Baruch, Chapter 6, Verse 2-4
2 When you reach Babylon you will be there many years, a long time—seven generations; after that I will bring you back from there in peace. 3 And now in Babylon you will see gods of silver and gold and wood, carried shoulder high, to cast fear upon the nations. 4 Take care that you yourselves do not become like these foreigners and let not such fear possess you.
Do not let fear possess you!
Sometimes people lose hope when they enter a strange land. John McCain highlights in his book Character is Destiny the hopefulness of John Winthrop who left the security of his native country to face the dangers of an unknown world to create and shape the character of a new civilization in America. Is there still hope in this country He helped found? Only if we have hope!
John was a puritan and followed the idea that they are to be in the world but not of the world. They should not love earthly pleasures but neither should they shun the blessings of God. To be humble and grateful and give hope to others, by being faithful and encouraging in their own society. John believed men should strive to build a shining city on the hill by putting ones duty to God and community before one’s own personal desires and to never despair.
He wrote and preached the sermon, “Model of Christian Charity” to give hope to others. He led always by example and never, never gave up hope.
Today is also the birthday of Rene Descartes.
Rene Descartes (1596-1650), founder of Analytical Geometry and Modern Philosophy
1. In the beginning of his Meditations (1641) Descartes wrote:
“I have always been of the opinion that the two questions respecting God and the Soul were the chief of those that ought to be determined by help of Philosophy rather than of Theology; for although to us, the faithful, it be sufficient to hold as matters of faith, that the human soul does not perish with the body, and that God exists, it yet assuredly seems impossible ever to persuade infidels of the reality of any religion, or almost even any moral virtue, unless, first of all, those two things be proved to them by natural reason. And since in this life there are frequently greater rewards held out to vice than to virtue, few would prefer the right to the useful, if they were restrained neither by the fear of God nor the expectation of another life.” (Descartes 1901).
2. “It is absolutely true that we must believe in God, because it is also taught by the Holy Scriptures. On the other hand, we must believe in the Sacred Scriptures because they come from God.” (Descartes 1950, Letter of Dedication).
3. “And thus I very clearly see that the certitude and truth of all science depends on the knowledge alone of the true God, insomuch that, before I knew him, I could have no perfect knowledge of any other thing. And now that I know him, I possess the means of acquiring a perfect knowledge respecting innumerable matters, as well relative to God himself and other intellectual objects as to corporeal nature.” (Descartes 1901, Meditation V).
 McCain, John and Salter, Mark. (2005) Character is destiny. Random House, New York.