365 days with Newton


Self on the throne

‘And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top “may reach” unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’ Genesis 11:4

Note their aim and design. This was to keep together in a large body and to get themselves a name, that they might have their own wills, their own ways, and be admired or feared by others. The spirit of self-seeking and applause which set the builders of Babel to work, is natural of every man since the Fall. This is the essence of our departure from God. His throne in the heart is usurped by self. Every one of us has attempted to build some Babel to our own praise and advantage. Forgetfulness of God puts sinners upon such attempts as lead to their own confusion. What they design for their name, shall prove to their shame, and what they propose comfort from, will lead to torment. Upon this ground, I would preach Jesus, as the deliverer from self and sin.
[Newton subsequently added a note in the margin: ‘Almost silenced in the delivery of this discourse and did not finish the subject.’]
Can they whom pride and passion sway,
True faith unites to CHRIST the root,
Who Mammon and the world obey,
By him producing holy fruit;
In envy or contention live,
And they who no such fruit can show,
Presume that they indeed believe?
Still on the stock of nature grow.

         LORD, let thy word effectual prove,
         To work in us obedient love!
         And may each one who hears it dread
         A name to live; and yet be dead.


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