Let a soul in such an estate awake and look about him. His enemy is at hand, and he is ready to fall into such a condition as may cost him dear all the days of his life. His present estate is bad enough in itself; but it is an indication of that which is worse that lies at the door. The disciples that were with Christ in the mount had not only a bodily, but a spiritual drowsiness upon them. What says our Savior to them? “Arise; watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.” We know how near one of them was to a bitter hour of temptation, and not watching as he ought, he immediately entered into it.
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.
Some General Heads of the Causes why the LORD contends with the Land, agreed upon (after seeking of the LORD) by the Commission of the GENERAL ASSEMBLY 1650, with the advice of divers Ministers from several parts of the Kingdom, met at Edinburgh, October 1651, so far as for the present they could attain light therein, which they offer and advise to be made use of by all the LORD’s People in the Land, leaving place to add, as the Lord shall make further discoveries hereafter of the guiltiness of the Land, and intending more fully and particularly to enlarge this Paper.
We have not been men of prayer. The spirit of prayer has slumbered among us. The closet has been too little frequented and delighted in. We have allowed business, study or active labor to interfere with our closet hours. A feverish atmosphere has found its way into our closet, disturbing the sweet calm of its blessed solitude. Sleep, company, idle visiting, foolish talking and jesting, idle reading, unprofitable occupations, engross time that might have been redeemed for prayer. Why is there so little concern to get time to pray? Why is there so much speaking, yet so little prayer? Why is there so much running to and fro, yet so little prayer? Why so much bustle and business, yet so little prayer?
The question very naturally arises: How comes it to pass that this knowledge which Divine inspiration postulates, and affirms to be innate and constitutional to the human mind, should become so vitiated? The majority of mankind are idolaters and polytheists and have been for thousands of years. Can it be that the truth that there is only one God is native to the human spirit and that the pagan “knows” this God?
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.
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! ”
You see multitudes lying in a deep sleep in sin all around us! You see them eager in the pursuits of the vanities of time—but stupidly unconcerned about the important realities of the eternal world just before them! So few are concerned what shall become of them—when all their connections with earth and flesh must be broken, and they must take their flight into strange, unknown regions! So few lamenting their sins! So few crying for mercy and a new heart! So few flying to Jesus, or even sensible of the importance of a Mediator, in a religion for sinners!
That a single witness should never be admitted to give evidence in a criminal cause, so as that sentence should be passed upon his testimony, v. 15. This law we had before, Num. 35:30, and in this book, ch. 17:6. This was enacted in favour to the prisoner, whose life and honour should not lie at the mercy of a particular person that had a pique against him, and for caution to the accuser not to say that which he could not corroborate by the testimony of another. It is a just shame which this law puts upon mankind as false and not to be trusted; every man is by it suspected:
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.