The nobility of the inquiring Sprit The attitudes of men towards truth, as freshly revealed, or as revealed in fresh forms

are threefold: some are willfully antagonistic; some are weakly receptive; some are intelligently skeptical. The word “skepticism” may be used in a good as well as in a bad sense. It properly stands for that disposition to question and doubt which is one of the features of the thoughtful and inquiring mind. Scepticism as dependent on natural disposition. There are, in respect of this spirit, marked diversities in nations and in races. And there are answering differences in families and in individuals. … The beginnings of what will afterwards appear as skepticism are found in children. Some will question the why and wherefore of everything that is told them, while others will open wide eyes, and take in as real, the strangest fairy tales that can be told them. … Where the skeptical spirit is unduly developed the corrective spirit of faith must be nourished; and where credulity is excessive, the mind must be quickened to doubt. … Scepticism as fostered by intellectual pride. This is one of the gravest difficulties of our age, in which remarkable advances in knowledge have been made. Those advances have chiefly borne relation to the sphere of the physical sciences, and in that sphere pride is readily nourished, because, apparently, all depends on men’s own observation and research. It becomes easy for men to say – What we observe and know is the truth; and there is no other truth than “truth of fact.” So we find all around us much skepticism in relation to the moral, spiritual, revelational spheres: a disposition to unreasonable doubt; to doubting for doubting’s sake. This needs to be wisely but firmly rebuked, and its real source, in mere pride of intellect, should be pointed out. They physical is not the only sphere through which God has revealed himself to his creatures; and it never can be a sign of human wisdom that the best three parts of God’s revelation are set aside as the dreams of dreamers. Scepticism as a result of associations. As a disposition of mind, skepticism takes a place among infectious mental diseases, communicated very readily by association. A skeptical workman will infect his fellows. A skeptical student will change the tone of his college. A skeptical member of a family will destroy the recipiency of a whole family. So we, who have any kind of trust of others, need to be watchful over the influence of such persons. … Scepticism as an impulse to inquiry. This is its good side … It is the spirit that seeks for two things: comprehension, or the distinct, clear, and intelligent understanding of any teachings; and verification, or adequate and reasonable grounds for belief. But it is characteristic of intelligent inquiry that it seeks its proofs within the spheres of its subjects. If it inquires concerning physical principles, it seeks for proof and illustration in physical facts. If its sphere be moral or spiritual, it asks for moral or spiritual reason and proof. … The noble man, the intelligent believer, must have won faith out of skepticism – in the sense of humble and earnest inquiry. Those who are simply receptive have their mission in the world, and we desire to institute no unworthy, no discouraging comparisons; but for the active forms of Christian work, and for the emergencies of the Christian conflict, those are needed who have won faith out of fight. The Beroeans are commended because they doubted and inquired; and yet this is the very thing which many nowadays would have feared.

The Pulpit Commentary, Acts II. P. 83-84, Acts 17:11, (R. Tuck) Gold Nugget 237 Commendable Scepticism http://www.goldnugget.posterous.com