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Believers themselves are ofttimes much unacquainted with holiness, either as to their apprehension of its true nature, causes, and effects, or, at least, as to their own interest and concernment therein. As we know not of ourselves the things that are wrought in us of the Spirit of God, so we seldom attend as we ought unto his instructing of us in them.
The will is as the greatest apparent good, that volition has always for its object the thing which appears most agreeable- it must be carefully observed, to avoid confusion and needless objection, that I speak of the direct and immediate object of the act of volition- and not some object to which the act of will has only an indirect and remote respect. Many acts of volition have some remote relation to an object, that is different from the thing most immediately willed and chosen.
The work of God's Holy Spirit begins with bruising. In order to be saved, the fallow ground must be plowed up. The hard heart must be broken. The rock must be split apart. An old clergyman says there is no going to heaven without passing next to the gates of hell - without a great deal of soul trouble and heart exercise. I understand the bruised reed to be a picture of the poor sinner when God first begins His operation upon the soul.
Being an Inductive Study of Our Own Times from a missionary of 40 years in China. In August, 1892 , Dr. Nevius finished his work upon this book, placed it in the hands of the present writer to arrange for its publication, and returned to China. He had thought of adding-another chapter, in which his principal argument, and its applications, should be stated more at large and concluded less abruptly- but time and health did not permit it.-The unique foundations of his book lie in a collection of indisputable facts drawn from no libraries but from life.-Yet he spent much time searching in libraries, and towards the last he did this when he greatly needed rest.
Is it that there shall be no sin in them any more-- Even this is true in some sense. Sin as unto its condemning power hath no place in this state, Romans 8-1. All the sins of them that believe are expiated or done away, as to the guilt of them, in the blood of Christ, Hebrews 1-3- 1 John 1-7. This branch of the dominion of sin, which consists in its condemning power, is utterly cast out of this state. But sin as unto its being and operation doth still continue in believers whilst they are in this world- they are all sensible of it.
There, even in heaven, dwells the God from whom every stream of holy love, yea, every drop that is, or ever was, proceeds. There dwells God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, united as one, in infinitely dear, and incomprehensible, and mutual, and eternal love.
More or less, all believers need consolation at all times because their lives are very peculiar ones. The walk of faith is one protracted miracle. The life, the conflict, the support, and the triumph of faith are all far above the vision of the eye of sense. The inner life is a world of mysteries. We see nothing beneath or before us, yet we stand upon a rock and go from strength to strength.
It is impossible for any man in whom this evil frame is found in any degree, and not sincerely endeavored against, to keep any true solid peace with God or in his own soul- what seems to be so in him is but a ruinous security. 2. That this is the high road unto final obduration and impenitency.
Stating it in its baldest form the point now to be considered is, Has God foreordained certain ones to damnation-- That many will be eternally damned is clear from Scripture, that each one will be judged according to his works and reap as he has sown, and that in consequence his -damnation is just- -Rom 3-8-, is equally sure, and that God decreed that the non-elect should choose the course they follow, we now undertake to prove.
What abominable lasciviousness have some of you been guilty of- How have you indulged yourself from day to day, and from night to night, in all manner of unclean imaginations- Has not your soul been filled with them, till it has become a hold of foul spirits, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird-- What foul-mouthed persons have some of you been, often in lewd and lascivious talk and unclean songs, wherein were things not fit to be spoken- And such company, where such conversation has been carried on, has been your delight. And with what unclean acts and practices have you defiled yourself- God and your own consciences know what abominable lasciviousness you have practised in things not fit to be named, when you have been alone- when you ought to have been reading, or meditating, or on your knees before God in secret prayer. And how have you corrupted others, as well as polluted yourselves- What vile uncleanness have you practised in company- What abominations have you been guilty of in the dark- Such as the apostle doubtless had respect to in Ephesians 5-12. -For it is a shame even to speak of those things that are done of them in secret.- Some of you have corrupted others, and done what in you lay to undo their souls, -if you have not actually done it-- and by your vile practices and example have made room for Satan, invited his presence, and established his interest, in the town where you have lived.-What lying have some of you been guilty of, especially in your childhood-
It is just with God eternally to cast off and destroy sinners.-- For this is the punishment which the law condemns to- The truth of this doctrine may appear by the joint consideration of two things, viz. Man's sinfulness, and God's sovereignty.-I. It appears from the consideration of man's sinfulness. And that whether we consider the infinitely evil nature of all sin, or how much sin men are guilty of.-1. If we consider the infinite evil and heinousness of sin in general, it is not unjust in God to inflict what punishment is deserved- because the very notion of deserving any punishment is, that it may be justly inflicted. A deserved punishment and a just punishment are the same thing. To say that one deserves such a punishment, and yet to say that he does not justly deserve it, is a contradiction- and if he justly deserves it, then it may be justly inflicted.-Every crime or fault deserves a greater or less punishment, in proportion as the crime itself is greater or less. If any fault deserves punishment, then so much the greater the fault, so much the greater is the punishment deserved. The faulty nature of any thing is the formal ground and reason of its desert of punishment- and therefore the more any thing hath of this nature, the more punishment it deserves. And therefore the terribleness of the degree of punishment, let it be never be so terrible, is no argument against the justice of it, if the proportion does but hold between the heinousness of the crime and the dreadfulness of the punishment- so that if there be any such thing as a fault infinitely heinous, it will follow that it is just to inflict a punishment for it that is infinitely dreadful.
