Edward Payson Archive

Selected Thoughts

The Self-Confident

We see many who bid high, and seem to promise fair for heaven. They set out as if they would carry all before them, and say to Christ’s people as Orpah did to her mother-in-law, Surely we will go with you. For a time they appear to run well. Like a flower plucked from its stalk, and placed in wa­ter, they look fair and flourishing. Many of their sins seem to be subdued, and many moral and religious duties are diligently practised. But at length a day of trial comes. Temptations assault them; the world opposes them; the sins which seemed to be dead revive; the effect of novelty wears off; the tumult of their feelings subsides; their little stock of zeal, and strength, and resolution, is exhausted; and they have never learned to apply to Christ for fresh supplies. Then it appears that they had no root in themselves. They begin to wither. Their blos­soms fall off without producing fruit. They first grow weary, then faint, then utterly fall.

He depended on himself, and not on Christ, on his own prom.. ices and resolutions, and not on God’s. Hence, when his own stock fails, as fail it must, he has nothing. Every one knows that no stream can rise higher than its fountain head. It is the same in religion— the stream that is to rise as high as heaven, must have its fountain head in heaven. It must flow from that river of life which issues out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, and from that river it must be fed, or it will dry up.

If, with a careful and enlightened eye, we trace the path of a numerous church, we shall find it strewed with the fallen, the fainting, the slumbering, and the dead, who set out in their own strength, and have been stopped, ensnared and overthrown, by various obstacles and enemies.

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