All posts by The Narrator

Richard Baxter – Directions To The Melancholy About Their Thoughts

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From The Christian Directory

He is endless in his scruples: afraid lest he sin in every word he speaketh, and in every thought, and every look, and every meal he eateth, and all the clothes he weareth: and if he think to amend them, he is still scrupling his supposed amendments: he dare neither travel, nor stay at home, neither speak, nor be silent, but he is scrupling all; as if he were wholly composed of self-perplexing scruples. 21. Hence it comes to pass that he is greatly addicted to superstition; to make many laws to himself that God never made him; and to ensnare himself with needless vows, and resolutions, and hurtful austerities; “touch not, taste not, handle not;” and to place his religion much in such outward, self-imposed tasks.

William Plumer – Christ as a Physician – 1867

Sin is a perpetual disease. It rages day and night, on the sea and on the land, in the house of mirth and in the house of God. The wicked “sleep not, except they have done mischief.” They devise mischief upon their beds. They “cannot cease from sin.” Even in sleep, their dreams are vain or vile. Sin has no rest. If for a season the evil spirit forsakes his house, it is only to bring with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there, and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

Nothing but the cross will melt a hard heart, or bend a stubborn will, or give a death-blow to corruption. A sight of hell never frightened one out of the love of sin. The thunders of Sinai never made a rebellious heart submit to God. Pliny, the naturalist, says that blood readily extinguishes fire. It is sure that the blood of Christ not only quenches the flaming wrath around the throne of God, but it also extinguishes the fires of unhallowed desires in the soul. It begets hatred to sin, and love to holiness.

James Guthrie – Last Speech From the Scaffold – 1661

From ”
When Charles II. ascended the throne, in 1660, Guthrie and several others petitioned the king to remember his status as a Covenanter. In 1661, with Middleton presiding, Guthrie was arraigned for high treason. The six counts included his signing of the Western Remonstrance. He was ordered to be hanged on June 1, 1661, at the cross of Edinburgh. There he died the first minister to be martyred for Christ’s Crown and Covenant.

“The matters for which I am condemned, are matters belonging to my calling and function as a minister of the gospel, such as the discovery and reproving of sin, the pressing and the holding fast of the path of God in the covenant, and preserving and carry ing the work of religion and reformation according thereto, and denying to acknowledge the civil magistrate, as the proper competent immediate judge in causes ecclesiastical. That in all these things, which God so ordering by his gracious providence, are the grounds of my indictment and death, I have a good conscience, as having walked therein according to the light and rule of God’s word, and as it did become a minister of the gospel.”

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.

David Brainerd Arrives at Northhampton – Life of Jonathan Edwards

From the biography of Edwards by his great grandson, Sereno Dwight

Brainerd came there on the 28th of May, apparently very much improved in health, cheerful in his spirits, and free from melancholy, yet at that time probably in a confirmed consumption. Mr. Edwards had now an opportunity of becoming most intimately acquainted with him and regarded his residence under his roof as a peculiar blessing to himself and his family. “We enjoyed,” he observes, “not only the benefit of his conversation but had the comfort and advantage of having him pray in the family from time to time.”

John Owen – God’s Various Judgments on Fruitless Professors

These are some of the ways in which God deals with the barren ground, with fruitless and provoking professors, even whilst they are in this world. It is true, these judgments being spiritual, and they being now become wholly carnal, they are for the most part little sensible of them. God, indeed, does sometimes cause the dread and terror of his wrath so to fall upon the consciences of some of them, as that in this world they are made a spectacle of divine vengeance; but for the most part, being filled with their lusts, and sins, and pleasures, they carry it out bravingly to the end.

Robert Haldane _ That Which I Would, I Do Not! Romans 7:14-25

“Paul, notwithstanding all the grace with which he was favored, found a principle of evil operating so strongly in his heart, that he denominates it a law always present and always active to retard him in his course. He was not, however, under its dominion. He was in Christ Jesus a new creature, born of God, renewed in the spirit of his mind. He delighted in the holy law of God in all its extent and spirituality, while at the same time he felt the influence of the other hateful principle — that tendency to evil which characterizes the old man, — which waged perpetual war against the work of grace in his soul, impelling him to the commission of sin, and constantly striving to bring him under its power. Nothing can more clearly demonstrate the fallen state of man, and the entire corruption of his nature, then the perpetual and irreconcilable warfare which that corruption maintains in the hearts of all believers against ‘the Divine nature’ of which they are made partakers; and nothing can more forcibly enhance the value of the Gospel, and prove its necessity in order to salvation, or more fully illustrate the great truth which Paul had been illustrating, that by the deeds of the law no flesh shall be justified in the sight of God.”

John Owen – That Which Bears Thorns and Briers…Whose End Is To Be Burned. Hebrews 6:8

An examination of the signs that a professing Christian, who bears no fruit, is being given up of God to final induration, or hardness of heart.

Barrenness under the dispensation of the gospel is always accompanied by an increase of sin. The ground which brings not forth “herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed,” thrusts forth “thorns and briers.” Let it be observed, that spiritual barrenness never goes alone. Abounding in sin will accompany it, and does so. How doth God thus judicially give up persons despising the gospel unto their own hearts’lusts, to do the things that are not convenient?’ I answer He doth it, by leaving them wholly to themselves, taking off all effectual restraint from them.

Ordinarily, God proceeds to the rejection and destruction of barren professors by degrees, although they are seldom sensible of it until they fall irrecoverably into ruin. This ground here is first “disapproved” or “rejected;” then it is “nigh to cursing;” — the curse ensues; after which it is “burned.” And God thus proceeds with them,

Robert Walker – The Awful Destiny of the Wicked – 1760

Joel Hawes, in 1854, wrote ” The sermons of Rev. Robert Walker, in two volumes, I regard as among the best in the language. Thoroughly evangelical in doctrine; deeply imbued with the spirit and phraseology of the scriptures; logical in arrangement; perspicuous in style, and faithful in application,—they may be recommended as models of correct sermonizing to young ministers, and to all as replete with Biblical instruction, and of excellent use for general religious reading.”

The eminent author of the following discourses was at the time of his death and had been for near thirty years, pastor over the High Church of Edinburgh. For nearly twenty-five years he was a colleague with the celebrated Dr. Blair. He died on the 4th of April, 1783, immediately after
preaching in the morning, in apparently his usual health.

Walker, ” This, it must be confessed, is a gloomy subject ; but gloomy as it is, we must not forbear to press it on your attention. The same God who commands us to say to the righteous, It shall be well with him, commands us likewise to deliver this awful warning : ” It shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow ; because he feareth not before God.”