And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt harken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. – Deuteronomy 28:2

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In his 1953 A Quaker Approach to the Bible, scholar Henry J. Cadbury describes the collection as “a training school in discriminating among alternatives. One of the most sobering facts is that it is not on the whole a peaceful book. … The sobering thing is that in nearly every (controversy) the people shown by the Bible to be wrong had every reason to think they were in the right, and like us they did so. Complacent orthodoxy is the recurrent villain in the story …”

*   *   *

Repeatedly, the practice becomes one of going beyond our own wisdom and vision to seek something yet unseen. Blessing, in this sense, demands openness and risk.

*   *   *

For in Christ Jesus neither Circumcision availeth any Thing, nor Uncircumcision, but Faith which worketh by Love, saith Paul, Gal. v. 6. and this is the Victory whereby we overcome the World, even our Faith, saith John, 1 John v. 4. Therefore, say I, without this real Faith, it is impossible we should please God, or be justified in his Sight. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

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