Thursday, March 4, 2010

faithful contemplation...

After discussing some common errors, Henry Ware Jr. concludes the first chapter of his "Progress of the Christian Life" with a passionate call for study, cultivation, and action:

"For which reason, instead of looking at the state of society, instead of conforming yourself to the model of those with whom you live, study into the nature and capacity of your soul, your destiny, and your responsibility ; imbue your mind with the spirit of your immortal faith, and the influence of the character of your holy Master; and from the promptings of a soul thus filled and kindled, act out Christianity for yourself; — not as others do, nor as others expect you to do, but as this state of mind impels you. There is no true and safe course but to be obedient to these suggestions of a mind which has faithfully studied for itself into the doctrine and temper of the divine life. These suggestions are to it as the instinct of its immortal nature — as unerring, as safe, as the instincts of the lower orders of beings. Man's bodily instincts are as nothing, for his bodily interests are of little moment, and in pursuing them he has no need of an infallible guide. But the interests of his undying soul are of infinite consequence : in his search for them he needs an infallible guide; and that guide he has in the promptings of his own mind, whenever he has cultivated it with the deep study of truth and faith, and steeped it by faithful contemplation in the secrets of divine love and infinite purity, and brought it into intimate communion with the Holy Spirit of God. If you have truly acquainted yourself with your Master and his revelation, — if you have entered into their spirit with your whole soul,—then act yourself, freely, boldly, and you will not know what it is to stop short. This very action will be progress."


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