Continually churning up mire and dirt!
(John Angell James, "Christian Love" 1828)
"The wicked are like the troubled sea, which cannot
rest, whose waves are continually churning up mire
and dirt." Isaiah 57:20
Until the carnal mind, which is enmity against God,
is regenerated and brought to love God supremely,
there can be no true happiness or peace. As long as
the heart is under the dominion of selfishness, and
all those lusts and passions to which it gives rise,
it must be miserable!
In the absence of Christian love, the human bosom
must be the seat of uneasiness and distress.
Happiness does not arise from possessions, so much
as from dispositions. Happiness is not what a man has,
or where he dwells--but what he IS. The great source
and springs of felicity, are rooted in our nature. There
are certain dispositions, the absence of which would
render heaven a place of torment to us; and others,
which would raise for us an Eden in the midst of the
dreariest wilderness on earth.
It is true that many, in the absence of Christian love,
pretend to some kind of enjoyment, and have it too;
for there are 'pleasures of sin', such as they are. But
as to solid happiness--that which befits and satisfies
a rational, moral, and immortal creature--it may with
the greatest truth be affirmed, that the wicked are
like the troubled sea which cannot rest--but is
continually churning up mire and dirt!
As well may we expect quietude and comfort in a den
of wild beasts, or in a field of battle--as in a heart
where the vile passions of anger, wrath, malice, envy,
pride, and revenge--have taken up their abode and
predominate. How demon-like is the feeling when
these turbulent evil passions gain the ascendancy!
What agitation and what torment are the result!
"The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual
immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and
witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage,
selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy;
drunkenness, orgies, and the like." Galat. 5:19-21