The Danger of Lukewarmness in Religion
Adapted from a Sermon by Samuel Davies
“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Rev 3:15-16
The soul of man is gifted with such active powers, that it cannot be idle; and, if we look round the world, we see it all alive and busy in some pursuit or other. What sustained efforts, what labour and toil, what hurry, noise, and commotion about the necessities of life, about riches and honours! Here men are in earnest: here there is no hesitation, no indifference about things. They sincerely desire, and eagerly strive for these transient delights, or vain ornaments of a mortal life.
And is it reasonable to suppose, that creatures who are made with such abilities, and who work so tirelessly and hard in pursuing these lesser things, apply themselves all the more in matters of infinitely greater importance?
May we come to the conclusion, that they proportion their efforts and activity to the value of things, and that they are most in earnest with respect to the most important things? A stranger to our world, based only on common sense and his generous assumption of good in mankind might persuade himself that this is the case. But anyone who has spent some time with them, and taken the least notice of their attitude and practice with regard to that most interesting thing, religion, must see that it is quite otherwise.
For look round you, and what do you see? Here and there indeed you may see a few unfashionable people, who act as if they took religion to be the most important thing; and who seem determined, let others do as they will, to make sure of salvation, whatever else becomes of them: but as to the great majority, they are very indifferent about it. They will not indeed give up all religion completely; they will make some little profession of the religion that happens to be most prevalent and reputable in their country, and they will conform to some of its institutions; but it doesn’t matter much to them, and they are but little concerned about it; or, in the language of our text, they are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold.
This threat, I will spit you out of my mouth, has been carried out with a dreadful severity against the Laodicean church; and its place is now given over to Islam; and the name of Christ is not heard among them. But, though this church has been demolished for so many hundreds of years, that lukewarmness of spirit in religion which brought this judgment upon them, still lives, and possesses the Christians of our age: it may therefore be beneficial for us to consider Christ's friendly warning to them, that we may escape their fate.
The epistles to the seven churches in Asia are introduced with this solemn and striking preface, I know your works that is to say, your character is described by one who thoroughly knows you; one who inspects all your conduct, and takes notice of you when you take no notice of yourselves; one who cannot be fooled by an empty outward profession, but searches the depths of the heart. If only that truth is deeply impressed upon our hearts; surely we will not take this things lightly and offend while we know that we are under the eye of our Judge!
I know your works, he says to the Laodicean church, you are neither cold nor hot. This church was in a very bad condition, and Christ reproves her very severely; and yet we do not find her charged with the practice or toleration of any gross immoralities, as some of the other churches were. She is not reprimanded for indulging fornication among her members, or cooperating with idolaters in eating things sacrificed to idols, like some of the rest. She was free from the infection of the Nicolaitans, which had spread among them.
What then is she charged with? It is a subtle, latent wickedness, that does not appear to be shocking at all, that doesn’t stand out in the outward character of a professor as others see him, and may escape his own notice; it is, you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold: as if our Lord had said, “You do not entirely renounce and openly neglect the Christian religion, but you do not treat it as a serious business, and take it as your grand concern. You have a form of godliness, but you deny the power. All your religion is a dull, languid thing, a mere indifference; your heart is not in it; there is no fervour of spirit in it. You neither have the coldness of the reckless sinner, nor the sacred fire and life of the true Christian; but you kind of hover between them. In some things you look like the one, in other things the other; as lukewarmness shares in the nature both of heat and cold.”
Now such a lukewarmness is an eternal inconsistency in religion: it is the most absurd and inconsistent thing imaginable; more so than avowed impiety, or a outright rejection of all religion: therefore, says Christ, Would that you were either cold or hot,—that is "You might be anything more consistently than what you are. If you considered religion as a sham, and openly rejected it, it would not be strange that you would be careless about it, and disregard it in practice. But to say it is true, and make a profession of it, and yet be lukewarm and indifferent about it, this is the most absurd conduct that can be conceived; for, if it is true, it is certainly the most important and central truth in all the world, and demands the greatest exertion of all your powers.
When Christ expresses his hatred of lukewarmness in the form of a wish, Would that you were either cold or hot, we are not to suppose that he means that coldness or fervour in religion are equally acceptable, or that coldness is at all acceptable to him.; since reason and revelation work together to assure us, that the open rejection and avowed contempt of religion is an terrible wickedness, as well as a hypocritical profession.
