visible to the natural mind. But such a discovery would be equivalent to a Divine communication. The faith which proceeds upon this must, therefore, be supernaturally inspired. It cannot exist save in one conscious of God, and of a peculiar relation to him.

II. THE POSSIBILITIES OF FAITH. If not wholly dependent upon the actual experience of the power of faith, the confidence of the believer is nevertheless greatly sustained and strengthened by it. Resting in the first instance upon the consciousness of One mighty to save, whose help is promised and assured, and concerning whom it may be said, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" the man of faith will also prize every indication that God has been with man. For he is assured from within and from without that the possibilities of faith are:

1. Unlimited - because it identifies itself with the power of God. Faith is the union of the spirit of the believer with him in whom he trusts. It ensures nothing less than his interest and help. The weakest child of God can secure his aid. "If God be for us, who can be against us?"

2. Unlimited - save that it subjects itself to the will of God. Just as God is omnipotent and yet incapable of unrighteousness, so the faith of the believer will only avail for things pleasing to his heavenly Father. But, then, it never desires any other. The promises of God, however, declare the direction in which Divine help may be certainly expected; and there are countless instances in which the believer can plainly discern the lawfulness and propriety of the objects for which he pleads.

(1) The work of faith is ever blessed.

(2) The prayer of faith is never denied; for if the answer do not assume the form expected, it will nevertheless prove to be substantially, and under the best form, the blessing that is required. And fervent, earnest, repeated prayer is unmistakably encouraged by the teaching of Christ. It is for Christians not to pray less, but more and more importunately, only leaving the particular mode in which the answer is to come to the wisdom and love of God.

3. Unlimited - as illustrated ia Scripture and the biographies of godly men. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is a magnificent confirmation of the promises of the Lord; and them can be no better exercise than the study of the answers to prayer recorded in the Word of God and the lives of saints. - M.







Lord, I believe; help Thou my unbelief.
This incident will show us what believing presupposes and consists in.

I. The text shows A MAN THAT IS IN EARNEST. He cried out with tears. They were tears that told how his heart was moved.

II. We look at this man, and we find that there is more than a general earnestness about him. We see the tokens of a special and active desire to have the blessings which faith was to secure for him. So he who is awakened to flee from the wrath to come.

1. He seeks forgiveness. Sin is not a light thing in his eyes.

2. He longs for healing of the disease of his soul.

3. To say all in a word, his desire is set upon salvation.

III. The operation of this desire. It is an active desire.

1. It makes a man pray and cry to God. It is a time of felt need.

2. It may cast into an agony, which may evince itself in tears. There is a melting power in strong desires that agitate the soul.

3. The desire for salvation will cause you to seek for faith. We are justified by faith; no holiness without it.

4. There will be an effort to believe. It is not God that believes; we have to believe. He would not command you to believe, if it were idle for you to try.

IV. HE FEELS HIS NEED OF GRACE FOR THE EXERCISE OF FAITH — "Help mine unbelief." My own resources are not sufficient for it. A true sense of the need of grace to believe is a great step towards the act of believing.

V. THE MAN BETAKES HIMSELF TO CHRIST. I need grace and I look to Thee for it. So is it with all those that are about to believe. "Thou hast destroyed thyself, but in Me is thy help." The fulness of Christ is unlimited.

VI. THE MAN HAS A DISTINCT CONCEPTION OF THE GRAND OBSTACLE WHICH GRACE MUST REMOVE — "Unbelief." Why is it that unbelief has so great an ascendancy? Because it possesses the heart.

VII. WE FIND THAT THE MAN DOES BELIEVE — "Lord, I believe." "I must believe" is the first step. The next, "I can believe." The third, "I will believe." The last step, "I do believe."

(Andrew Gray.)

