Righteousness without Grace - by JN Darby
RIGHTEOUSNESS WITHOUT GRACE
John N Darby
The whip and the scourge may be righteous; but there is no winning the heart of man with these. Nor is it righteousness which reigns among the saints of God, but grace through righteousness unto eternal life. Alas! how many sins that might have been washed away (John 13) have been retained! How many brethren alienated for all time, who might have been won back to God and to us, because we have hammered at the conscience merely, with the heart ungained -with the heart, I may say, almost unsought! We have not overcome evil, because we have not overcome it with good. We have taken readily the judge's chair and have got back judgment; but the Master's lowly work we have little done.
But how little yet do we understand that mere righteous dealing - absolutely righteous, as it may be - will not work the restoration of souls; that judgment, however temperate and true, will not touch and soften and subdue hearts to receive instruction, which, by the very facts of the case, are shown not to be in their true place before God. Man is not all conscience; and conscience reached, with the heart away, will do what it did with the first sinner among men - drive him out among the trees of the garden to escape the unwelcome voice.