Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Deep personal reflection on his own salvation (Part 1)
Wed 1 Feb 1738: At four in the morning we took boat, and in half an hour landed at Deal; it being Wednesday, February 1, the anniversary festival in Georgia for Mr. Oglethorpe’s landing there.
It is now two years and almost four months since I left my native country in order to teach the Georgian Indians the nature of Christianity. But what have I learned myself in the meantime? Why (what I the least of all suspected), that I who went to America to convert others, was never myself converted to God. ‘I am not mad’, though I thus speak, but ‘I speak the words of truth and soberness’; if haply some of those who still dream may awake, and see that as I am, so are they.
Are they read in philosophy? So was I. In ancient or modern tongues? So was I also. Are they versed in the science of divinity? I too have studied it many years. Can they talk fluently upon spiritual things? The very same could I do. Are they plenteous in alms? Behold, I gave all my goods to feed the poor. Do they give of their labour as well as of their substance? I have laboured more abundantly than they all. Are they willing to suffer for their brethren? I have thrown up my friends, reputation, ease, country; I have put my life in my hand, wandering into strange lands; I have given my body to be devoured by the deep, parched up with heat, consumed by toil and weariness, or whatsoever God should please to bring upon me. But does all this (be it more or less, it matters not) make me acceptable to God? Do all I ever did or can know, say, give, do, or suffer, justify me in his sight? Yea, or ‘the constant use of all the means of grace’?—which nevertheless is meet, right, and our bounden duty. Or that ‘I know nothing of myself,’ that I am, as touching outward, moral righteousness, blameless? Or (to come closer yet) the having a rational conviction of all the truths of Christianity? Does all this give me a claim to the holy, heavenly, divine character of a Christian? By no means. If the oracles of God are true, if we are still to abide by ‘the law and the testimony’, all these things, though when ennobled by faith in Christ they are holy, and just, and good, yet without iti are ‘dung and dross’, meet only to be purged away by ‘the fire that never shall be quenched’.