Letter to Eliza (2)
BURNTISLAND, September 28, 1841.
"MY DEAREST ELIZA, - There is doubtless much of the reserve that obtains in conversation on religious subjects to be ascribed to our state of spiritual inanition. It is out of the fulness or abundance of the heart that the mouth speaketh; and, therefore, it is necessary that the reformation of this matter be rightly gone about - that we begin at the beginning. It is with this as with every other department of practical Christianity. Whatever good fruit we are aiming after, we must make the tree good that the fruit may be good. It is well that our sense of want and helplessness should thus throw us back on the deep and fundamental articles of our faith, and that we should thus be made to see in every attempt at being right, another experimental proof of the doctrine of regeneration, or of the necessity that, to be as we ought, we must be born again and become new creatures.
"I feel that this is being very general; but not more so than that most pregnant of all verses, God will give His Spirit to them who ask it. Let us cry, therefore, as we can ; and it is as you say, to prayer we must add watchfulness - watchfulnes for the Spirit as well as prayer for Him. And this gives me to feel the special importance of the last clause of Eph. vi. 18 - "watching thereunto with all perseverance." Still it is furthermore of mighty importance to learn what are our specific wants, that we may state them specifically before God, and that we may afterwards watch as specifically for the supply thereof. Believest thou that I am able to do this - was the question put by our Saviour to the man who asked a cure, and according to his particular faith, so was it done unto him. Whatever the impediment or infirmity may be, let us ascertain it, and pray for its removal. This will give rise to that process of discipline and cultivation in which what is called experimental religion mainly lies. I have had several talks with the children here, and am not discouraged by the results of these. I am, my dearest Eliza, yours very affectionately, THOMAS CHALMERS."
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