These are some great thoughts from Puritan Samuel Annesley (c. 1620-1696) on how we can find spiritual rest. (By the way, one of Samuel’s daughters, Susanna, was the mother of John and Charles Wesley, making Samuel Annesley the grandfather of John Wesley.)
How can we live with a conscience that is pacified by the blood of Christ? Christians, be persuaded to practice these:
1. Take heed of every sin, count no sin small.
2. Set upon the healing duty of repentance.
3. Compose thyself to live as under God. You cannot deceive him, for he is Infinite Wisdom; you cannot fly from him, for he is everywhere; you cannot bribe him, for he is Righteousness itself.
4. Be serious and frequent in the examination of your heart and life. This is so necessary to the getting and keeping of a right and peaceable conscience, that it is impossible to have either without it.
5. Be much in prayer, in all manner of prayer, but especially in private prayer.
6. Let your whole life be a preparation for heaven. Strip yourself of all encumbrances, that thou mayest attend unto piety. Pleasures may tickle you for a while; but they have a heart-aching farewell. You may call your riches good; but within a few days, what good will they do you? Men may flatter you for your greatness; but with God your account will be the greater.
7. Live more upon Christ than upon inherent grace. Do not venture upon sin because Christ hath purchased a pardon; that is a most horrible and impious abuse of Christ.
8. Be, every way, nothing in your own eyes. It is the humble soul that thrives exceedingly. And, alas! what have we to be proud of?
9. Entertain good thoughts of God. We never arrive to any considerable holiness or peace till we lose ourselves in Deity;
10. Do all you do out of love to God. Spiritual love-sickness is the soul’s most healthy constitution. When love to God is the cause, means, motive, and end of all our activity then the soul takes flight towards rest.
O my soul, you are so little, why won’t you open all your little doors; why won’t you extend your utmost capacity, that you mayest be wholly possessed, wholly satiated, wholly ravished with the sweetness of so great love?
O, therefore, my most loving God, I beseech thee, tell me what may most effectually draw out my love to thee, considering what prevention of love, what privative, positive good things I receive from thee, infinite in greatness, infinite in multitude!
This post originally appeared on The Park Forum.
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).