Many men who live in ways which are not agreeable to the rules of God’s Word, yet are not sensible of it. And it is a difficult thing to make them so because the same lust that leads them into that evil way, blinds them in it. — Thus, if a man [lives] a way of malice or envy, the more malice or envy prevails, the more will it blind his understanding to approve of it. The more a man hates his neighbor, the more will he be disposed to think that he has just cause to hate him, and that his neighbor is hateful, and deserves to be hated, and that it is not his duty to love him. So if a man live in any way of lasciviousness, the more his impure lust prevails, the more sweet and pleasant will it make the sin appear, and so the more will he be disposed and prejudiced to think there is no evil in it.
From Sermons on the Parable of the 10 Virgins.
The doctrine of the day of judgment, in which men are taught that Christ will come with glory, majesty and mighty power on the clouds of heaven to judge the quick and dead, and that all, both small and great, must stand before him to give an account, is a very awful and awakening doctrine, tending very much to rouse both saints and sinners, and excite to watchfulness and diligence that they may be ready for such a day. But this doctrine has been preached in the world now for many ages, but men see nothing of the accomplishment of it; and many that hear of it are the less moved by it, because they look upon [it] as at a great distance. They hear that there are many things yet to be accomplished in the world before the day of judgment, and they never expect to see it while they live, nor till a great while after they are dead.
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.
He feeds on ashes: a deceived heart has turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?”
We have another class of persons, living in our midst, who pretend to have no religion at all, but who, in fact, have a superstition of their own—I mean the men who generally class themselves amongst Freethinkers, the people who will not believe the Bible, and who cannot walk in the narrow way in which their grandmothers walked, because it would imply a sort of slavery if they were to walk in the way of the truth. They think they are bold and brave men, who glory in dashing away the fetters of right, and doing wrong, because of the freedom of it.
From the book, The Deceitfulness of the Heart Unmasked, 1654 – also, Of the sins of ignorance.
You never did an action, however private — but Jesus saw it. You never spoke a word, no, not even in a whisper — but Jesus heard it. You never wrote a letter, even to your dearest friend — but Jesus read it. You never thought a thought, however secret — but Jesus was familiar with it. His eyes are as a flaming fire. The darkness is no darkness with Him. All things are open and manifest before Him. He says to every one, ‘I know your works’.
Even where there is sufficient light and conviction as to reveal to sinners that they come short of the Divine rule, and where they perceive that what the Word insists is necessary to salvation is not found in them, instead of abandoning their false hopes they persuade themselves that God is more merciful than the Scriptures represent Him to be. It is true, says the sinner, in such a case, that the way to heaven is a narrow one and that God’s kingdom can only be entered “through much tribulation” (Acts 14:22), but God will save me even though I fail here and there and I he lacking in this and that.
The false convert’s resolutions against sin are defective. In their rise. They issue not from a renewed heart, from a principle of holiness and love to Christ, but from apprehensions of unpleasant effects and future damnation. Or from the restraining power of God, which keeps them from purposing to sin rather than moves them to full resolution against it: so that their resolutions are negative rather than positive. Thus it was with Balaam, who said not “I will not” but “I cannot” (Num. 22;18, 38)-he had a mind to, but the Lord prevented him.
From the notes, ”
Hypocritical professors. The number in this class, we are fain to believe, is much smaller than in the preceding ones: for them there is some hope while life lasts, but for these we can see none. Hypocritical professors are those who deliberately assume a role: they are consciously playing a part. They know that they are not Christians, but for one reason or other are anxious to make their fellows believe they are so. Some of them belonged formerly to one of the other groups, to the third especially, then they discovered the emptiness of their profession or that they had been deceived; too dishonest to disclaim themselves as Christians they took increased pains to persuade others of their piety.