Temptations – Introspection: We speak of a continual peering inward
on their thoughts, emotions, affections, convictions of sin, and various exercises of mind, instead of looking away from them all to
Christ. It is the natural proneness of a doubting and fearful mind, which it is often hard to resist.
Now the question we have to put upon all this is, whether the righteous of our day, or those who deem themselves to be so, are really comporting themselves in a way answerable to such a representation? Are they running, so as that they may obtain ? Are they fighting, so as that they may gain a hard-won victory? Are they striving, so as that they may force an entrance of great obstruction and difficulty?
How may a professor, who fears lest his experiences are counterfeit and not genuine graces, come to such a satisfaction concerning his state, as shall encourage his continued reception of the
From Cases of Conscience, Case 23 “How may a professor, who fears lest his experiences are counterfeit and not genuine graces, come to such a satisfaction concerning his state, as shall encourage his continued reception of the Lord’s Supper?”
Besides, therefore, these advantages and ways of knowledge, somewhat common to us men, each of other, devils have a farther and more near way of knowing the acts of the reasonable powers, the understanding and will, than we men can have; even as they have also a way of communicating their thoughts to us in a more intimate, close, secret manner, yet still such as falls short of an intuitive knowledge of them. They can go into a room further then we;
and into a room which is next the privy chamber, which yet re
mains fast locked up unto them. As their power in all other things reacheth a degree higher than ours, so in this also.
By trouble and distress, and by a sense of a heavy load of guilt, God brings men down into the dust. God brings souls thus into the wilderness to show them their own helplessness, to let them see that they have nothing to which they can turn for help, to make them sensible that they are not rich and increased with goods, but wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; to show them that they are utterly undone and ruined, to make them sensible of their exceeding wickedness, and to bring them to be sensible how justly God might cast them off forever.
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.