Psalm 27:8.---' When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.'

There must be a correspondence to grace, a readiness to hear and to obey God's call. 'God leads those who are willing to be led'; and this is true whether of Christians or of heathens. But what does it mean but that God treats men as free agents? He leads, He does not drive. Apart from what we call revealed religion, God speaks to man in Nature and in conscience, the two witnesses which, if separated, seem to contradict each other. 'Seek ye my face'; and as men correspond to that voice, they are drawn nearer to Him who speaks and learn more of His nature. But without such correspondence on the part of man no real manifestations of God is possible. The voices which once were real may be explained away. What is conscience but far-sighted selfishness, or, at least, a kind of tact by which we see what conduces to the greatest happiness of the greatest number? What is Nature but a great struggle for existence, in which things gradually adapt themselves to the circumstances in which they live? "I have swept the heavens with my telescope, "said one, "and I have found no God." No! for God is a God that hides himself from such as these. If the shepherds had stayed to reason, on the night Christ was born, probability of the angel's news, they might easily have persuaded themselves that it was but a delusion and a hallucination, and plumed themselves on their higher criticism. The Magi might have explained away the Epiphany star. Perhaps it was but an unusual conjunction of two planets; perhaps it was a deception after all, some curious optical delusion. Why take a long journey without demonstrative proof that the end would be worth the labor? But there was nothing of this. They arose, and followed the leading of the star.

But God rarely, if ever, speaks to us except from behind a veil. This is the way most consistent with God's natural dealings with us. He speaks by signs and hints, which loving and earnest hearts can read. There is always, so to say, a margin left for the exercise of that trusting love which we call faith. There is no demonstrative proof in the sphere of the supernatural, any more than in the sphere of the natural. We cannot prove the existence of God, or of the Divinity of Christ, or the inspiration of the Bible, by reasoning alone. If we could we should be Gnostics, not Christians; and that is why it is always possible for men to say that the evidences of Christianity are unconvincing. But the triumphs of faith are won not over reason, but in anticipation of reason. He that cometh to God must believe that He is---but he cannot prove or disprove that; and if he waits for such proof, he will never come at all. Abraham, the father of the faithful, went forth at God's call, not knowing whither he went---from Ur to Haran, from Haran to Canaan, and then to Mount Moriah. Was he irrational? Or did the end justify his faith? Cannot many of us bear testimony to the wisdom of obeying God's call, and hearing His voice when He bids us seek His face, though pride and prejudice, and trust in our own reasoning powers, were all leagued togather against our better self, which fain would answer to that call, 'Thy face, lord, will I seek'?

All human faith ultimately rests on experience, either direct or transmitted, and the real strength of the faith is measured by the directness and immediacy of its connection with the believer's own experience.

If it is true that God speaks to us by signs, not showing himself plainly to us, but bidding us to seek his face, and if these signs become meaningless, or are explained away, or are withdrawn by Him who sent them, it follows that we cannot be too ready to obey the least signs of God's will. The great difference between God's children and ordinary people is, that God's children are always ready to take God's hints. Sometimes God does speak in terms that we can hardly misunderstand, when difficulties which we never dreamt of are thrown in the path of sin, or when the successful fraud or wrong brings misery in its train. Then we can hardly help feeling that we are fighting against God. But God's children do not wait for such things as these. To them God says, 'I will guide thee with mine eye.' The bit and bridle for the horse and mule, but the Father's eye is the children's guide.

In Christ, timothy. maranatha