The Twenty Fifth of June

ABOUT CHRISTIAN LIBERTY --- 1 Corinthians 6:12

"All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any." --- 1 Corinthians 6:12.

Many that are well affected to religion, and receive instructions of piety with pleasure and satisfaction, often wonder how it comes to pass that they make no greater progress in that religion which they so much admire.

Now, the reason of it is, because religion lives only in their head, while something else has possession of their heart; and therefore they continue from year to year mere admirers and praisers of piety, without coming up to the reality and perfection of its precepts.

If it be asked why religion does not get possesssion of their hearts, the reason is, not because they live in gross sins or debaucheries, for their regard to religion preserves them from such disorders; but because their hearts are constantly employed, perverted, and kept in a bad state, by the wrong use of such things as are lawful to be used; for our souls may receive very great hurt merely by the abuse of innocent and lawful things.

What is more innocent than rest and retirement? and yet what is more dangerous than sloth and idleness? What is more lawful than eating and drinking? and yet what more destructive of virtue than sensuality and inndulgence? How lawful and praiseworthy is the care of the family? and yet what so prejudicial as an anxious, worldly temper? Reader, follow the apostle, and beware of lawful things; keep thy heart free from the power of them.

O Lord, direct me in the use
Of things that lawful are;
For lawful things may have abuse,
And prove a fatal snare.