There are a number of things which concur in this kind of hardness of heart- as, - 1. lack of readiness to receive divine impressions from the word of God. When the heart is soft and tender, it is also humble and contrite, and ready to tremble at the word of God. So it is said of Josiah that -his heart was tender,- and -he humbled himself before the LORD,- when he heard his word, 2 Kings 22-18,19. This may be lacking in some in a great measure, and they may be sensible of it. They may find in themselves a great unreadiness to comply with divine warnings, reproofs, calls. They are not affected with the word preached, but sometimes complain that they sit under it like stocks and stones.
It is very clear, Dear Friends, that these young children were not brought to Jesus Christ by their friends to be baptized. -They brought young children to him, that he should touch them,- says Mark. Matthew describes the children as being brought -that he would put his hands on them and pray,- but there is not a hint about their being baptized- no godfathers or godmothers had been provided, and no sign of the cross was requested. Surely the parents themselves knew tolerably well what it was they desired, and they would not have expressed themselves so dubiously as to ask him to touch them, when they meant that he should baptize them. The parents evidently had no thought of regeneration by baptism, and brought the children for quite another end.
A duty necessary to this end is continual prayer, and this is to be considered as to its application to the prevalency of any particular lust wherein sin doth in a peculiar manner exert its power. This is the great ordinance of God for its mortification- for, - Hereby we obtain spiritual aids and supplies of strength against it. We are not more necessarily and fervently to pray that sin may be pardoned as to its guilt, than we are that it may be subdued as to its power.
This discovery of forgiveness in God is great, holy, 'and mysterious, and which very few on gospel grounds do attain unto.-False presumptions of forgiveness discovered - Differences between them and true evangelical faith.
The Dominion of Sin and Grace Chapter 3 Part A -The first is, the daily exercise of faith on Christ as crucified. This is the great fundamental means of the mortification of sin in general, and which we ought to apply unto every particular instance of it. This the apostle discourseth at large, Romans 6-6-13. -Our old man,- saith he, -is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.- Our -old man,- or the body of sin, is the power and reign of sin in us. These are to be destroyed- that is, so mortified that -henceforth we should not serve sin,- that we should be delivered from the power and rule of it.
When we overcome the world in one way, we have not even half done our work, for the world is a Proteus, changing its shape continually. Like the chameleon, it has all the colors of the rainbow, and when you have gotten the best of the world in one shape, it will attack you in another. Until you die, you will always have fresh appearances of the world to wrestle with.
The heathen outside the pale of christendom form gods of wood and stone, while millions of heathen inside christendom manufacture a god out of their carnal minds. In reality, they are but atheists, for there is no other possible alternative between an absolutely supreme God, and no God at all. A god whose will is resisted, whose designs are frustrated, whose purpose is checkmated, possesses no title to deity, and far from being a fit object of worship, merits nothing but contempt.
Sin will make those in whom it has dominion sensible of its power, by its continual solicitation of the mind and affections with respect to that sin or those sins wherein it principally exercises its rule. Having possessed the will and inclinations of the mind with the affections, - as it doth wherever its dominion is absolute, - it continually disposes, inclines, and stirs up the mind towards those sins. It will level the bent of the whole soul towards such sins, or the circumstances of them. Nor is there a more pregnant discovery of the rule of sin in any than this, that it habitually engages the mind and affections unto a constant exercise of themselves about this or that, some sin and evil way or other.
There are two ways whereby, in general, sin acts its power and aims at the obtaining this dominion, and they are the two only ways whereby any may design or attain an unjust dominion, and they are deceit and force, both of which I have fully described in another discourse- with respect whereunto it is promised that the Lord Christ shall -deliver the souls of the poor that cry unto him from deceit and violence,- Psalm 72-12-14.
