No one can travel so far that he does not make some progess each day. So let us never give up. Then we shall move forward daily in the Lord's way. And let us never despair because of our limited success. Even though it is so much less than we would like, our labour is not wasted when today is better than yesterday!
In a way, the futile excuses many people use to cover their superstitions are demolished. They think it is enough to have some sort of religious fervor, however ridiculous, not realizing that true religion must be according to God's will as the perfect measure; that He can never deny Himself and is no mere spirit form to be changed around according to individual preference.
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I was always exceedingly delighted with that saying of Chrysostom, "The foundation of our philosophy is humility"; and yet more pleased with that of Augustine: "As the orator, when asked, What is the first precept in eloquence? answered, Delivery: What is the second? Delivery: What is the third? Delivery: so if you ask me concerning the precepts of the Christian religion, I will answer, first, second, and third, Humility.
The difference between us and the papists is that they do not think that the church can be 'the pillar of the truth' unless she presides over the word of God. We, on the other hand, assert that it is because she reverently subjects herself to the word of God that the truth is preserved by her and passed on to others by her hands.
For if we see that the sun, in sending forth its rays upon the earth, to generate, cherish, and invigorate its offspring, in a manner transfuses its substance into it, why should the radiance of the Spirit be less in conveying to us the communion of his flesh and blood? Wherefore the Scripture, when it speaks of our participation with Christ, refers its whole efficacy to the Spirit. Instead of many, one passage will suffice. Paul, in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 8:9-11), shows that the only way in which Christ dwells in us is by his Spirit. By this, however, he does not take away that communion of flesh and blood of which we now speak, but shows that it is owing to the Spirit alone that we possess Christ wholly, and have him abiding in us.
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We should consider that the brightness of the Divine countenance, which even an apostle declares to be inaccessible, (1Ti 6: 16) is a kind of labyrinth - a labyrinth to us inextricable, if the Word do not serve us as a thread to guide our path; and that it is better to limp in the way, than run with the greatest swiftness out of it.
The whole world is a theatre for the display of the divine goodness, wisdom, justice, and power, but the Church is the orchestra, as it were-the most conspicuous part of it; and the nearer the approaches are that God makes to us, the more intimate and condescending the communication of his benefits, the more attentively are we called to consider them.
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The Lord commands us to do good unto all men without exception, though the majority are very undeserving when judged according to their own merits... [The Scripture] teaches us that we must not think of man's real value, but only of his creation in the image of God to which we owe all possible honor and love.
Were the judgments of mankind correct, custom would be regulated by the good. But it is often far otherwise in point of fact; for, whatever the many are seen to do, forthwith obtains the force of custom. But human affairs have scarcely ever been so happily constituted as that the better course pleased the greater number. Hence the private vices of the multitude have generally resulted in public error, or rather that common consent in vice which these worthy men would have to be law.
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May we be prepared, whatever happens, rather to undergo a hundred deaths than to turn aside from the profession of true piety, in which we know our safety to be laid up. And may we so glorify thy name as to be partakers of that glory which has been acquired for us through the blood of thine only-begotten Son. Amen.
We should not regard what a man is and what he deserves: but we should go higher - that it is God who has placed us in the world for such a purpose that we be united and joined together. He has impressed his image in us and has given us a common nature, which should incite us to providing one for the other. The man who wishes to exempt himself from providing for his neighbors should face himself and declare that he no longer wishes to be a man, for as long as we are human creatures we must contemplate as in a mirror our face in those who are poor, despised, exhausted, who groan under their burdens..
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For the Word of God is not received by faith if it flits about in the top of the brain, but when it takes root in the depth of the heart... the heart's distrust is greater than the mind's blindness. It is harder for the heart to be furnished with assurance [of God's love] than for the mind to be endowed with thought.
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