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Jonathan Edwards: The Dog Returns To its Vomit Again, And A Fool to His Folly

  1. 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.

John Bunyan – Praying in the Spirit – 1662

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.

Praying In the Spirit

Robert L Dabney – The Public Preaching of Women

Originally Published in The Southern Presbyterian Review October, 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.

Matthew Henry- They..cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination.

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.

Jonathan Edwards – Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God. Section 1

There was scarcely a single person in the town, old or young, left unconcerned about the great things of the eternal world. Those who were wont to be the vainest and loosest, and those who had been disposed to think and speak lightly of vital and experimental religion, were now generally subject to great awakenings. And the work of conversion was carried on in a most astonishing manner, and increased more and more; souls did as it were come by flocks to Jesus Christ.

Jonathan Edwards – Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God. Section 2 A

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.

Jonathan Edwards – Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God. Section 2 B

When awakenings first begin, their consciences are commonly most exercised about their outward vicious course, or other acts of sin; but afterwards are much more burdened with a sense of heart-sins, the dreadful corruption of their nature, their enmity against God, the pride of their hearts, their unbelief, their rejection of Christ, the stubbornness and obstinacy of their wills; and the like. In many, God makes much use of their own experience, in the course of their awakenings and endeavors after saving good, to convince them of their own vile emptiness and universal depravity.

Robert M McCheyne – Hell Will Come Suddenly To the Wicked.

Brethren, I believe that most of those in this congregation who will finally perish, their destruction will be sudden. It is written, ‘And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares’

I believe, again, it is so with all you who die without finding Christ, you will perish suddenly. ‘Upon the wicked, he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup.’

Thomas Adams: There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts. 1633

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.

William Jenkyn: Filthy Dreamers, Defile the Flesh – Reject Authority – 1652

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: