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?
In this lesson, we sought to learn about what the Enchanted Ground represents. First, in a society or town, 2ndly in the church, 3rd in the individual believer. It also is a very basic introduction to declension in spirituality prior to the 1st and 2nd Great Awakening and the revivals that came after in answer to prayer.
From the chapter: “I hastened with them up stairs into the sick man’s chamber. He was not in bed but upright, in a large easy chair, supported by pillows. Without opening his eyes he was aware of my approach, and for an instant ceased to moan. Death sat evidently on his faded and shrunken countenance. I took a seat by his side, and having ascertained by a common question about his situation that he was still able to speak, although in so low and faint a tone that I could not understand him without putting my ear close to his mouth; I directed that all the persons in the room should retire; and I did it aloud, that he might know we were quite alone, and that there might be as little as possible to embarrass him. I then took the dying man’s hand into my own, both because I was in earnest, and because I wished him to think me so — He gave me no sign to encourage me — His hand lay lifeless in mine, whilst I gently pressed it.”
From the chapter, ” Having thus begun with tolerably good omens, I proceeded to inquire about his sickness, expressing my fears that it was both painful and dangerous. In answer he was very communicative; and it appeared that his disorder was distressing in the extreme; a vast mass of water collecting perpetually, and discharging itself through every pore of his body; and his respiration being at times so much impeded, that he had scarcely breath enough to tell me his own story. He had been at the nearest hospital, in an early stage of his complaint, when it seemed to be within the reach of art; but had unwisely returned home, before the proper system was tried, because he was deprived of many little things which he considered essential to his comfort. Since this the disorder had increased rapidly; yet he would not admit any idea of danger. In fact, he was manifestly afraid to die”
IT has often occurred to me as something wonderful, that, amongst the vast variety of books, which are to be met with, on the important subject of Religion, there should still be wanted a manual for the information and direction of the Minister in his daily intercourse with sick persons and other members of his flock. There are indeed plenty of excellent theoretical treatises upon this branch of the Minister’s duty; and much also might be learnt from the biography of Clergymen, who have been eminently active in their parochial labours.
This is a masterly exposition of question 81 of the Larger Catechism. It is a superb treatment of what the Puritans did not believe that “Assurance is of the essence of faith.”
In this study, we have come to the place where Christian and Hopeful are deceived by the Flatterer. A modern illustration is drawn by this character to the teaching of the proponents of the Federal Vision or Auburn Avenue Theology and the redefining of the doctrine of justification by faith. Finally, we discuss the encounter with Atheist.
Letter: ” I cannot rejoice at the very thoughts of grace, death, the resurrection, and the life, I am afraid I do not truly and sincerely believe. Believers are exhorted to rejoice always; but I cannot rejoice when I ponder upon the most important concerns of my soul; therefore I fear I am not a believer. Alas! I am not able to look steadily upon Christ as my Saviour. At times when I join with the saints in divine worship, I am pretty confident of an interest in Christ; but when I retire, I conclude that that proceeds only from a kind of a heavenly gale upon them, or else upon myself, merely to capacitate me for more use and service among them. I conceive that my heart is not in the least renewed, but in the sense of Scripture is still a stone. ”
He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.’ — Proverbs 29:1
It is wholly impossible that a person should be frequently and faithfully admonished for his crime, and yet experience no alteration in is condition. His rancorous pride will be augmented, and his conscience seared as with a hot iron. But the day comes that shall burn as an oven. Then his stiff neck and his stout heart will not exempt him from the terrors that shall overtake the soul of every guilty culprit that shall stand at the judgment seat of God.
O the purity of that holiness which chose rather to punish the sins of the elect in His only begotten Son, than suffer them to go unpunished! O the abyss of His love to the world, for which He spared not His dearest Son, in order to spare sinners! O the depth of the riches of unsearchable wisdom, by which He exercises mercy towards the penitent guilty, without any stain to the honor of the most impartial Judge! O the treasures of love in Christ, whereby He became a curse for us, in order to deliver us therefrom! How becoming the justified soul, who is ready to dissolve in the sense of this love, with full exultation to sing a new song, a song of mutual return of love to a justifying God.