From the British Library, ” 13 children die within the pages of this children’s book. It’s perhaps hard to imagine the appeal for children of accounts of other children dying, but when this book was first published, in 1671-72, attitudes to death were very different. Child mortality was high, attendance at church was governed by law, and belief in heaven and hell as real places rather than imaginary concepts was the norm. James Janeway wrote this book to provide examples from the lives and ‘joyful deaths’ of children so that the reader could learn how to avoid Hell and attain Heaven.
Andrew Fuller states: “I shall describe the nature and different species of backsliding from God–notice the symptoms of it–trace its injurious and dangerous effects–and point out the means of recovery.” When backsliding is identified: “The same way in which, if we are true Christians, we first found rest to our souls must be pursued in order to re-recover it; namely, by repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.” Andrew Fuller describes the many mindsets and rationalizing of unrepentant sinful behavior and how to overcome it, which is sure to help any earnest believer.
From the sermons of Reynolds on Hosea 14 ” I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them.”
The poor woman in the gospel, which had an issue of blood, “spent all that she had, on physicians, and was never the better:” —so poor sinners empty all the powers of soul, of body, of time, of estate, everything within their reach, upon their lusts; and are as unsatisfied at last as at the first. Like a silk-worm, which works out his own bowels into such a mass, herein
himself is buried; it weareth them out, and sucketh away the radical strength in the service of it; and yet never giveth them over, but, as Pharaoh’s task-masters exacted the brick when they had taken away the straw, so lust doth consume and weaken natural strength, in the obedience of it; and yet when nature is exhausted, the strength of lust is as great, and the commands as tyrannous as ever before. We are to distinguish between the vital force of the faculties, and the activity of lust which sets them on work: that decays and hastens to death, but sin retains its strength and vigour still: nothing kills that but the blood of Christ and the decay of nature ariseth out of the strength of sin. The more any man, in any lust whatsoever, makes himself a servant of sin, and the more busy and active he is in that service,—the more will it eat into him, and consume him: as the hotter the fever is, the sooner is the body wasted and dried up by it.
Who can pretend to biblical learning who has not made himself familiar with the great writers who spent a life in explaining someone sacred book? Caryl on Job will not exhaust the patience of a student who loves every letter of the Word.’ ‘Caryl must have inherited the patience of Job to have completed his stupendous task. It would be a mistake to suppose that he is at all prolix or redundant; he is only full. In the course of his expounding, he has illustrated a very large portion of the whole Bible with great clearness and power. He is deeply devotional and spiritual. He gives us much, but none too much. His work can scarcely be superseded or surpassed.’ – Spurgeon
It is a woeful thing to consider what slight thoughts the most have of this thing. So men can keep themselves from sin itself in open action, they are content, they scarce aim at more; on any temptation in the world, all sorts of men will venture at any time. How will young men put themselves on the company, any society; at first, being delighted with evil company, then with the evil of the company! How vain are all admonitions and exhortations to them to take heed of such persons, debauched in themselves, corrupters of others, destroyers of souls! At first, they will venture on the company, abhorring the thoughts of practicing their lewdness; but what is the issue? Unless it is here or there one, whom God snatches with a mighty hand from the jaws of destruction, they are all lost and become after a while in love with the evil which at first they abhorred. This open door to the ruin of souls is too evident; and woeful experience makes it no less evident that it is almost impossible to fasten upon many poor creatures any fear or dread of temptation, who yet will profess a fear and abhorrence of sin.
Let a soul in such an estate awake and look about him. His enemy is at hand, and he is ready to fall into such a condition as may cost him dear all the days of his life. His present estate is bad enough in itself; but it is an indication of that which is worse that lies at the door. The disciples that were with Christ in the mount had not only a bodily, but a spiritual drowsiness upon them. What says our Savior to them? “Arise; watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.” We know how near one of them was to a bitter hour of temptation, and not watching as he ought, he immediately entered into it.
It is a woeful thing to consider what slight thoughts the most have of this thing. So men can keep themselves from sin itself in open action, they are content, they scarce aim at more; on any temptation in the world, all sorts of men will venture at any time. How will young men put themselves on company, any society; at first, being delighted with evil company, then with the evil of the company! How vain are all admonitions and exhortations to them to take heed of such persons, debauched in themselves, corrupters of others, destroyers of souls.
When by a man’s state or condition of life, or any means whatever, it comes to pass that his lust and any temptation meet with occasions and opportunities for its provocation and stirring up, let that man know, whether he perceives it or not, that he is certainly entered into temptation. I told you before, that to enter into temptation is not merely to be tempted, but so to be under the power of it as to be entangled by it. Now, it is impossible almost for a man to have opportunities, occasions, advantages, suited to his lust and corruption, but he will be entangled.
The temptation will give oil and fuel to our lusts,—incite, provoke, and make then tumultuate and rage beyond measure. Tendering a lust, a corruption, a suitable object, advantage, occasion, it heightens and exasperates it, makes it for a season wholly predominant: so dealt it with carnal fear in Peter, with pride in Hezekiah, with covetousness in Achan, with uncleanness in David, with worldliness in Demas, with ambition in Diotrephes. It will lay the reins on the neck of a lust, and put to the sides of it, that it may rush forward like a horse into the battle. A man knows not the pride, fury, madness of a corruption, until it meet with a suitable temptation. And what now will a poor soul think to do? His mind is darkened, his affections entangled, his lusts inflamed and provoked, his relief is defeated; and what will be the issue of such a condition?
What it is to “enter into temptation”—Not barely being tempted—Not to be conquered by it—To fall into it—The force of that expression—Things required unto entering into temptation—Satan or lust more than ordinarily importunate—The soul’s entanglement—Seasons of such entanglements discovered—Of the “hour of temptation,” Rev. iii. 10, what it is—How any temptation comes to its hour—How it may be known when it is so come—The means of prevention prescribed by our Saviour—Of watching, and what is intended thereby—Of prayer.