Friday, July 06, 2007

Edwards on New Christians and Spiritual Growth, 2

Here is a second installment of Edwards' counsel on how to grow as a new Christian to the recently converted Deborah Hatheway. In this installment, Edwards addresses contrition, pride, how to overcome doubts, and personal revival amid spiritual decline.

7. When you engage in the duty of prayer, or come to the Lord's supper, or attend any other duty of divine worship, come to Christ as Mary Magdalen (Luke 7:37-38) did come, and cast yourself at his feet, and kiss them, and pour forth upon him the sweet perfumed ointment of divine love, out of a pure and broken heart, as she poured the precious ointment out of her pure broken alabaster box.

8. Remember that pride is the worst viper that is in the heart, the greatest disturber of the soul's peace and of sweet communion with Christ. It was the first sin committed and lies lowest in the foundation of Satan's whole building, and is with the greatest difficulty rooted out, and is the most hidden, secret, and deceitful of all lusts, and often creeps insensibly into the midst of religion, even, sometimes under the disguise of humility itself.

9. That you may pass a correct judgment concerning yourself, always look upon those as the best discoveries, and the best comforts, that have most of these two effects: those that make you least and lowest, and most like a child; and those that most engage and fix your heart, in a full and firm disposition to deny yourself for God, and to spend and be spent for him.

10. If at any time you fall into doubts about the state of your soul, in dark and dull frames of mind, it is proper to review your past experience. But do not consume too much time and strength in this way; rather apply yourself, with all your might, to an earnest pursuit after renewed experience, new light, and new lively acts of faith and love. One new discovery of the glory of Christ's face will do more toward scattering clouds of darkness in one minute, than examining old experience, by the best marks that can be given, through a whole year.

11. When the exercise of grace is low, and corruption prevails, and by that means fear prevails, do not desire to have fear cast out any other way than by the reviving and prevailing of love in the heart. By this, fear will be effectually expelled, as darkness in a room vanishes away when the pleasant beams of the sun are let into it.

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