Archive for the ‘self-righteousness’ Category

I should have told you that I was as religious a man as ever lived in Newington, and as good a man, certainly, as ever formed part of any congregation

January 28, 2010

One brother, when he was giving his testimony before being baptized, said: ‘The first time I came to hear Mr. Spurgeon in the Tabernacle, if you had asked me about myself, I should have told you that I was as religious a man as ever lived in Newington, and as good a man, certainly, as ever formed part of any congregation; but all this was reversed when I heard the gospel that day. I came out of the building with every feather plucked out of me. I felt myself the most wretched sinner who could be on the face of the earth, and I said, “I will never go to hear that man again, for he has altogether spoiled me.” But that was the best thing which could have happened to me; I was made to look away from myself, and all that I could do, to God, and to His omnipotent grace, and to understand that I must pass under my Creator’s hand again, or I could never see His face with joy. I learned to loathe my own righteousness as filthy rags, fit only for the fire, and then I sought to be robed in the perfect righteousness of Christ.’

Charles Spurgeon, Autobiography, Vol.2

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The harlot, the liar, the murderer, are short of it but so are you. Perhaps they stand at the bottom of a mine, and you on the crest of the Alps; but you are as little able to touch the stars as they are

October 16, 2009

The harlot, the liar, the murderer, are short of it but so are you. Perhaps they stand at the bottom of a mine, and you on the crest of the Alps; but you are as little able to touch the stars as they are.

Bishop Moule, in Stott, Romans, p.109

Since it has pleased Providence to place me in this station, I shall do my utmost to fulfill my duty towards my country

October 11, 2009

Since it has pleased Providence to place me in this station, I shall do my utmost to fulfill my duty towards my country; I am very young and perhaps in many, though not in all things, inexperienced, but I am sure that very few have more real good-will and more real desire to do what is fit and right than I have.

Queen Victoria, journal entry, Tuesday, 20th June 1837, on her accession to the throne.

One of the most dangerous of beliefs is that you yourself have ‘more real good-will and more real desire to do what is fit and right’ than almost anyone else.

Intellectual Pride

September 3, 2009

I am quite indifferent to the mass of human creatures; though I wish, as a purely intellectual problem, to discover some way in which they might all be happy. I wouldn’t sacrifice myself to them though their unhappiness, at moments, about once in three months, gives me a feeling of discomfort, and an intellectual desire to find a way out….I live mostly for myself–everything has for me, a reference to my own education. I care for very few people, and have several enemies–two or three at least whose pain is delightful to me. I often wish to give pain, and when I do, I find it pleasant for a moment. I feel myself superior to most people, and only pity myself at rare intervals, when I am tired out. I used to pity myself at all times and deeply. I believe in happiness and I am happy. I enjoy work immensely. I wish for fame among the expert few, but my chief desire–the desire by which I regulate my life–is a purely self-centered desire for intellectual satisfaction about things that puzzle me.

Bertrand Russell, Ray Monk, vol.1., p.120

‘Knowledge puffs up but love builds up’ (1 Cor.8.1)

The heart of darkness

August 29, 2009

In the aftermath of the Omagh bombing (15.8.98) in which 28 people died and over 200 were injured, the Daily Mirror front page (17.8.98) had pictures  of the victims with this caption:

Those cowards responsible have lost their right to be members of the human race and so too those who try to justify their actions.’

But the perpetrators, despite their despicable actions,  are still human beings. And this fact makes their evil all the more shocking. By removing them from (our) human race we distance ourselves from the evil that lies within each heart – our own included. By denying them their humanity, we wish to insulate ourselves from the awful truth that we too have hearts of darkness.

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