let men examine themselves what number of these vain, useless thoughts night and day do rove up and down in their minds. If now it be apprehended too severe, that men’s thoughts of spiritual things should exceed them that are employed about their lawful callings, let them consider what proportion they bear unto those that are vain and useless. Do not many give more time unto them than they do unto holy meditations, without an endeavor to mortify the one or to stir up and enliven the other? are they not more wonted to their seasons than holy thoughts are? And shall we suppose that those with whom it is so are spiritually minded?”
O what sorrow-bitten souls are the saints for their want of sorrow. “I mourn, Lord, I lament, I weep; but it is because I cannot mourn or lament as I should: if I could mourn as I ought, I could be comforted; if I could weep, I could rejoice; if I could sigh, I could sing; if I could lament, I could live; I die, I die, my heart dies within me, because I cannot cry; I cry, Lord, but not for sin, but for tears for sin; I cry, Lord, my calamities cry, my bones cry, my soul cries, my sins cry, ‘Lord, for a broken heart,’ and behold, yet I am not broken.
The meditations of Alexander Whyte are from the writings of Thomas Shepard. 1605-1649. Beeke wrote, When I first read Alexander’s Whyte’s book on Thomas Shepard some 30 years ago, I was frequently moved to tears. This narration includes, I Abhor Myself, The More I do the Worse I am, and It is sometimes so with me I would rather die than pray.
The church, though in this deplorable state, was not aware of its condition, but thought all was going on well; it did not know that it was “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” This is surprising and affecting, and shows, in an alarming view, how far self-deception may be carried, especially in the case of those, who, like the members of the church at Laodicea, are much taken up with the enjoyment of worldly prosperity. Let a professor of religion have his mind much occupied with the cares of business, and his affections much engrossed with the objects of sense, and it is astonishing how ignorant and mistaken he may remain as to the real state of his soul.
The book, The Church in Earnest, was a followup book to An Earnest Ministry. It was published in 1850. This chapter is the first part of his exhortations to the churches in Revelation through Thyatira.
The full title of this adult Sunday School lesson is Temporary and the Twofold Working of the Spirit. The Twofold working of the Spirit is the title of a chapter in A W Pink’s commentary on Hebrews where he details the work of the Holy Spirit upon the non-elect. It is also called “The Common Influences of the Holy Spirit. An examination of Thomas Goodwin’s treatise from Works Volume 6 “The Holy Spirit and the Temporary Believer” is also opened up with a story in this lesson also from Davis W Clark’s Deathbed Scenes, 1851 The Apostate.
In this discussion we cover the characters of Simple, Sloth, and Presumption, then Formalist and Hypocrisy. We also discuss at length the temporary loss of assurance of salvation and distinguish it from God’s hiding of His face from His children to teach them to not live on their frames and feelings.
Souls are wont to be brought into trouble before God bestows true hope and comfort. The corrupt hearts of men naturally incline to stupidity and senselessness before God comes with the awakening influences of his Spirit. They are quiet and secure. They have no true comfort and hope, and yet they are quiet; they are at ease. They are in miserable slavery, and yet seek not a remedy.
Gradually the glow of fervent affections subsides. Worldly pursuits, even the most lawful and necessary, steal away the heart; and various perplexing entanglements beset the inexperienced traveler. He begins to see that there were many things faulty in his early course. He blames his own weakness or enthusiasm; and in avoiding one extreme he easily falls into the opposite, to which human nature has a strong bias. He enters into more company with the world and, of course, imbibes insensibly some portion of its spirit. This has a deadening effect on his pious feelings; and his devotions become less fervent and less punctual; and far more interrupted with vain, wandering thoughts, than before. He is apt to fall into a hasty or formal attendance on the daily duties of the closet, and a little matter will sometimes lead him to neglect these precious seasons of grace. A strange forgetfulness of the presence of God, and of his accountableness for every thought, word, and action, seizes upon him. Close self-examination becomes painful and, when attempted, is unsuccessful.