Half Obedience Will Not Do, But Undo

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The Rev. Benjamin Needler, Puritan Sermons, I:66, 67:

The reason why men indulge any one lust is,—because they pick and cull their duties, and so indeed serve not the will of God, but their own choice. O! how many are there that answer the Lord with half obedience! like the echo, which makes not a perfect respondence of the voice, but of some part thereof. Many make such a difference amongst the tables [of the Decalogue], as if only one side or one part were of God’s writing. O sirs! this will not do, this will undo. The man that, like Agrippa, doth but almost believe, almost repent, almost conform to the will of God, that man shall be saved proportionably almost! One sin unrepented of will cause you to miscarry to all eternity. One crack in a bell may make it unserviceable, untunable; and till it be new-cast, it is good for nothing. One wound may kill your bodies, and so may one sin your souls. O Christians! what had become of you and me, if Jesus Christ had satisfied the justice of God for all but one sin? . . . . No mercy to be expected from this scripture, unless a man turn away from all his transgressions. The vessel of honour is distinguished from the vessel of dishonour, by this character, that it is “sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good work,” (2 Tim. 2:21) . . . . Halting in religion is a troublesome, deformed, dangerous gesture; and there is no cure for this like cutting-off the right foot.

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