The prosperous soul is a soul where the doctrinal and the practical parts of religion bear lovely proportion and are united. We may often observe with regard to the healthiness or unhealthiness of the body two opposite extremes. We see some who are epicures, and they are of no use in society. They live to themselves, and glut themselves in sordid and sensual enjoyments. We see others pining away who are mere slaves. There is a great resemblance in these two characters to different species of professors. There is a kind of religious epicures— men, I mean, who are all clamorous for doctrinal truth, but have no regard to the practical part of godliness; whose whole object is to enjoy the comforts of religion, to be soothed with its promises, to be flattered with its privileges, to be comforted in the prospect of something great and glorious hereafter. Their whole attention, their whole object, is to grasp as much of this as possible, and they are regardless of every thing of a practical nature. On the other hand, there are some who, at the expense of truth, are constantly crying up morality and practical religion. My brethren, these things ought not to be divided; doctrinal and practical religion should be united. To attempt to cultivate the former at the expense of the latter is to constitute an epicurism— to reverse it is to have a body of slaves whipped to duty, without a motive. It is the great concern of the Scriptures to furnish men with the most constraining and evangelical principles, that should render practical godliness pleasurable. The true Christian is like the husbandman, who labours that he may enjoy his food with an appetite, that he may be strengthened to future labour, and thus, with a happy mixture of enjoyments and labour, becomes a happy man in himself and a blessing to those about him. [Sermon XXXVI]
Voices From The Past: The Prosperous Soul
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