For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, to call passengers who go right on their ways….”They are evil times, when tempters to sin are permitted to hunt so avowedly for prey. Let well-meaning persons, in such a time, watch and pray against temptation. These are the persons whom the foolish woman solicits, and too often with success.”
It is a part and duty of spiritual wisdom, as also an evidence of a due reverence of God, to take notice of extraordinary occurrences in the dispensations of his providence; for they are instructive warnings, and of great importance in his government of the world. In them the “voice of the Lord crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see his name.” And there is a mark left on them, — as profligate persons, — who will not see when his hand is so lifted up. An example of this wisdom is given us here in our blessed Saviour, who, on the report that was made unto him of some severe providential accidents, then newly fallen out, gives an exposition of the mind of God in them, with an application of them unto the present duty of them that heard him, and ours therein.
This narration is a reading of Thomas Chalmer’s Introduction to William Gurthie’s Trial of a Saving Interest. It also includes a chapter from John Angell James, Hindrances to Christian Progress in Sanctification.
Timothy Rogers, English Puritan (May 24, 1658 – November 1728), was the son of John Rogers. His first published sermon was “Early Religion, or the Way for a Young Man to Remember His Creator” in 1683. He fell into a deep melancholy from 1688 to 1690. As a result of his sufferings and the grace of God which led him out of that dark despond, he published four sermons under the title “Practical Discourses on Sickness and Recovery” in 1690, which was followed by A Discourse on Trouble of Mind and the Disease of Melancholy in 1691. He continued to deal with melancholia throughout his life, but also testified to the grace of God working in him unto the end.
The folly and presumption of poor souls herein can never be enough lamented. But it is one thing to embrace a cloud, a shadow, another to have the truth in reality. I shall hereafter show the true nature of forgiveness and wherein it doth consist, whereby the vanity of this self-deceiving will be discovered and laid open.
Trouble, danger, disquietment, arguing not only things evil, but a sense in the mind and soul of them, will of themselves put those in whom they are upon seeking relief. Every thing would naturally be at rest. A drowning man needs no exhortation to endeavor his own deliverance and safety; and spiritual troubles will, in like manner, put men on attempts for relief. To seek for no remedy is to be senselessly obdurate, or wretchedly desperate, as Cain and Judas.
Is it nothing unto us that so many nations in the world, where the profession of the gospel and an avowed subjection of soul and conscience unto Jesus Christ did flourish for some ages, are now utterly overrun with Mohammedanism, paganism, and atheism? Do we suppose these things are fallen out by chance, or come to pass by a fatal revolution of affairs, such as all things in this world are obnoxious unto? Did ever any nation or people under heaven lose the gospel as unto its profession, who did not first reject it as unto its power, purity, and obedience? And is not the glory of God, is not the honor of Christ, peculiarly concerned herein?
It is a misery which the tongues of men and angels cannot sufficiently express. God always acts like Himself– as no favors can be compared to His, so also His wrath and terrors are without a parallel.
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!