Saturday, June 10, 2006

Putrid with lust, sin, and crime.

I was reading a chapter on repentance and one section the author writes of the different characters, hearts and personalities. I like the way he illustrates them.
Of course I see a trace of each in myself but certainly some would describe me more. I won’t divulge those of course.

“Some hearts are like the desert, naturally barren and sterile, and need a new soul entirely before any religious fruit can grow.
Some are like natural trees that bear plenty of fruit of a poor quality; these need grafting with a new and higher life.
Some are like marches and fens, foul and rank with noxious weeds and plants that need killing out or pulling up by the roots, before anything better can have room to grow.
Some are like rocks, utterly hard and insensible, and need to be blasted and broken up with great shocks of calamity, or accident, or suffering, before they begin to move or feel at all.
Some are like wild vines that are frail, tender, clinging and loving, and these need to be taught and cultivated and strengthened by the power of faith, and the help which Christ alone can give.
Some are like the timid, retiring wild-flower in the forest that needs to be brought out into the sunlight of God’s reconciled countenance and be made to grow with new strength and beauty.
Some are like gardens that bring forth fruits, flowers and weeds in equal proportions; these need cleaning and ploughing and replanting.
Some are gnarled and twisted like a bush, almost beyond the power of redemption by any ordinary means.
Some are already putrid with lust, sin, and crime, like decayed wood or herbage.
And others are naturally lovely and amiable, and inclined towards the good and lovely, just as rootlets strike out towards water by an inherent instinct; who are what may be called religiously inclined, but still not spiritual, not holy according to the Scriptures and the requirements of Christ, not Christians in the true sense of the word.
But all alike, whatever their natural variations or excellences, nee to be converted before they can be saved.” Jerome Paine Bates, A.M.

This made me think of the difficulty the Pastor is faced with in presenting a message that pierces the “rocks, utterly hard and insensible” without crushing the
“retiring wild-flower”.
I regret that too often I have had little discernment into the character and nature of one I had opportunity to talk with and where “sunlight” was needed, I rather “blasted with great shocks of calamity”.

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