14 August 2012

The Last Idol

The first two paragraphs of George Whitefield's 1741 sermon 'The Lord Our Righteousness,' based on Jeremiah 33:16--
Whoever is acquainted with the nature of mankind in general or the propensity of his own heart in particular must acknowledge that self-righteousness is the last idol that is rooted out of the heart. Being once born under a covenant of works, it is natural for us all to have recourse to a covenant of works for our everlasting salvation. And we have contracted such devilish pride by our fall from God that we would, if not wholly, yet in part at least, glory in being the cause of our own salvation. We cry out against popery and that very justly. But we are all papists, at least, I am sure, we are all Arminians by nature. And therefore no wonder so many natural men embrace that scheme. . . .

This is the sorest though, alas, the most common evil that was ever yet seen under the sun. An evil that in any age, especially in these dregs of time wherein we live, cannot sufficiently be inveighed against. For as it is with the people, so it is with the priests and, it is to be feared, even in those places where once the truth as it is in Jesus was eminently preached many ministers are so sadly degenerated from their pious ancestors that the doctrines of grace, especially the personal, all-sufficient righteousness of Jesus is but too seldom, too slightly mentioned. Hence the love of many waxeth cold and I have often thought, was it possible, that this single consideration would be sufficient to raise our venerable forefathers again from their graves, who would thunder in their ears their fatal error. 
--George Whitefield, 'The Lord Our Righteousness,'  as quoted in The Sermons of George Whitefield (2 vols.; ed. Lee Gatiss; Crossway, 2012), 1:262-63

1 comment:

Dave Moser said...

Whitfield's remark that, "we are all Arminians by nature," reminded me of a quote whose source I can no longer remember. Paraphrased it is, "we wake up every morning a pelagian."