Thomas Brooks – Arguments for Secret Prayer – 1665

Originally Titled The Privy Key of Heaven

There is no service wherein Christians have such a near and familiar intercourse with God, as in this of private prayer: neither is there any service wherein. God doth more delight to make known his truth and faithfulness, grace, goodness, mercy and bounty, his beauty, and glory to poor souls, than this of private prayer. Luther professeth, ” That he profited more in the knowledge of the scripture by private prayer. in a short time, then he did by study in a longer space.” As John, by weeping in private got the sealed book opened. Private prayer crowns God with the honor and
the glory that is due to his name, and God crowns private prayer with a discovery of those blessed and weighty. truths to his servants, that are a sealed book to others. Certainly, the soul usually enjoys most communion with God in secret.

John Flavel – The Hearts of Sinners Bolted Against Christ 1689

From the book, England’s Duty, or Christ Knocking at the Door of Sinner’s Hearts.

That all hearts are naturally shut and made fast against Christ, is a sad but certain truth; we read, John 1:11, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” He came unto his own people, from whose stock he sprung—a people to whom he had been prefigured in all thesacrifices and types of the law, and who might in him clearly discern”the accomplishment of them all. His doctrines and his miracles plainly told them who he was, and whence he came ; yet few discerned and received him as the Son of
God. Christ found the doors of men’s hearts generally shut against him, save only a few whose hearts were opened by the almighty power of God, in the way of faith. John 1:12.

James Robe – A narrative of the Revivals at Kilsyth and Cambuslang Scotland – 1742

If we rise to the survey of the world—if ascending the lofty eminence
which is occupied by the genius of history, we review the annals of our race; or setting out with the traveler, we bring the eye of observation to bear on the existing condition of mankind—what a mournful picture is presented to the reflecting mind! Over by far the larger portion of that wide expanse, what does either the past or the present exhibit, but” darkness covering the earth and gross darkness the people”? Millions upon millions of our fellow-creatures, possessed of the same rational, moral, and immortal nature with ourselves, sunk to the level of the beasts that perish; ignorant alike of their origin and of their end—”changing the glory of the incorruptible Jehovah into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things.”

“It is transporting and astonishing, that after all the great and horrid provocations we have given the Most-High in this church and land, by growing deism and infidelity, carnality and profanity, formality and hypocrisy, our bitter envyings and unreasonable divisions, but most of all by a general rejecting of the blessed Son of God by unbelief, and using gospel ordinances contentedly without feeling the power of them, the Lord hath been so far from utterly forsaking us, and making our country desolate by some destroying judgment, that he is in ” wrath remembering mercy,” and beginning manifestly to revive his work, and help us in such a situation as was become hopeless and helpless by any human possible means.”

Alexander Nisbet – False Teachers Allure Through the Lusts of the Flesh, Those Who Are Clean Escaped. 1659

There may be a very remarkable external change from vile and blasphemous opinions, idolatrous and profane practices, to a profession of truth and suitableness of the outward conversation to it, where there is no saving or inward change made of the heart, from the love of secret lusts to
the love of Christ and His grace; the one without the other may be occasioned by the power of example, the majesty and clearness of truth, which is in nothing contrary to nature’s light, the beauty of holiness shining in the conversation of professors, and outward advantages which sometimes may attend the profession of truth and holiness: for these here who were yet given to the lusts of their flesh and much wantonness had once clean escaped from the blasphemous opinion and profane and idolatrous 9practices of those without the church, who are here called “them that live in error.”

Alexander Nisbet – False Teachers As Natural Brute Beasts Made to be Taken and Destroyed – 1658

Recording 1 of 2 on 2 Peter 2
A judicious and gracious Scotch commentary, after the style of Dickson and Hutcheson.’ – Spurgeon

Even those who are destitute of the saving knowledge of Christ, and strangers to the mortification of heart pollutions, may find so much power in the knowledge of Him as to make them cleanse their external conversation. The knowledge of Christ is so ravishing a subject, able to divert even an unrenewed mind from many sinful speculations, that even
a hypocrite, living in love with his secret lusts, may escape the pollutions that are breaking forth in the world, through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, [a.] They who have not attained to a heart-outcast with sin and some inward mortification thereof, will , upon fit occasions and temptations, be readily ensnared again and made slaves to these same sins
which were externally reformed, and from the outward acts whereof only they had made an escape : for these here spoken of, having only escaped the pollutions that are in the world through the knowledge of Christ, are again entangled and overcome.

Anthony Burgess – The Sinfulness of the Imagination (2)

From the Treatise on Original Sin – 1659

Oh what groaning should the new creature be in, till it be delivered from this bondage! See then to thyself, and examine all things that pass through thy soul more narrowly and exactly. It may be thy imagination is the cause of all thy religion, of all thy opinions. It may be it is not faith but fancy. It may be it is not conscience, but imagination that instigates you.

Alas, marvel not at it, these serpents and toads were a long while breeding in the imagination. The pleasure or profit of such a sin was often fancied before. It was again and again committed in thy thoughts before it was expressed in thy life, so that a man can never live unblameably in his life that doth not keep his imagination pure and clean. Hence you have so often evil thoughts complained of as the root of all bitterness, Jer. 4:14. “How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?” Mat. 15:19. “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts.” As exhalations and vapors ascending from the earth, which are scarce perceptible, yet at last are congealed into thick and dismal clouds, so those sins which while in the thoughts and imagination were scarce taken notice of, do at last grow into soul and enormous transgressions.

Anthony Burgess – The Sinfulness of the Imagination: Sect.1-6 1659

There are some who complain that we are too tragic in explaining the nature of Original Sin, that we aggravate it too much; but if we consider the scope of the Holy Ghost in this place, we will easily be persuaded that none can say enough in this particular.

