Today I find an obscure and rare little document written in 1650 by R. Wilkinson, a member of the British army. He composed an 81 page paper entitled, The Saint’s Travel to the Land of Canaan: Wherein are Discovered Seventeen False Rests.
The university library happens to have the images of this old text, and although it’s hard to read, I find myself fascinated by Wilkinson’s list of where the soul is tempted to “rest” apart from Christ alone. His language is much more beautiful and complicated than my notes, but essentially, Wilkinson warns the Christian of the “false rests” we base our hope, peace, and joy upon.
These false rests include feeling superior to others, our obedience, our spiritual gifting, our right theology, our mystical experiences, our feeling of special deliverance, our skills, our large and thriving ministry, our shame or regret over sin, or even our application of certain biblical promises for Israel that were never meant for individuals. In these things, we often find a false security and a counterfeit peace.
(Wilkinson, by the way, influenced Hannah Whitall Smith who adds to this list such false rests as reputation, knowledge, and wealth.)
In the end, I’m challenged to think about from where my rest actually comes.
I need not work for it or manufacture it. Instead I remember Psalm 62:5 and how “my soul finds rest in God alone; my hope comes from him.” Or I note how, in Isaiah 63:14, the people “were given rest by the Spirit of the Lord.” Even more specifically, I apply Matthew 11:28 where Jesus says, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Finally, in Hebrews, we’re told to enter “his rest” repeatedly.
So there you have it: I enter in and receive it.