Archive for the ‘righteousness’ Category

The plain exhibition of the doctrines of the Gospel was exceedingly offensive to many of (Henry Martyn’s) hearers

October 9, 2009

The plain exhibition of the doctrines of the Gospel was exceedingly offensive to many of (Henry Martyn’s) hearers. Nor did the ferment thus excited subside quickly, as it often does, into pity or contempt. He had the pain very shortly after, of being personally attacked from the pulpit by some of his brethren, whose zeal hurried them into the violation, not only of an express canon of the Church, but of the yet higher law of Christian charity, and led them to make an intemperate attack upon him and upon many of the truths of the Gospel. Even when he was himself present at Church, Mr. ______ spoke with sufficient plainness of him and of his doctrines, calling them inconsistent, extravagant and absurd; drawing a vast variety of false inferences from them, and thence arguing against them — declaring, for instance, that to affirm repentance to be the gift of God— and to teach that nature is wholly corrupt, was to drive men to despair — that to suppose the righteousness of Christ sufficient to justify, is to make it unnecessary to have any of our own. Though compelled to listen to this downright heresy; to hear himself described as knowing neither what he said, nor whereof he affirmed — and as speaking only to gratify self-sufficiency, pride, and uncharitableness, — “I rejoiced,” said this meek and holy man thus unjustly aspersed, “to receive the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper afterwards — as the solemnities of that blessed ordinance sweetly tended to soothe any asperity of mind; and I think that I administered the cup to ______ and _______, with sincere good-will.”

The Life and Letters of Henry Martyn, John Sargent, Banner, 1985, p.154-155

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Conversion means turning from self-righteousness

November 5, 2008

We turn from our own RIGHTEOUSNESS. Before conversion, man seeks to cover himself with his own fig-leaves, and to make himself acceptable with God, by his own duties. He is apt to trust in himself, and set up his own righteousness, and to reckon his pennies for gold, and not to submit to the righteousness of God. But conversion changes his mind; now he counts his own righteousness as filthy rags. He casts it off, as a man would the verminous tatters of a nasty beggar. Now he is brought to poverty of spirit, complains of and condemns himself; and all his inventory is, ‘I am poor, and miserable, and wretched, and blind, and naked!’ [Rev 3:17]. He sees a world of iniquity in his holy things, and calls his once-idolized righteousness but filth and loss; and would not for a thousand worlds be found in it!

Now he begins to set a high price upon Christ’s righteousness. He sees the need of Christ in every duty, to justify his person and sanctify his performances; he cannot live without Him; he cannot pray without Him. Christ must go with him, or else he cannot come into the presence of God; he leans upon Christ, and so bows himself in the house of his God. He sets himself down for a lost undone man without Him; his life is hid in Christ, as the root of a tree spreads in the earth for stability and nourishment. Before, the gospel of Christ was a stale and tasteless thing; but now—how sweet is Christ! Augustine could not relish his once-admired Cicero, because he could not find in his writings the name of Christ. How emphatically he cries, ‘O most sweet, most loving, most kind, most dear, most precious, most desired, most lovely, most fair!’ all in a breath, when he speaks of and to Christ. In a word, the voice of the convert is, with the martyr, ‘None but Christ!’

Joseph Alleine, Alarm to the Unconverted, 1671