Checking Religious Experience

Jonathan Edwards points out the dangers of focusing on religious experience rather than on the one who provides the experience. The first leads to self and a dependence on a certain type o experience, the other to an unwavering faith regardless of a current emotional rush.

And hence it comes to pass, that in their rejoicings and elevations, hypocrites are wont to keep their eye upon themselves; having received what they call spiritual discoveries, their minds are taken up about their own experiences; and not the glory of God, or the beauty of Christ. They keep thinking with themselves, What a good experience is this! What a great discoerey is this! What wonderful things have I met with! And so they put their experiences in the place of Christ, his beauty and fulness. Instead of rejoicing in Christ Jesus, they rejoice in their admirable experiences. Instead of feeding and feasting their soul in viewing the innate, sweet, refreshing amiableness of the things exhibited in the gospel, they view them only ast it were side-ways. The object that fixes their contemplation, is their experience; and they are ever feeding their souls, and feasting a selfish principle, with a view of their discoveries. They take more comfort in their discoveries than in Christ discovered.

–from The Religious Affections

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