Thursday, May 11, 2006

On Uniting Zeal and Knowledge

We are such creatures of extremes, frequently preferring one thing at the expense of another which, according to God, is of equal importance. It's so much easier to pit doctrine against life and the intellect against the affections than it is to strive for the harmony that the Bible says should exist between these dimensions of our experience.

I was reminded of this yesterday by Melinda Penner's post on the importance of loving as well as knowing the truth, and again this morning by the following counsel from Richard Baxter:

Your first question must be, Whether you are in the right way? and your second, Whether you go apace? It is sad to observe what odious actions are committed in all ages of the world, by the instigation of misguided zeal! And what a shame an imprudent zealot is to his profession! While making himself ridiculous in the eyes of the adversaries, he brings his profession itself into contempt, and maketh the ungodly think that the religious are but a company of transported brain-sick zealouts; and thus they are hardened in their perdition. How many things doth unadvised affection provoke well-meaning people to, that afterwards will be their shame and sorrow.

Labour therefore for knowledge, and soundness of understanding; that you may know truth from falsehood, good from evil; and may walk confidently, while you walk safely; and that you become not a shame to your profession, by a furious persecution of that which you must afterwards confess to be an error; by drawing others to that which you would after wish that you had never known yourselves. And yet see that all your knowledge have its efficacy upon your heart and life; and take every truth as an instrument of God, to reveal himself to you, or to draw your heart to him, and conform you to his holy will. A Christian Directory, Part I, Chapter II, Direct. II.

Lord, keep us from separating what you have conjoined and make us a people of well-informed zeal.

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