Theocritus tells of a Fisherman, that dreamed he had taken a Fish of gold, upon which being over-joyed he made a vow, that he would never fish anymore: But when he waked, he soon declared his vow to be null, because he found his golden Fish had escaped through the holes of his eyes, when he first opened them. Just as we do in the purpose of religion; sometimes in a good mood we seem to see heaven opened, and all the streets of Heavenly Jerusalem paved with gold and precious stones, and we are ravished with spiritual apprehensions, and resolve never to return to the low affections of the world, and the impure adherencies of sin, but when this flash of lightning is gone, and we converse again with the inclinations, and habitual desires of our false hearts, those other desires and fine considerations disband, and the resolutions taken in that pious fit melt into indifferency, and old customs."
I would call this a pessimistic paragraph if I hadn't proved it so many times in my life. Times when I was "ravished with spiritual apprehensions" so rich and pure that I walked in the afterglow for days........ but then a little of this business, a little of that worry, and I slip back into my typical "habitual desires of my false heart." Thank God for mercy that endureth forever!
Jeremy Taylor - photo by Andrew Hefter