Guthrie on “Drawing Near Unto God”
“Study to be convinced, that ye are by nature far from God, and in your walk and conversation, from that communion with Him that ye might attain unto, even while here. And if once ye were at that, you would think it your unquestionable duty to “draw near unto God,” in all these respects before mentioned.
“But where is that labour of love, that unweariedness in duty, and that disposition to suffer, everything for Christ? Are not all these, in a great measure, gone? What fainting, failing, and scaring at the cross? So that but scratch the clothes of many Christians, and they will be like to go beside themselves. Where is that appetite and desire after Christ, and His righteousness, which folk sometimes so vigorously pursued? Where is that estimation of, and enquiry after, marks of grace in the soul, that hath sometimes been? How perilous hath a mark of grace sometimes been, and how did it alarm you when it was observed?
“And where are that sympathy and longing for the discovery of duty, submission unto reproof, that were wont to be amongst you? Are ye not rather afraid to hear your duty laid out before you? And where is that simplicity of the gospel, or that happiness people had in hearing the gospel, when they had not such skill to shift, or evade the word, and to put all by, except those sentences that pleased their own fancy; and when they durst not entertain a challenge of conscience all night but it behoved them to mourn for it before the Lord, until it was removed?
“Hath not many of you got the devil’s wisdom to lodge a challenge all night, and not be troubled with it? And where is that tenderness of conscience, that would have made people abstain from every appearance of evil, and would have made them walk circumspectly in regard of influences, and mourn for them before God? And where is that true zeal for the interest of Christ that was once in our corporations in these dominions? Is not that gone, and are there any rightly exercised when they see the matters of God going wrong? Now ye should draw near unto God in all these things.”
-William Guthrie (Scottish Covenanter, 1620-1665), Sermon from Psalm 73:28