I needed no monkish rules then.
Falling Rain and the Budding Earth")
A man may . . .
have a consistent profession of religion,
have a sound, well ordered creed,
be a member of a Christian church,
attend to all ordinances and duties,
seek to frame his life according to God's word,
have his family prayer, and private prayer,
be a good husband, father, and friend,
be liberal and kind to God's cause and people,
and yet with all this bear no fruit Godwards.
What is all this but pitiful self-holiness?
Real gospel fruit is only produced by the word
of God's grace falling into the heart, watering
and softening it. Without this there is . . .
not one gracious feeling,
not one spiritual desire,
not one tender thought,
not one heavenly affection.
We have tried, perhaps, to make ourselves holy.
We have watched our eyes, our ears, our tongues;
have read so many chapters every day out of God's
word; continued so long upon our knees; and so
tried to work a kind of holiness into our own souls.
Many years ago, I used to try to pray for the better
part of an hour; and I am ashamed to say, I have
been glad to hear the clock strike. What was this
but a monkish, self-imposed rule, to please God
by the length of my prayers?
But when the Lord was pleased to touch my conscience
with His finger, He gave me a remarkable spirit of grace
and supplication; I needed no monkish rules then.