We have often heard of George Muller, of Bristol. There stands, in the form of those magnificent orphan houses, full of orphans, supported without committees, without secretaries, supported only by that man's prayer and faith, there stands in solid brick and mortar, a testimony to the fact that God hears prayer. But, do you know that Mr. Muller's case is but one among many. Remember the work of Francke at Halle. Look at the Rough House just out of Hamburg, where Dr. Wichern, commencing with a few reprobate boys of Hamburg, only waiting upon God's help and goodness, has now a whole village full of boys and girls, reclaimed and saved, and is sending out on the right hand and on the left, brethren to occupy posts of usefulness in every land. Remember the brother Gossner, of Berlin, and how mightily God has helped him to send out not less than two hundred missionaries throughout the length and the breadth of the earth, preaching Christ, while he has for their support nothing but the bare promise of God, and the faith which has learned to reach the hand of God, and take from it all it needs.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Pastor Harms, in Hermannsburg, desired to send missionaries to the Gallas tribe in Africa, and in his life he is reported to have said: Then I knocked diligently on the dear Lord in prayer; and since the praying man dare not sit with his bands in his lap, I sought among the shipping agents, but came to no speed; and I turned to Bishop Gobat in Jerusalem, but had no answer; and then I wrote to the Missionary Krapf, in Mornbaz, but the letter was lost. Then one of the sailors who remained said, "Why not build a ship, and you can send out as many and as often as you will." The proposal was good; but, the money! That was a time of great conflict, and I wrestled with God. For no one encouraged me, but the reverse; and even the truest friends and brethren hinted that I was not quite in my senses. When Duke George of Saxony lay on his death bed, and was yet in doubt to whom he should flee with his soul, whether to the Lord Christ and His dear merits, or to the pope and his good works, there spoke a trusty courtier to him: "Your grace, straight forward makes the best runner." That word has lain fast in my soul. I had knocked at men's doors and found them shut; and yet the plan was manifestly good, and for the glory of God. What was to be done? "Straight forward makes the best runner." I prayed fervently to the Lord, laid the matter in His hand, and as I rose up at midnight from my knees, I said, with a voice that almost startled me in the quiet room, "forward now in God's name!" From that moment there never came a thought of doubt into my mind!

There was once a good woman who was well known among her circle for her simple faith, and her great calmness in the midst of many trials. Another woman, living at a distance, hearing of her, said, "I must go and see that woman, and learn the secret of her holy, happy life." She went; and accosting the woman, said, "Are you the woman with the great faith?" "No," replied she, "I am not the woman with the great faith; but I am the woman with a little faith in the great God."

(Milman.)

I. FAITH MAY BE WEAK AND PARTIAL IN A REAL BELIEVER. However much some persons may talk of our religious faith being the result of inquiry and evidence, and depending solely on the power of the intellect, or on its feebleness, we know well that passion and prejudice, not only in religious matters, but in all other matters where our interests or our passions are involved, have a powerful influence on the formation of our opinions; and wherever prejudice or excited passion exists, a much stronger degree of evidence is required to fix our belief of a thing, than were our minds perfectly calm. So in religion.

II. TO BECOME STRONG IN FAITH, WE MUST PERSEVERE IN PRAYER. Increase of faith does not come by argument or evidence, but by direct influence on the heart, sweeping away prejudice and calming the impetuous passions. He who gave can alone increase our faith. Let us ask of Him who is so willing to bestow.

(B. Noel.)

