365 days with Newton


Be sober—be vigilant

‘Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.’ Genesis 3:1
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: 1 Corinthians 1:18–31

A lesson of caution: let none be carried away by great names, so as to take things upon trust because the person who teaches them is called a scholar, a divine, a doctor or a pope. For ought I know, if Satan had appeared to Eve as an ass she might have disdained to confer with him. But the serpent was so subtle and engaging that he caught her attention. Now perhaps some of you would not be so willing to venture your souls upon your own righteousness to think so meanly as you do of the person and gospel of Christ, if you did not know that the same sentiments are maintained by persons whom you suppose wiser than yourselves. But if you are blindly led by those who are wrong themselves (and the wisdom of man is foolishness with God) what must the issue be?
We have as yet but entered upon this important subject and our time draws to a close. I must therefore only add a word of exhortation: Be sober—be vigilant. You have an adversary.

FOR MEDITATION: An advance in years and the changing dispensations of thy providence have put an end to many of my conflicts; but my heart is still the same.… O make me wise and watchful, diffident of myself and wholly dependent upon thee! As my ground changes, my enemy can change his mode of attack. My wisdom is not a match for his subtlety, nor my utmost efforts equal to his strength. I am still liable to many snares, and there are many ways in which I might still grieve thy Spirit, wound my own conscience, and even openly dishonour my profession. But if thou art pleased to hold me up, I shall be safe, and nothing short of that power which sustains the stars in their orbits can suffice to keep me from falling.
Diary, 15 December 1796 (aged 71)


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