Saturday, November 7, 2009

Degeneracy


Recently I was pleased to rediscover an old book which I had given to a friend. It is entitled "Thirsting for the Springs" (@1907) by J.H. Jowett. I find many helpful hints in it concerning the development of a right spirit of devotion. Conversely warnings are given to avoid tendencies to coldness, indifference and contamination.

The third message (there are 26 of them) is entitled "The Degeneracy of a Soul". It examines the course of declension summarized in Psalm 12. The warnings are doubly true for this disconnectd society of a century later. Hear the following:

"This Psalm marks off the steps of social
degradation. The steps of transition are clearly
indicated. We can see the progressive descents
from the worship of God to the exaltation of
vileness. Sense after sense is benumbed ; nerve
after nerve is atrophied ; perception after per
ception is impaired ; until the entire body of
human relationships, which was intended by
God to be the home of all manner of refined
and delicate sympathies, becomes a mass of
hard and callous selfishness, in which all the
ties of rarer communion are destroyed."

The entrance to this dark cave is a cooling off of the sense of reverence.

"The decay of the sense of reverence. 'The
godly man ceaseth.' The beginning of de
generacy is to lose touch with God. We lose
our touch of God when we cease to 'feel after
Him.' It is the effort to feel, that preserves
the sensitive touch. The intense effort to dis
cern a thing through the finger tips gives the
blind almost a new sense, and the intense
striving to feel God, endows the soul with the
powers of fine apprehension. It is here that so
many of us fail in the attainment of a lofty
spirituality. We only exercise ourselves in
'feeling', in the crisis and emergencies of life,
and as these are only of rare occurrence, our
exercisings are infrequent. Men who are to
become spiritual experts in apprehending God,
must feel after Him through the common
places of the ordinary day. They must feel
after Him in their daily bread, in the humble
duty, in lowly affection, in the little ministries
of the obscure way. They must feel after Him
in prayer, in aspiration, in meditation. They
must 'practise the presence of God', that in
the persistent groping after Him, they may
attain unto a sensitiveness of touch that per
ceives Him everywhere. If we give up the
practice, if we only feel after Him in the great
contingency, in the hour of sorrow, in the
shadow of bereavement, in the heavy disap
pointment, and if we are indolent and sluggish
in the long level road of the commonplace, we
shall lose our touch of God, and shall inevitably
become ungodly."

I will stop here. I recommend heartily any of the books of Pastor Jowett. Another good one is "The High Calling" (Philippians).

You will find a link to "Thirsting..." in our Helpful Links. Fruitful study ahead.

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