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A Faith That Can Be Kept

By Phillips Brooks


      "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men"

      (Mark 7:7).

      And the second characteristic of the faith that can be kept will be its evidence, its proved truth. It will not be a mere aggregation of chance opinions. The reason why a great many people seem to be always changing their faith is that they never really have any faith. They have indeed what they call a faith, and are often very positive about it. They have gathered together a number of opinions and fancies, often very ill-considered, which they say that they believe, using the deep and sacred word for a very superficial and frivolous action of their wills. They no more have a faith than the city vagrant has a home who sleeps upon a different doorstep every night. And yet he does sleep somewhere every night; and so these wanderers among the creeds at each given moment are believing something, although that something is for ever altering. We do not properly believe what we only think. A thousand speculations come into our heads, and our minds dwell upon them, which are not to be therefore put into our creed, however plausible they seem. Our creed, our credo, anything which we call by such a sacred name, is not what we have thought, but what our Lord has told us.

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