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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Calvin’s Thoughts

Quoting John Calvin:

“However many blessings we expect from God, His infinite liberality will always exceed all our wishes and our thoughts.”

“Let us not cease to do the utmost that we may incessantly go forward in the way of the Lord; and let us not despair of the smallness of our accomplishments.”

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Is Faith Rational?

The Bible was not written for philosophers, but for the popular mind. Its statements about exercises of the soul are not intended to be analytical, but practical. Robert L. Dabney explains this:

Protestants . . . hold that faith must be explicit and intelligent, or it cannot be proper faith; that the propositions embraced must be known; and the evidence therefore comprehended intelligently. They grant to Aquinas, that faith derives its moral quality from the holiness of principles and voluntary moral dispositions actuating the exercise; but his conclusion in favor of an unintelligent faith is absurd, because voluntary moral dispositions can only act legitimately, through an intelligent knowledge of their objects. The right intelligence is in order to the right feeling. Protestants again distinguish between a comprehension of the evidence, and a full comprehension of the proposition. The former is the rational ground of belief, not the latter. The affirmations of many propositions, not only in theology, but in other sciences, are rationally believed, because their evidences are intelligently seen, when the predications themselves are not fully or even at all comprehended . . . We grant that many professed Protestants have only a spurious faith. Again, a humble mind cannot always state in language intelligently, what he understands intelligently.

For an explicit faith, hence defined, we argue: 1. That it is the only sort possible, according to the Laws of the mind. A man cannot believe, except by seeing evidence. As well talk of perception of objects of sight occurring in one, without using one’s own eyes. . . .

The Bible agrees to this, by directing us to read and understand in order to believe; to search the Scriptures. See John 5:39; Romans 10:17; Psalm 119:34; Proverbs 16:22; Acts 28:27; John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 11:29; John 6:45. 3. We are commanded to be “able to give to every man that asketh of us, a reason of the hope that is in us” (1 Pet. 3:15). And faith is everywhere spoken of as an intelligent exercise; while religious ignorance is rebuked as sin. (Systematic Theology)

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