  1. Here is the “heart” said to be evil, that which is the very life of man,
    and is the fountain of all actions and motions. Not the eyes or the tongue, but the heart, which is the whole of man, which implieth also that he sinneth not by example and outward temptation only, but from an inward principle.
  2. In this heart that is said to be “evil,” which we would think is not
    capable of sin, at least of very little, the thoughts, not only the affections, or the will, the appetitive parts of the soul, but the sublime and apprehensive.
  3. He doth not only say the thoughts, but the “imagination,” the very first
    rising and framing of them. It is a metaphor from the potter who doth frame his vessels upon a wheel in what shape he pleaseth. Thus the heart of man is continually shaping and effigiating some thoughts or other. Now these are not only sinful when formed, and it may consent unto, but the very first fashioning of them, even as they rise immediately from the heart are sinful. If we explain it as others do, who observe this word signifieth to frame a thing with curious art and industry, then it aggravateth likewise, informing of us that those thoughts which are polished by us in the most accurate manner are altogether evil.

Thomas Manton – Faith the Substance of Things Hoped For

It is very necessary we should have such a faith as should substantiate our hopes, to check sensuality, for we find the corrupt heart of man is all for present satisfaction. And though the pleasures of sin are short and inconsiderable, yet because they are near at hand, they take more with us than the joys of heaven, which are future and absent. A man would wonder at the folly of men that should with Esau sell his birthright for a morsel of meat, Heb. xii. 16, that they should be so profane as to sell their Christ and glory, and those excellent things which the Christian religion discovers, to part with the joys of Christianity for the vilest price. When lust is up and set agog, all considerations of eternal glory and blessedness are laid aside to give it satisfaction. A little pleasure, a little gain, a little convenience in the world will make men part with all that is honest and sacred. A man would wonder at their folly, but the great reason is, they live by sense: ‘Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.

John Owen The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. Hebrews 4:2

There is a failing, temporary faith with respect to the promises of God, which will not advantage them in whom it is. It is known how often the people of old professed that they did believe and that they would obey accordingly; but, saith the apostle, notwithstanding all their pretensions and professions, notwithstanding all the convictions they had of the truth of the word, and the resolutions, they had of yielding obedience, wherein their temporary faith did consist, yet they perished in their sins, because “the word was not mixed with faith in them;” that is, truly and really believed.

Now, this giving a subsistence in the mind unto the things believed, that they shall really operate and produce their immediate effects therein, of love, joy, and obedience, is that spiritual mixture and incorporation whereof we speak. And here lies the main difference between saving faith and the temporary persuasion of convinced persons. This latter gives no such subsistence unto the things believed in the minds of men, as that they should produce their proper effects therein. Those in whom it is, believe the promise, yet not so as that thereby the things promised should have such an existence in their minds as to produce in them and upon them their proper effects. It may be said of them, as it is of the law in another sense, “They have the shadow of good things to come, but not the very image of the things.”

Faith in its acting towards and on the promise is also said to receive it. By it we receive the word; that is, it takes it into the soul and incorporates it with itself. There is more herein than a mere assent to the truth of what is proposed and apprehended. And sometimes we are said by it to receive the word itself, and sometimes to receive the things themselves which are the subject-matter of it. So are we in the first way said to” receive with meekness the ingrafted word,” James 1: 21; to “receive the promises,” Hebrews 11: 13; “having received the word,” 1 Thessalonians 1: 6; 1 Thessalonians 2: 13. In the latter way to “receive Christ” himself, John 1: 12, and “the atonement” made by him, Romans 5: 11; which are the principal subjects of the gospel. And herein lies the life of faith; so that it is the proper description of an unbeliever, that “he doth not receive the things of the Spirit of God,” 1 Corinthians 2: 14. And unbelief is the not receiving of Christ, John 1: 11. There may be a tender made of a thing which is not received. A man may think well of that which is tendered unto him, and yet not receive it.

John Owen -That Which Bears Thorns and Briers is Rejected. Hebrews 6:8

It is a righteous thing with God judicially to give up such persons unto all manner of filthy sins and wickedness, that it may be an aggravation of their condemnation at the last day. It is the way of God to do so even when inferior manifestations of himself, his word and will, are rejected, or not improved.

God pours out upon such persons “a spirit of slumber,” or gives them up to a profound security, so as that they take notice of nothing in the works or word of God that should stir them up to amendment, or restrain them from sin. So he dealt with these unbelieving Jews: Romans 11: 8, “God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see.” Although it be so come to pass, that many there are whom God’s soul loatheth, and they abhor him also, as he speaks, Zechariah 11: 8, so that he will have no more to do with them; yet he doth and will continue his word in the world, and the works of his providence in the government thereof. Now, as in the word there are several warnings and dreadful threatenings against sinners, so in the works of God there are judgments full of evidences of God’s displeasure against sin, Romans 1: 18. Both these in their own nature are suited to awaken men, to bring them to a due consideration of themselves, and so to restrain them from sin. But as to this sort of persons, God sends a spirit of slumber upon them, that nothing shall rouse them up, or awaken them from their sins. Though it thunders over their heads, and the tempest of judgments falls so near them, as if they were personally concerned, yet do they cry, “Peace, peace.” When the word is preached to them, or they hear by any means the curse of the law, yet they bless themselves, as those who are altogether unconcerned in it. God gives them up unto all ways and means whereby they may be fortified in their security. Love of sin; contempt and scorn of them by whom the word of God is declared, or the judgments of God are dreaded; carnal confidence, carrying towards atheism; the society of other presumptuous sinners, strengthening their hands in their abominations; a present supply for their lusts, in the pleasant things of this world,

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