Anyone who tries self-sufficiency in the spiritual life soon falls prey to illusion.
Poor souls are apt to think that all those whom they read or hear of to be gone to heaven, went there because they were so good and holy…Yet not one of them, not any one that is now in heaven (Jesus Christ alone excepted), did ever come there any other way but by forgiveness of sins.
Men do not avail themselves of the riches of God’s grace. They love to nurse their cares, and seem as uneasy without some fret as an old friar would be without his hair girdle. They are commanded to cast their cares upon the Lord, but even when they attempt it, they do not fail to catch them up again, and think it meritorious to walk burdened.
If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.
I have noticed that people are satisfied when you preach about the sins of the patriarchs, but they don’t like it when you touch upon the sins of today.
Despise not thy neighbour, but think thyself as bad a sinner, and that the like defects may befall thee. If thou canst not excuse his doing, excuse his intent which may be good; or if the deed be evil, think it was done of ignorance; if thou canst no way excuse him, think some great temptation befell him, and that thou shouldst be worse if the like temptation befell thee; and give God thanks that the like as yet hath not befallen thee. Despise not a man being a sinner, for though he be evil to-day, he may turn tomorrow.
If you believe in the Gospel what you like, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.
Now the question is, “Shall we have a great and mighty harvest, or shall we go on discussing our differences?”
I have found, in my own spiritual life, that the more rules I lay down for myself, the more sins I commit. The habit of regular morning and evening prayer is one which is indispensable to a believer’s life, but the prescribing of the length of prayer, and the constrained remembrance of so many persons and subjects, may gender unto bondage, and strangle prayer rather than assist it.
The way pride works in remorse is through a distorted self-righteousness which must pay for its own sin or which must exonerate the self through putting the blame elsewhere…Remorse may lead to despair or else back into the victim response of blame, but repentance leads to life. Judas died in remorse, but Peter was restored through repentance.