Faith knows with absolute certainty ; for " faith," the Holy Ghost saith, " is the substance of things hoped for." Faith makes the objects of faith present to the soul ; it gives them, through its certainty, a substance and subsistence in the soul ; faith knows by an infused light that which naturally passes knowledge; faith has, enfolded in it as it were, the germs and rudiments of things to come, in which it believes. For "we know in Whom we have believed." " And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the Only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent." To the Christian, his home in heaven is as certain as if he had seen it with his bodily eyes, although eye hath not seen nor ear heard the nature or the fulness of its joys. Faith " endureth/ as seeing the Invisible."
But since faith is the gift of God through grace, whatever injures grace, weakens faith. Faith may live on for a time without love, and become what is called an historic faith. But faith without love has no root. For we are " rooted and grounded in love." It is the last judgment of God upon the soul which will not live as it believes, that in the end it believes as it lives. But, short of this abandonment of the soul, whatsoever injures grace in the soul, injures faith. Of direct sins against faith, I will speak, with God's help, next Sunday. But, indirectly, every wilful sin is, so far, a denial of faith, and weakens faith.
Intellectual, as well as moral, sins are, if wilfully entertained, antagonists to faith. Faith is based on humility, rooted in love, directed through a holy will, fed by contemplation, quickened by devotion, nurtured by study of the words of the Eternal Word, strengthened by spiritual growth, sees through purity of soul, lives in action. So then, it is weakened by the opposite of all these. Pride rebels against it, impurity is dulled to it, indevotion chills it, worldliness chokes it, negligence lets it slip, an unholy will wills that it should not be; and all n common loose the soul's hold of faith, because they weaken grace, through which the soul has power to hold it.