William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America

Peace and Stupidity

by John Owen

Many love to walk in a very careless, unwise profession. So long as they can
hold out in the performance of outward duties, they are very regardless of the
greatest evangelical privileges,-of those things which are the marrow of divine
promises,-all real endeavours of a vital communion with Christ. Such are
spiritual peace, refreshing consolations, ineffable joys, and the blessed
composure of assurance. Without some taste and experience of these things,
profession is heartless, lifeless, useless; and religion itself a dead carcass
without an animating soul. The peace which some enjoy is a mere stupidity. They
judge not these things to be real which are the substance of Christ's present
reward; and a renunciation whereof would deprive the church of its principal
supportments and encouragements in all its sufferings. It is a great evidence of
the power of unbelief, when we can satisfy ourselves without an experience in
our own hearts of the great things, in this kind of joy, peace, consolation,
assurance, that are promised in the Gospel. For how can it be supposed that we
do indeed believe the promises of things future,-namely, of heaven, immortality,
and glory, the faith whereof is the foundation of all religion,-when we do not
believe the promises of the present reward in these spiritual privileges? And
how shall we be thought to believe them, when we do not endeavour after an
experience of the things themselves in our own souls, but are even contented
without them? But herein men deceive themselves. They would very desirously have
evangelical joy, peace, and assurance, to countenance them in their evil frames
and careless walking And some have attempted to reconcile these things, unto the
ruin of their souls. But it will not be. Without the diligent exercise of the
grace of obedience, we shall never enjoy the grace of consolation.


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