Piety

For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
~ 1 Corinthians 4:7

The Practice of Piety, by Lewis Bayly. 1611.

So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. ~ Romans 9:16-18

For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. ~ Titus 3:3-7

We are all, fashioned from the same mold, hewed out of the same rock, made as it were, of the same cloth. The path of the scissors making the only difference between one person an another. It is therefore only the sovereign love and grace of God, which makes all the difference between us. No believer should ever insolently demean the unsaved, who, like miserable drudges, allow their corrupt nature to carry them to any villainy, lust, or lewd course; and who damn themselves in the devil’s slavery! Alas! our hearts should bleed within us at beholding so many around us imbruing their cruel hands in the blood of their own souls–by their ignorance, worldliness, drunkenness, lust, unbelief and scoffing at true religion. What heart, except it be hewed out of the hardest rock, or has sucked the bosom of merciless tigers; but would yearn and weep to see a man made of the same mold with himself, willfully, as it were, against a thousand warnings, and God’s many compassionate invitations–cast himself, body and soul, into the endless, easeless, and remediless miseries of Hell? We should the rather pity and pray for such a one who follows the bent of his own evil heart–to his own everlasting perdition! It is only the sovereign mercy, goodness, and grace of God which has made the difference between them and us. If God should give us over to the unbridled current of our corrupt nature–we might be worse than them, and run riot in this world of wickedness. If the same God visits them in mercy–they may become every way as godly, or better than us.

But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:10

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