True religion

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Blueridge Believer

Puritan Board Professor
(J. A. James, "The Young Man Leaving Home" 1844)

True religion is . . .

It is a thing of the heart—and not merely
external religious forms.

True religion is a living principle in the soul . . .
influencing the mind,
alluring the affections,
guiding the will,
directing and enlightening the conscience.

True religion is a supreme—not a subordinate matter.
It demands and obtains the throne of the soul. It guides
the whole character—and requires the whole man and all
his conduct to be in subordination.

True religion is not an occasional thing—but habitual.
It takes up its abode in the heart—and not merely
visits it at certain times and at particular seasons.

True religion is not a partial thing—but universal.
It does not confine itself to certain times, places,
and occasions—but forms an integral part of the
character—and blends with everything we do.

True religion is noble and lofty—not an abject,
servile, and groveling thing. It communes . . .
with God,
with truth,
with holiness,
with heaven,
with eternity,
with infinity!

True religion is a happy—and not a melancholy thing.
It gives peace that passes understanding, and joy that
is unspeakable, and full of glory!

True religion is a durable—and not a transient thing. It . . .
passes with us through life,
lies down with us on the pillow of death,
rises with us at the last day, and
dwells in our souls in heaven as the very element of eternal life!

Such is true religion—the most sublime thing in the
world—sent down to be our comforter on earth—and our
guide to everlasting life through all this gloomy valley!


Puritan Board Doctor
Which reminds me of:

Man has been called, and perhaps with some truth, a religious animal. Religion of some kind, at any rate, seems almost indispensable to his very existence; for from the most civilized nation to the most barbarous tribe upon the face of the earth, we find some form of religion practised. Whether this be engrained into the very constitution of man, or whether it be received by custom or tradition, I will not pretend to decide; but that some kind of religion is almost universally prevalent, is a fact that cannot be denied.

But is there not true religion as well as false? If the great bulk of mankind are wrapped up in a false religion, is there not a "remnant according to the election of grace," that possesses the true? Has that promise failed in its accomplishment, "A seed shall serve him?" (Psa. 22:30.) Does not the Lord Jesus Christ still reign at God's right hand, full of gifts and grace? And has he not promised to be with his church and people even to the end of the world? Thus, though it is perfectly true that the great bulk of mankind follow after shadows, yet there are a few whose souls are really intent upon substance. If there are those who are given up to believe a lie, there are those that love the truth; and if there are those who worship they know not what, there is still "the true circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."

I think that we find these two kinds of religion, false and true, earthly and heavenly, fleshly and spiritual, natural and supernatural, discriminated in the words before us. For it seems as though the Apostle calls false religion "bodily exercise," and tells Timothy that this bodily exercise "profiteth little;" and by way of contradistinction to this false religion, this bodily exercise that "profiteth little," he exhorts him to "exercise himself rather unto godliness," assuring him, that "godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."

J.C. Philpot - The Exercise and Profit of Godliness


Puritan Board Post-Graduate
My :2cents: worth, to your eloquent post, J. M.: as the common definition of "religion" has changed since 1844 and become more of a pejorative term (especially with "equal consideration for Islam, Buddhism, all false gospels, etc., etc." added as a necessary ingredient to the religion "mix") perhaps, to 21st century Christians, "faith in Christ" could be substituted here... In just 160+ years, sadly, "religion" is no longer "the Christian faith." Obviously, only faith in Christ avails - and our society drifts farther and farther from an understanding of Christian faith by the day...

But the day will come - and King Jesus will return! :)
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