But our Lord's intent is to express in the strongest way possible, how loathsome and abominable their lukewarmness was to him; it is as if he should say, "Your state is so bad, that you cannot change for the worse; I would rather you were anything than what you are."
In fact the lukewarm professor of Christianity is in reality wicked and corrupt at heart, a slave to sin, and an enemy to God, as well as the avowed sinner; and therefore they are both hateful in the sight of God, and both in a state of condemnation.
But there are some aggravating circumstances peculiar to the lukewarm professor that make him peculiarly odious; as,
1. In the first place, he adds the sin of an hypocritical profession to his other sins. The wickedness of real irreligion, and the wickedness of falsely pretending to be religious, meet and center in him at the same time.
2. In the second place, to all this he adds the guilt of presumption, pride, and self-flattery, imagining he is in a safe state and in favour with God; whereas he that makes no pretensions to religion, has no such hiding place for this conceit and delusion. Thus the miserable Laodiceans thought themselves rich, and that they had prospered, and were in need of nothing. (Rev 3:17)
3. Thirdly, it follows, that the lukewarm professor is in the most dangerous condition, as he is not susceptible to conviction, nor so likely to be brought to repentance. And so tax collectors and prostitutes received the gospel more readily than the self-righteous Pharisees.
4. Lastly, the honor of God and religion is more injured by the negligent, unconscientious behaviour of these Laodiceans, than by the vices of those who make no pretensions to religion; With whom therefore its honor has no connection.
On these accounts you see lukewarmness is more aggravatedly sinful and dangerous than entire coldness about religion.
So then, says Christ, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth: this is their doom; as if he should say, "As lukewarm water is more disagreeable to the stomach than either cold or hot, so you, of all others, are the most abominable to me. I am quite sick of such professors, and I will cast them out of my church, and reject them forever."
The goal of this sermon is to expose the peculiar absurdity and wickedness of lukewarmness or being indifferent in religion; Davies at this point offers a challenge which I think is a very good one. He proposes: “if I do not offer you sufficient arguments to convince your own reason of the absurdity and wickedness of such an attitude, then you may still continue in it; but that if my arguments are sufficient, then shake off your sloth, and be fervent in spirit; and if you neglect your duty, be it at your peril.”
To illustrate this point we build upon this plain principle, That Religion is, of all things, the most important in itself, and our highest concern.
This we cannot deny, without openly pronouncing it false; an invention of man. If there is a God, as religion teaches us, he is the most glorious, the most venerable, and the most lovely Being; and nothing can be so important to us as his favour, and nothing so terrible as his displeasure.
If he is our Maker, our Benefactor, our Lawgiver and Judge, it must be our greatest concern to serve him with all our might, If Jesus Christ be such a Saviour as our religion describes him, and we profess to believe, he demands our deepest love and most lively devotion.
If eternity, if heaven and hell, and the final judgment, are realities, they are certainly the grandest, the most awful, important, and gripping realities; and, in comparison of them, the most weighty concerns of the present life are but trifles, dreams, and shadows.
If prayer and other religious exercises are our duty, certainly they require all the vigour of our souls; and nothing can be more absurd or inappropriate than to perform them in a lazy, spiritless manner, as if we knew not what we were doing.
If there is any life within us, these are proper objects to draw it out: if our souls are endowed with active powers, here are objects that demand their utmost exertion. Here we can never be so much in earnest as we ought. Trifle about anything, but do not trifle here! Be careless and indifferent about crowns and kingdoms, about health, life, and all the world, but do not be careless and indifferent about such immense concerns as these!
But to be more particular: let us take a view of a lukewarm attitude with respect to several objects, particularly
1- towards God,
2- towards Jesus Christ,
3- a future state of happiness or misery
4- and in the duties of religion;
and in each of these views we cannot but be shocked at so inappropriate an attitude, especially if we consider our difficulties and dangers in a religious life, and when compared to the eagerness and activity of mankind in worldly pursuits.
1. In the first place, consider who and What God is.
He is the original uncreated beauty, the sum total of all natural and moral perfections, the origin of all the excellencies that are scattered through this glorious universe; he is the supreme good, and the only proper portion for our immortal spirits. He also takes on the most majestic and endearing relations to us; our Father, our Preserver and Benefactor, our Lawgiver, and our Judge.
