Faith and Feeling

ARE two distinct and separate things.  Faith is an exercise of the mind, while feeling is a state or condition of the mind. A person may feel well and very happy who has no faith, while the possessor of faith is often called to pass through many dark hours, many trials, and inward sorrow and anguish.

Good and happy feelings may result from outward circumstances, as success in life, the smile of love and friendship, pleasant scenery, the cheerful home circle, congenial pursuits, the smile of fortune, or advancement in fame or learning, or apparent usefulness, and all without a grain of faith.

Faith is an exercise of the renewed mind, and it is called forth by reason of doubt or uncertainty, and appears most beautiful and lovely when exhibited during times of trial.

Thus when Job had lost all earthly treasures at a blow, when in addition to these trials, his body was writhing in agony, and to crown all, God withdrew himself from him, then was the very time for Job to manifest his faith, and so he did: his wife advises him to curse God and die. He answers, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speakest.  What! shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil?

Here is the difference: Job exercised faith and acted accordingly, even in time of darkness and trial, while his wife was governed by her feelings. She might have been exemplary in prosperity, happy in times of plenty, but not possessing faith, and being under the control of feelings, the trial was too heavy, and she rebelled against God, and counselled her husband to curse God.  But Job was controlled by a higher principle.  Faith unlocked to him a future reward.  By faith he viewed the heavenly inheritance, and grasped for enduring riches; with such a faith what was pain or poverty to him.

As a reward for his faith so tried and tested, Job's prosperity returned.  God was pleased with his faith because it stood the test of adversity.  God honored Job because he was not under the influence of mere feeling, was not driven about by the winds of adversity and trial, but was governed by the law of God.  Having faith he exercised it. When tossed upon the sea of trouble, when in darkness and doubt and uncertainty, God was his rock, his fortress and his tower of strength.    J. CLARKE.