Lenten Reflections – Day 6

22 Feb

And if men thus deceive themselves, is it any wonder that they deceive others also, and that we so seldom find “an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile?” In looking over my books, some years ago, I found the following memorandum: “I am this day thirty years old; and till this day I know not that I have met with one person of that age, except in my father’s house, who did not use guile, more or less.”

This is one of the sorts of desperate wickedness which cleaves to the nature of every man, proceeding from those fruitful roots, — self-will, pride, and independence on God. Hence springs every species of vice and wickedness; hence every sin against God, our neighbour, and ourselves. Against God, — forgetfulness and contempt of God, of his name, his day, his word, his ordinances; Atheism on the one hand, and idolatry on the other; in particular, love of the world, the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life; the love of money, the love of power, the love of ease, the love of the “honour that cometh of men,” the love of the creature more than the Creator, the being lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God: — Against our neighbour, ingratitude, revenge, hatred, envy, malice, uncharitableness.

Hence there is in the heart of every child of man, an inexhaustible fund of ungodliness and unrighteousness, so deeply and strongly rooted in the soul, that nothing less than almighty grace can cure it. From hence naturally arises a plentiful harvest of all evil words and works; and to complete the whole, that complex of all evils, —

— That foul monster, War, that we meet,
Lays deep the noblest work of the creation;
Which wears in vain its Maker’s glorious image,
Unprivileged from thee!

John Wesley, Sermon 123
“The Deceitfulness of the Human Heart”


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