Thursday, September 16, 2010


Religious Zeal

William Cowper, letter to John Newton (Tuesday, June 17, 1783):
There is no grace that the spirit of self can counterfeit with more success than a religious zeal. A man thinks he is fighting for Christ, and he is fighting for his own notions; he thinks that he is skillfully searching the hearts of others, when he is only gratifying the malignity of his own; and charitably supposes his hearers destitute of all grace, that he may shine the more in his own eyes by comparison; when he has performed this notable task, he wonders that they are not converted, he has given it them soundly, and if they do not tremble and confess that God is in him of a truth, he gives them up as reprobate, incorrigible, and lost for ever.

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