I. It was so with the suppliant of this text. THERE WAS IN HIM THIS CO-EXISTENCE OF FAITH AND CREDULITY. It was not so much a suspended or a divided feeling, as of one who was postponing the great decision, or in whom some third thing, neither belief nor disbelief, was shaping itself; as we hear now of persons who can accept this and that in Jesus Christ, but who also refuse this and that, so that they come to have a religion of their own, of which He is one ingredient, but not the one or principal one. This man's state was not one of mixture or compromise; it was the conflict of two definite antagonists — faith and unbelief — competing within. He was not a half believer. He was a believer and an unbeliever, in one mind. The "father" of this story saw before him a Person who was evidently man, and yet to whom he was applying for the exercise of Deity. Brethren, if we can succeed in making the condition clear, there is a great lesson and moral in it. Many men in this age, like the well-known Indian teacher, are framing for themselves, without for a moment intending to be anything but Christians at last, a Christianity with the supernatural left out of it — miracle, prophecy, incarnation, resurrection, the God-man Himself, eliminated; and it is much to be feared that this kind of compromise is likely to be the Christianity of the educated Englishman in so much of the twentieth century as the world may be spared to live through. It will be a Christianity very rational, very intelligent, certainly very intelligible. But it will have parted with much that has made our Christianity a discipline; it will have got rid of that combination of opposite but not contrary and certainly not contradictory elements, which has been the trial yet also the triumph of the Divine Revelation which has transformed, by training and schooling, mind, heart, and soul. It will have done with that characteristic feature of the old gospel which made men suffer in living it; which made a man kneel before Jesus Christ as a Saviour to be wondered at as well as adored, with the prayer on his lips, "Lord, I believe — help Thou mine unbelief."

II. There is a second thing to be noticed in the condition of this suppliant. He was one who knew and felt that, in all matters, whether of opinion or of practice, THE SOUND MIND ACTS UPON A PRINCIPLE OF PREPONDERANCE. He believed and he disbelieved. He did not conceal from himself the difficulties of believing; the many things that might be urged against it. He was not one of those rash and fanatical people, who, having jumped or rushed to a certain conclusion, are incapable of estimating or even recognizing an argument against it — who bring to, their deliberations upon matters of everlasting importance minds thoroughly made up, and count all men first fools, and then knaves, who differ from them. No; the father of this demoniac boy saw two sides of this anxious question, and could not pretend to call its decision indisputable, whichever way it might go. He himself believed and disbelieved. But he was aware that, as nothing in the realm of thought and action is literally self-evident — nothing so certain, that to take into account its alternative would be idiocy or madness — a man who must have an opinion one way or the other, a man who must act one way or the other, is bound, as a reasonable being, to think and to act on the preponderance, "if the scale do turn but in the estimation of a hair," of one alternative over the other. This man was obliged to form an opinion, in order that he might accordingly shape his conduct, on the mighty question, What was he to think of Christ? But he had a more personal, or at least a more urgent, motive still. In the agony of a tortured and possessed home, he could lose no chance presented to him of obtaining help and deliverance. If Jesus of Nazareth was what he heard of Him there was help, there was healing, in Him. The father's heart beat warmly in his bosom, and it would have been unnatural, it would have been unfeeling, it would have been impossible, to leave such a chance untried. Action was required, and before action opinion. Therefore he only asked himself one question. Which way for me, which way at this moment, does the balance of probability incline? There is on the one side the known virtue, the proved wisdom, the experienced benevolence, the attested power — so much on the side of faith. There is on the other side the possibility of deception, the absence of a parallel, the antecedent improbability of an incarnation.

III. There is yet one more thought in the text, which must be just recognized before we conclude. THIS FATHER TESTED TRUTH BY PRAYING. He was not satisfied with saying, "I believe and I disbelieve." It was not enough for him even to carry his divided state to Christ, and say, "Lord, I believe and I disbelieve." No, he turned the conflict into direct prayer — "Lord, I believe — help Thou mine unbelief!" Many persons imagine that, until they have full and undoubting faith, they have no right and no power to pray. Yet here again the principle dwelt upon has a just application. If faith preponderates in you but by the weight of one grain over unbelief, that small or smallest preponderance binds you, not only to an opinion of believing, and not only to a life of obeying, but also, and quite definitely, to a habit of praying. Faith brings unbelief with it to the throne of grace, and prays for help against it to Him whom, on the balance and on the preponderance, it thinks to be Divine. "Lord, I believe — help Thou mine unbelief." It is the prayer for the man who is formulating his faith, and has not yet arranged or modelled it to his satisfaction. It is the prayer for the man who is shaping his life, and has not yet exactly adjusted the principles which shall guide it. It is the prayer for the man in great trouble — who cannot see the chastening for the afflicting who feels the blow so severe that he cannot yet discern the Father's hand dealing it.

