Thursday, January 21, 2010


When a man has all other excellencies, when the grace of God has wrought in him all other virtues, then zeal is still needed to elevate and perfect his entire manhood. Behold the altar, built of unhewn stones, and after God’s own law; behold the wood laid thereon; see the victim slain and the blood flowing; but you cannot make a sacrifice without fire — unless the fire from heaven shall perfect the sacrificial preparations, all will be useless.

Behold in the altar the figure of the man; he has faith, courage, love, consecration; but if he lacks the fire of fervent zeal his life will be a failure; he will remain an offering unconsumed, and consequently worthless and unaccepted. By this, indeed, may you know the genuine from the false when other things might raise a question: the false is like the altar of Baal whereon there is much wood and a well fed bullock, and around it are active genuflexions and vigorous ritualisms, but there is no true fire from heaven; while the true is like the altar of Elias, upon which, in answer to fervent prayers, the hallowed flames descend. One of the first requisites of an earnest, successful, soul-winning man, must be zeal. As well a chariot without its steeds, a sun without its beams, a heaven without its joy, as a man of God without zeal.

From a sermon entitled "The Best Cloak," delivered. Image by Kevin Dolley under Creative Commons License.

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