False security is Death.
(Translated by Rev. C. W. Heisler, A.M.)
CONSIDER, O devout soul, the difficulty of being saved, and thou wilt easily cast aside all sense of absolute security. Never and nowhere is such security possible; neither in heaven, nor in paradise, much less in this world. An angel fell even in the presence of God. Adam fell into sin in that delightful abode in which God placed him. Adam was created in the image of God (Gen. i. 27), and yet he was deceived by the wiles of the devil. Solomon was the wisest of men (1 Kings iii. 12), yet he was led away from the Lord through the enticements of the flesh (1 Kings xi. 3). Judas belonged to the very circle of Christ’s disciples (Luke xxii. 3), and was under the daily instruction of that greatest of all teachers, and yet he was not safe from the snares of the great seducer; he cast himself headlong into the pit of avarice, and from that into the dark abyss of eternal woe. David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. xiii. 14), and was as a most precious son to Jehovah, but through the awful sins of adultery and homicide he made himself a son of death (2 Sam. xii. 5). Where then in this life is there real security against falling into sin? Cling with a firm confidence of heart to the promises of God, and thou shalt be safe from the assaults of the devil. There can be no security in this life, except that afforded by the sure promises of God’s word to those who believe and walk in the way of the Lord. When we finally attain the blessedness of heaven, then we shall enjoy perfect security. In this life fear and religion have a close connection, nor ought there to be the one without the other.
Cherish not a sense of security simply because thou art suffering adversity; but rather regard thine adversities as scourgings for thy sins. God often chastises us openly for our secret faults. Reflect upon the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and then fear the righteous avenger of sin. Neither feel secure because thou art enjoying prosperity; nor to be wholly unreproved in this life is rather a mark of God’s wrath. What are the afflictions of the godly? They are as bitter arrows to the soul, and yet sent from the merciful hand of God. God apparently does not chastise in this world, whom He will nevertheless punish eternally. Uninterrupted human happiness here is frequently a sad token of eternal condemnation in the other world. Nothing is more unhappy than the happiness of those living in sin, and nothing is more miserable than the man who is ignorant of his miserable condition in sin. Whithersoever thou turnest thine eyes thou findest cause for grief, and beholdest much to forbid any sense of security. Turn thy thoughts upwards to thy God whom we have offended; downwards to the hell which we have merited; backwards to the sins we have committed; forward to the judgment which we fear; inwardly to conscience which we have befouled with sin; outwardly to the world which we have loved. Behold, whence thou camest, and blush; where thou now art, and grieve whither thou art going, and tremble. Narrow indeed is the door of salvation, but the way that leads to it is still narrower (Matt. vii. 14).
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