Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The spirit of true religion

"This forced and artificial religion is commonly heavy and languid, like the motion of a weight forced upward. It is cold and spiritless, like the uneasy compliance of a wife married against her will, who carries it dutifully toward the husband whom she does not love, out of some sense of virtue or honor. Hence also this religion is scant and miserly, especially in those duties which do the greatest violence to men's carnal inclinations; and those slavish spirits will be sure to do no more than is absolutely required. It is a law that compels them, and they will be loath to go beyond what it stints them to; nay, they will ever be putting such glosses on it, as may leave themselves the greatest liberty. Whereas the spirit of true religion is frank and liberal -- far from such peevish and narrow reckoning, and he who hath given himself entirely unto God will never think he doth too much for Him."

Henry Scougal, The Life of God in the Soul of Man, part one, "True Religion is Life."

"I walked out to the hill just now. It is exalting, delicious. To stand embraced by the shadows of a friendly tree with the wind tugging at your coat tail and the heavens hailing your heart -- to gaze and glory and give oneself again to God, what more could a man ask? Oh the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth!"

Jim Elliot, diary, 15 January 1951, quoted in HIS, April 1956, page 9.

When you became a Christian, did you think you were giving anything up? Were you acting out of a sense of virtue or honor? Or were you running away from all that, toward Someone in whose eyes you saw everything you desire?