Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pilgrim's Progress - More Thoughts on Byends


To further the lessons we learned from Byends and company I thought to read from Lectures on Pilgrim's Progress by George Cheever. Selected thoughts from the author as follows: click here for context

The philosophy of Money-Love and By-ends is that which the god of this world teaches all his votaries, and, alas, when motives come to be scrutinized, as they will be, at the bar of God, how much of our apparent good will be found to be evil, because in the root that nourished both the branches and the fruit, there was found to be nothing but self-interest carefully concealed. Ye seek me, not because of the miracles to be witnessed, or the grace to be gained, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

Now is not this logic of Money-love very bare-faced ? And yet these men considered it perfectly triumphant, and an argument that Christian and Hopeful could not possibly contradict. Whereupon they resolved to propound the same question to them, and so puzzle and defeat them. But to their astonishment, Christian declared that none othe;-s than heathens, hypocrites, devils, and witches conld be of their opinion,' and then he went on to prove this so clearly and powerfully out of Scripture, with instances in point, that the men were completely staggered, and stood staring one upon another unable to answer a word. What, said Christian to Hopeful, will these men do with the sentence of God if they cannot stand before the sentence of men ?

This passage in the pilgrimage is full of instruction, and we might dwell long upon it, and upon the danger of evil motives under the guise of a good cause, or of unholy motives in a holy cause. The motive is every thing; it makes the man. An eye single makes a single-minded man: an eye double makes a double minded man. An eye single is good in whatever a man undertakes, considered even merely in reference to the things of this life, and as requisite to decision of character. In this view the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light; what they do for this world they do with energy and whole-heartedness, which is just what, as pilgrims, we want for Christ. We want in all tillings an eye single for God, for his approbation, for his glory, and this is the precious motive that excludes every other, or keeps every other subordinate, and turns every thing to gold. " Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not as unto men." The very drudgery and toilsomeness of our pilgrimage is turned into a divine and holy service, by this precious singleness of heart for Christ! O how desirable is this in every thing ! This is the body of that beautiful composition by Herbert, entitled The Elixir, which is perhaps the best series of stanzas he ever wrote. It is good to drink this on our pilgrimage, especially after such a conversation with By-ends and Money-love. By ends are almost always bad ends, but love to Christ, singleness of heart for Christ, sets them at a distance, and shows them at once in their native hypocrisy and deformity.

Teach me, my God and King,
In all things thee to see,
And what I do in any thing
To do it as for thee.

Not rudely, as a beast,
I'd run into an action,
But still to make thee prepossest.
And give it thy perfection.

A man that looks on glass

On it may stay his eye;

And if he pleaseth, through it pass.

And then the heaven espy.

All I may of thee partake;
Nothing can be so mean
Which with this tincture for thy sake
Will not grow bright and clean.

A servant with this clause
Makes drudgery divine:
Who sweeps a room as for thy laws
Makes that and the action fine.

This is the famous stone

That turneth all to gold;

For that which God doth touch and own

Cannot for less be told.

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