And is such a Being to be put off with heartless, lukewarm services? What can be more absurd or impious than to dishonour supreme excellency and beauty with a lethargic love and esteem; to trifle in the presence of the most venerable Majesty; treat the best of Beings with indifference; to be careless about our duty to such a Father; to return such a Benefactor only bland expressions of gratitude; to be dull and spiritless in obedience to such a Lawgiver; and to be indifferent about the favour or displeasure of such a Judge!
Please consider this carefully and judge whether or not this is the most shocking conduct imaginable. Does your own reason not pronounce it awful and most daringly wicked?
And yet this is how the great and blessed God is treated by the great majority of mankind. It is surprising that he should bear with such treatment so long, and that mankind themselves are not shocked at it: but such is really the case.
And, now, are there not some lukewarm Laodiceans in this small assembly? If so, Jesus knows your works, that you are neither cold nor hot; and it is fitting that you should also know them. May you not be convinced, from a quick investigation, that your hearts are habitually indifferent towards God?
You may indeed hold a theoretical esteem or a good opinion of him, but are your souls alive towards him? Do they burn with his love? And are you fervent in spirit when you are serving him? Some of you, I hope, amid all your infirmities, can give encouraging answers to these questions. But for any that are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, the Scriptures affirm that you are the most abominable creatures upon earth to a holy God. — so be zealous and repent. (v. 19)
2. In the second place, is lukewarmness a proper attitude towards Jesus Christ?
Is this a suitable response to that love which brought him down from his native paradise into our wretched world? That love which kept his mind for thirty-three painful and tedious years focused on this one object, the salvation of sinners? That love which made him cheerfully patient of the shame, the curse, the tortures of crucifixion, and all the agonies of the most painful death? That love which makes him the sinner's friend still in the courts of Heaven, where he appears as our all-powerful Advocate and Intercessor?
Think about this. Is lukewarmness a proper response to him for all this kindness? Devils could not treat him worse. Can mortals and sinners, who are the objects of all this love, can any of them put him off with lazy devotions and faint services? Then every grateful and generous passion is extinct in such souls, and they are suited to go on to every form of ingratitude and baseness.
But consider: was Christ indifferent about your salvation? Was his love lukewarm towards you? No; your salvation was the object of his most intense efforts night and day through the whole course of his life, and it was nearest his heart in the agonies of death. For this he had a baptism to be baptized with, a baptism, an immersion in tears and blood; and how great is my distress, he says, until it is accomplished! (Luke 12:50) And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you” (Luke 22:15) because it introduced the last scene of his sufferings.
His love! what shall we say of it? What language can describe its strength and fervor? His love was strong as death... Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. (Cant. 8:6, 7) Never did a tender mother love her infant child with a love equal to his. Never was a father more earnest to rescue an only son from the hands of a murderer, or to pluck him out of the fire, than Jesus was to save perishing sinners.
Now to neglect him after all; to forget him; or to think of him with indifference, as though he were a being of but little importance, and we but little indebted to him, what is all this but the most unnatural, barbarous ingratitude, and the most shocking wickedness?
Do you not expect everlasting happiness from him purchased at the expense of his blood? And can you hope for such an immense blessing from him without feeling yourselves deeply indebted to him? Can you hope he will do so much for you, and can you be content to do nothing for him, or to go through his service with lukewarmness and laziness, as if you cared not how you hurried through it, or how little you had to do with it?
Can anything be more absurd or irreverent than this? May we not defy even hell to demonstrate a worse attitude? May not Christ justly wish you were either cold or hot; wish you were anything, rather than lukewarm in this way towards him while you profess to be his friend? Sadly, if this is your usual attitude, instead of being saved by him you may expect he will reject you with the most nauseating disgust and abhorrence. But, in the third place,
3. Is lukewarmness and indifference a suitable attitude with respect to a future state of happiness or misery?
Is it a suitable attitude with respect to a happiness that far exceeds what we can possibly imagine; a happiness equal to the largest capacities of our souls in their most improved and perfected state; a happiness beyond the grave, when all the enjoyments of this short life have forever left us, and leave us hungry and famishing forever, if these are our only portion; a happiness that will last as long as our immortal spirits, and never fade or depart from us?
Or are lukewarmness and indifference a suitable attitude with respect to a misery beyond expression, dreadful beyond conception; a misery inflicted by a God of almighty power and inescapable justice upon a number of obstinate, incorrigible rebels for numberless, wilful, and daring provocations, inflicted on purpose to show his wrath and to make known his power; (Rom 9:22) a misery which comes from the united fury of divine indignation, of turbulent passions, of a guilty conscience, of malicious, tormenting devils; a misery that will last as long as the eternal God will live to inflict it; as long as an immortal spirit will endure to bear it; a misery that will never diminish, never be interrupted, never, ever see an end?
And remember, that a state of happiness or misery is never very far from us, but near us, just before us; the next year, the next hour, or the next moment, we may enter into it; is a state for which we are now candidates, now being put to trial; now our eternal all lies at stake: and does an inactive, careless posture become us in such a situation?
Is a state of such happiness, or such misery; is such a state which is so close—right before us, a matter of indifference to us? Can you really be lukewarm about such matters? Was ever such prodigious senselessness seen under the sky, or even in the regions of hell, which are full of horrid dispositions? No; the hardiest spirit below cannot make light of these things, and will you trifle with them?
Well trifle a little longer, and your trifling will be over forever. You may be indifferent about the making good use of your time; but time is not indifferent whether to pass by or not; it is determined to continue its rapid course, and hurry you into the ocean of eternity, though you should continue sleeping and dreaming through all the passage.
Therefore awake, arise; exert yourselves before your doom is unchangeably fixed. If you have any fire within you, let it burn here; if you have any active powers, let them be exerted here; here or nowhere, and on no other matters. Be active, be in earnest where you should be; or debase and sink yourselves into rocks and stones, and escape the curse of being reasonable and active creatures.
Let the criminal condemned to die tomorrow, be indifferent about a reprieve or a pardon; let a drowning man be careless about catching at the only rope that can save him; but do not be careless and indifferent about eternity, and such amazing realities as heaven and hell.
If you disbelieve these things, you are infidels; if you believe these things, and yet are unaffected with them, you are worse than infidels: you are a sort of shocking phenomena, and wonders in nature. Not hell itself can find a precedent of such a conduct. The devils believe, and tremble; you believe, and trifle with things whose very name strike solemnity and awe throughout heaven and hell. But, in the fourth and last place,
4. Let us see how this lukewarm attitude agrees with the duties of religion.
And here we will only look into a few examples.
1. First consider a lukewarm professor in prayer;
He pays to an omniscient God the compliment of a bowed head, as though he could impose upon him with such an empty pretence. When he is addressing the Supreme Majesty of Heaven and earth he hardly ever recollects in whose presence he is, or whom he is speaking to, but seems as if he were worshipping without an object, or pouring out empty words into the air.
Perhaps through the whole prayer he had not so much as one solemn, moving thought of that God whose name he so often invoked. Here is a criminal petitioning for pardon so carelessly, that he scarcely knows what he is doing. Here is a needy famishing beggar pleading for such immense blessings as everlasting salvation, and all the joys of heaven, so lukewarmly and thoughtlessly as if he did not care whether his requests were granted or not. Here is a hateful offender confessing his sins with a heart untouched with sorrow; worshipping the living God with a dead heart; making great requests, but he forgets them as soon as he closes, and is not at all curious as to what became of them, and whether they were accepted or not.
And can there be a more shocking, impious, and daring conduct than this? For a criminal to catch flies or play with a feather when pleading with his judge for his pardon, would be but a faint shadow of such religious trifling! What are such prayers but solemn mockeries and disguised insults? And yet, is not this the usual method in which many address the great God! The words proceed no farther than from their tongue: they do not pour them out from the bottom of their hearts; they have no life or spirit in them, and they hardly ever reflect upon their meaning. And when they have talked away to God in this manner, they will have it to pass for a prayer.
But surely such prayers must bring down a curse upon them instead of a blessing: such sacrifices must be an abomination to the Lord, (Prov. 15:8) and it is astonishing that he withholds judgment for so long.
2. The second example is with regard to the Word of God.
You acknowledge that it is divine; you profess it to be the standard of your religion, and the most excellent book in the world. Now, if this is the case, it is God that speaks to you; it is God that sends you a message when you are reading or hearing his word.
How impious and provoking then must it be to neglect it, to let it lie by you as an old, useless book, or to read it in a careless, superficial manner, and hear it with an inattentive, wandering mind? How would you take it, if you should write instructions to your child, and he should not so much as carefully read them, or try to understand them? And do not some of you treat the sacred oracles in this way?
One would think you would be all attention and reverence to every word; you would drink it in, and thirst for it as new-born infants for their mother's milk; you would feel its energy, and acquire the character of that happy man to whom the God of heaven promises to look; you would tremble at his word.
