11 DECEMBER (PREACHED 1770)
Spiritual pride: fuel to the fire
‘And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.’ Mark 9:9–10
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Acts 8:9–24
There is reason for enjoining secrecy: on their own account. Such a favour as they had lately received was very likely to open a door to spiritual pride, and if they had been suffered to speak of it, it would have been like adding fuel to fire. We know their graces were but weak. Now our Lord, by enjoining them silence, preserved them from a snare. It is right and our duty to declare upon proper occasions and within the bounds of prudence what God has done for our souls, but if he is pleased to lead us in an extraordinary way and to favour us with peculiar comforts, it is not always easy to preserve a right spirit where self is closely concerned.
Diary, 4 August 1789
[birthday and anniversary of dedication to the ministry, 1758]:
Thirty-one years have today elapsed since thou didst draw my heart solemnly to devote myself to thy public service. There was then but little visible probability that such an unworthy creature would ever be employed in thy vineyard. But in thy best times, mountains became plain—the door which to appearance was fast barred and bolted, flew open. Thou hast honoured me. Thou hast given me a tongue and a pen, many friends, hast made me extensively known among thy people, and, I have reason to hope, useful to many by my preaching and writings. Totum muneris hoc tui est. It is of thine own that I can serve thee. And if others speak well of me, I have no cause to speak well of myself. They see only my outward walk—to thee I appear as I am. In thy sight I am a poor, unworthy, unfaithful, inconsistent creature. There is pride in my humiliation, in my repentance; self in my most spiritual desires—all is wrong, but thou art gracious.339
FOR MEDITATION: ‘But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart’ (Luke 2:19).
SERMON SERIES: ON THE TRANSFIGURATION, NO. 13 [3/4]