Now the general current of human actions is such in regard to the divine law, as to afford conclusive and overwhelming evidence of man’s moral corruption. If we turn our thoughts to the history of human conduct in the antediluvian world, and since, we shall see that man has been a sinner. If we survey the conduct of man at the present day, in every situation and at every period of life, we still find evidence of the fact that man is a sinner.
THE COMER’S CONFLICT: OR, THE BEGINNER’S BATTLE WITH THE DEVIL, WHEN ESSAYING TO COME TO CHRIST BY FAITH.
This subject was handled in two Discourses: The first was delivered at an evening exercise, on Saturday, July 19, 1735, before the celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, at Kinglassie, on the 20th. The second was preached on the Monday, after the administration of that ordinance.
“And as he was yet a-coming, the Devil threw him down, and tare him.” Luke 9:42
In your thoughts of Christ, be very careful that they are conceived and directed according to the rule of the word, lest you deceive your own souls, and give up the conduct of your affections unto vain imaginations.
Spiritual notions befalling carnal minds did once, by the means of superstition, ruin the power of religion.
Frequent thoughts and meditations on heaven under this notion do argue a man to be spiritually minded; for it is a convincing evidence that sin is a burden unto him, that he longs to be delivered from it and all its
consequents, that no thoughts are more welcome unto him than those of that state wherein sin shall be no more.
Not to faint under the daily decays of our outward man, and the approaches of death thereby, to bear afflictions as things light and momentary, to thrive under all in the inward man, are unspeakable mercies
and privileges. Can you attain a better frame? Is there any thing that you would more desire, if you are believers?
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