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Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection
Formality: Habits of Worthless
That honored servant of Christ, Richard Knill, notes in his journal the following amusing incident of the force of habit, as exemplified in his horse. 'Mr. and Mrs. Loveless would have me live with them, but they charged me very little for my board, whereby I was enabled, with my salary, to support seven native schools. These were so situated that I could visit them all in one day. My horse and gig were seen constantly on the rounds; and my horse at last knew where to stop as well as I did. This nearly cost a Bengal officer his life. Captain Page, a godly man, who was staying with us until a ship was ready to take him to the Cape, one morning requested me to lend him my horse and gig to take him to the city. The captain was driving officer-like, when the horse stopped suddenly, and nearly threw him out. He inquired, 'What place is this?' The answer was, 'It's the Sailors' Hospital.' They started again, and soon the horse stopped suddenly, and the captain was nearly out as before. 'What's this?': ' A school, sir,' was the reply. At last he finished his business, and resolved to return another way. By doing this he came near my schools, and again and again the horse stopped. When he got home, he said, 'I am glad that I have returned without broken bones, but never will I drive a religious horse again.'
Persons who go to places of worship from mere habit and without entering into the devotions of the service, may here see that their religion is only such as a horse may possess, and a horse's religion will never save a man.
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Spurgeon, Charles. Entry for 'Formality: Habits of Worthless'. Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fff/f/formality-habits-of-worthless.html. 1870.
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20