CCXXXII. Holding fast the Good.

1 THESS. v. 21. “Hold fast that which is good.”

THE religion of Jesus Christ is good, and it is our duty
to hold it fast. Religion is not theology. Theology is the
word of men concerning the word of God: and a high
word it is, the highest in the world. But it is not religion.
Religion is not rites and ceremonies and sacraments.
What is it then?
I. It is faith as opposed to infidelity.
We feel that all is not here—that there is an inner world.
We cannot rest on the narrow bed of infidelity.
II. It is holiness as opposed to sin.
Holiness means all possible human virtues and graces.
Religion demands holiness, and this demand is a proof of
the wonderful possibilities of the soul of man. Religion
gives a sure promise of attaining to holiness. The Church
is to be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.
III. It is love as opposed to selfishness.
Illustrate selfishness by the stories of those who passed
by in the parable of the good Samaritan, and Lot’s choice.
But Christianity says, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and
so fulfil the law of Christ.” We all labour, we are all
heavy laden. The infinite burden of life has been laid on
our shoulders. Our Lord Jesus Christ on His way to
Calvary sent down gentle showers upon an old blind
man there, and a sick man yonder, and a lame man in
another place.
IV. It is hope and joy as opposed to despair.
The natural cry that arises out of Materialism is, “Let
us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.” Drink long
draughts of the sweet wine of pleasure, for to-morrow you
are to die.
The Gospel is more than you can think. We can think
much, but the Gospel is more. Language is poor. I
have yearnings and groanings and complainings infinite in
my bosom. I cannot utter them. But the glory to be
revealed is even beyond our thinking.
Therefore hold it fast. Do not be afraid of the ark. It
has a strange, mysterious power about it. The Philistines
did not know what to do with our ark.
Thomas Jones

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