Sunday, February 15, 2009

affections of the heart

"A person who has a knowledge of doctrine and theology only--without religious affection--has never engaged in true religion.... I am bold in saying this, but I believe that no one is ever changed, either by doctrine, by hearing the Word, or by the preaching or teaching of another, unless the affections are moved by these things. No one ever seeks salvation, no one ever cries for wisdom, no one ever wrestles with God, no one ever kneels in prayer or flees from sin, with a heart that remains unaffected. In a word, there is never any great achievement by the things of religion without a heart deeply affected by those things." - Jonathan Edwards

"Jonathan Edwards teaches us that the intellectual life and the passionate life should be friends, not enemies. Without the slightest contradiction it is possible to be both tough-minded and tenderhearted. What we learn to do is descend with the mind into the heart and there wait in anticipation for the heavenly Whisper. We worship God with brain and viscera!

"We today desperately need this lesson because a modern myth abounds that true objectivity must be passionless. As a result, we analyze and dissect the spiritual life without the slightest personal involvement or commitment and think we understand it. But the spiritual life cannot be understood in this detached way. We understand by commitment. And we enter into commitment and sustain commitment by what Edwards rightly calls 'holy affections.'" - Richard Foster

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