We have been slothful. We have been sparing of our toil. We have not endured hardship as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. We have not sought to gather up the fragments of our time, that not a moment might be thrown idly or unprofitably away. Precious hours and days have been wasted in sloth, in idle company, in pleasure, in idle or worthless reading, that might have been devoted to the closet, the study, the pulpit, or the meeting- Indolence, self-indulgence, fickleness, flesh pleasing have eaten like a canker into our ministry, arresting the blessing and marring our success. We have manifested but little of the unwearied, self-denying love with which, as shepherds, we ought to have watched over the flocks committed to our care. We have fed ourselves and not the flock. We have dealt deceitfully with God, whose servants we profess to be.
We are not merely counselled and recommended to pray, but bidden to pray. This is great condescension. A hospital is built- it is considered sufficient that free admission shall be given to the sick when they seek it- but no order in council is made that a man must enter its gates. A soup kitchen is well provided for in the depth of winter. Notice is promulgated that those who are poor may receive food on application- but no one thinks of passing an Act of Parliament, compelling the poor to come and wait at the door to take the charity. It is thought to be enough to proffer it without issuing any sort of mandate that men shall accept it. Yet so strange is the infatuation of man on the one hand, which makes him need a command to be merciful to his own soul, and SO marvellous is the condescension of our gracious God on the other, that He issues a command of love without which not a man of Adam born would partake of the gospel feast, but would rather starve than come.
When a people grow cold and dead with respect to religion, there generally is but little said about -it-. There will be but little said about it in families. And when neighbors meet, you shall hear but little talk about soul concerns- all the talk will be about the world. They'll be full of talk about their worldly business, about this and the other worldly design, about buying and selling. Or their tongues will be yet worse employed, in talking against their neighbor. That which men's hearts do most abound with, that their tongues will be apt to -be- employed about. When men's hearts are taken up about the world, there will be little talk about anything -else-- but if men are full of concern about spiritual and eternal things, and they have the principal possession of their hearts, it will surely be agreeable to 'em sometimes to speak of them. And when there is a warm spirit in religion, it will oftentimes be the subject of conversation. Men will naturally fall into it- Matthew 12-34, -of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh-- see Malachi 3-16, -They that feared the Lord spoke often one to another.-
Self-love is the predominant principle in the natural man- he loves himself more than he loves God- it is this which lies at the root of depravity and sin. Now when a man's conscience is convicted so that he perceives his need of a physician, and recognizes that happiness comes from Christ, such good news appeals to his self-love. Satan, who knows human nature so well was right when he said, -skin for skin yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life- - Job 2-4-. Make the self-love of the natural man conscious of the wrath of God, and he is ready to -accept Christ-, or do anything else which the preacher bids him- yet that is only the workings of nature, he is still unregenerate. When the storm arose and threatened to sink the ship in which Jonah lay asleep we read, -Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god-- then the captain awoke Jonah and said. -Arise, call upon thy God, if so be God will think upon us that we perish not- - Hebrews 1-5,6-.--So a conscience terrified by the prospect of Hell, will cause a man to seek Christ after a natural way. It is but the instinct of self-preservation at work.--Add to this, the craving for happiness which self-love ever seeks, and hearing that such happiness is to be found only in Christ, little wonder that multitudes seek Him now for what they can get from Him, as of old they sought Him for the sake of the loaves and fishes.
It is perfectly true that God is both honored and dishonored by men- not in His essential being, but in His official character. It is equally true that God has been -glorified- by creation, by providence, and by redemption. This we do not and dare not dispute for a moment. But all of this has to do with His manifestative glory and the recognition of it by us. Yet had God so pleased He might have continued alone for all eternity, without making known His glory unto creatures. Whether He should do so or not was determined solely by His own will. He was perfectly blessed in Himself before the first creature was called into being. And what are all the creatures of His hands unto Him even now- Let Scripture again make answer- -Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance-
As God seems to have succeeded your labors amongst us, and prayers for us, I desire your fervent prayers for us may yet be continued, that God would not be to us as a wayfaring man, that turns aside to tarry but for a night, but that he would more and more pour out his Spirit upon us, and no more depart from us- and for me in particular, that I may be filled with his Spirit, and may become fervent, as a flame of fire in my work, and may be abundantly succeeded, and that it would please God, however unworthy I am, to improve me as an instrument of his glory, and advancing the kingdom of Christ.
