06 June 2012

If Christ Is our Treasure, What Do We Make of Food, Sex, and Seeing the Heat Lose in the NBA Playoffs (i.e. the good things of life)?

Nomista: But, sir, I pray you, would you not have our senses to be any longer exercised about any of their objects? would you have us no longer to take comfort in the good things of this life?

Evangelista: I pray you, do not mistake me; I do not speak as though I would have you stoically to refuse the lawful use of any of the Lord's good creatures, which he shall be pleased to afford you, neither do I prohibit you from all comfort therein.

But this is it which I do desire, namely, that you would endeavour to attain to such a peace, rest, and content in God, as he is in Christ, that the violent cry of your heart may be restrained, and that your appetites may not be so forcible, nor so unruly as they are naturally, but that the unruliness thereof may be brought into a very comely decorum and order: so that your sensual appetites may, with much more easiness and contentedness, be denied the objects of their desires, yea, and contented (if need be) with that which is most repugnant to them, as with hunger, cold, nakedness, yea, and with death itself.

For such is the wonderful working of the heart's quiet and rest in God, that although a man's senses be still exercised in and upon their proper objects, yet may it be truly said, that such a man's life is not sensual. For indeed his heart taketh little contentment in any such exercises, it being for the most part exercised in a more transcendent communion with God, as he is in Christ.

So that indeed the man who has this peace and rest in God may be truly said to 'use this world as though he used it not,' in that he receives no cordial contentment from any sensual exercise whatsoever, because his heart is withdrawn from them. Such a man is sleeping, looking, hearing, tasting, smelling, eating, drinking, feasting, and so on, but his heart is withdrawn from the creature, and rejoicing in God his Saviour, and his soul is magnifying the Lord: so that in the midst of all sensual delights, his heart secretly says, Aye, but my happiness is not here.
--Edward Fisher, The Marrow of Modern Divinity (Christian Focus, 2009), 258

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