Monday, August 2, 2010

justified in our own eyes...

I found these words from William Henry Furness powerful today.  His sermon "Stand Upon Thy Feet" continued:

"There are various causes that conspire to alienate us from the Highest, and reduce us to a condition of lamentable weakness.

1. In the first place, there is an uncomfortable consciousness of a want of harmony with the Best. Fixed as we may be in our self-indulgent habits, and ingenious as we are in deceiving ourselves, we cannot wholly escape a misgiving that there is a better than we are, which we are not, and that it is our own fault that it is so. But let our minds misgive us as much as they may on this score, we must guard and keep our self-esteem as the apple of the eye. It will never do to part with that. We should have no comfort in life, were our self-satisfaction tumbled in the dust; it would embitter every drop of the poor peace that we contrive to maintain. Accordingly, we are afraid to deal honestly with ourselves. We are afraid to change the comfortable posture of our self-ignorance, and stand up upon our feet, and look, and hearken, for the True Voice. We fear lest, finding ourselves standing in the presence of God, with a clearer vision of his perfections, and a more vivid apprehension of the Holiness, Rectitude, and Love, which are the attributes of God, we should be forced to see with grief and shame how impure, unjust and selfish we are. And, therefore, that we may keep ourselves, as well as we can, justified in our own eyes, we preserve the greatest possible distance from what will wound and condemn us; and lie down and let the music of this world's enchantments fill our ears. We desire only to be let alone, that we may sleep and dream. We will harm nobody if we can help it. We want only our pleasurable sensations undisturbed. We do not desire to see God as He is, lest we should see ourselves as we are. And so, although a sense of obligations unfulfilled haunts and troubles us, we evade and put off, living at best very precariously, and yet satisfied on the whole so to live; having the countenance of so many, leaning on others, kneeling now and then, professing to pray, but, in reality, doing no such thing; only pretending and trying to persuade ourselves that our prayers are what they purport to be. Thus, a vital atheism is produced, and we cut ourselves off from the Supreme Good, by the love and pursuit of which the real life of man is nourished and matured. No wonder that our life, instead of power, becomes weakness, instead of honor, shame, instead of a triumphant conflict, a camp of vanity and sloth."


No comments: