Monday, February 20, 2012

Growing worse?

by John Angell James

 One of the last lessons we effectually learn, is
 that true godliness is a constant conflict in a
 believer's heart—between sin and holiness.
 Some sincere believers mistake a clearer view, and
 deeper sense of their depravity, for an actual increase
 of sin. The Christian seems sometimes to himself, to
 be growing worse, when actually it is only that he
 sees more clearly what in fact he really is!

 In the early stages of our Christian life, we have
 usually but a slender acquaintance with the evil
 of our sinfulness, and the depravity of our heart.
 The mind is so much taken up with pardon and
 eternal life, that it is but imperfectly acquainted
 with those depths of deceit and wickedness,
 which lie hidden in itself.

 At first we seem to feel as if the serpent were killed.
 But we soon find that he was only asleep—for by the
 warmth of some fiery temptation, he is revived and
 hisses at us again!
 Nothing astonishes an inexperienced believer more
 than the discoveries he is continually making of the
 evils of his heart. Corruptions which he never dreamt to
 be in him, are brought out by some new circumstances.
 It is like turning up the soil, which brings out worms
 and insects, which did not appear upon the surface.
 Or to vary the illustration, his increasing knowledge
 of God's holy nature, of the perfect law, and the
 example of Christ—is like opening the shutters, and
letting light into a dark room, the filth of which,
 the inhabitant did not see until the sunbeams
 disclosed it to him.

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