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An old Scotsman operated a little rowboat for transporting passengers. One day a passenger noticed that the old man had carved on one oar the word “faith” and on the other oar the word “works.” Curiosity led him to ask the meaning of this. The old man, being a well balanced Christian and glad of the opportunity for testimony, said, “I will show you.” So, he dropped the oar named “faith” and pulled the other called “works.” They went around in circles. Then he dropped the oar named “works”and began to pull the oar called “faith”, and the little boat went around in circles again---this time the other direction, but still in a circle. After this demonstration the old man picked up Faith and Works, and pulling both oars together, sped swiftly over the water, explaining to his inquiring passengers, “you see, that is the way it is in the Christian life. Dead works without faith are useless, and faith without works is dead also, getting you nowhere. But faith and works pulling together make for safety, progress, and blessing. (Illustration 1492 in Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations. edited by Paul Lee Tan)

From Leland Patrick’s Sermon: Understanding Faith


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