“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.’
1701 Diary: By way of lamentation and humiliation. “ I have reason to lament greatly the strength of my own corruptions, and weakness of my graces. By reason of the former, I am as smoking flax, by reason of the latter as a bruised reed.
I am still full of vain thoughts, and empty of good thoughts; many of my secret prayers are wretchedly disfigured and spoiled, by a multitude of distractions and diversions of mind; the flesh and the things of the flesh still minded, to the prejudice of the Spirit, and the neglect of the things of the Spirit.
“ I have lost a great deal of precious time, and not filled it up, or else I might have gone forwarder in my notes on the Evangelist John“ Sins easily beset me, and I do not the things that I would. “ I have very much reason to bewail my manifold defects in my ministerial work, my coldness in prayer, that I speak not of the things of God with more clearness and concern. 0, how many, how great are the iniquities of my holy things.
In this frightening exposition, the Puritan Thomas Goodwin – 1600-1680 discusses the profession that only results in bearing thorns. A comparison is made between Hebrews 6:7:8 and the Parable of the Sower – the seed falling among the thorns and never bringing forth fruit to perfection, but only thorns. This exposition is in The Work of the Holy Spirit, collected works volume 6.
My dear sir, you form an exception against yourself, fearing that you are not a backslider, as that character you think applies to those, and those only, who are real believers, and suppose from the peculiarity of your sins, that you cannot be a partaker of the grace of God. This is founded in mistake, as the sin of backsliding is charged on the Israelites as a body; and many of them whose hearts were unrenewed, were guilty of backsliding from their principles, their external worship, their moral conduct, and their engagements, even to Idolatry: but they were all commanded “to return.” But even admitting that your profession has been hypocritical, or that, in your best estate, you deceived yourself for years, are you, therefore, bound to despair, as one beyond the reach of mercy?
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.
She was much weaker from the loss of blood, and her countenance bespoke the dreadful horror of her mind, which no doubt hastened her speedy dissolution. Oh asking her how she felt, she answered, ‘Miserable! miserable!’ I then repeated some encouraging passages of Scripture to backsliders, but alas! all in vain; her soul labored under the greatest agonies: she exclaimed, ‘ O! how I have been deceived! When I was in health I delayed repentance from time to time; O ! that 1 had my time to live over again. O! that I had obeyed the Gospel; but now I must burn in hell forever. O! I cannot bear it, I can not bear it.’ ” In this manner, she continued breathing outmost horrible expressions.
From the History of Redemption
Sinners sometimes are ready to wonder why unbelief should be looked upon as a great sin; but if you consider what you have heard, how can you wonder? If this Saviour is so great, and this work so great, and such great things have been done in order to it; truly there is no cause of wonder that the rejection of this Saviour is so provoking to God.
What is the purpose for which this truth, so grand, so awful, so sublime, is revealed by God, and to be preached by us? Not simply to gratify curiosity; not merely to conduct the mind seeking for knowledge, to the fountains where it may slake its thirst; no, but to save the immortal soul from sin, and death, and hell, and conduct it to the abodes of a glorious immortality. The man who can handle such topics, and for such a purpose, in an unimpassioned, careless manner, and an icy heart, is the most astounding instance of guilty lukewarmness in the universe: to his self-contradiction no parallel can be found: and he remains a fearful instance how far it is possible for the human mind to go in the most obvious, palpable, and guilty inconsistency.
From Spurgeon’s Treasury of David – Psalm 2 – Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings.
Verse 12. “If his wrath be kindled but a little;” the Hebrew is if his nose or nostril be kindled but a little; the nostril, being an organ of the body in which wrath shows itself, is put for wrath itself. Paleness and snuffling of the nose are symptoms of anger. In our proverbials, to take a thing in snuff is to take it in anger. Joseph Caryl.
Preached July 1737
Men are naturally wicked men, as a viper is naturally poisonous. They are born with corrupt and wicked natures as a viper is brought forth with a poisonous nature. A young viper or serpent is of the same poisonous nature that the old one is. As soon as it begins to be, it begins to be of an exceedingly venomous and spiteful nature. Isaiah 14:39: “For out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruits shall be a fiery flying serpent.” Hence men are prone to all manner of wickedness, for men, being without love to God, seek everything that tends to gratify the body or to advance self in the world. The natural appetites, carnal delights, and worldly honor and interest are under no manner of government or regulation or restraint by any manner of regard or respect to God. And therefore what do they care how much He is dishonored?