“If you here stop, and ask yourselves, why you are not as pious as the primitive Christians were, your own heart will tell you, that it is neither through ignorance nor through inability, but purely because you never thoroughly intended it.”
So wrote William Law in his 1728 book, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life.
We have more resources than the Christians in the first century. The printing press, radio, television, Internet.
Life is easier than theirs was. Air conditioning, automobiles, telephones, spacious homes.
We have the complete New Testament for our guidance. The Bible is widely available, in more translations that we can shake a stick at.
Persecution occurs in some places, but many of us are free to practice and proclaim our faith.
So if we are not as dedicated as they, if the church doesn’t grow today as it did then, if God doesn’t do great things through us as he did through them, only one explanation suffices: the fault lies within ourselves.
As William Law says it, if we are not what we should be, it is purely because we never thoroughly intended it.
This, then, calls not for self-pity, nor cries for mercy, but repentance.
“… unless you repent, you will all perish as well!” (Luke 13:3,5 NET).
Why are we not as dedicated as the first-century Christians?