Sermon Illustrations

Now, I saw that there would be no answer to me till I had entire purity of conscience, and no longer regarded any iniquity whatsoever in my heart. I saw that there were some secret affections still left in me that were spoiling all. I passed nearly twenty years of my life on this stormy sea, constantly tossed with the tempest of my own heart, and never nearing the harbor. I had so sweetness in God, and certainly no sweetness in sin. All my tears did not hold me back from sin when the opportunity returned; till I came to look on my tears as little short of a delusion. And yet they were not a delusion. It was the goodness of the Lord to give me such compunction, even when it was not, as yet, accompanied with complete reformation. But the whole root of my evil lay in my not thoroughly avoiding all occasions and opportunities of sin. I spent eighteen years in that miserable attempt to reconcile God and my life of sin. Now, out of all that, I will say to you, never cease from prayer, be your life ever so bad. Prayer is the only way to amend your life: and without prayer, it will never be amended. I ought to have utterly and thoroughly distrusted, and suspected and detested myself. I sought for help. I sometimes took great pains to get help. But I did not understand of how little use all that is unless we utterly root out all confidence in ourselves, and place our confidence at once, and for ever, and absolutely, in God. Those were eighteen most miserable years with me. (From Lord, Teach Us To Pray, p. 200, Alexander Whyte, published Oct. 1922)