Beloved of the Lord, I am reading through John Brown’s commentary on Romans titled: Analytical Exposition of the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans, and I came across a passage on Romans chapter 4, which Brown titles: The Divine Method of Justification, as “without Law” “by Faith,” “The Faith of Christ”—“witnessed by the Law and the Prophets.” It is a bit frustrating because the portion I quote has a greater context that you will not be able to take advantage of in this post. The section I am quoting is what I will call a warning not to over-think the Divine method of justification. This caution may be especially helpful to Reformed believers who tend to go deep into Gospel mysteries. In modern times we might call this the KISS principle of faith. Brown is getting near the end of chapter 4 when he sais the following: (I underlined several places I thought were important for those who may just wish to skim to see if there enough interest in reading it all) ======= The account contained in this section of the faith of Abraham, is a very fit means of giving clear views—views easily applied to practical and experimental purposes—of justifying faith. On no subject is it of more importance to have distinct and accurate notions, than on the way in which a guilty human being, righteously condemned on account of his sins, may obtain the forgiveness of sins, and be treated by a righteous God as if he were a righteous person. That there is such a method, is a truth clearly revealed in Scripture; and it is also distinctly stated, that it is only through the knowledge and belief of what God has revealed respecting this method of salvation, that the individual sinner can obtain a personal interest in it, and in the invaluable benefits which it secures—which it alone can secure. It is not, then, wonderful that, among those who profess to consider the New Testament as a Divine revelation, that faith, which holds so prominent a place in that Divine method of justification which it unfolds, should have been made the subject of most serious investigation; though there is cause both for wonder and regret that much of this investigation has tended rather to perplex than to explain, to obscure than to illustrate. One of the principal causes of those indistinct and erroneous views of faith, and of course of the Divine method of justification by faith, is, if I mistake not, to be found in the tendency of the human mind to regard abstract terms or notions as real existences. Faith is often spoken of and thought of as something separate or separable from the mind in which it exists—some agent in it, instead of what it really is, the mind itself in a particular state, or acting in a particular way. The attempt to explain what faith is, in a general abstract way, without keeping constantly in view the simple truth, which yet some learned divines seem never to have got a glimpse of, that faith is just a man believing, has exceedingly darkened a subject which in itself is certainly not peculiarly difficult, and just and distinct views of which are most intimately connected both with man’s holiness and his comfort. The best, and perhaps the only way, of guarding against such confused and perplexing views of faith is, when we think of the subject, to bring before our mind some individual believer, and then, by reflecting on whom he believed, what he believed, why he believed, and what influence his believing had on his dispositions and conduct, we will soon arrive at clear and definite ideas of what faith is—ideas easily explicable to others, and easily applicable to practical purposes in our own experience. We escape out of a world of shadows into a world of realities. Note: I could have underlined this entire paragraph as it is the heart of what I wanted to share _ew It is in this way, as we have seen, that the Apostle Paul explains the nature, and operations, and influence of faith, in the section of his Epistle to the Romans which we have been considering. He does not set before our minds the abstract notion of Faith; he does not tell us about a historical faith, as distinguished from a confidential faith—a faith of the head, as distinguished from a faith of the heart; he enters into no discussion as to whether faith be an operation of the mind, or a state of the mind—whether it be a mental act or a mental habit—whether it be a capacity or a faculty—whether it belong to the department of the understanding or of the will—whether it be merely a matter of the intellect or merely a matter of the affections, or both, and if both, which has the initiative—whether the mind is active or passive in believing, or whether it is not in some measure both, and if so, in what degree it is active, and in what passive;—all these questions which philosophers and divines have delighted to agitate, are put aside, and the apostle places full before the mind “Abraham the believer.” He tells us whom he believed, what he believed, and on what evidence he believed it; and he tells us that, if we believe Him whom Abraham believed, if we believe what Abraham believed, if we believe on the same kind of evidence on which Abraham believed, God will deal with us as He dealt with Abraham. He will reckon us believers; and, reckoning us believers, He will treat us as if we were righteous, and bless us with all heavenly and spiritual blessings. The two questions which are fitted most deeply to interest the awakened sinner on this subject—and I believe no other person will get much good from agitating such questions—are, What is the object of the faith by which a man is justified? and what is the ground of that faith?—in other words, What is it that is to be believed in order to justification, and on what evidence is that to be believed? And a satisfactory answer to these two questions will be found in the true answer to these two other questions—What did Abraham, who was justified by faith, believe? and, Why did he believe what he did believe?—on what evidence did he believe it? ======= J. Brown then expounds these "two questions"