Category Archives: God’s presence

John Owen – Of Temptation Chapter 6

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.

Ministerial Confessions Oct. 1651 Scotland

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?

Ministerial Confessions 1651

Jonathan Edwards – His Diary and Reflections – 1722

“I have greatly longed of late for a broken heart, and to lie low before God; and, when I ask for humility, I cannot bear the thoughts of being no more humble than other Christians. It seems to me, that though their degrees of humility may be suitable for them, yet it would be a vile self-exaltation in me, not to be the lowest in humility of all mankind. Others speak of their longing to be ‘humbled to the dust;’ that may be a proper expression for them, but I always think of myself, that I ought, and it is an expression that has long been natural for me to use in prayer, ‘to lie infinitely low before God.’

The Diary and Reflections of Jonathan Edwards

William Greenhill – Then Shall You…Loathe Yourselves in Your Own Sight – 1662

Commentary on Ezekiel 36:31 and following

God’s loving-kindnesses and mercies work more with sinners than His judgments do. God’s favor sooner melt’s hard hearts than the fire of His indignation. His kindness is very penetrative, it gets into the hearts of sinners sooner than His threats and frowns. The milk and honey of the gospel affect the hearts of sinners more than the gall and wormwood of the law; Christ on Mount Zion brings more to repentance than Moses on Mount Sinai.

You Shall Loathe Yourselves in Your Own Sight   

Cotton Mather – A Call for a National Repentance – Considerations for a Distressed People

And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the Lord.  1 Samuel 7:6

“If those defamed servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, will be a little patient, He will at last give an honorable resurrection to their names that had so much dirt cast upon them. When the names of their envious accusers will either lie buried in oblivion or be mentioned no otherwise than Judas in the Gospel, or Pilate in the Apostle’s Creed. ”

A Call for a National Repentance

 

Divine Correction – William Jay of Bath – 1854

This narration is from two sermons (1) Divine Correction and (2) The Unbelief of Thomas, from Collected Works of William Jay Volume 2.  Spurgeon wrote in his autobiography, ”

While I was living at Cambridge, I once heard Mr. Jay, of Bath, preach. His text was, “Let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ.” I remember with what dignity he preached, and yet how simply. He made one remark which deeply impressed my youthful mind, and which I have never forgotten; it was this, “You do need a Mediator between yourselves and God, but you do not need a Mediator between yourselves and Christ; you may come to Him just as you are.”

Divine Correction / The Unbelief of Thomas

 

Octavius Winslow – The Cure For Our Love in its Declension. 1847

A chapter from the book, Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul. ”

When God becomes less an object of fervent desire, holy delight, and frequent contemplation, we may suspect a declension of Divine love in the soul. Our spiritual views of God, and our spiritual and constant delight in him, will be materially affected by the state of our spiritual love. If there is coldness in the affections, if the mind grows earthly, carnal, and selfish, dark and gloomy shadows will gather round the character and the glory of God.

The Love of the Many Waxing Cold

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

“…

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

 

 

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

Gisbertus Voetius – Spiritual Desertion – 1659 Chapter 1 Part 2

This book is recorded – {narrated} from the title Spiritual Desertion with the kind permission of the Dutch Reformed Translation Society. www.dutchreformed.org .   It is the narrator’s opinion that it is unequaled regarding the subject in which it treats. The opinion is based on the use of the spiritual/clinical terms that are not even employed in our day. (1) because the relation of Christian experience is often more superficial (2) if the distressed is even asked to delineate them at all – often the feelings are suppressed or there is little patience to deal with these subjects at this level. (3) because the best authors are understood and quoted by this author from a bygone day that even though now are available on line are rarely consulted with the patience that is required to read the old English.

____ In part two of this chapter the Kinds of Desertions is discussed with their remedies. Also some helpful bibliographical sources.

Spiritual Desertion – Chapter One Part Two