“The Amen, and the Disciple which Testifieth”
NOTHING is more characteristic of the present day than the tone of questioning and doubt, which so widely pervades all realms of thought, and every section of society. Never probably in any former period of time of the world’s history was there such mental activity, division, and anarchy of opinion, as we now see around us everywhere. Science has opened so many fields, in all of which much is yet unsolved,–philosophy has searched so deeply into the nature and origin of man, unsettling much that was once believed, but supplying little certain to take its place,–while the growing complications of society force upon us questions still more practical as to the rights and wrongs of men, to every one of which all sorts of jarring answers are returned from every side,–above all the Church, which should have been a guide and light to men, is so divided and unable to guide herself, much less the world,–that thousands are asking whether there is, or can be, any certainty for man; whether all that has been counted truth is anything more than probability,–whether therefore it is not better to confess that we can never get beyond guesses, even upon those points respecting which our inmost souls are constantly and importunately asking for more light.
Now there was another age, which in much of this resembled ours; the age which saw the break up of the old-world civilisations; when not Greece and Rome only seemed bankrupt, so far at least as truth was concerned, but when even Israel, which had been set to be a light among the nations, was turned like the sun into darkness, and like the moon into blood.
But then, as ever, when the night was darkest, the morning was at hand. Into that dark age He came who could meet the doubt with certain truth. He had always been in the world, although it knew Him not; always giving to as many as received Him light and power to become the sons of God. Now He was made flesh, and came with a faith which overcame the world, and with a truth which made darkness light. He did not argue. He was the Truth, and bore witness to the truth; and those who received His witness could set to their seal that God is true, and has not left His creatures.
The Truth yet lives. What He then said He is saying now. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but His words shall not pass away. His creatures need Him, for He formed them for Himself, and He alone can satisfy their need. Their ruin was the lie, which brought them death. Their salvation is the truth, which brings eternal life. As the truth therefore He has come, as Prophet, Priest, and King; to teach, to comfort, and to rule; suiting His revelation to our need; warning where warning is required; comforting and helping those who need comfort. Has He no message for a doubting age?
Can He give no certainty to those who are like the wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed? He came to Israel perplexed with sects of Pharisees and Scribes; and for those who received Him there was certainty and rest. Is He absent from us now? To the last Apocalyptic Church, which, as many believe, figures the state in which the professing Church is to be found just prior to our Lord’s return, and which, if free from certain sins which had so grievously disfigured some earlier Churches, was yet more than any other possessed by the spirit of untruth and self-delusion; which said of herself, “I am rich,” and “knew not” her true state, that with all gifts she was “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked,” the same Lord appears, and speaks as “The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the Creation of God.” (Revelation 3:14-17) Does not this title tell us that in Him we may have certainty for doubt, and help for our need, if we will listen to His voice?