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A person must believe in God to be a Christian, for the writer, In Heb. 11:6, declares, "Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that his is, and that he is a rewarder of them that dilligently seek him." Mathematical demonstration can't prove there's a God, but the law of cause and effect---causation---proves it beyond reasonable doubt.
Nothing Happens to Happen...
I leave my room in disorder, with everything scattered about, and, returning, find the books alphabetically arranged on the shelves, the floor swept, and curtains in order. I enquire, "Who's been in the room, and that perchance the wind blew the things into order. We behold a beautiful oil-painting of a wide landscape with the golden streaks of the evening sun gilding the western sky. We enquire as to who painted it, and are informed that a certain blunderer spilled a can of paint accidentally and it happened to make that valuable painting. Such answers would be an insult to our intelligence.
What about the great universe around us, with the starry canopy above, the mighty planetary system revolving so regularly, and the multifor varieties of animal and vegatable life in such a unity and harmony---did they just happen to happen? No, indeed! They're the works of a Master-mechanic, a great First Cause. The mighty force of inertai and gravitation, the endless variety of flowers, the complex mechanism of the human body are not the result of blind and undirected forces, but bespeak intelligence and wisdom of a superlative degree.
God---An Unseen Being...
There's no substantial argument against the existence of God in the fact that he can't be seen. Crude implements of peace and war are found in caves of prehistoric men. We can't see these men, and no books contain the record of their activities or of the time in which they lived, yet we believe they existed, from the works they left behind. Thousands who read these pages will never see the writer, yet no one will believe that this book came as a result of an accidental upsetting of a box of type. The electric light we make use of had its existence and from first in somebody's mind, there was a first plan---a blue-print---then an effect, the created thing.
Who is it standing behind the curtain who by infinite power controls and directs this great universe? To this question the great apostle Paul replies: "God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshiped with men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; ...for in him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:19-24). The law of cause and effect is simply the statement of a fact to which no exceptions have ever been known.
All visible things are simply the effect of which God is the first cause.
The law of cause and effect stated in other terms would read that people reap what they sow, regardless of what is sown. It's a universal law that cause and effect are inseparably connected, however long may be the interval detaining the effect, and are always proportionate to each other. We may be sure that there's a reason for every conclusion, a motive for every act, and excitement for every motion, a why for every wherfore. This is a law of both body and soul; of things both seen and unseen.
Reason plays its part in the conversion of the soul, in this matter of cause and effect. Reason inquires why do atoms crowd around a center, atom upon atom, until a crystal globule gleams in the morning sun, or a new planet appears in the firmament? Why is the spirit within us so attracted by resemblances and faint analogies, when only overpowering excitement, or sternness of will, or a habit of attention, can confine it to one pursuit? And why all things past, present, and to come...bound, linked together in the steel chain of causation, so that in all the universe...animate and inanimate, there's a necessity, natural or moral, call it what you will, of motion, of progress from a beginning to an end? From what beginning and to what end? Did Adam have a beginning and what was his end? Did he have an end? Why was Adam formed?
The old philosophies of paganism are but the attempted solution, by reason, of the great problems of life, the echo of the soul's deep yearning for something outside of and beyond itself. Men may reason, analyze, and compare, and will yet remain unsatisfied. Revelation comes to man's rescue, and that, with the law of cause and effect, give us a satisfactory basis for living faith. The inspiration of the Almighty gtiveth us understanding, and thus we discover the superstructure upon which the moral universe rests---namely, "For thy glory, O God, all things are and were created." Then God speaks and declares, "I made man for my glory," and thus established the purpose of creation---a moral universe governed by moral law. To glorify God, were all things made. There can be no free agency, as pertaining to man, only by reason of good and evil. To choose the good is to refuse the wrong. Adam was put to the test and failed. The penalty was death. For economical and gracious reasons, not necessary to be considered here, the full execution of the penalty was deferred; but the fatal effects of a violated law rested heavily upon a fallen race, and impending judgment hung over the earth---like as a man standing beside the river of death, while the shadows deepend and total eclipse came on apace.
