XXV. The Secret of Power.

MATT. xvii. 19, 20.
“Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could
not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of
your unbelief.”

WE have success enough in Christian work to assure us
that we possess a treasure, and failures enough to make us
feel how weak are the earthen vessels that hold it.
I. We have an unvarying power.
1. We have a Gospel that never can grow old.
2. We have an abiding Spirit.
3. We have a Lord the same yesterday, to-day, and for
ever.
II. The condition of exercising this power is faith.
With such a force at our command, a force that could
shake the mountains and break the rocks, how can we
think of failure? Christ throws the disciples back deci-
sively upon themselves as solely responsible.
We have received all spiritual gifts in proportion to our
capacity, and our capacity is mainly settled by our faith.
The same faith has a natural operation upon ourselves
which tends to fit us for casting out the evil spirit. It
makes us simple, fearless, strong.
Faith has power over men who see it. There is a
magnetism in the sight of a brother’s faith which few can
resist.
III. Our faith is ever threatened by subtle unbelief.
Our activity in spreading the Gospel tends to become
mechanical.
The atmosphere of scornful disbelief which surrounds us
makes our faith falter. Let us take heed lest we suffer
our grasp of our dear Lord’s hand to relax for no better
reason than because so many have left His side.
IV. Our faith can only be maintained by constant devo-
tion and rigid self-denial. It is no holiday task to cast
out devils. Self-indulgent men will never do it
Alexander Maclaren, D.D.