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Religion on False Pretences.

Religion on False Pretences.

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Published by glennpease

John xy. 16.
ye have not chosen me, but i have 'chosen you.

John xy. 16.
ye have not chosen me, but i have 'chosen you.

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Published by: glennpease on Feb 27, 2014
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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RELIGION ON FALSE PRETENCES. BY JAMES MARTINEAU. John xy. 16. ye have not chosen me, but i have 'chosen you. OxE of the greatest difficulties, which Christ en-countered in his ministry, was to shake off the ad-herents who came to him on false pretences ; and to reduce the motives of his disciples to the simple feel-ing of faith or fealty, which was the only tie he could endure to recognize. Some followed him because they * did eat of the loaves and were filled.' The Sad-ducee enjoyed his invective against the Pharisee, and the Pharisee was willing to use his refutation of the Sadducee. The kind-hearted rich approved of the good he was doing among the poor; the severe delighted in his rebukes of the popular corruption; the patriotic looked to him as the ornament of his country, and the marvel of his age ; and only the fewest clung to him, because they were ' of his sheep,' and knew and loved his voice. His many-sided wisdom turned some phase of excellence or wonder towards every spectator; and each in suc-cession was worthy, not of less, but of far more, ad-miration than it received. Yet he declined the
attachment of those who did not penetrate to the central lines of all his truth and sanctity ; refused to be judged by the outward appearance, rather than KELIGION ON FALSE PRETENCES. 93 the inward principle, of his life ; never suffered him-self to be regarded as an object of others' choice, but himself selected for his own such as were taken cap-tive in soul by the power of so divine a spirit. Those who would not vow allegiance to him for his own sake, and take up for him the cross which he would bear for them, might go their way, and sorrowing feel that they were none of his. This difficulty, of bringing the heart to a pure simplicity of faith, was no accident peculiar to the personal ministry of our Lord. Proceeding from causes which human nature reproduces in every age, it still interrupts the genuine influence of his religion; which multitudes hold and profess on false and in-sufficient grounds, adducing every variety of excuse for sanctioning its authority ; but which few receive, as too great to be patronized, and too true to be
proved. The ingenuity and restlessness of men are perpetually dissipating the primitiv^e impressions of their reason and conscience, devising elaborate justi-fications of that which best justifies itself, and multi-plying artificial foundations for that which is natural. And the evil is, that when the insecurity of all this comes to be detected, and the structure of our own erection is found to be crumbling beneath us, it is not easy to recover at once the genuine ground of nature. The simple perception and deep intuitions of the soul become so overlaid by acquired modes of thought and judgment, that all faith in them, and even all clear consciousness of them, are lost; and thus the original sources of all religious conviction are dried up. Some of the spurious forms and second-hand imitations of religious principle, always one remove from the reality and sincerity of faith, I pro-pose briefly to trace. 94 RELIGION ON FALSE PRETENCES. Religion is frequently degraded, not only by its practical supporters, but by its theoretical expound-ers, into a mere tool of expediency; and upheld as

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