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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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The Influence Of Christianity On Western Democracy

Quoting Chuck Colson:

The concepts of human rights and liberty as we know them can all be traced back to one history-changing idea; an idea that began with God’s revelation to the Jews and was brought to the world by the Christian church.

And that’s the Imago Dei, the idea that man is made in the image of God.

In fact, it was the Christian concept of the Imago Dei that conquered pagan Rome. The Christians said that women, slaves, children, all had eternal value. Talk about revolutionary!

This belief in the value of every human eventually gave rise to classic liberalism (which emphasizes individual freedom) and to Western liberal democracy. Even the great classical liberal philosophers, Locke, Kant, Humboldt, all acknowledged the West’s indebtedness to Christianity and its principles. It’s no coincidence that the greatest document of human liberty ever written, the Declaration of Independence, states that it is self-evident that “all men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.”

Read more here. . . .

Part IX: George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior

At the age sixteen, George Washington wrote out by hand, 110 Rules of Civility. These are based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595. The rules have one major interest in common; a focus on other people rather than on our own self-interests which is so prevalent today. Some of his ideas may seem quaint to our modern minds but they are an excellent reminder of the importance of being a gentleman!

91 Make no show of taking great delight in your the table; neither find great delight in your victuals; feed not with greediness; eat your bread with a knife; lean not on the table; neither find fault with what you eat.

92 Take no salt or cut bread with your knife greasy.

93 Entertaining anyone at table it is decent to present him with meat; undertake not to help others desired by the master.

94 If you soak bread in the sauce, let it be no more than what you put in your mouth at a time and blow not your broth at table; let it stay till it cools of itself.

95 Put not your meat to your mouth with your knife in your hand; neither spit forth the stones of any fruit pie upon a dish nor cast anything under the table.

96 It’s unbecoming to heap much to one’s meat keep your fingers clean; when foul wipe them on a corner of your table napkin.

97 Put not another bite into your mouth till the former be swallow; let not your morsels be too big.

98 Drink not nor talk with your mouth full; neither gaze about you while you are a drinking.

99 Drink not too leisurely nor yet too hastily. Before and after drinking wipe your lips; breathe not then or ever with too great a noise, for it is an evil.

100 Cleanse not your teeth with the tablecloth, napkin, fork, or knife; but if others do it, let it be done without a peep to them.

Arthur W. Pink On Personal Holiness

Arthur W. Pink

There are many people who delude themselves into thinking that they are drawing nearer to heaven while they are really following the common path to hell. Who, among us, is able to enjoy the presence of God without being personally holy? Saving faith is proved by the fruit of godliness and true piety. Arthur W. Pink explains:

By our fall in Adam we not only lost the favor of God but also the purity of our nature, and therefore we need to be both reconciled to God and renewed in our inner man, for without personal holiness ‘no man shall see the Lord’ (Heb. 12:14). As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (behavior); because it is written, Be ye holy for I am holy (1 Pet. 1:15, 16). God’s nature is such that unless we are sanctified, there can be no communion between Him and us.

But can persons be sinful and holy at one and the same time? Genuine Christians discover so much carnality, filth, and vileness in themselves that they find it almost impossible to be assured they are holy. Nor is this difficulty solved, as in justification, by recognizing that though completely unholy in ourselves we are holy in Christ, for Scripture teaches that those who are sanctified by God are holy in themselves, though the evil nature has not been removed from them.

None but ‘the pure in heart’ will ever ‘see God’ (Matt. 5:8). There must be that renovation of soul whereby our minds, affections and wills are brought into harmony with God. There must be that impartial compliance with the revealed will of God and abstinence from evil which issues from faith and love. There must be that directing of all our actions to the glory of God, by Jesus Christ, according to the Gospel. There must be a spirit of holiness working within the believer’s heart so as to sanctify his outward actions if they are to be acceptable unto Him in whom ‘there is no darkness’. True, there is perfect holiness in Christ for the believer, but there must also be a holy nature received from Him. There are some who appear to delight in the imputed obedience of Christ who make little or no concern about personal holiness. They have much to say about being arrayed in ‘the garments of salvation and covered with the robe of righteousness’ (Isa. 61:10), who give no evidence that they are ‘clothed with humility’ (1 Pet. 5:5) or that they have ‘put on . . . bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another and forgiving one another’ (Col. 3:12 & 13).

How many there are today who suppose that if they have trusted in Christ, all is sure to be well with them at the last even though they are not personally holy. Under the pretense of honoring faith, Satan as an angel of light, has deceived and is now deceiving multitudes of souls. When their ‘faith’ is examined and tested, what is it worth? Nothing at all so far as insuring an entrance into heaven is concerned: it is a powerless, lifeless, fruitless thing. The faith of God’s elect is unto ‘the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness’ (Titus 1:1). It is a faith which purifies the heart (Acts 15:9), and it grieves over all impurity. It is a faith which produces an unquestioning obedience (Heb. 11:8). (“Personal Holiness”)

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