Watch Against Practical Atheism

“Watch against this [ed. practical] atheism, and be daily employed in the mortification of it. In every action we should make the inquiry, What is the rule I observe? Is it God’s will or my own? Whether do my intentions tend to set up God or self? As much as we destroy this, we abate the power of sin: these two things are the head of the serpent in us, which we must be bruising by the power of the cross. Sin is nothing else but a turning from God, and centering in self, and most in the inferior part of self: if we bend our force against those two, self‑will and self‑ends, we shall intercept atheism at the spring head, take away that which doth constitute and animate all sin: the sparks must vanish if the fire be quenched which affords them fuel. They are but two short things to ask in every undertaking: Is God my rule in regard of his will? Is God my end in regard of his glory? All sin lies in the neglect of these, all grace lies in the practice of them. Without some degree of the mortification of these; we cannot make profitable and comfortable approaches to God. When we come with idols in our hearts, we shall be answered according to the multitude and the baseness of them too (Ezek. xiv. 4). What expectation of a good look from him can we have, when we come before him with undeifying thoughts of him, a petition in our mouths, and a sword in our hearts, to stab his honor?”[1]

1. Charnock, Stephen. Discourses upon the Existence and Attributes of God, Volume I. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, page 172.

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