• 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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  • May 2023
    M T W T F S S
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Love and the Christian Character

The Practice of GodlinessJerry Bridges:

Love binds together all virtues of Christian character. Love is not so much a character trait as the inner disposition of the soul that produces them all… Though love may be more a motivational force than an actual display of Christian virtue, it always results in actions on our part. Love inclines us and directs us to be kind, to forgive, and to give of ourselves to one another. (The Practice of Godliness, p. 203)

Samuel Adams: “While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued!”

Samuel Adams

Quoting Samuel Adams:

A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader. (Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, February 12, 1779)

The Man Of Virtue In A Position Of Responsibility

Reverend Samuel Clarke

No matter how persuasive the exhortations of a preacher may be, and how often appeals to live virtuously are given to the young; if the role models who are pointing the way live altogether contrary to the precepts and admonitions they speak of, then such instruction will inevitably end in failure. Human beings need a person of natural influence to provide a virtuous example of home life, social interactions and work. The student really needs to see the teacher demonstrate in his daily life that he really has upon his mind a concern for religion and habitually in all his actions a constant regard to God. Reverend Samuel Clarke continues this line of thought:

For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him. (Genesis 18:19)

As a Magistrate or Governor [a man of Christian Virtue] will take care that that weight and power of influencing others, which the superiority of his station gives to his example, shall be directed constantly to the interest of virtue. In the execution of laws, in which matter there is room for great variety of prudent or imprudent exercise of power, he will always endeavor to put the stress of authority, upon urging men to do these things which will really make them better, and deterring them from such practices as are intrinsically in their own nature evil or vicious; that so the laws of God and man may uniformly promote one and the same end, for the punishment only of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well: and with regard to ambition, or the increase of his own power and dominion; he will take much more pleasure in being able to be publicly beneficial to mankind, by maintaining their just rights and properties; than in obtaining to himself power, for power’s sake.

Again: A person of this disposition, if he be in his station a Preacher of the Gospel; he will not have in his view the temporal grandeur of any particular sect or party of men; but will always endeavor to set before men the truth of God in that native simplicity, and represent to them the religion of Christ, in the manner our Lord himself represented it, to be such a reasonable service, as that it may effectually convince the minds of gainsayers, and, by the irresistible force of truth and reason, compel them to submit themselves to the obedience of Christ. And above all things he will take care to give evidence in his whole behavior, that he himself sincerely believes and expects that judgment to come, which he sets forth to others as the great argument that must oblige them to embrace the truths, and to obey the precepts of the Gospel: according to that direction of our Savior, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” If he lives in a corrupt and degenerate age, he will principally set himself, with all meekness and gentleness, to oppose the particular corruption of the age he lives in; endeavoring, by all fair and righteous methods, to bring as many as possible to the acknowledgment of the truth. (“The Character of a Good Man”)

The World Is In Need Of Great Men And Women Of Virtue

Winston Churchill

The world is in need of great men and women of virtue.  What is virtue in this sense? The Greek and Romans believed that virtue involved duty, loyalty, mercy, justice, and the willingness to lay down one’s life for one’s beliefs, the greatest of all sacrifices.   One understood that one lived in a community and worked for the common good.

The great Roman Senator Marcus Cicero believed that one “must believe that it is characteristic of a strong and heroic mind to consider trivial what most people think glorious and attractive, and to despise those things with unshakable, inflexible discipline.”  Furthermore, he stressed, one must “endure reverses that seem bitter” and “to endure them so that you depart not one inch from your basic nature, not a jot from a wise man’s self respect.”

American Founding Father John Adams differed little in his understanding of virtue: He said it is “a positive passion for the public good.”  Accordingly, virtue will serve as “the only Foundation of Republics.”

Thomas Jefferson also noted the need for virtue.  In his Notes on the State of Virginia, he wrote unequivocally that virtue “is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor.”

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