The evening of Wednesday, June 15, was appointed for prayer, and long before the hour for commencing the service, the church was crowded . The awful sadness in every countenance bespoke the deep earnestness within- even the most ungodly were overawed , and wore a solemn sadness on their faces. Had a pestilence swept over the neighbor hood, leaving one dead in every house, greater awe would not have been produced. At the close of the services, several efforts were made to dismiss the congregation, but without avail - and it was not until four o'clock in the morning that the people could be persuaded to go home.
AFTER the sentence shall have been pronounced, and the saints shall have ascended with Christ into glory, this world will be dissolved by fire. The conflagration will immediately succeed the judgment. When an end shall have been put to the present state of mankind, this world, which was the place of their habitation during that state, will be destroyed, there being no further use for it. This earth which had been the stage upon which so many scenes had been acted, upon which there had been so many great and famous kingdoms and large cities, where there had been so many wars, so much trade and business carried on for so many ages, shall then be destroyed. These continents, these islands, these seas and rivers, theses mountains and valleys, shall be seen no more at all.
The beloved disciple was favored with an unusual vision of his glorified Lord. In the blaze of that revelation even his eagle eye was dimmed and his holy soul was overwhelmed. He was overpowered, but not with ecstacy. At first sight it would have seemed certain that excess of delight would have been John's most prominent feeling- it would appear certain that to see his long lost Master, whom he had so dearly loved, would have caused a rush of joy to John's soul, and that if overpowered at all, it would have been with ecstatic bliss. That it was not so is clear from the fact that our Lord said to him, -Fear not.-
Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this, all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness, of which I am capable of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him- all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance- according to Dr. Manton's 27th Sermon on Psalm 119. July 26, and Aug.10 1723.
We will begin with principles that apply generally. Apply the holy law of God to your conscience, compare your immorality against it, and pray that you may be affected by it. Consider the holiness, spirituality, fiery severity, heart, and absoluteness of the law. Then see whether you stand before it. Do not hold back in pressing on your conscience with the terror of the Lord in the law, and how right it is that every one of your sins receives a just reward.
There is in each one of us a law of sin. It may always be seen even when it is not in active operation, if our eyes are lightened. Whenever I hear a man say he has no propensity to sin, I infer at once that he does not live at home. I should think he must live a long way from home, or else he has never been anywhere except in the front parlour of His house where he keeps his profession. He cannot have gone through all the chambers and searched them thoroughly, or he would somewhere have discovered that there is an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. This is true of the believer- he has to cry out against another nature, and say, -Help thou mine unbelief.- It is always in the man.
While the English Book of Common Prayer had early use in Scotland, it is a fixed liturgy, providing a range of fixed prayers and detailed tables of fixed lessons. It is therefore not easy to compare it with the Directory. However, the Directory does very much follow the Book of Common Order used in Scotland from 1564, which derived from Knox's Forme of Prayers used in the English Congregation in Geneva. This book affords discretion in the wording of the prayers and no fixed lectionary.--The Directory was produced by a parliamentary subcommittee among the Westminster divines. The chair of the subcommittee was Stephen Marshall. Other members included Thomas Young, Herbert Palmer, and Charles Herle. Representing the Independents were Philip Nye and Thomas Goodwin, and representing the Scottish Presbyterians were Alexander Henderson, Robert Baillie, George Gillespie, and Samuel Rutherford. The text appears to be in the style of Nye's writing. from the wiki article
It is of the first importance, that every man should-at least so far know himself,asto be sensible ofhis own guilt-and danger. Without this it is in vain that we speak of the-remedy, for without this, there will be no application to the great-physician of souls. It is not, then, in unkindness, but in love,-that we lift the covering from that abyss of sin, the human heart.
As the dispensations of God towards His children are exceedingly diverse in different ages- likewise His dealings with individual believers who live at the same time are very different. Why it is so we cannot tell- but we are sure that He has wise reasons for all that He does. In some cases pious people appear to pass through life with scarcely a touch from His rod- while others, who to us do not appear to need more chastisement than those, are held the greater part of their life under the heavy pressure of affliction, with scarcely any intermission.
March 20, 1859 Scripture- Isaiah 35-3 The way to heaven is, through faith in Christ- but after we have believed in Christ the legitimate tendency of faith is active service. Although the Christian shall go to heaven through the blood of Christ, yet as a pilgrim he must walk there- and although he overcomes through the blood of the Lamb, yet as a warrior he must fight if he would reign. Active service is expected of every Christian. Christ does not put his children on a bed, and then carry them to heaven along a lazy road- but he gives them life and bids that life develope itself- he gives them strength, and commands them to use the strength in working out their own salvation. While he works in them, they are passive- but he then bids them be active and work out what he has beforehand wrought in. He is no Christian who does not seek to serve his God.