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14But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.


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14. Of full age, or perfect, etc. He calls those perfect who are adults; he mentions them in opposition to babes, as it is done in 1 Corinthians 2:6; 14:20; Ephesians 4:13. For the middle and manly age is the full age of human life; but he calls those by a figure men in Christ; who are spiritual. And such he would have all Christians to be, such as have attained by continual practice a habit to discern between good and evil. For he cannot have been otherwise taught aright in the truth, except we are fortified by his protection against all the falsehoods and delusions of Satan; for on this account it is called the sword of the Spirit. And Paul points out this benefit conferred by sound doctrine when he says, “That we may not be carried about by every wind of doctrine.” (Ephesians 4:14.) And truly what sort of faith is that which doubts, being suspended between truth and falsehood? Is it not in danger of coming to nothing every moment?

But not satisfied to mention in one word the mind, he mentions all the senses, in order to show that we are ever to strive until we be in every way furnished by God’s word, and be so armed for battle, that Satan may by no means steal upon us with his fallacies. 9494     The word for “senses” means literally the organs of the senses, such as the eyes, the ears, etc., but here as signifying the senses themselves, as seeing, hearing, tasting, and smelling, by means of which those grown up are enabled by long experience to know what is good and wholesome for them, and also what is bad and injurious. By this comparison, which is here carried out fully, he intimates that the grown up in Christian truth attain by the habit of exercising all the senses or faculties of their minds, a capacity to distinguish between good and evil, between truth and error, in religion.
   The doctrine of reserve cannot be drawn from this passage; for though the Apostle says that they were not capable, owing to their sloth, or taking strong food, he yet lays it before them. — Ed.

It hence appears what sort of Christianity there is under the Papacy, where not only the grossest ignorance is commended under the name of simplicity, but where the people are also most rigidly prevented from seeking real knowledge; nay, it is easy to judge by what spirit they are influenced, who hardly allow that to be touched which the Apostle commands us to handle continually, who imagine that a laudable neglect which the Apostle here so severely reproves, who take away the word of God, the only rule of discerning rightly, which discerning he declares to be necessary for all Christians! But among those who are freed from this diabolical prohibition and enjoy the liberty of learning, there is yet often no less indifference both as to hearing and reading. When thus we exercise not our powers, we are stupidly ignorant and void of all discernment.




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