Penalties Await the Guilty Soul...
Upon the wall of the universe, gleaming with the light reflected from profane and religious history, is the handwriting of the Eternal, which inpiration interprets and the law of cause and effect enforces---Sinner thou shalt die! Proud and wicked world, thou shalt come to an end! Science and experience attest the awful truth that retribution will follow infraction of law. If you cast yourself down from the temple, nothing but angelic intervention will save you from the fall. If you suffer your thoughts to rove at will, you'll lose the pwer of logical thinking. If you neglect your finer sensibilities, and don't check your imaginations, you'll become a victim of passion, the slave of sensuality, and the voltary of unbelief. If one disregards in either physics or morals the law of cause and effect, he'll write his name as a fool upon the book of time, and reap sooner or later the results of his follies. The history of a race declare in unmistakable language that the way of the transgressor is hard. Revelation uses no abstract terms and presents no scientific formulas, but thunders forth plainly and emphatically, "The soul that sinneth it shall die," and, "The wages of sin is death." Walk as carefully as he may, sooner or later the steps of the sinner will slide; his feet will slip, and terror and sudden destruction will come upon him. In due time, and, it may not be far off, this world will be swept by fire, and divine vengence will shake the highest mountains of earth. The earth iself will melt with fervent heat---and there'll be no ark, as was in Noah's day, that can ride on the molten sea; and no power can stop nor prayer stay that overthrow.
Warnings to the Sinner...
What awful warnings are given to the sinner and what appeals are made to his reason, intellect, and conscience, and how loudly the spirit knocks at the door of his heart! Wherever he turns, whithersoever he looks, however he acts, whatever he thinks, the sinner sees evidences of law and signs of danger. The path of the Lawgiver is in the heavens. His voice is heard in the thunder's roar and his power is manifest in the earthquake's shock. His voice resounds in the hollow murmurs of the past and pierces forth above the commercial rattle of the present. In every leaf that fades and falls, in all things small or great, in all events momentous or inconsequent, in all places near or distant, in all times recent or remote, law has it tokens, God has his witnesses, and retribution its portents.
When I meditate upon these awful truths, I wish I could write with a thousand pens and warn every man, woman, and child in the whole wide world. Oh, awful thought to the sinner, that in the day of judgment everything---every event, every word, every thought---with which he has had ought to do, directly or indirectly, will appear against him; his own heart will condemn him; and God, who is greater than his heart and knoweth all things, will pronounce the awful sentence, "Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels"! And as it is with the individual sinner, so shall it be with the sinful world. Approaching retribution is written upon every page of history.
The bloodshed, the lust, the treachery, the corruption, the avarice, the ambition, the innumerable acts of selfishness, the records of which fill up the annals of time---all are written upon God's book of remembrance. The men and women whose vices, whose ungovernable passions, whose various abominations have made them famous, like Henry VIII and Bloddy Queen Mary; the men who carved their way to honor, or shame, with the sword, like Napoleon and Emperor William of Germany; the men who have crept stealthily and meanly into the affections of other men's wives, have broken up homes and cheated every one but the High God by their hypocrisy---these together with such of all future ages will some day meet an angry God, and stand face to face with all their crimes. Oh, awful day of reckoning when sinful men must meet the One who will ride forth with his vesture dipped in blood!
Punishment for Sin...
Justice demands that man be punished for his sins; the law of cause and effect demands it; and the certainty of retribution forms the basis of the system of grace. The system of grace forms the sole alternative from the curse. Doesn't the fact that Christ died to save from that awful curse prove that to reject him is to meet with final disaster---death? Sin, death, and damnation are behind the Christian man or woman. Their pathway is steep and leads upward, and at every step they're harassed by the enemy of all mankind. But they hold on their way; they turn their backs upon the evil. There's no retreat for the Christian, for behind him is the city of death and destruction.
