Timothy Dwight – The Danger of Losing Convictions of Conscience – 1828

Dwight was the great grandson of Jonathan Edwards and president of Yale College.

“He saith ‘ will return into my house, from whence I came out.
At first, and for a time, he despaired of gaining a final victory over the man whose soul he inhabited; and in this despair, leaving him to himself wandered into the desert. But, after looking in vain for a new victim, he began to indulge fresh hopes of re-occupying his former residence. Accordingly, he determined to return and make it his permanent abode.
The first victory, which is gained when the soul becomes convinced of its sins, is far from being final. It is a happy beginning; and if followed by vigorous and unremitted efforts, is a propitious prelude to future success. But he who rests here, and feels as if he had already attained, or were already safe, is ruined of course. He is become convinced of his guilt and has thus advanced a necessary step towards eternal life. But he has not turned to God; and without this conversion, all, which is done, will be nothing. Probably every person, who is under a strong conviction of his guilt, is assailed by many temptations. Either he will distrust, and despair of, the divine mercy; or he will be induced to trust presumptuously in his own righteousness, or to feel satisfied with his ability to save himself; or he will settle down in a state of sloth; or he will be persuaded to procrastinate the work of repentance; or he will yield himself up to the guidance of erroneous teachers, or search out for himself erroneous doctrines ; or he will depend on impulses and other vain dictates of a wild imagination. In these circumstances, some individuals strenuously resist both the allurements and the terrors. Others become victims to them. The former overcome; the latter fall and often irrevocably.