Whoso looks on the face of the generation this day, in respect of religion, may behold a lamentable decay in spirituals therein. Great things has God done for us again and again, not only of old, but of late: but alas! amidst all our repeated deliverances, we are like to pine away under spiritual plagues. O that on such solemn occasions we were stirred up to “strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die.”
Reflections from John Owen’s The Glory of Christ, the last work he prepared for the press before his death.
They cannot be said truly to celebrate this time, who spend their time eating and drinking to excess. This is a season when persons are apt to indulge themselves in all manner of luxury: iniquity now abounds apace; nothing is scarcely to be seen but things of the greatest extravagance imaginable; not only for the necessities of the body, but to pamper it in lust, to feed its vices, to make it go on in sin, to be a means for gratifying our carnal appetite; and this is a means to make us forget the Lord of glory.
The original narration of this was 15 years ago, it was time for a new narration.
It will thus be seen that there are two chief dangers concerning which the preacher must be on his guard while endeavoring to expound this doctrine. First, while pressing the utter inability of the natural man to meet the just claims of God or even so much as perform a single spiritual duty, he must not overthrow or even weaken the equally evident fact of man’s moral responsibility. Second, in his zeal to leave unimpaired the moral agency and personal accountability of the sinner, he must not repudiate his total depravity and death in trespasses and sins. This is no easy task, and here as everywhere, the minister is made to feel his need of seeking wisdom from above.
Reflections on the diary of Thomas Shepard.
Oh that young people would betimes manifest their concern for their own way, by paying a respect to their own consciences, getting them rightly informed concerning good and evil, sin and duty, —hearkening to their dictates, though they be but whispered, keeping them tender and afraid of sin, and keeping up their dominion over appetite and passion, and all the lusts of the flesh and of the eye Often call upon conscience to do its office, and do not only give it leave to deal faithfully with you, but charge it to do so; maintain the honour of the government in your own souls, and the due course of law, and suffer it not to be insulted, obstructed, or made despicable;
thus order is kept up in the soul, and its peace secured; and it is the greatest honor you can do yourselves, to maintain a value and veneration for your consciences.
Collected Works and Treatises of M Henry Volume 2
Samuel Davies died 35 days after preaching this sermon at the age of just 37. ” Jeremiah 28:16
You must learn to think, to think seriously and solemnly upon your danger, and the necessity of a speedy escape. You must retire from the crowd, from talk, business, and amusement, and converse with yourselves alone in pensive solitude. You must learn to think seriously upon the most melancholy and alarming subjects: your present guilt and depravity, and your dreadful doom so near at hand, if you continue in your present condition.
The mind, fond of ease, and impatient of such mortifying and painful thoughts, will recoil, and fly off, and seek for refuge in every trifle! But you must arrest and confine it to these disagreeable subjects; you must force upon it this necessary discomfort—just as you may sometimes take bitter medicines when your health requires it. There is not any moroseness in this advice; no ill-natured design upon your pleasure and happiness. On the other hand, it is intended to procure you more pleasure and happiness than you can possibly obtain any other way! It is intended to prevent many sorrowful days and years, nay, a complete eternity of misery!
One midnight ” (towards the end of his life, too) Shepard was found lying on his face in ” a swoon of sweat and tears,” with a copy of the New England Gazette crushed together in his hands. He had just been reading an “especially beautiful sermon of Mr. Thomas Hooker’s! ” And Principal Whyte says that until I see myself to be ” the most to be abhorred, the most malicious, the most wolf-like, the most inwardly rent and distorted, the most hateful and the most hating, the most self-tormenting and the most Shepard-Iike sinner
on this side hell,” I must not pass judgment on Mr. T. S. for
his jealousy of Mr. T. H. Agreed. ” O my ransomed soul! ” Shepard cried on his death-bed, ” one hour in heaven will make me forget all my hell upon earth! ”
Philip Henry, the father of Matthew, was a close friend of Richard Baxter who was imprisoned by the infamous Judge Jeffries. Matthew was attending school and these are some of the letters from 1685 and 1686.