ST. PAUL'S essay on faith, found in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, ranks as one of the great gems of literature, but its high literary and at times lyrical qualities seem relatively unimportant when compared with the encouragement and inspiration which Paul's words have brought to countless thousands of Christian people through the centuries.

Paul recalls among other examples that by faith Abel offered a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain; Enoch was translated; Noah prepared an ark; Abraham offered up his son Isaac; Moses chose God's people rather than the pleasures of the Egyptians; Gedeon, Barak, Samson, David, Samuel, and the prophets subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the lions' mouths. And in the following chapter Paul climaxes all that has been accomplished in Old Testament times by an exhortation to regard Christ Jesus as "the author and finisher of our faith."

Jesus spoke highly of the faith displayed by a centurion whose servant lay sick. The centurion, according to Matthew's account, recognized that Jesus served under the authority of God. Since the centurion by virtue of his delegated authority could say to a soldier, "Come," and to a servant, "Do this," so Jesus, by virtue of his authority from God, could by a simple word heal the sick. The centurion's calm, clear reasoning, based on faith, impressed Jesus, and he not only healed the servant, but he commended the centurion by declaring to multitudes (Matt. 8:10), "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."

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July 7, 1956

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