(Dean Vaughan.)

I. THE NECESSITY OF A FULL BELIEF IN THE SAVIOUR.

1. It is necessary as the foundation of all our Christian privileges and blessings. Our Lord continually laid it down as the condition of bestowing His favour; His apostles insisted upon the same holy doctrine.

2. It is clear in the very nature of things: we can do nothing of ourselves, by any independent effort, for our own salvation; we are estranged from God without the means of reconciliation.

II. OUR NATURAL INABILITY TO ATTAIN THAT BELIEF AND THE METHOD BY WHICH IT IS CERTAINLY ATTAINABLE. If it required nothing more than the assent of the understanding, it would be clearly within own reach; it implies a disposition to receive all the doctrines of revealed truth, a submission to the law and love of God. It is idle to beseech of God a living faith, when we have no intention to imbibe those principles, to form that character, which a true faith implies. Look at the case of this man: there were no earthly prejudices which he resolved to keep; no earthly hindrances which he desired to set up; all he wanted was further light in his understanding, and a complete conviction in his heart; hence he honestly prayed his prayer to Him, in whose hand was the bestowal of these blessings.

III. THE EFFECT AND TRIUMPH OF IT, WHEN ATTAINED. It is the only means by which the enemies of our peace can be vanquished, and we prepared for our crown of rejoicing (1 John 5:4).

(J. Slade, M. A.)

Let us take comfort in this wonderful saying. Never fear; whatever thoughts may from time to time move through the listening spirit. Deal firmly and bravely with your intellectual and spiritual tempters; repel them; cast yourself on God. Assert, in terms, the principle of faith. Say, "I believe." Thus, at length, all shall be well. For the hour is at hand when doubt shall end forever, and when the Eternal Truth shall stand out clear before our eyes. Doubt and uncertainty belong to this life; at the end of the world they will sink to long burial, while the world also sinks away, and then we shall see all things plainly in the "deep dawn beyond the tomb." In this dim life we see spiritual things imperfectly, yet ever draw we on to full, clear knowledge. Even so, a man might be led, step by step, through darkness, till he came out and stood on a narrow line of sandy beach hemming the border of the immeasurable deep, whose depth and majesty were hidden from his eyes by the cold veil of fog. But once let the winds arise and blow, and the dull, grey curtain, swaying awhile, shall be gathered into folds, and as a vesture shall it be laid aside; while, where it hung, now rolls the sea, clear, smooth, and vast, each wave reflecting the sunbeam in many-twinkling laughter; the broad surface sweeping back, to where the far horizon line is drawn across, firm and straight from one side of the world to the other. Faith sees already what we are to see for ourselves by-and-by, when God's time is come. And, meanwhile, though we be here, on this narrow border of the world beyond, and though we cannot see far, and though the fog do sometimes chill, yet let us be men and shake ourselves, and move about; yea, let us build a fire as best we may on the wild shore, to keep off the cold and to keep us all in heart; and let us believe and trust, where we can neither see nor prove, and let us encourage one another and call to God.

(Morgan Dix, D. D.)

I. FAITH AND UNBELIEF ARE OFTEN FOUND IN THE SAME HEART. The picture which Milton gives of Eve sleeping in the garden is true of us all. There is the toad-like spirit whispering evil dreams into the heart, and the angel is standing by to keep watch on the tempter. So the two worlds of faith and unbelief are close to the soul of man. When he is in the dark, gleams from the light will shoot in as if to allure him; and when he is in the light, vapours from the dark will roll in to perplex and tempt him.

II. WHENEVER FAITH AND UNBELIEF MEET IN AN EARNEST HEART THERE WILL BE WAR. The question raised by faith and unbelief presses on the whole nature, and will not be silenced until settled one way or the other.

III. WE CAN TELL HOW THE WAR WILL GO BY THE SIDE A MAN'S HEART TAKES. When a ship is making for the harbour, there is a set in the tide which may carry it straight for the entrance, or to the treacherous quicksands, or to the boiling surf. Such a set of the tide there is in a man's own heart. It is acted on by his will, therefore he is responsible for it. A man cannot use his will directly, so as to cause himself to believe or not to believe, but he can use it in "those things which accompany salvation." We cannot reverse the tide, but we can employ the sails and helm, so as to act upon it. Let us seek to have(1) a sense of reverence proportioned to the momentous character of the issue at stake. The weight of the soul must be felt if we are to decide rightly on its interests.(2) A sense of need: a care for the soul, leading us to look out, and up, and cry for help.(3) A sense of sinfulness, a conviction of the gulf between what we should be and what we are. The way to God begins in what is most profound in our own souls, and when we have been led by God's own hand to make discoveries of our weakness and want and sin, it is not doubtful how the war will go.

IV. THE WAY TO BE SURE OF THE VICTORY OF FAITH IS TO CALL IN CHRIST'S HELP. Full deliverance from doubt and sin is only to be procured by personal contact with the Saviour's person and life. So long as we turn our back on Him, we are toward darkness; as soon as we look to Him, we are lightened. If there are any who have lost their faith, or fear they are losing it, while they deplore the loss, let them cry toward that quarter of the heavens where they once felt as if light were shining for them, and an answer will in due time come. Christ is there, whether they see Him or not; and He will hear their prayer, though it has a sore battle with doubt. This short prayer of a doubting heart comes far down like the Lord Jesus Himself, stretches out a hand of help to the feeblest, and secures at last an answer to all other prayers. H men will use it truly, it will give power to the faint, and to them that have no might it will increase strength, till it issues in the full confidence of perfect faith.

(John Ker, D. D.)This act of his, in putting forth his faith to believe as he could, was the way to believe as he would.

(John Trapp.)

Take these words as —

I. THE VOICE OF ONE SEEKING SALVATION. Give Christ your whole confidence. Don't lose time in excuses, or lamentations, or in seeking fuller conviction. Cast yourself at once on the Rock of Ages — "Lord, I believe," But you say, "I seem to slip off the Rock again." Well, that is surely a sign that you are on, if you are afraid of slipping off. Then add, "Help Thou mine unbelief," i.e., "Hold me on the Rock; do Thou keep me from rolling off." No man is quite a stranger to the Lord, or an utter unbeliever, who with tears entreats Christ to put away his unbelief.

II. THE VOICE OF THE CHRISTIAN IN SOME ANGUISH OF SPIRIT. In adversity, when your faith is slipping away, bow before Jesus, saying — "Lord, I believe; I cling to Thee; I hang on Thee. Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." What did I say? Who am I, to utter such mighty words of confidence? And yet, at such an hour, I take them not back; but with tears I haste to add, "Lord, help Thou mine unbelief."

III. THE WORDS OF THE BELIEVER IN VIEW OF DUTY, OR OF SOME HOLY PRIVILEGE.

IV. THE VOICE OF THE WHOLE CHURCH ON EARTH, ANXIOUS FOR THE SALVATION OF HER CHILDREN.

(D. Fraser, D. D.)

Unbelief is an alarming and criminal thing; for it doubts —

(1)The power of Omnipotence;

(2)the value of the promise of God;

(3)the efficacy of Christ's blood;

(4)the prevalence of His plea;

(5)the almightiness of the Spirit;

(6)the truth of the gospel.In fact, unbelief robs God of His glory in every way; and therefore it cannot receive a blessing from the Lord (Hebrews 11:6).

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

This was the cry of a soul in distress; it was a frank, honest exclamation, showing what was in the man; it was spoken to God. It was a cry of agony: the agony of hope, of love, of fear, all pouring out and upward, trembling and expecting: the cry of a solitary soul indeed, yet, substantially, a cry from all humanity summed up together. Nor did it meet rebuke; no fault was found with it; but in the granting of the prayer, assent and approval were implied; assent to the description, acceptance of the state of mind it disclosed.

I. DOUBT AND FAITH CAN CO-EXIST IN THE HEART AND ACTUALLY DO. Natural to believe; we cannot but cling to God; cannot live without Him. Yet natural to doubt; because we are fallen; the mind is disordered, like the body: Divine truth is not yet made known to us in fulness. So it follows that the mere existence of doubts in intellect or heart is not sinful, nor need it disquiet the faithful. The sin begins where the responsibility begins, viz., in the exercise of the will.

II. THE WILL HAS POWER TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THE TWO. This is the sheet anchor of moral and intellectual life. No man need be passive, or is compelled to be all his life long subject to bondage under the spirit of doubt. The will can control and shape the thoughts, throwing its weight on one side or the other when the battle rages in the soul. Because it can do this, we are responsible for the strength or weakness of our faith.

III. IF WE CHOOSE TO BELIEVE, GOD WILL HELP. Lift thy poor hand upward, and another Hand is coming through the darkness to meet it.

(Morgan Dix, D. D.)

If a man can say this sincerely, he need never be discouraged; let him hope in the Lord. Little grace can trust in Christ, and great grace can do no more. God brings not a pair of scales to weigh our graces, and if they be too light refuseth them; but he brings a touchstone to try them: and if they be pure gold, though never so little of it, it will pass current with Him; though it be but smoke, not flame — though it be but as a wick in the socket — likelier to die and go out than continue, which we use to throw away; yet He will not quench it, but accept it.

(Anon.)We give a beggar an alms (says Manton), "though he receives it with a trembling palsied hand; and if he lets it fall, we let him stoop for it." So doth the Lord give even to our weak faith, and in His great tenderness permits us afterward to enjoy what at first we could not grasp. The trembling hand is part of the poor beggar's distress, and the weakness of our faith is a part of our spiritual poverty; therefore it moves the Divine compassion, and is an argument with heavenly pity. As a sin, unbelief grieves the Spirit; but, as a weakness, mourned and confessed, it secures His help. "Lord, I believe," is a confession of faith which loses none of its acceptableness when it is followed by the prayer, "help Thou mine unbelief."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A friend complained to Gotthold of the weakness of his faith, and the distress this gave him. Gotthold pointed to a vine, which had twined itself round a pole, and was hanging loaded with beautiful clusters, and said, "Frail is that plant; but what harm is done to it by its frailty, especially as the Creator has been pleased to make it what it is? As little will it prejudice your faith that it is weak, provided only it be sincere and unfeigned. Faith is the work of God, and He bestows it in such measure as He wills and judges right. Let the measure of it which He has given you be deemed sufficient by you. Take for pole and prop the cross of the Saviour and the Word of God; twine around these with all the power which God vouchsafes. A heart sensible of its weakness, and prostrating itself continually at the feet of the Divine mercy, is more acceptable than that which presumes upon the strength of its faith, and falls into false security and pride."

The act of faith is to apply Christ to the soul; and this the weakest faith can do as well as the strongest, if it be true. A child can hold a staff as well, though not so strongly, as a man. The prisoner through a hole sees the sun, though not as perfectly as they in the open air. They that saw the brazen serpent, though a great way off, yet were healed. The poor man's "I believe," saved him; though he was fain to add, "Lord, help mine unbelief." So that we may say of faith, as the poet did of death, that it makes lords and slaves, apostles and common persons, all alike acceptable to God, if they have it.

(T. Adams.)

