The struggles of the compiler over his hypocrisy
The early chapters of this book, compiled from the original written in the 1600s and modernised with the addition of commentary, left me totally “out for the count”. On first reading them in the original volume, I identified myself very clearly as hypocritical, and saw no chance of completing my reading – indeed, I wished with all my power to get rid of the book. And yet, I felt, I must walk this road to its end. Though it was causing me pain, I wanted to, I had to, expose my whole life before God. And who knows, perhaps I might just have one or two of the characteristics of a saint!
And indeed that was also to be. It took me more than two weeks to absorb this publication, in its original modest dimensions. I frequently judged myself guilty!, had to subject myself to introspection, and then gather strength all over again to continue reading. Out of the thirteen characteristics of a hypocrite set forth in the book, I was guilty of all except for a modest four! I wrestled with this for weeks on end: the certainty of my salvation was far, very far away. This small volume brought my deepest two-facedness and my deepest falsities to the surface and exposed them horrifyingly – flaunted them before me day and night. How would I ever be able to look God in the eye?
Four out of thirteen!
A failure mark – as if 50% was the pass-mark!
Gradually it percolated through to me that on the one hand 100% would imply that I was perfect. On the other hand, I really would like to have 100%, at least in these thirteen respects. Wasn’t the Holy Spirit revealing this low score to me specifically so that I could work on it? These were aspects of my defences against Satan of which I should take note, to which I should give my attention, that I had to make right – and for which the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit was at my disposal!
I worked through the contents point by point, and prayed earnestly for relief, for salvation. Relinquishing my besetting sin was the worst, but this time, this last time that the Holy Spirit spoke to me about it, I would finally listen, heed Him, and give it up. (In the past, when I ignored the voice of the Spirit on it, it was always the start of a long period of spiritual drought – and frequently caused more depression than any ‘pleasure’ which the besetting sin provided.)
Today I can say I have conquered: my wounds were cared for and have recovered well, and the scars are becoming ever less visible; my bruises have cleared up and my relationship with the Father, through the Son, is better and more intimate than ever before.
And this, dear reader, is my wish for you, and the reason why I compiled and published this small book. May you receive the same rich blessing from it as I have, and may your wounds and bruises heal rapidly!