The Practical Believer Delineated by John Angell James PDFThe substance of the following little treatise was given to my congregation some few years since, in a course of week-day sermons. It occurred to me at the time that perhaps what had instructed my own flock might be of some small service to others; but for some reason or other the matter was laid aside. The intention then conceived is now fulfilled, though amid innumerable occupations, and some painful circumstances in my relative circle.
The design of this work is to aid the Christian in the practice of theology, rather than the theologian in the study of it. I write for the disciple, not for the teacher. To awaken the sinner, guide the inquirer, and aid the believer in the path of life—rather than to lead the student through the intricate labyrinths of controversy or into the depths of profound Biblical knowledge—is the highest object which my literary ambition has ever led me to seek, or my own consciousness will ever lead me to hope that I can obtain.
In this work I have selected what none will deny is the great principle of the spiritual life, of the Christian character, and of holy conduct. There is such a thing as the spiritual life. A religious profession is nothing apart from it. Without this, however correct may be its outward form and expression, it is a picture or a statue; it may be a beautiful one, but it is dead. Faith is the expression of this life, or rather it is the principle of life itself which develops in all other expressions of it. The spiritual life is subject of course to all the varieties which mark the course of our physical vitality; and hence the reality of what is called 'experimental religion' or 'religious experience'. There is perhaps no subject less understood or more abused than this.
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