One said to me, "I have not the faculty of belief or faith in God, or in a book revelation." Answer: "Have you prayed with your whole heart and strength — as for dear life — for light and faith?" He said, "I cannot; for a man who does that already half believes." Answer: "No; for a man might be rescued from a shipwreck, and be watching the attempt to save that which was dearest to him — dearer than life — which had been swept from his side: putting aside conscious prayer, his whole being, his very heart and soul would go out into the wish and the hope that his treasure might be saved: yet it would not involve any belief that the rescue would be accomplished. Many a time an agony like that has been followed by the bringing in of the lifeless body. But after a true heart agony of prayer for light, no lifeless soul has ever been brought in.

(Vita.)

The soul's grasp of Jesus saves even when it does not comfort. If we touch the hem of His garment we are healed of our deadly disease, though our heart may still be full of trembling. We may be in consternation, but we cannot be under condemnation if we have believed in Jesus. Safety is one thing, and assurance of it is another.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

As a man falling into a river espieth a bough of a tree, and catches at it with all his might, and as soon as he hath fast hold of it he is safe, though troubles and fears do not presently vanish out of his mind; so the soul, espying Christ as the only means to save him, and reaching out the hand to Him, is safe, though it be not presently quieted and pacified.

(T. Manton.)

He did not believe in the disciples; he had once trusted in them and failed. He did not believe in himself; he knew his own impotence to drive out the evil spirit from his child: He believed no longer in any medicines or men; but he believed the man of the shining countenance who had just come down from the mountain.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Happy is the man who can not only believe when the waves softly ripple to the music of peace, but continues to trust in Him who is almighty to save when the hurricane is let loose in its fury, and the Atlantic breakers follow each other, eager to swallow up the barque of the mariner. Surely Christ Jesus is fit to be believed at all times, for like the pole star, He abides in His faithfulness, let storms rage as they may.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THERE IS TRUE FAITH. It was faith in the Person of Christ. It was faith about the matter in hand. It was faith which triumphed over difficulties.

(a)Case of long standing.

(b)Considered to be hopeless.

(c)Disciples bad failed.

(d)The child was at that moment passing through a horrible stage of pain and misery.

II. THERE IS GRIEVOUS UNBELIEF. Many true believers are tried with unbelief because they have a sense of their past sins. Some stagger through a consciousness of their present feebleness. Others are made to shiver with unbelief on account of fears for the future, The freeness and greatness of God's mercy sometimes excites unbelief. A sacred desire to be right produces it in some. It may also arise through a most proper reverence for Christ, and a high esteem for all that belongs to Him.

III. THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE TWO. He regards it as a sin and confesses it. He prays against it. He looks to the right Person for deliverance.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. The suspected difficulty. The father may have thought it lay with the disciples. He probably thought the case itself was well-nigh hopeless. He half hinted that the difficulty might lie with the Master. "If Thou."

II. The tearful discovery. Jesus cast the "if" back upon the father — then —

1. His little faith discovered his unbelief.

2. This unbelief alarmed him.

3. It was now, not "help my child," but "help my unbelief."

III. The intelligent appeal. He bases the appeal upon faith — "I believe." He mingles with it confession — "help my unbelief." He appeals to One who is able to help — "Lord." To One Who is Himself the remedy for unbelief — "Thou."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Nothing is so provoking to God as unbelief, and yet there is nothing to which we are more prone. He has spoken to us in His Word; He has spoken plainly; He has repeated His promises again and again; He has confirmed them all by the blood of His own dear Son; and yet we do not believe Him. Is not this provoking? What would provoke a master like a servant refusing to believe him? Or, what would provoke a father like a child refusing to believe him? The man of honour feels himself insulted if his professed friend refuses to believe his solemn protestation; and yet this is the way in which we daily treat our God. He says: "Confess, and I will pardon you." But we doubt it. He says: "Call upon Me, and I will deliver you." But we doubt it. He says: "I will supply all your needs." But we doubt it. He says: "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." But who has not questioned it? Let us seriously think of His own words: "He that believeth not God hath made Him a liar"; and His question, "How long will this people provoke Me?" Lord, forgive, and preserve us from it in future.

(James Smith.)

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