“All things are lawful for me — but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me — but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 Corinthians 6:12
Many that are well affected to religion and receive instructions of piety with pleasure and satisfaction, often wonder how it comes to pass that they make no greater progress in that religion which they so much admire. Now the reason for it is because religion lives only in their head and something else has possession of their heart. And therefore they continue, from year to year, mere admirers and praisers of piety, without ever coming up to the reality and perfection of its precepts.
If it be asked why religion does not get possession of their hearts, the reason is not because they live in gross sins or debaucheries (for their regard to religion preserves them from such disorders) — but because their hearts are constantly perverted and kept in a bad state by the wrong use of such things that are lawful. For our souls may receive very great hurt, merely by the abuse of innocent and lawful things.
- What is more innocent than rest and retirement? Yet what is more dangerous than sloth and idleness?
- What is more lawful than eating and drinking? Yet what is more destructive of virtue than sensuality and indulgence?
- Care in the management of a family is certainly commendable; yet what is so prejudicial as an anxious worldly temper?
Reader, follow the apostle and be on your guard as it respects even lawful things. Let them not engage you beyond due measure.
Devotion by Karl Heinrich von Bogatzky (1690—1774)
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