Burgess – 1600-1663
We can have no greater evidence of a change in us from this state and condition, than a change wrought in the course of our thoughts. A relinquishment of this or that particular sin is not an evidence of a translation from this state; for, as was said, such particular sins proceed from particular lusts and temptations, and are not the immediate universal consequence of that depravation of nature which is equal in all. Such alone
are the vanity and wickedness of the thoughts and imaginations of the heart.
Well, now the ax begins to be heaved higher. For now, indeed, God is ready to smite the sinner; yet before He will strike the stroke, He will try one way more at last, and if that misseth, down goes the fig tree. Now this last way is to tug and strive with this professor by the Spirit. Wherefore the Spirit of the Lord is now come to him, but not always to strive with man. Yet awhile He will strive with him; He will awaken, He will convince, He will call to remembrance former sins, former judgments, the breach of former vows and promises, the misspending of former days – He will also present persuasive arguments, encouraging promises, dreadful judgments, the shortness of time to repent in, and that there is hope if He come. Further, He will show him the certainty of death, and of the judgment to come; yea, He will pull and strive with this sinner.
This sermon is mentioned in the introduction to Stephen Charnock’s Existence and Attributes of God. The Temper of Christ.
Go into all nations and offer this salvation as you go; but lest the poor house of Israel should think themselves abandoned to despair, the seed of Abraham, mine ancient friend; as cruel and unkind as they have been, go, make them the first offer of grace; let them that struck the rock, drink first of its refreshing streams; and they that drew my blood, be welcome to its healing virtue. Tell them, that as I was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, so, if they will be gathered, I will be their shepherd still. Though they despised my tears which I shed over them, and imprecated my blood to be upon them, tell them ’twas for their sakes I shed both; that by my tears I might soften their hearts towards God, and by my blood I might reconcile God to them Tell them, you have seen the prints of the nails upon my hands and feet, and the wounds of the spear in my side j and that those marks of their cruelty are so far from giving me vindictive thoughts, that, if they will but repent, every wound they have given me speaks in their behalf, pleads with the Father for the remission of their sins, and enables me to bestowit Nay, if you meet that poor wretch that thrust the spear into my side, tell him there is another way, a better way, of coming at my heart, If he will repent, and look upon him whom he has pierced, and will mourn, I will cherish him in that very bosom he has wounded; he shall find this blood he shed an ample atonement for the sin of shedding it. And tell him from me, he will put me to more pain and displeasure by refusing this offer of my blood, than when he first drew it
Wonder not if you see a diversity of success in preaching of the word. Some receive it with joy; the most despise it as a thing of nought. Whence is this difference? Multitudes are rejected of God, — cast out of his care, — barren land; he will till them no more. A cursed state! Marvel not that many refuse to hear the word, that they love lies; they are given up of God to their hearts’ lusts. -John Owen
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. From the collected sermons of John OwenA Warning Against Hardness of Heart in Christians
This chapter, from Preston’s book Sin’s Overthrow, is an exposition of Colossians 3:5 written in 1633
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