CCLXXXI. The Victory of Faith.

1 JOHN v. 4.
“This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

MEN acknowledge that the world is a place of conflict, but
they often mistake the nature of the conflict and the nature
of the weapon that should be employed.
I. They mistake the nature of the conflict. They look
upon it as a battle with poverty, with ignorance, or with
weakness. But a victory over all these does not mean
a victory over care, or sorrow, or death.
But the apostle tells us that the true enemy is not in the
world, nor in the things that are in the world, but rather in
the world within the heart. The enemy is not poverty, but
desire; not obscurity, but lust. He who overcomes the
world is not he who paves his way from poverty to wealth,
but he who gets rich by the penuriousness and parsimony
of his spirit. Not he who has made his way to the highest
places of earth; but he who has risen into the true know-
ledge and purity of God. The true victory lies in the
vanquishing of the heart’s desires.
II. The weapon is mistaken also. Industry will over-
come poverty, and knowledge obscurity; but if these are
not the foes, then must we try another weapon.
Even in the common aspect of life faith is needed. A
man cannot do well who secretly disbelieves in the work
he is doing.
So to conquer within we must believe in goodness. And
not only in goodness in the abstract; it is faith in a person
which the apostle tells us will overcome the world. Faith
in great principles has done much. But for the greatest
and most permanent success we must have faith in good-
ness guaranteed, illustrated, and emphasised in the life and
death of a person. Here then comes the glory of Christ’s
life, that it is precisely the emphasis of all faith in goodness.
W. Boyd Carpenter

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