It reveals the only way of being saved; it contains the only contract for all your blessings. In short, you have the greatest personal interest in It, and can you be unconcerned hearers of it? Surely, were you to consider this carefully, your reason and conscience must condemn such senselessness and indifference as inconsistent, and outrageously wicked.
And now let me remind you of that challenge at the beginning of this sermon, that if it should not offer enough proof, you might go on in your lukewarmness; but if your own reason should be fully convinced that such an attitude is most wicked and unreasonable, then you might indulge in it at your peril.
What do you say to this now?
Are you disturbed at the thought of that bland, formal, spiritless religion you have until now been contented with? And do you not see the necessity of following the advice of Christ to the Laodicean church, be zealous, be fervent for the future, and repent, bitterly repent of what is past?
To urge this the more, I have two more considerations in reserve, of no small weight.
1. First, consider the difficulties and dangers in your way.
If you saw for a moment the difficulty of the work of your salvation, and the great danger of failing in it, you could not be so indifferent about it, nor could you persuade yourselves that such lazy endeavours will ever succeed.
It is a labour, a striving, a race, a warfare; so it is called in the Scriptures: but would there be any sense in these expressions if it were a path of laziness and inactivity? Consider, you have strong lusts to be subdued, an hard heart to be broken, a variety of graces which you are entirely destitute of to be implanted and cherished, and that in an unnatural soil where they will not grow without careful cultivation, and that you have many temptations to be encountered and resisted. In short, you must be made new men, quite other creatures than you now are.
And do you think that this work can be successfully performed while you make such faint and feeble efforts? Indeed God is the Agent, and all your best endeavours can never bring about the blessed change without him. But his assistance is not to be expected in the neglect, or careless use of means, nor is it intended to encourage idleness, but rather, activity and labour; and when he comes to work, he will soon inflame your hearts, and put an end to your lukewarmness.
Again, your dangers are also great and many; you are in danger from presumption and from despondency; from coldness, from lukewarmness, and from false fires and enthusiastic delusions; in danger from self-righteousness, and from open wickedness, from your own corrupt hearts, from this ensnaring world, and from the temptations of the devil: you are in great danger of sleeping on in security without ever being thoroughly awakened; or, if you should be awakened, you are in danger of resting short of vital religion; and in either of these cases you are undone forever.
In a word, dangers thickly surround you from everywhere, from every side; dangers, into which thousands, millions of your fellow-men have fallen and never recovered. Indeed, all things considered, it is very doubtful whether you will ever be saved who are now lukewarm and secure; I do not mean that your success is uncertain if you can be brought to use means with proper earnestness; but it is to be feared; it is awfully uncertain whether ever you will be brought to use them in this way.
And can you continue secure and inactive when you have such difficulties to encounter with, in a work of so absolutely necessary, and when you are surrounded with so many and so great dangers? Are you ready to risk such awful destruction? If you only knew the true nature of the case! This knowledge would quickly fire you up with the greatest ardor, and make you all life and vigour in this important work.
2. In the second place, consider how earnest and active men are in other pursuits.
Were we to form a judgment of the faculties of human nature by the conduct of the most people in religion, we should be apt to conclude that men are mere snails, and that they have no active powers belonging to them.
But look at them with respect to other affairs, and you find they are all life, fire, and hurry. What labour and toil! what schemes and complex plans! what concern about success! what fears of disappointment! hands, heads, hearts, are all busy. And all this to obtain those enjoyments which at best they cannot hold on to very long, and which the next hour may tear from them.
To acquire a name or a crown, to obtain riches or honours, what hardships are undergone! what dangers dared! what rivers of blood shed! how many millions of lives have been lost! and how many more endangered! In short, the world is all alive, all in motion with business.
On sea and land, at home and abroad, you will find men eagerly pursuing some temporal good. They grow grey-headed, and die in the attempt without reaching their end; but this disappointment does not discourage the survivors and successors; still they will continue, or renew the endeavour.
Now here, in these things, men act like themselves; and they show how they are alive, and capable of great activity. And will they, in this way, be zealous and hard at work in the pursuit of earthly vanities, and be quite indifferent and sluggish in the infinitely more important concerns of eternity?
