The Dissolution of Doubt
George H. Morrison
George Muller of Bristol,1 that eminent philanthropist, who did such a mighty work for orphan children, was once asked by an admiring friend if he had ever doubted. "Yes, once," was his reply, "I doubted for five minutes." In all his years of strenuous activity, with their unceasing strain upon his faith, only once could he remember doubting, and in five minutes his doubt had disappeared. Probably, like Sir Thomas Browne of Norwich,2 he conquered his doubts upon his knees. There is a singular virtue in the bended knee for driving out into the night these darker visitants. But I wonder if there is anyone here tonight who has reached the intelligence of mature manhood, and who could say he has only doubted for five minutes. It would be nearer the experience of some of us to say that we once believed for five minutes. We had five minutes once when the heavens were opened, and Jesus was standing on the right hand of God. But doubt-it is so inwrought into our fiber, it is so interfused with the very air we breathe, that some of us seem to do little else than doubt. Sometimes we doubt the efficacy of prayer, and sometimes the fact that Jesus Christ is risen. Sometimes in a silent universe we doubt the pitying love of the Almighty. And I want to ask tonight how is that born, and what does it mean, and how may we get rid of it-for no man can be content to be a doubter.
Sometimes doubt is born of argument, and of the clash of living mind on mind. The spark flashes when the flint is struck, and the flash illuminates the darkness. It may be a word spoken by a friend; it may be a point of view given in a college lecture; it may be a learned argument for orthodoxy which has effects that never were intended; so, often suddenly and sometimes gradually, in ways we can trace and from hours we can recall, the dark unhappiness of doubt is born. Of course for this there must be preparation, and life is strangely rich in p ...
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