The law of cause and effect will in time correct every wrong and bring every haughty spirit down. Ultimately the feet of the wicked will slide, whether it be a king upon a throne or a peasant wearing wooden shoes. We read of one whom even proud Englad feared, before whose strength even the Mistress of the Seas trembled; but we also read of his defeat and how he meanly died in lonely exile, a prisoner, amid the thunders of the skies and the booming of the seas. His throne could not save him from the effects of cause in this world, neither will bejeweled crowns and golden scepters save in the world to come. Sin will be punished.
But there've been thousands of brave fearless men and women whose life's record has not been kept, except in heaven, and at whose death hardly an acquaintance, much less a stranger, took note, who if they could speak from their unmarked graves, would tell of a triumph more glorious than that of which any earthly warrior ever dreamed. The battle they fought was a moral one, but they were victors, and by reason of the law of cause and effect are wearing crowns of joy in a land of rest beyond the setting sun.
Separation of Good from Bad...
That a moral gulf separates unlike characters now, every one will admit; but what about the future beyond death? Shall the wheat and tares grow together until the harvest and then be gathered into the same garner? Nature and revelation agree as to the fact of a destinction between good and evil, between good men and bad men. The issue of the system of grace determines the certainty of retribution. The very fact that the church of God shall triumph over her enemies proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the sheep shall be sparated from the goats, the wheat shall be separated from the chaff, which is to be burned up with unquenchable fire. The opposers of God and his church will meet with a sad end; for we must not forget that not one drop of righteous blood was ever shed in vain, that not one word of contempt spoken against the saints has ever been forgotten, and that whatever has been done to the least of the followers of Christ has been done unto Him. We don't wonder that awful judgment hangs over this wicked world like a black cloud. Law claims its victims, and grace approves the claims. Where on the face of the earth is there a spot not desecrated by the transgressions of law and not still more desecrated by contempt of Grace! Oh, the awful weight and sorrow of a sinful heart! The guilt and remorse of conscience must be more terrible than the inquisition hooks, and the weight more crushing than that of the mountains and rocks beneath which the sinner vainly seeks to hide himself from the vengeance of the wrath of God.
The Final Chapter of Earth...
The awful judgment scene beggars all description. Dante's imagination fails to set it forth properly. No artist has ever been able to put that awful picture upon canvas, nor writer to correctly paint it with his pen. The contrast of that day will be that of blackest midnight with the brightest day; a robe of purest white and a shroud of darkest crape. The tempest will soon break upon this old world, and the rivers will stop their onward flow to the sea. The mighty oceans that heave and swell as if the great heart of the earth throbbed beneath them, will lie still like a great giant who's dead. Hushed will be the wild bird's song, silent the shouts of mirth, and motionless the tide of life. No more shall the sound of the woodman's ax ring out as in primeval days, nor the artist's gaze upon the glories of the setting sun. The orator will stop before the climax is reached, and the poet no more shall touch immortal strings. The king will lay off his purple robes and the lowly peasant his wooden shoes. Statesmen will no more be needed to control the affaris of state, nor general to lead his armies on. Mo more shall men welcome the warm days of spring, nor feel the winter's chilling blast. Mo more shall the children gather home at Christmastide, nor holy incense ascend from the family altar of prayer; for the day of earth and earthly things shall have passed. The period of God's waiting for men to repent will be forever over, and the door of mercy close...to open no more. The law of cause and effect that has been held in partial abeyance while redemption was active, and the church of God gathered, will now assert itself in destructive power upon a guilty world. The final separation now takes place, and the sheep and the goats will each pursue their way out into vast eternity---one path leading to the mansions of love and light beyond the skies, and the other down the dark winding pathway into the bottomless pit. The church of God will then be safe; but death will be the state of a lost world, relieved by no hope, softened by no consolation. Oh, why don't men stop and think! Why don't they become awakened to God's love and plan before it's too late? Oh, why don't men prepare to meet their God? This is the day of mercy. The Holy Ghost says, "Today if you will hear his voice, harden not you hearts." God's time is now, and his place is here. Will you let the day of mercy pass unheeded? Will you by your attitude say, "No," to the world's best friend, and die in sin and be lost forever? Sinner, repent today, and begin a new and better life. Begin NOW!
{ The End ]



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