Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pious fits

"We allow the arguments of religion to have so little impression upon our spirits, that they operate but like the discourses of childhood, or the problems of uncertain philosophy: A man talks of religion but as of a dream, and from hence he awakens into the business of the world, and performs that deliberately, with perfect action and full resolution, and he contrives, considers, and lives in it: but when he falls asleep again, or is taken from the scene of his own employment and choice; then he dreams again, and religion makes such impressions as is the conversation of a dreamer, and he acts accordingly.
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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Thank God for mercy that endureth forever"