Wednesday, February 17, 2010

the essential, absolute condition...

It is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  The uses and abuses of this season of self-examination and repentance are legion.  If anyone is looking for a course of daily reading for Lent this year, I would humbly commend to you William Phillips Tilden's "Leaflets for Lent."  I blogged the entire text last year and those posts can be found here.  The book itself can be found here. 
   This morning I continue with Ephraim Peabody's Ash Wednesday writing, "The Goodness of God Leadeth us to Repentance" begun yesterday.
   (On a personal note, I would ask for the thoughts and prayers of all for my wife who is across the country this week taking care of her very ill mother.  Many thanks)

"The goodness of God leadeth us to repentance. But do not therefore think it an unimportant thing. Its necessity is seen when we consider that it is the essential, absolute condition of all true peace in this life. For what is wanting here to satisfy the worn and weary heart of man ? It is not more or less success in the affairs of the world. It is a heart at peace with God ! It is a heart which, renouncing itself and the dominion of the passions and the world, says, Where God calls I will go; what He bids I will do ; his will shall be mine. Give this, and the light that shines on the outward world shall not compare with the light that fills the heart within.

There is such a thing as a Christian life, and there is a life which is not a Christian one. And these courses are not separated by narrow and indefinite boundaries, but by the controlling principles on which they are built up—by the love of worldly pleasure and advantage on one side, and by the controlling reverence for God and love of man on the other. What is there which he can look forward to in the future without fear, whose whole life has been spent in the neglect of those great principles which Christ has given as the controlling laws of life ? Every thing which our Saviour has revealed as the result of such a course is covered with clouds and darkness...

We stand on the borders of the eternal world, and before we pass under its shades, a voice from heaven echoing the words, tenderly and solemnly says, Repent!"

May this season of Lent be a blessing to all
(the illustration is "Repentance of Peter" by Carl Heinrich Bloch)


David G. Markham said...

Dear BU:

Prayers coming your way from Brockport, NY to your wife, her mother, yourself, and your whole family as you all make sacrifices to minister to your wife's mother's needs.

Thank you for the reference to Tilden. I appreciate it.

Today's reading about the difference between the secular life and the Christian life is startling to me. He lays it out saying that there is not a thin boundary, but a huge boundary between the two usually. When we look at the greed, narcissism, jealousy, and sloth that characterize our modern world, it is clear that love for each other and our fellow planet inhabitants is overlooked for profit and power.

It is good to be reminded that the Sermon On The Mount has become a quaint story rather than a blue print for life.

Many thanks for your good work on this blog,

David Markham

Unknown said...

Dr David - thank you for your prayers. They are much appreciated.
Mrs. BU