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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – September 25, 2014

Just For Today
September 25, 2014
The Fourth Step – Fearing Our Feelings

“We may fear that being in touch with our feelings will trigger an overwhelming chain reaction of pain and panic.”
Basic Text, p.29

A common complaint about the Fourth Step is that it makes us painfully conscious of our defects of character. We may be tempted to falter in our program of recovery. Through surrender and acceptance, we can find the resources we need to keep working the steps.

It’s not the awareness of our defects that causes the most agony-it’s the defects themselves. When we were using, all we felt was the drugs; we could ignore the suffering our defects were causing us. Now that the drugs are gone, we feel that pain. Refusing to acknowledge the source of our anguish doesn’t make it go away; denial protects the pain and makes it stronger. The Twelve Steps help us deal with the misery caused by our defects by dealing directly with the defects themselves.

If we hurt from the pain of our defects, we can remind ourselves of the nightmare of addiction, a nightmare from which we’ve now awakened. We can recall the hope for release the Second Step gave us. We can again turn our will and our lives over, through the Third Step, to the care of the God of our understanding. Our Higher Power cares for us by giving us the help we need to work the rest of the Twelve Steps. We don’t have to fear our feelings. Just for today, we can continue in our recovery.

Just for today: I won’t be afraid of my feelings. With the help of my Higher Power, I’ll continue in my recovery.

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Daily Reflections
September 25, 2014
FIRST THINGS FIRST

Some of us have taken very hard knocks to learn this truth:  Job or no job — wife or no wife — we simply do not stop drinking so long as we place dependence upon other people ahead of dependence on God.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 98

Before coming to A.A., I always had excuses for taking a drink: “She said . . . , ” “He said . . . ,” “I got fired yesterday,” “I got a great job today.” No area of my life could be good if I drank again. In sobriety my life gets better each day. I must always remember not to drink, to trust God, and to stay active in A.A. Am I putting anything before my sobriety, God, and A.A. today?

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
September 25, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

Let us consider the term “spiritual experience” as given in Appendix II of the Big Book: “A spiritual experience is something that brings about a personality change. By surrendering our lives to God as we understand Him, we are changed. The nature of this change is evident in recovered alcoholics. This personality change is not necessarily in the nature of a sudden and spectacular upheaval. We do no need to acquire an immediate and overwhelming God-consciousness followed at once by a vast change in feeling and outlook. In most cases, the change is gradual.” Do I see a gradual and continuing change in myself?

Meditation For The Day

“Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” For rest from the care of life, you can turn to God each day in prayer and communion. Real relaxation and serenity comes from a deep sense of the fundamental goodness of the universe. God’s everlasting arms are underneath all and will support you. Commune with God, not so much for petitions to be granted as for the rest that comes from relying on His will and His purposes for your life. Be sure of God’s strength available to you, be conscious of His support, and wait quietly until that true rest from God fills your being.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be conscious of God’s support today. I pray that I may rest safe and sure therein.

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As Bill Sees It
September 25, 2014
Behind Our Excuses, p.267

As excuse-makers and rationalizers, we drunks are champions. It is the business of the psychiatrist to find the deeper causes for our conduct. Though uninstructed in psychiatry, we can, after a little time in A.A., see that our motives have not been what we thought they were, and that we have been motivated by forces previously unknown to us. Therefore we ought to look, with the deepest respect, interest, and profit, upon the example set us by psychiatry.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

“Spiritual growth through the practice of A.A.’s Twelve Steps, plus the aid of a good sponsor, can usually reveal most of the deeper reasons for our character defects, at least to a degree that meets our practical needs. Nevertheless, we should be grateful that our friends in psychiatry have so strongly emphasized the necessity to search for false and often unconscious motivations.”

1. A.A. Comes Of Age, p.236
2. Letter, 1966

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Keep It Simple
September 25, 2014

Martyrs set bad examples
—David Russell

Sometimes we call people “martyrs.” We sometimes think of them as victims. They suffer, but sometimes not for a cause. They play “poor me.” They want people to notice how much they suffer. They are afraid to really live. These are the people who set bad examples.

True martyrs died for causes they believed in. We remember them because they were so full of energy and spirit. Recovery helps us live better. Let’s go for it!

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, thanks for giving me energy and for healing my spirit. Help me live fully by putting my life in Your care.

Action for the Day: What kind of example do I set? Does my life reflect joy for life and recovery?

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Each Day a New Beginning
September 25, 2014

…we do not always like what is good for us in this world.
—Eleanor Roosevelt

Most of us can look back and recall how we fought a particular change. How certain we were that we wouldn’t survive the upheaval! Perhaps we lost a love or were forced to leave a home or a job. Retrospect allows us to see the good of the change, and we can see the necessary part each change has played in our development as recovering women. We’ve had to change to cover the distances we’ve traveled. And we’ll have to continue changing.

