Sunday, July 10, 2005

Engaging.

"The first and greatest object that should most materially engage the attention of mankind is, the pursuit of that knowledge which tends to promote their welfare while on transitory stage of life, and their eternal happiness to come. No measures whatever can be taken to effect this but the most earnest endeavours to make themselves perfectly acquainted with, and strictly follow the example of, our blessed Redeemer, the great Captain of our salvation- the Preserver of our souls from death to life everlasting- the grand pattern of sanctity, humility, meekness, and charity- the King of Glory- the guiding Star to righteousness- and who, as himself expresses it, ' is the way, the truth, and the life.'
As therefore, in our blessed Redeemer only rests the whole of our eternal salvation, let Him only engross our most serious attention; and let the examples of his holy apostles, who have sealed their faith with their blood, inspire us with resolution to make us emulous to be accounted voluntary servants of Christ, who condescended to suffer an ignominious and painful death, to clear us from our sins, and the punishment due to our manifold offences.
In seriously perusing the life and transactions of the great Redeemer of mankind, we shall there find those balmy sweets, those solid comforts, which, if properly attended to, will promote our felicity here, and secure to us eternal happiness hereafter. If we endevour to pursue the divine system laid down by our blessed Saviour, there is no reason to doubt but our obedience will be crowned with that reward which he hath been pleased to promise to all those who imitaite his glorious example.
Our blessed Lord himself tells us, that if we are poor in spirit, we shall gain the kingdom of heaven- if we mourn here, we shall be comforted-if we hunger and thirst after righteousness, we shall be filled. It is from these assurances that St Augustine says, "that the happiness of this life consists in the holy gospel, without which we cannot come to the knowledge of God." All true knowledge, virtue, and perfection, that a christian can desire or attain to, are contained in the doctrines and transactions of our glorious Redeemer, who teaches us, that righteousness and holiness consist in the inward purity and integrity of the mind, not in the outward show of works-in a conscience void of offence, not in the pompous applause of men-in humility, not in ostentation- in contempt, not in pursuit of worldly honours-and he farther teaches us to love our enemies as well as our friends.
Here we read of the nature of true faith; of trusting in Christ alone; and how we ought not to glory, but in him. Here we read also of the certainty of salvation, the forgiveness of sins, the ressurection of the body, and of life eternal.
We most sincerely hope that the perusal of this work will produce that effect for which it is happily adapted, namely, the promotion of the cause of Christianity, and making mankind wise unto salvation. A serious attention to the divine transactions contained in this history, will fill the mind with awful, though pleasing ideas; banish every doubt; confirm the reader in the most sublime truths, and fill his soul with divine ecstacies.
We shall only farther observe, that in the execution of this pious work, we have endevoured to improve the understanding and warm the heart:to inspire the mind with gratitude for the astonishing love of a dying Saviour: and to excite the soul to embrace his kind invitations of forgiveness, of happiness, and of peace."

- copied with utmost happiness, excitement and joy from the preface of a book entitled "The Life of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; with the lives of the apostles, evangelists and fathers". Authors unknown- but have a peculiar assurance that they must be in Heaven currently; engaging in wonderful, if not more; heavenly writing duties.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful, excellent! O the faith of the saints reflecting the sweet and wonderful grace of God. O for a thousand tongue to sing my great Redeemer's praise!

11:18 PM  
Anonymous honyau said...

What a packed, rich and loaded preface. Definately way beyond the 'light reading' category! =)

4:26 PM  
Blogger jacksons said...

From the Screwtape letters:

"And now for your blunders. On your own showing you first of all allowed the patient to read a book he really enjoyed, because he enjoyed it and not in order to make clever remarks about it to his new friends. In the second place, you allowed him to walk down to the old mill and have tea there—a walk through country he really likes, and taken alone. In other words you allowed him two real positive Pleasures. Were you so ignorant as not to see the danger of this? The characteristic of Pains and Pleasures is that they are unmistakably real, and therefore, as far as they go, give the man who feels them a touchstone of reality. ...

The deepest likings and impulses of any man are the raw material, the starting point, with which the Enemy has furnished him. To get him away from those is therefore always a point gained; even in things indifferent it is always desirable to substitute the standards of the World, or convention, or fashion, for a human's own real likings and dislikings. I myself would carry this very far. I would make it a rule to eradicate from my patient any strong personal taste which is not actually a sin, even if it is something quite trivial such as a fondness for county cricket or collecting stamps or drinking cocoa. Such things, I grant you, have nothing of virtue in them; but there is a sort of self-forgetfulness about them which I distrust. The man who truly and disinterestedly enjoys any one thing in the world, for its own sake, and without caring twopence what other people say about it, is by that very fact fore-armed against some of our subtlest modes of attack. You should always try to make the patient abandon the people or the food or books he really likes in favour of the “best” people, the “right” food, the “important” books. I have known a human defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions."

6:25 PM  

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