We convert our blessings into poisons

(from Octavius Winslow's, "Morning Thoughts")

"Little children, keep yourselves from idols." 1 John 5:21

An idolatrous and unsanctified attachment to the creature
has again and again crucified love to Christ in the heart.

Upon the same principle that no man can love the world
and God with a like supreme and kindred affection, so no
man can give to Christ and the creature the same intensity
of regard.

And yet, how often has the creature stolen the heart from its lawful Sovereign!

That heart that was once so simply and so supremely
the Lord's, those affections that clung to Him with such
purity and power of grasp, have now been transferred
to another and an inferior object.

The piece of clay that God had given but to deepen the
obligation, and heighten the soul's love to Himself, has
been molded into an idol, before which the heart pours
its daily incense.

The flower that He has caused to spring forth but to
endear His own beauty, and make His own name more
fragrant, has supplanted the "Rose of Sharon" in the bosom.

Oh! is it thus that we abuse our mercies?

Is it thus that we convert our blessings into poisons?

Is it thus that we allow the things that were sent to endear
the heart of our God, and to make the cross, through which
they came, more precious, to allure our affections from
their holy and blessed center?

Fools that we are, to love the creature more than the Creator!

Dear reader, why has God been disciplining you as it may
be, He has? Why has He removed your idols, crumbled into
dust your piece of clay, and blown witheringly upon your
beauteous flower?


Because He hates idolatry; and idolatry is essentially the
same, whether it be offered to a lifeless, shapeless stock,
or to a being of intellect and beauty.

And what does His voice speak in every stream that He
dries, in every plant that He blows upon, and in every
disappointment He writes upon the creature?

"My son, give me your heart. I want your love, your pure
and supreme affection. I want to be the one and only
object of your delight. I gave my Son for you; His life for
yours. I sent my Spirit to quicken, to renew, to seal, and
possess you for myself; all this I did that I might have your
heart. To possess myself of this, I have smitten your gourds,
removed your idols, broken your earthly dependences, and
have sought to detach your affections from the creature,
that they may arise, undivided and unfettered, and entwine
around One who loves you with an undying love."