The Realm of Faith
Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. — John 20:29
Reason saw not until faith sprung to light.— John Dryden
[True Christians] are little understood by the world because they are not of the world; and hence it sometimes happens that even the better sort of men are often disconcerted and vexed by them. It cannot be otherwise; they move forward on principles so different from what are commonly assumed as true. They take for granted, as first principles, what the world wishes to have proved in detail…. [They] even make others feel constrained and uneasy in their presence. — John Henry Newman
“Words are like leaves, and where they most abound,
Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.” Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism, Part Third.
The aim below, ’tis my wish and my hope:
Comply with the decree of Master Pope,
And squander not words, nor waste precious time,
And blight not Doctrine put to verse and rhyme.
For Canons ought not the foolish to bear.
So, please God, as I write this prayer,
Give content, balance, junction to each part,
And let faith be enhanc’d by reason’s art.
That God is, was prov’d by bare reason ‘lone
With demonstrations eight, as have been shown,
By Thomas from effects, Cause God deduc’d;
And other sages by whom God educ’d.
The order, beauty of Creation show,
From Nature’s realm, through reason God to know.
Man’s reason, though the great Almighty’s gift,
Cuts a small clearing where we can sift
Invisible things by grace He hath reveal’d
The mysteries of faith elsewise conceal’d,
Ineffable but for the faith’s constant light.
And for bare reason far too recondite.
Faith, reason, two wings by which Man could soar,
Truth to discover, errour to abhor.
For sunder’d from truth, Man’s mir’d in folly,
In data-muck, in permanent ennui.
Leave trifles behind, shrug off all caprice;
Quit those immers’d in the aridities:
“Whom folly pleases, and whose follies please.” Pope, The Second Epistle of The Second Book of Horace.
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