The program and its structure, and our faith in that structure, can ease the harsh consequences of change. Our higher power wants only the best for us, of that we can be sure. However, the best may not always “fit” when first we try it. Patience, trust, and prayer are a winning combination when the time comes for us to accept a change. We’ll know when it’s coming. Our present circumstances will begin to pinch.

Change means growth. It’s a time for celebration, not dread. It means I am ready to move ahead–that I have “passed” the current test.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
September 25, 2014
He Sold Himself Short

Dr. Bob led me through all of these steps. At the moral inventory, he brought up several of my bad personality traits or character defects, such as selfishness, conceit, jealousy, carelessness, intolerance, illtemper, sarcasm, and resentments. We went over these at great length, and then he finally asked me if I wanted these defects of character removed. When I said yes, we both knelt at his desk and prayed, each of us asking to have these defects taken away.

p. 263

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
September 25, 2014

Tradition Three – “The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.”

“We were resolved to admit nobody to A.A. but that hypothetical class of people we termed `pure alcoholics.’ Except for their guzzling, and the unfortunate results thereof, they could have no other complications. So beggars, tramps, asylum inmates, prisoners, queers, plain crackpots, and fallen women were definitely out. Yes sir, we’d cater only to pure and respectable alcoholics! Any others would surely destroy us. Besides, if we took in those odd ones, what would decent people say about us? We built a fine-mesh fence right around A.A.
“Maybe this sounds comical now. Maybe you think we oldtimers were pretty intolerant. But I can tell you there was nothing funny about the situation then. We were grim because we felt our lives and homes were threatened, and that was no laughing matter. Intolerant, you say? Well, we were frightened. Naturally, we began to act like most everybody does when afraid. After all, isn’t fear the true basis of intolerance? Yes, we were intolerant.”

p. 140

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Xtra Thoughts
September 25, 2014

One should not give up, neglect, or forget for a moment his inner life, but he must learn to work in it, with it, and out of it, so that the unity of his soul may break out in all his activities.
–Meister Eckhart

All people, have goodness in their hearts and greatness in their souls.
–Shelley

The more I let go of my own suffering and self-pity, I can see those around me with the eyes of love and compassion. I am becoming more aware of other people’s pain and unhappiness today and I will reach out to them in loving ways that heal me while helping them to heal.
–Ruth Fishel

Today I am living in the moment, instead of living for a moment.

“Don’t go through life, GROW through life.”
–Eric Butterworth

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
September 25, 2014
PRAYER

“Prayer is not asking. It is a language of the soul.”
– Mohandas Gandhi

At school I was told that prayer is “talking to God”. Then I discovered that prayer is more than this — prayer is a relationship with God. It is a two-way system — I talk to God but I must also listen to Him. Like any relationship that is going to work and grow, it needs time. I must spend time developing my relationship with God. I must create an awareness of his presence in my life because I believe He is always there for me.

But more than this, prayer is a yearning for truth within the center of my being. In prayer I get in touch with that part of me that will be forever restless until it finds rest, eternal rest, in Him.

O God, prayer is my journey into You.

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Bible Scriptures
September 25, 2014

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony.
Psalm 133:1

“Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called … bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Ephesians 4:1-3

“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord.”
Romans 12:9-11

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Daily Inspiration
September 25, 2014

Every decision we make is not critical nor is every mistake fatal. Lord, help me keep things in perspective and avoid the panic such thinking creates.

Take time to learn from the mistakes of others. We don’t have time to make all of them ourselves. Lord, guide me onto paths that lead me to You.

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A Day At A Time
September 25, 2014

Reflection For The Day

At the suggestion of a long-timer in The Program, I began taking “recovery inventories” periodically.  The results showed me — clearly and unmistakeably — that the promises of The Program have been true for me.  I am not the sick person I was in years past;  I am no longer bankrupt in all areas;  I have a new life and a path to follow, and I’m at peace with myself most of the time.  And that’s far way from the time in my life when I dreaded facing each new day.  Perhaps we should all write recovery inventories from time to time, showing how The Program is working for each of us.  Just for today, will I try to sow faith where there is fear?

Today I Pray

God, let me compare my new life with the old one — just to see how things have changed for me.  May I make progress reports for myself now and then — and for those who are newer to The Program.  May these reports be — heartrendingly — about “what I am doing” rather than — smug — about “what I have done.”

Today I Will Remember

Has The Program kept its promise?  Have I kept mine?

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One More Day
September 25, 2014

Fate chooses our relatives.  We choose our friends.
–  Jacques Bossuet

We had no choice — and still have no choice — as to wwhether our families are supportive and caring.  Those of us who lived in negative or unnurturing families may find that we slip into similar situations as adults.  Without realizing it, we may hve fostered friendships that allow us to use the same old scripts — the same unhealthy scripts.

One of the things we’ve learned from our illness is we must be willing to nurture ourselves.  We need approval and love, and we have it within our power to give that gift to ourselves.  We also can enter only into friendships based on these qualities, allowing us to be cared for and to care for others.

I choose today to work toward healthy, loving friendships.

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One Day At A Time
September 25, 2014
COURAGE

“Courage faces fear and thereby masters it.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’ve never been a brave person and was always very fearful. I would watch movies where the hero would rescue the heroine, someone would climb Mount Everest or perform some feat of daring, and I would be totally in awe. I was afraid of the dark, of rejection, of failure and of most other things that I was convinced took courage. There’s no way would I go parasailing or deep sea diving as that seemed to require the courage that I lacked.

I didn’t understand then that people who do those kinds of things are not totally without fear, but they have a way of overcoming their fear and still doing it anyway.

When I came into the program and learned that I would have to do an inventory and then, worse still, make amends to the people I had harmed, I was paralyzed by fear. Eventually I realized that, even though I feared doing these things, all I had to do was ask my Higher Power for strength and guidance and then do the things I’d most feared. Perhaps these weren’t the feats of daring that I had seen heroes perform, but for me they were great victories and in being able to do them, I knew that I was developing courage.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will continue to walk through my fear with my Higher Power at my side, knowing that I am developing the courage that I thought I lacked.

Sharon S.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – September 25

“Even the trees have spirits – everything has a spirit.”
–Mary Hayes, CLAYOQUOT

The trees are great teachers. The trees are great listeners. That is why we should meditate in their presence. The Great spirit is in every rock, every animal, every human being and in every tree. The Great Spirit has been in some trees for hundreds of years. Therefore, the trees have witnessed and heard much. The trees are the Elders of the Elders. Their spirits are strong and very healing.

Great Spirit, teach me respect for all spiritual things.

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Journey To The Heart
September 25, 2014
Discover Life’s Rhythm

Step into the natural rhythm for your life.

You don’t have to push through anymore. You don’t have to push yourself, life, or the energy flow.

If you get tired, take a break. Take a walk. Take in the healing energy of the world around you. Listen to the birds sing. Hear the laughter of a child. Feel the warm smile of a friend, or smile at a stranger passing by. If you get stuck or tangled up, stop trying force the solution. Back off, until the answer emerges naturally from that place of peace and natural instinct within you.

Step out of your tension, out of your fear. Laugh. Lighten up. Loosen up. Change your energy. Relax until you find the flow. Relax until you find your rhythm, until you feel life’s rhythm again.

Step into the rhythm of love.

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Today’s Gift
September 25, 2014

Things don’t turn up in this world until somebody turns them up.
—James A. Garfield

We could learn from the bears in the woods how to turn up opportunities. To nourish themselves, they turn over logs and stumps to get insects. When they smell honey, they will climb a tree after it, and when they see berries they will move branches aside to get at them.

Like the bears, we need to turn up things for ourselves. Perhaps we can enter a drawing or writing contest. Maybe we can try out for a team sport or the orchestra. By doing this, we take risks, which foster our growth and build confidence, and we turn our lives into fulfilling adventures.

Why wait for opportunity to knock when we can knock at opportunity’s door. Whatever our interests, finding ways to enjoy them can make the most out of the opportunities around us.

What opportunities are available to me today?

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The Language of Letting Go
September 25, 2014
Peace with the Past

Even God cannot change the past.
–Agathon

Holding on to the past, either through guilt, longing, denial, or resentment, is a waste of valuable energy – energy that can be used to transform today and tomorrow.

“I used to live in my past,” said one recovering woman. “I was either trying to change it, or I was letting it control me. Usually both.

“I constantly felt guilty about things that had happened. Things I had done; things others had done to me – even though I had made amends for most everything, the guilt ran deep. Everything was somehow my fault. I could never just let it go.

“I held on to anger for years, telling myself it was justified. I was in denial about a lot of things. Sometimes, I’d try to absolutely forget about my past, but I never really stopped and sorted through it; my past was like a dark cloud that followed me around, and I couldn’t shake clear of it. I guess I was scared to let it go, afraid of today, afraid of tomorrow.

I’ve been recovering now for years, and it has taken me almost as many years to gain the proper perspective on my past. I’m learning I can’t forget it; I need to heal from it. I need to feel and let go of any feelings I still have, especially anger.

“I need to stop blaming myself for painful events that took place, and trust that everything has happened on schedule, and truly all is okay. I’ve learned to stop regretting, and to start being grateful.

“When I think about the past, I thank God for the healing and the memory. If something occurs that needs an amend, I make it and am done with it. I’ve learned to look at my past with compassion for myself, trusting that my Higher Power was in control, even then.

“I’ve healed from some of the worst things that happened to me. I’ve made peace with myself about these issues, and I’ve learned that healing from some of these issues has enabled me to help others to heal too. I’m able to see how the worst things helped form my character and developed some of my finer points.

“I’ve even developed gratitude for my failed relationships because they have brought me to who and where I am today.

“What I’ve learned has been acceptance – without guilt, anger, blame, or shame. I’ve even had to learn to accept the years I spent feeling guilty, angry, shameful, and blaming.”

We cannot control the past. But we can transform it by allowing ourselves to heal from it and by accepting it with love for others and ourselves. I know, because that woman is me.

Today, I will begin being grateful for my past. I cannot change what happened, but I can transform the past by owning my power, now, to accept, heal, and learn from it.

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More Language Of Letting Go
September 25, 2014
Fill in the blanks

The magic of a story lies in the spaces between the words.

When we read a novel, we often find that the writer gives us only the barest elements of a scene, and yet our imagination fills in all the blank spaces from our experiences, our hopes, our desires. We don’t need the author to give us all of the details.

So it is with life. Often we are given only the barest outline of the path that we are to follow, and yet if we are silent and listen to our hearts, we can hear all of the details of our path spelled out for us, a step at a time. There is no need to have everything laid out for us beforehand. If it were, there would be no need to take the trip. We could simply read about it.

Get up.

Live your path with heart.

Fill in the blanks yourself.

God, give me the strength to find out how the story ends by living until the end of it, instead of wanting it read beforehand.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
September 25, 2014

Be thine own palace, or the world’s thy jail.
—John Donne

All of us have some difficult circumstances to face today. Some among us find ourselves in the hospital or in jail. Others are worried about pressures and frustrations at work. Tensions and concerns about war and the future of the world affect us all. We have many uncontrollable circumstances in our lives, but we don’t have to give ourselves over to them. A man’s body may be in jail while in his heart he is free.

We build a palace for our spirits by maintaining contact with our Higher Power. We are always within the circle of God’s love. Always! Knowing that helps us make peace with the limits on what we can do about our situations. Then we can go forth working to make peace in our relationships, accomplish what is possible in our lives, and make a contribution to others.

Today, I will remember that the frustrations around me are not all of who I am. When I am at peace within, I live among spiritual riches.

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Daily TAO

September 25, 2014

NATURE

My back is stooped from scholarship,
My eyes are dimmed by history’s words.
Surrounded though I may be by learning,
I still cannot compare with nature’s perfection.

Learning is a passion shared by many of us. There is a great allure
to education and a fascination with the accomplishments of civilization.
We go to libraries and museums. We go to exhibits showing the diggings
from royal tombs. We are enchanted with new inventions. And yet, if we
look out our windows and see a tree in its perfection, or gaze into a
tide pool, or watch a cat as it strolls its territory, or see the flash
of a blue jay, we can see another order of beauty and intelligence in
this life.

The works of humanity cannot compare to the works of nature. The
works of civilization lack the balance and refinement of nature. Too
many times, our accomplishments are tainted by impure motives : profit,
hardship, desire for fame, simple greed. We achieve, but we cannot
foresee the results because we are unable to place our actions into a
greater context.

Nature is a conglomeration of contending forces, of tooth and claw,
venom and perfume, mud and excrement, eggs and bones, lightning and
lava. It seems chaotic. It seems terrible. And yet, for all its
unfathomable workings, it far surpasses the business of our society.

Think about what you do. How much of it can compare to the
perfection of nature?

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Daily Zen
September 25, 2014

When the inward and the outward are illumined, and all is clear, you are one with the light of the sun and moon. When developed to its ultimate state, this is a round luminosity which nothing can deceive, the subtle body of a unified spirit, pervading the whole universe. Then you have the same function as the sun and moon.

– Liu I-Ming

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Food For Thought
September 25, 2014
Don’t Hang On

As long as we are alive, we will experience times of joy and times of sadness. Trying to hang on to the periods of elation and avoid the inevitable depression which each of us feels from time to time causes us to seek artificial stimulation. Using food to try to stay on cloud nine did not work, and neither does anything else.

By turning over our lives, we become willing to let go and move through the periods of joy and sadness as we come to them. Trying to hang on arrests our progress. Nothing is certain in this life except change, and when we stop overeating we are better able to deal with the variations in our feelings and circumstances.

Whatever our current mood or situation, we can remain abstinent. Abstinence gives our lives stability and order, in spite of changes. Being centered in the Power greater than ourselves keeps us from being overly affected by either elation or depression.

By focusing on You, may I move calmly through the times of joy and the times of sadness.

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Faiths Checkbook
September 25, 2014
The Sacrifice Has Been Accepted

If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have showed us all these thing.
(Judges 13:23)

This is a sort of promise deduced by logic. It is an inference fairly drawn from ascertained facts. It was not likely that the Lord had revealed to Manoah and his wife that a son would be born to them and yet had it in His heart to destroy them. The wife reasoned well, and we shall do well if we follow her line of argument.

The Father has accepted the great sacrifice of Calvary and has declared Himself well pleased therewith; how can He now be pleased to kill us! Why a substitute if the sinner must still perish? The accepted sacrifice of Jesus puts an end to fear.

The Lord has shown us our election, our adoption, our union to Christ, our marriage to the Well-beloved: how can He now destroy us? The promises are loaded with blessings, which necessitate our being preserved unto eternal life. It is not possible for the Lord to cast us away and yet fulfill His covenant. The past assures us, and the future reassures us. We shall not die but live, for we have seen Jesus, and in Him we have seen the Father by the illumination of the Holy Ghost. Because of this life-giving sight we must live forever.

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This Mornings Reading
September 25, 2014

“Just, and the justifier of him which believeth.”
—Romans 3:26.

EING justified by faith, we have peace with God. Conscience accuses no longer. Judgment now decides for the sinner instead of against him. Memory looks back upon past sins, with deep sorrow for the sin, but yet with no dread of any penalty to come; for Christ has paid the debt of His people to the last jot and tittle, and received the divine receipt; and unless God can be so unjust as to demand double payment for one debt, no soul for whom Jesus died as a substitute can ever be cast into hell. It seems to be one of the very principles of our enlightened nature to believe that God is just; we feel that it must be so, and this gives us our terror at first; but is it not marvellous that this very same belief that God is just, becomes afterwards the pillar of our confidence and peace! If God be just, I, a sinner, alone and without a substitute, must be punished; but Jesus stands in my stead and is punished for me; and now, if God be just, I, a sinner, standing in Christ, can never be punished. God must change His nature before one soul, for whom Jesus was a substitute, can ever by any possibility suffer the lash of the law. Therefore, Jesus having taken the place of the believer—having rendered a full equivalent to divine wrath for all that His people ought to have suffered as the result of sin, the believer can shout with glorious triumph, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Not God, for He hath justified; not Christ, for He hath died, “yea rather hath risen again.” My hope lives not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died; my trust is not that I am holy, but that being unholy, He is my righteousness. My faith rests not upon what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know, but in what Christ is, in what He has done, and in what He is now doing for me. On the lion of justice the fair maid of hope rides like a queen.

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This Evenings Reading
September 25, 2014

“Who of God is made unto us wisdom.”
—1 Corinthians 1:30.

AN’S intellect seeks after rest, and by nature seeks it apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. Men of education are apt, even when converted, to look upon the simplicities of the cross of Christ with an eye too little reverent and loving. They are snared in the old net in which the Grecians were taken, and have a hankering to mix philosophy with revelation. The temptation with a man of refined thought and high education is to depart from the simple truth of Christ crucified, and to invent, as the term is, a more intellectual doctrine. This led the early Christian churches into Gnosticism, and bewitched them with all sorts of heresies. This is the root of Neology, and the other fine things which in days gone by were so fashionable in Germany, and are now so ensnaring to certain classes of divines. Whoever you are, good reader, and whatever your education may be, if you be the Lord’s, be assured you will find no rest in philosophizing divinity. You may receive this dogma of one great thinker, or that dream of another profound reasoner, but what the chaff is to the wheat, that will these be to the pure word of God. All that reason, when best guided, can find out is but the A B C of truth, and even that lacks certainty, while in Christ Jesus there is treasured up all the fulness of wisdom and knowledge. All attempts on the part of Christians to be content with systems such as Unitarian and Broad-church thinkers would approve of, must fail; true heirs of heaven must come back to the grandly simple reality which makes the ploughboy’s eye flash with joy, and glads the pious pauper’s heart—”Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” Jesus satisfies the most elevated intellect when He is believingly received, but apart from Him the mind of the regenerate discovers no rest. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” “A good understanding have all they that do His commandments.”

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