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! ”
I had been long vexed with this fear, and was scarce able to take one step more, just about the same place where I received my other encouragement, these words broke in upon my mind, “Compel them to come in, that my house may be filled”; “and yet there is room” (Luke 14:22,23). These words, but especially them, “And yet there is room” were sweet words to me; for, truly, I thought that by them I saw there was place enough in heaven for me; and, moreover, that when the Lord Jesus did speak these words, he then did think of me; and that he knowing that the time would come that I should be afflicted with fear that there was no place left for me in his bosom, did before speak this word, and leave it upon record, that I might find help thereby against this vile temptations. ‘This, I then verily believed.’
Discovering the Soundness or Corruption of Men’s Hearts by the Manner in Which They Regard Indwelling Sin – From the Book, The Touchstone of Sincerity … 1698
They undoubtedly have graceless hearts who are distressed at the discovery of their sins by others, but who are not troubled on account of their guilt. Multitudes there are of this class: they are not awed by the consideration that God sees them; they are concerned chiefly that their appearance before men may be reputable; they scruple not to commit ten sins against God in order to hide one from the eyes of men.
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?
What has more especially given offence to many, and raised a loud cry against some preachers, as though their conduct were intolerable, is their frightening poor innocent children with talk of hell-fire, and eternal damnation. But if those who complain so loudly of this, really believe what is the general profession of the country,viz. That all are by nature the children of wrath, and heirs of hell— and that every one that has not been born again, whether he be young or old, is exposed every moment to eternal destruction— then such a complaint and cry as this betrays a great deal of weakness and inconsideration. Innocent as children seem to us, yet,
if they are out of Christ, they are not so in the sight of God
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!
How unreasonable then is it to despair of mercy; while this season, this opportunity of obtaining mercy is afforded; unless you are determined not to improve it. The precious privileges which you enjoy, while this season continues, render despair still more unreasonable. What walls are these which surround you? Are they not the walls of God’s house, a place where he has recorded his name, and respecting which he says, Wherever I record my name, there will I meet with you and bless you?
I cried to God with groanings—I say it without exaggeration—groanings that cannot be uttered! And oh, how I sought, in my poor dark way, to overcome first one sin and then another, and so to do better, in God’s strength, against the enemies that assailed me, and not, thank God, altogether without success, though still the battle had been lost unless He had come who is the Overcomer of sin and the Deliverer of His people, and had put the hosts to flight.