Monday, March 23, 2009

Thirsting after righteousness

I've been reading "Wesley's 52 Standard Sermons" and came across this the other day. One of those "wish I would have said this" sort of things.

“And it is as impossible to satisfy such a soul, a soul that is athirst for God, the living God, with what the world accounts religion, as with what they account happiness. The religion of the world implies three things: (1) The doing no harm, the abstaining from outward sin; at least from such as is scandalous, as robbery, theft, common swearing, drunkenness: (2) The doing good, the relieving the poor; the being charitable, as it is called: (3) The using the means of grace; at least the going to church and to the Lord’s Supper. He in whom these three marks are found is termed by the world a religious man. But will this satisfy him who hungers after God? No: It is not food for his soul. He wants a religion of a nobler kind, a religion higher and deeper than this. He can no more feed on this poor, shallow, formal thing, than he can ‘fill his belly with the east wind.’ True, he is careful to abstain from the very appearance of evil; he is zealous of good works; he attends all the ordinances of God: But all this is not what he longs for. This is only the outside of that religion, which he insatiably hungers after. The knowledge of God in Christ Jesus; ‘the life which is hid with Christ in God;’ the being ‘joined unto the Lord in one Spirit;’ the having ‘fellowship with the Father and the Son;’ the ‘walking in the light as God is in the light;’ the being ‘purified even as He is pure;’—this is the religion, the righteousness, he thirsts after: Nor can he rest, till he thus rests in God.”
– John Wesley in Sermon on the Mount, Discourse II

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