Many have passed the rocks of gross sins–who have suffered shipwreck upon the sands of self-righteousness.
It was the saying of one, that he “would swim through a sea of brimstone–if he might but arrive safely at heaven.” Ah, how would natural men soar to heaven–upon the pinions of their own merit! The sunbeams of Divine justice–will soon melt such weak and wax wings!He who has no better righteousness than what is of his own providing, shall meet with no higher happiness than what is of his own deserving. “They disregarded the righteousness from God–and attempted to establish their own righteousness.” They are determined to sail in their own ship–though they sink in the ocean!We are so far from paying the utmost farthing, that at our utmost–we have not even a farthing to pay! That man will be a miserable spectacle of vanity–who stands upon the lame feet of his own ability!
Duties are but dry pits, though ever so meticulously wrought–until Christ fills them. Reader, I would neither have you be idle in duties–nor make an idol of duties.What are duties without Christ–but like a fine cabinet without a jewel–or a golden cup without a cordial? The most diligent saint–has been the most self-distrusting saint, “that I may gain Christ and be found in him–not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” If you are found in your own righteousness, you will be lost by your own righteousness. That garment which was worn to shreds on Adam’s back–will never make a complete covering for you.
Duties may be good crutches to go upon–but they are bad Christs to lean upon. It is the greatest disparagement that professors can offer to Christ–to put their services in the scale with His sufferings. The beggarly rags of the first Adam–must never be put on with the princely robe of the second Adam!Man is a creature too much inclined to warm himself by the sparks of his own fire–though he lies down in eternal flames for kindling them! Though Noah’s dove made use of her wings–yet she found no rest, but in the ark. Duties can never have too much of our diligence–or too little of our confidence. A believer does not perform good works to live–but he lives to perform good works…When we have kept all the commandments, there is one commandment above all to be kept; that is, “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags!” In most of our works–we are abominable sinners; and in the best of our works–we are unprofitable servants. “O Sovereign Lord, I will proclaim Your righteousness, Yours alone!” You see, beloved, the righteousness of Christ is to be magnified–when the righteousness of a Christian is not to be mentioned…
Those who carry their vessel of hope to the puddle of their own merit–will never draw the water of comfort, from the fountain of God’s mercy!
– William Secker, 1660