When men enter into a course of sin, they have no intention to be damned. They intend only to indulge the selves in the pleasures of sin for a time, and then to return to the paths of life. Millions of souls have been seduced to everlasting destruction by this one temptation of the old serpent,— “Ye shall not die although you eat; grace is free, and there is abundance of time to repent.” The wise man gives what may repel is temptation, by letting us know how foolish it is for men to flatter themselves with the hope, that they shall be truly disposed and enabled to repent of their sin.
The security of all flesh is wondrous great, for there is a fearful sleep fallen both upon the good and the evil. The foolish virgins are sound asleep, and the wise are asleep also. And suppose the Lord be at the door, and the hour of judgment at hand, and the seventh angel ready to blow the last trumpet, when time shall be no more; yet it is scarcely one of a thousand, yea, one of ten thousand, is to be found that is prepared, and busying themselves to meet the Lord, who is making speed to come in the clouds: and how soon that fire shall break forth, which shall kindle the heavens above your head, and the earth under your feet, and shall set all on fire; how soon the trumpet shall blow, and the shout shall cry, “Rise, Dead, and come to judgment,” is only known to God, and to no mortal man. Will ye not then be wakened till this trumpet waken you?
The first thing which I would observe unto this end is, the present
importunity of the world to impose itself on the minds of men, and the various ways of insinuation whereby it possesseth and filleth them. If it attain hereunto, — if it can fill the minds, the thoughts, and affections of men, with itself, — it will in some fortify the soul against faith and obedience, and in others weaken all grace, and endanger eternal ruin. For “if we love the world, the love of the Father is not in us;” and when the world fills our thoughts, it will entangle our affections. And, first, the present state of all public affairs in it, with an apprehended concernment of private persons therein, continually exerciseth the thoughts of many, and is almost
the only subject of their mutual converse; for the world is at present in a mighty hurry, and being in many places cast off from all foundations of steadfastness, it makes the minds of men giddy with its revolutions, or disorderly in the expectations of them.
Also called the Saint’s Pocket Book of Promises and is included in Richard Alleine’s work Heaven Opened.
From the Scottish Free Church Magazine of 1853
Christians in a state of declension, like the wise virgins in Matthew 25, may decline very low in grace.
There are two things which those who, after a long profession of the
gospel, are entering into the confines of eternity do long for and desire. The one is, that all their breaches may be repaired, their decays recovered, their backsliding healed; for unto these things they have been less or more obnoxious in the course of their walking before God. The other is, that they may have fresh springs of spiritual life, and vigorous acting of all divine graces, in spiritual-mindedness, holiness, and fruitfulness, unto the praise of God, the honor of the gospel, and the increase of their own peace and joy.
THE third success of the deceit of sin in its progressive work is the
conception of actual sin. When it hath drawn the mind off from its duty, and entangled the affections, it proceeds to conceive sin in order to the bringing of it forth: “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin.”
Now, the conception of sin, in order unto its perpetration, can be nothing but the consent of the will; for as without the consent of the will sin cannot be committed, so where the will hath consented unto it, there is nothing in the soul to hinder its actual accomplishment.
All flattery, and especially self-flattery, is criminal and injurious ; but self-flattery, in regard to the concerns of salvation, is to the last degree dangerous and destructive. To persuade ourselves, or endeavor to persuade others, that we possess goodness of which we are in reality destitute, is shameful and ruinous dissimulation. But of this, Laodiceans, and self-deceivers in every age, are guilty.
Young converts are prone to depend too much on joyful frames, and love high excitement in their devotional exercises; but their heavenly Father cures them of this folly, by leaving them for a season to walk in darkness and struggle with their own corruptions. When most sorely pressed and discouraged, however, He strengthens them with might in the inner man. He enables them to stand firmly against temptation; or, if they slide, he quickly restores them, and by such exercises they become much more sensible of their entire dependence than they were at first.