Thursday, December 15, 2011
The Vision (12/15/11): For what end is all this?
Henry Scougal (1650-1678) was one of those men whose star did not burn long, but it did burn brightly. Scougal was a Scottish minister and theology professor at Aberdeen when he died before reaching his 28th birthday. He left behind a book on practical holiness in the form of a letter to a friend with the title The Life of God in the Soul of Man which became a spiritual classic.
Here is an excerpt in which Scougal encourages consideration of the aim and purpose of our lives:
Amidst all our pursuits and designs, let us stop and ask ourselves, For what end is all this? At what do I aim? Can the gross and muddy pleasures of sense, or a heap of white and yellow earth, or the esteem and affection of silly creatures, like myself, satisfy a rational and immortal soul? Have I not tried these things already? Will they have a higher relish and yield me more contentment to-morrow than yesterday, or the next year than they did the last? There may be some little difference betwixt that which I am now pursuing, and that which I enjoyed before; but sure, my former enjoyments did show as pleasant, and promised as fair, before I attained them; like the rainbow, they looked very glorious at a distance, but when I approached, I found nothing but emptiness and vapor. Oh! What a poor thing would the life of man be, if it were capable of no higher enjoyments!
Scougal’s point, of course, is that man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Augustine said that our hearts are restless until they find rest in God. In our midweek meeting this week, we pondered Christ’s words to those who came to arrest him: “Whom seek ye?” (John 18:4). He still asks that of men today. In the midst of all the fullness of this season, let us find our chief end in seeking and savoring the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle