Monday, September 24, 2012

"Unworthy of the regard of my Christian friends" . . . James Brainerd Taylor's self-astonishment and wonderment

In his diary on November 18, 1820, the 19-year-old Lawrenceville Academy (N.J.) student and striving uncommon Christian James Brainerd Taylor (1801-1829) wrote,
I feel myself, as heretofore, unworthy of the regard of my Christian friends; and at times I am astonished that any should love such a one as I am. Surely if they could see me as I sometimes see myself, they would wonder too. Alas! in all things I come short, and in many I offend.
Yet I bless the Lord for what he has done for me, and I rely on his grace to make me more like himself. My soul daily pants for more holiness, more devotedness to the cause of my Redeemer; and through him I do hope to be made useful.
*John Holt Rice and Benjamin Holt Rice, Memoir of James Brainerd Taylor, 2nd Ed. (NY: American Tract Society, 1833), 52-53.

When it comes to Christian friends and being a friend of God (James 2:23), may such J. B. Taylor-like humility and self-amazement characterize all present-day uncommon Christians.
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
John 15:12-15 (words of Jesus Christ)

Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
                              1 Peter 5:5b-7

Appropriately, here is the song "Friends" (1983) by the contemporary Christian recording artist Michael W. Smith: