(Thomas Reade, "Christian Meditations")
It is comparatively easy to live in
the form of godliness....
to attend the service of the sanctuary,
to pray in private and in the family,
to read the Scriptures,
to associate with religious people,
to talk about religion, and
to give alms to the poor.
These duties can be performed, yet
the heart may not be right with God.
Experience affords abundant proof,
that all this may be done....
from a principle of self righteousness;
from a principle of vainglory;
from a desire to be seen of men,
and to obtain a name.
To ascertain my real character, I must look
into the heart. Do I labor to perform these
outward duties with a single eye to the favor
and glory of God?
The flame of vainglory, which is
the pride of fallen nature, is fanned and
increased by the suggestions of Satan, and
kept alive by the praises of men. Oh! how
difficult it is, to keep down this unhallowed fire!
Even when we think it is quenched, it is still
smoldering beneath the embers, ready to burst
forth at the least blast of Satan's temptations.