Friday, March 19, 2010

the happiness of deliverance...

Yesterday, Brother Ware talked of the power of habit and today, after listing some of the most common and destructive bad habits (drunkenness, sloth, ill-temper, and procrastination) he offers some hope:

"Other instances any one can add. And they suggest the fearful question, which almost staggers our hope as we reply to it — whether, in sober truth, a confirmed ill habit be not incurable, and whether virtue have any prospect of gaining in the conflict.

The best answer is found in the appeal to opposite facts. The worst habits in the most desperate cases, and under the most unpromising circumstances, have been corrected. The history of the Christian religion is filled with examples. It has shown its divine power in these triumphs, and proved, by the wonderful trophies of its grace, in the amazing conversions from sin which it has wrought, that however desperate may seem to be the struggle between principle and habit, yet the good is the stronger, and must prevail in the end, whenever it is faithfully and perseveringly supported.

But how much faith and what long perseverance it demands!
From these extreme cases, then, the Christian, who is seeking improvement, must take both a warning and encouragement — a warning that he examine his condition, and be fully acquainted with every circumstance in his modes of life which threatens this ruinous ascendancy over his principle; and an encouragement that, if he detect any which is interwoven with his whole being, so that to part with it is like parting with a right hand or right eye, he yet is able to do it, and to enjoy the happiness of deliverance."

(Note:  Ware's language concerning esp. alcoholism is decidedly of the 19th century-please adjust accordingly!)

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