Methinks I see how Jesus Christ presents himself to the eye of the dejected soul’s understanding, in all his glory and gallantry, in his suitableness unto the sinner’s indigencies, and sufficiency for all his necessities, with the freeness of his mercy, the fulness of his merits, the sweetness of his love; how he appears before the soul with his retinue and train of graces, comforts, his blood, his Spirit, the favour of God, freedom from sin, wrath, hell.
“The evil is running in all directions. A number of churches have experienced a revival of anger, wrath, malice, envy, and evil-speaking, without the knowledge of a single conversion— merely in consequence of a desperate attempt to introduce these new measures. Those ministers and christians who have heretofore been most and longest acquainted with revivals, are most alarmed at the spirit which has grown out of the revivals of the West. This spirit has, no doubt, greatly deteriorated by transportation. As we now have it, the great contest is among professors of religion— a civil war in Zion— a domestic broil in the household of faith. The friends of brother Finney are certainly doing him and the cause of Christ great mischief. They seem more anxious to convert ministers and christians to their peculiarities, than to convert souls to Christ.
I would by no means flatter you concerning this work, or go about to make you believe, that you shall find an easy light business of it: no, I would not have you expect any such thing. I would have you sit down and count the cost; and if you cannot find it in your hearts to engage in a great, hard, laborious, and expensive undertaking, and to persevere in it to the end of life, pretend not to be religious. Indulge yourselves in your ease; follow your pleasures; eat, drink, and be merry; even conclude to go to hell in that way, and never make any more pretenses of seeking your salvation.
This narration mostly focuses on not just the Plymouth Brethren’s erroneous views of faith and assurance, but more importantly the Scottish Presbyterian Horatius Bonar – in his book, God’s Way of Peace. ” Dr. Bonar and the Waymarks write, that assurance of hope cannot derive any of its comfort from the discovery of gracious principles and acts in ourselves, without forsaking faith and building on self-righteousness. They contradict Scripture, experience, and precepts. And we take great pleasure in staking our issue on this test, because these writers cry so loudly, “To the Bible alone!”
As one in sleep is insensible to what is passing
around him, so, in a measure, it is sometimes with the
Christian. Though not wholly lost to a sense of divine
things, they make but a feeble or slight impression
upon his soul. In this frame, he goes to the house of
God. Once he saw the glory of God in the face
of Jesus Christ ; but now he walks in darkness. Once
he had a deep sense of the worth of souls, and could
weep over perishing- sinners around him. He could
say, ” I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved.”
But now he can behold the sight almost without emotion.
There was too little discrimination between true and false religious feeling. There was too much encouragement given to outcries, faintings, and bodily agitations, as probable evidence of the presence and power of God. There was, in many, too much reliance on impulses, visions, and the pretended power of discerning spirits. There was a great deal of consciousness, and of a sinful disregard of ecclesiastical order. The disastrous effects of these evils, the rapid spread of false religion, the dishonour and decline of true piety, the prevalence of erroneous doctrines, the division of congregations, the alienation of Christians, and the long period of subsequent deadness in the church, stand up as a solemn warning to Christians, and especially to Christian ministers in all times to come.”
Hodge’s masterful analysis of the aberrations that happened during the Great Awakening. Agree with him or not, this is Hodge at his best and must be consulted by any serious historical student. “there must have been something very wrong in the revival itself. It may, however, be said, that the decay of religion through the land generally, is perfectly consistent with the purity of the revival and the flourishing state of those particular churches which had experienced its influence. The facts of the case, unfortunately, do not allow us the benefit of this assumption. It is no doubt true, that in some congregations… religion was in a very desirable state, in the midst of the general decline; but it is no less certain, that in many instances, in the very places where the revival was the most remarkable, the declension was the most serious.”
Such followers of Christ as would be armed, indeed, ought to resolve that they will meet with, not one, but many trials of all sorts, and that
they may be essayed with the utmost violence that men’s malice can invent, or their power in church or state can reach, either in an orderly or a tumultuous way; therefore doth he forewarn them of a variety of particular trials, and that in the greatest extremity.
Commentary on John 16:2
A reading from the book, Cases of Conscience…1755 ” Be impartial in this duty of self-examination. The Christian and the hypocrite are both ready to be too partial ; the last in his own favor, the other against himself. The hypocrite can see every thing that is encouraging; he doubts not but all is well : whereas, the Christian can see nothing in himself that is good. ”
Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them. Ezekiel 8:18 sermon