Men without any change of nature may seem for a while to forsake their sins and to become religious. They may reform past ways of wickedness that they used to live in. If vicious, they may become moral; if profane, they may become religious. They may refrain from the gratification of their lusts. They may escape the pollutions of the world through lust (2 Peter 2:20). They may curb violent appetites. They seem to be pretty thorough in their reformation of a profane and vicious and sensual life. 2. Men without any change of nature may be affected with sorrow and grief for their sins. They may be affected by reflecting on the injustice and unreasonableness or of the ingratitude of the things they have done or the folly of them. 3. Men without any change of nature for a while seem to have an affection for God and Christ, and therefore may be affected in prayer and have an affection for ministers, those who preach the Word, and have an affection for good people and have a zeal for religion. Or it may be that they flatter themselves that it is well with them. They think something they have experienced is conversion and there is no need to take any further care about it. So that faith, a belief of the Word of God men may have, won’t hold unless their natures are changed.
REASON 1 is from the powerfulness of unmortified corruption. Nature is a more powerful principle of action than anything that opposes it. Nature, whether it is corrupt nature or sanctified nature, is powerful and will overcome other things. If nature is not changed it is a difficult thing to overcome. Nature may be restrained and hindered for a while, but it won’t be conquered. The stream of a river may be stopped for a while with a dam, but it can’t be stopped always. It will have a course there or somewhere else. When natural men reform their lives, deny their lusts, and live a strict and religious life and are painful and earnest in religious duties, it is not natural, but it is against nature. ’Tis forced against nature. Now it may be observed in all cases that a force upon nature is not constant. It may be maintained and kept up a while, but nature at last will get the victory. So natural men may, while under an impression, and while the strength of a resolution lasts, restrain corrupt nature, but that will carry them away at last.
Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate, pouring out of the heart or soul to God through Christ, by the strength or ASSISTANCE OF THE SPIRIT. For these things do so depend one upon another, that it is impossible that it should be prayer, without there be a joint concurrence of them; for though it be never so famous, yet without these things, it is only such prayer as is rejected of God.
Originally Published in The Southern Presbyterian ReviewOctober, 1879.
When the claim is made that the church must concede the ministerial function to the Christian woman who sincerely supposes she feels the call to it, we have a perilous perversion of the true doctrine of vocation. True, this vocation is spiritual, but it is also scriptural. The same Spirit who really calls the true minister also dictated the Holy Scriptures. When even a good man says that he thinks the Spirit calls him to preach, there may be room for doubt; but there can be no doubt whatever that the Spirit calls no person to do what the word dictated by him, forbids. The Spirit cannot contradict himself.
They were guilty of the most unnatural cruelty to their own children; for they sacrificed them to Moloch. Thus because they liked not to retain God in their knowledge, but changed his glory into shame, they were justly given up to vile affections and stripped of natural ones, and their glory was turned into shame.
In this town there has always been a great deal of talk about conversion and spiritual experiences; and therefore people in general had formed a notion in their own minds what these things were. But when they come to be the subjects of them, they find themselves much confounded in their notions, and overthrown in many of their former conceits. And it has been very observable, that persons of the greatest understanding, and who had studied most about things of this nature, have been more confounded than others.
From A Puritan’s Mind, ” Not included in Adams’s works, is his magnum opus, A Commentary on the Second Epistle General of St. Peter, an extensive commentary first published in 1633 and last reprinted by Soli Deo Gloria in 1990, and happily, reprinted again now by Solid Ground Christian Books. It was never included in any edition of his works. However, the 900 pages of double-columned print was edited by James Sherman and printed in London in 1839. The work is exegetically reliable and stylistically adept. Much useful theological knowledge is conveyed in striking phrases. Spurgeon commented that this book was the best Puritan commentary printed under James Sherman’s editorship. It was “full of quaintness, holy wit, bright thought, and deep instruction; we know of no richer and racier reading,” Spurgeon said.
Jenkyn’s Commentary on Jude 8: ” The love of lust makes men erroneous and seducers. They who make no conscience of ordering their conversation will soon be heretical. These seducers who opposed the faith were unclean, and flesh-defilers. The fool said in his heart that there was no God, and the true ground thereof immediately follows, “they are corrupt, and have done abominable works,” Psal. 14. 1….This sin of the seducers was a sin against the welfare and happiness of the public. They, being weary of magistracy, were weary of all the comforts and blessings of peace; and in being desirous to throw down the pillars, they endeavored to pull down the building upon their own and others’ heads. What would nations be without government, but the dens of wild beasts:
Feeble and cowardly must be the minds of those who obey delicate and effeminate men, and permit themselves to be oppressed by them; the Jews could not complain that they were compelled by violence, when of their own accord they obeyed those whose authority they would gladly have declined. Hence it is evident that they were struck by the hand of God, and were shaken with terror, so that they had no strength either of body or of mind.
From John Brown’s Commentary on Hebrews ” 17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”
Though the perseverance of the saints is certain, let us never forget that it is the perseverance of saints that is thus certain. Many who seem to others to be saints, who seem to themselves to be saints, do ” fall away.” And let us recollect that the perseverance of the saints referred to is their perseverance not only in a safe state but in a holy course of disposition and conduct ; and no saint behaving like a sinner can legitimately enjoy the comfort which the doctrine of perseverance is fitted and intended to communicate to every saint, acting like a saint, ” in a patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, honor, and immortality.”
David Clarkson served as a co-pastor with John Owen at the end of Owen’s life and preached Owen’s funeral sermon at which he said of Owen: “We have had a light in this candlestick, we have had a light in this candlestick, which did not only enlighten the room, but gave light to others fare and near: but it is put out. We did not sufficiently value it.” When Clarkson died, his funeral sermon was preached by William Bates. (From the Puritan Board)
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