What, concerned about a mortal body, but careless about an immortal soul! Eager in pursuit of joys of a few years, but careless and negligent in seeking an immortality of perfect happiness! Anxious to avoid poverty, shame, sickness, pain, and all the evils, real or imaginary, of the present life; but indifferent about a whole eternity of the most intolerable misery!
Surely you must see the destructive folly, the daring wickedness of such a conduct! Is religion the one thing which demands the utmost exertion of all your powers, and tragically! is that the only thing in which you will be dull and inactive?
Is everlasting happiness the only thing about which you will be careless? Is eternal punishment the only misery which you are indifferent as to whether you escape it or not? Is God the only good which you pursue with faint and lazy desires if at all? You must see that this makes no sense at all.
You can love the world; you can love a father, a child, or a friend; indeed, you can love that abominable, hateful thing, sin: these you can love with ardor, serve with pleasure, pursue with eagerness, and with all your might; but the ever-blessed God, and the Lord Jesus, your best friend, you put off with a lukewarm heart and spiritless services. This truly ought not to be.
What is this that has befallen God’s own creatures, that they are so alienated from him? What has Jesus done that he should be treated in this way? And what will be the consequence of such a conduct? Will that God take you into his intimate love? Will that Jesus save you by his blood, whom you make so little of? No, you may go and seek a heaven where you can find it; for God will give you none. Go, fend for yourselves, or look for a Saviour where you will; Jesus will have nothing to do with you, except to take care to inflict proper punishment upon you if you continue in this lukewarm attitude towards him.
As we come to a close, here are four last observations and exhortations, for our benefit and encouragement:
1. First, remember the vanity and wickedness of a lukewarm religion.
Though you should profess the best religion that ever came from heaven, it will not save you; rather, it will condemn you all the more if you are lukewarm in it. This spirit of indifference diffused through it, turns it all into deadly poison. Your religious duties are all abominable to God while your hearts are not in them. Your prayers are insults, and he will answer them as such by terrible things in righteousness. And do any of you hope to be saved by such a religion? I tell you from the God of truth, it will be so far from saving you, that it will certainly ruin you forever: continue as you are till the end, and you will be as certainly damned to all eternity as Judas, or Beelzebub, or any spirit in hell. But sadly, in the second place,
2. How common, how fashionable is this lukewarm religion!
This is the prevailing, epidemic sin of our age and country, and it is well if it has not the same fatal effect upon us as it had upon Laodicea: Laodicea lost its liberty, its religion, and its all. Therefore let us hear and fear, and endeavor to not associate with this wicked world.
The prevailing religion of this land, Canada, is generally of the Laodicean kind; they are neither cold nor hot. But it is our first concern to know how it is with ourselves; therefore let this question go round this small assembly: Are you not such lukewarm Christians? Is there any fire and life in your devotions? Or is not all your energy and attention engrossed by other pursuits? —Look at this impartially, no one else can do it. It is your own personal matter and infinitely more depends upon it than upon your physical life.
3. In the third place, If you have until now been possessed with this Laodicean spirit, I intreat you to indulge in it no longer.
You have seen that it mars all your religion, and will end in your eternal ruin: and I hope you are not so hardened as to end up being proof of this principle. Why do you hesitate so long between two opinions? Would that you were either cold or hot. Either apply yourself seriously to the work of religion, or do not pretend to it.
Why should you profess a religion which is nothing but a secondary, indifferent thing with you? Such a religion is good for nothing. Therefore awake, arise, exert yourselves. Strive to enter in at the narrow gate; strive earnestly, or you are shut out for ever. Infuse heart and spirit into your religion. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might. (Ecc 9:10) Now, this moment, while my voice sounds in your ears, now begin the vigorous initiative.
Now collect all the vigour of your souls, and breathe it out in such a prayer as this, "Lord, fire this heart with your love." Prayer is a good way to start: for let me remind you of what we should never forget, that God is the only Author of this sacred fire; it is only he that can quicken you: therefore run to him in with all earnestness, and never desist:, never grow weary until you succeed.
4. And lastly, Let the best of us lament our lukewarmness, and earnestly seek more fervour of spirit.
Some of you have a little life; you enjoy some warm and vigorous moments; and when they come, they are divinely sweet. But reflect how soon your spirits droop, your devotion cools, and your zeal languishes. Think of this, and be humble: think of this, and pray for more life. You know where to go. Christ is your life: therefore pray to him for more of it. “Lord Jesus! a little more life, a little more vital heat to a languishing foul." Those who take this path shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)