Category Archives: commentary

John Owen – How to Set Your Affections on Things Above, Chapter 4

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let men examine themselves what number of these vain, useless thoughts night and day do rove up and down in their minds. If now it be apprehended too severe, that men’s thoughts of spiritual things should exceed them that are employed about their lawful callings, let them consider what proportion they bear unto those that are vain and useless. Do not many give more time unto them than they do unto holy meditations, without an endeavor to mortify the one or to stir up and enliven the other? are they not more wonted to their seasons than holy thoughts are? And shall we suppose that those with whom it is so are spiritually minded?”

Set Your Affections on Things Above Chapter 4

 

 

John Owen – How to Set Your Affections on Things Above Chapter 2 – 1681

Owen wrote, ”

Water that rises and flows from a living spring runs equally and constantly, unless it be obstructed or diverted by some violent opposition; but that which is from thunder-showers runs furiously for a season, but is quickly dried up. So are those spiritual thoughts which arise from a prevalent internal principle of grace in the heart; they are even and constant, unless an interruption be put upon them for a season by temptations. But those which are excited by the thunder of convictions, however their streams may be filled for a season, they quickly dry up and utterly decay.”

Setting Affections on Things Above 2

John Owen – How to Set Your Affections on Things Above, Preface and Chapter 1

Owen wrote, ”

There is a being earthly minded which consists in an inordinate affection unto the things of this world. It is that which is sinful, which ought to be mortified; yet it is not absolutely inconsistent with the substance and being of the grace inquired after. Some who are really and truly spiritually minded, yet may, for a time at least, be under such an inordinate affection unto and care about earthly things, that if not absolutely, yet comparatively, as unto what they ought to be and might be, they may be justly said to be earthly minded. They are so in respect of those degrees in being spiritually minded which they ought to aim at and may attain unto. And where it is thus, this grace can never thrive or flourish, it can never advance unto any eminent degree.

Setting Affections on Things Above 1

Alexander Whyte – Sometimes, I would rather DIE than pray.

The meditations of Alexander Whyte are from the writings of Thomas Shepard. 1605-1649. Beeke wrote, When I first read Alexander’s Whyte’s book on Thomas Shepard some 30 years ago, I was frequently moved to tears. This narration includes, I Abhor Myself, The More I do the Worse I am, and It is sometimes so with me I would rather die than pray.

I Abhor Myself AND I would rather die than pray

Thomas Sullivan – Pilgrim’s Progress – The Conversion of Hopeful

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?

Pilgrim’s Progress – The Conversion of Hopeful

William Huntington – The Kingdom of Heaven Taken By Prayer

But suddenly it was impressed with power on my mind, that all these evils were brought upon me for my sin: and that I neither knew, feared, loved, nor served, God as I ought to do, and therefore had brought these trials on myself; and that it was a great mercy God did not take me instead of the infant. This impression was attended with an uncommon flow of contrition: insomuch that I was, at times, overwhelmed with a sorrowful spirit; and so dissolved into meekness, that I went weeping and mourning all the day long, until “my soul was as a weaned child.” William Huntington (1745-1813)

Kingdom of Heaven Taken By Prayer

John Angell James – An Earnest Ministry – Motives 1847

The entreating and beseeching importunity which was employed by the apostle—and which is found to be no less necessary for us—presupposes on the part of its objects, a reluctance to come into a state of reconciliation with God, which must be assailed by the force of vehement persuasion. Although we have to treat with a revolted world, a world engaged in mad conflict with Omnipotence—yet if the guilty rebels were weary of their hostilities, and in utter hopelessness of success, were prepared on the first offer of mercy to throw down their arms, and in the spirit of contrition sue for pardon—ours would be an easy mission, and we might spare ourselves the trouble of earnestness and admonition. But the very reverse is the case.

An Earnest Ministry – Motives to Earnestness