Repentance is but a kind of table-talk, till we see so much of the deformity of our inward nature as to be in some degree frightened and terrified at the sight of it. . . . A plausible form of an outward life, that has only learned rules and modes of religion by use and custom, often keeps the soul for some time at ease, though all its inward root and ground of sin has never been shaken or molested, though it has never tasted of the bitter waters of repentance and has only known the want of a Saviour by hearsay. But things cannot pass thus: sooner or later repentance must have a broken and a contrite heart; we must with our blessed Lord go over the brook Cedron, and with Him sweat great drops of sorrow before He can say for us, as He said for Himself: "It is finished."
It has been too much the custom to regard the earliest Christian books as written in a specially Christian form of speech, standing apart and distinguishable from the common language of the eastern Roman provinces. Had that been the case, it is not too bold to say that the new religion could not have conquered the Empire. It was because Christianity appealed direct to the people, addressed them in their own language, and made itself comprehensible to them on their own plane of thought, that it met the needs and filled the heart of the Roman world.
Be sure of the foundation of your life. Know why you live as you do. Be ready to give a reason for it. Do not, in such a matter as life, build an opinion or custom on what you guess is true. Make it a matter of certainty and science.
Nigel gave the lamp a cautious buff and small smoking red letters appeared in the air. "Hi," Nigel read aloud, "Do not put down the lamp because your custom is important to us. Please leave a wish after the tone and, very shortly, it will be our command. In the meantime, have a nice eternity."