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! ”
In this lesson, the conversion of Hopeful is detailed analytically and compared to historical accounts. The question that we aimed to answer is why, sometimes, there is a lengthy awakening involving conviction of sin and self seeking prior to being granted converting grace by the Spirit. What purpose does it serve, why does God often not hear the sinner’s earnest cries for salvation, or answer them at once?
Is it nothing unto us that so many nations in the world, where the profession of the gospel and an avowed subjection of soul and conscience unto Jesus Christ did flourish for some ages, are now utterly overrun with Mohammedanism, paganism, and atheism? Do we suppose these things are fallen out by chance, or come to pass by a fatal revolution of affairs, such as all things in this world are obnoxious unto? Did ever any nation or people under heaven lose the gospel as unto its profession, who did not first reject it as unto its power, purity, and obedience? And is not the glory of God, is not the honor of Christ, peculiarly concerned herein?
It is a woeful thing to consider what slight thoughts the most have of this thing. So men can keep themselves from sin itself in open action, they are content, they scarce aim at more; on any temptation in the world, all sorts of men will venture at any time. How will young men put themselves on company, any society; at first, being delighted with evil company, then with the evil of the company! How vain are all admonitions and exhortations to them to take heed of such persons, debauched in themselves, corrupters of others, destroyers of souls!
Mr. Kiffin was evidently raised up by the providence of God and invested with his talents, influence, and wealth to shield his persecuted brethren in times specially calamitous; and in a spirit of supreme love to Jesus, for half a century, he was the father of the English Baptists. He died Sept. 29, 1701.
When a sinner is burdened with guilt, and filled with apprehensions of eternal ruin, his language is, What shall I do to be saved? or, How shall I escape the wrath to come? Being ignorant of that righteousness which the gospel reveals for the justification of the ungodly, he labors to obtain acceptance with God by his own efforts: till, becoming better acquainted with the purity of the law, the holiness of God, and the corruption of his own heart, he despairs of being justified by the works of the law.
WHILE we are led to acknowledge the sovereign grace of
GOD, manifested in raising to himself a people out of the ruins
of the fall; we have also the highest occasion to adore the wisdom
and goodness of the great head of the church, in forming those,
whom he has thus made the happy subjects of his grace, into
particular societies, whereby they become subservient to each
other’s welfare, and are instrumental in promoting the common cause of the dear Redeemer.
THE church of CHRIST is fitly represented by the similitude of a body. As a body is composed of different members, and each member hath not the same office; so the church of CHRIST consists of a number of persons, who are designed to answer various purposes, each of which is connected with the good of the whole.
His example is attended with a great variety of circumstances tending to engage the attention of religious people, especially in these parts of the world. He was one of distinguished natural abilities; as all are sensible, who had acquaintance with him. As a minister of the gospel, he was called to unusual services in that work; and his ministry was attended with very remarkable and unusual events.