This is a collection of tracts Alexander wrote for the American Tract Society. They were gathered into a book called “Practical Truths.” A cassette recording of this was done back in 1985, one of two very first books narrated for the Chapel Library. This is a new recording. It is closed out with Death Bed Scenes, the dying words of Richard Baxter, then Phillip Doddridge, and Thomas Scott.
Those whom the Lord has sent into his vineyard, and fitted for that great work, they cannot be satisfied with their wages; no, not that great ‘recompense of reward’ which he has promised them, unless they see the success of their labors. If their hearts be upright before God, and of a temper answerable to their calling, they value nothing like the fruits of their ministry, how much approbation, how much love soever they have, how free and liberal encouragements and supports soever they meet with. ”
Even where there is sufficient light and conviction as to reveal to sinners that they come short of the Divine rule, and where they perceive that what the Word insists is necessary to salvation is not found in them, instead of abandoning their false hopes they persuade themselves that God is more merciful than the Scriptures represent Him to be. It is true, says the sinner, in such a case, that the way to heaven is a narrow one and that God’s kingdom can only be entered “through much tribulation” (Acts 14:22), but God will save me even though I fail here and there and I he lacking in this and that.
The false convert’s resolutions against sin are defective. In their rise. They issue not from a renewed heart, from a principle of holiness and love to Christ, but from apprehensions of unpleasant effects and future damnation. Or from the restraining power of God, which keeps them from purposing to sin rather than moves them to full resolution against it: so that their resolutions are negative rather than positive. Thus it was with Balaam, who said not “I will not” but “I cannot” (Num. 22;18, 38)-he had a mind to, but the Lord prevented him.
From the notes, ”
Hypocritical professors. The number in this class, we are fain to believe, is much smaller than in the preceding ones: for them there is some hope while life lasts, but for these we can see none. Hypocritical professors are those who deliberately assume a role: they are consciously playing a part. They know that they are not Christians, but for one reason or other are anxious to make their fellows believe they are so. Some of them belonged formerly to one of the other groups, to the third especially, then they discovered the emptiness of their profession or that they had been deceived; too dishonest to disclaim themselves as Christians they took increased pains to persuade others of their piety.
Samuel Finley was the 5th president of the College of New Jersey which became Princeton U. In the early 1800’s there was an amazing Bible tract published by the American Tract Society called, Death Bed of a Free Thinker – the horrible death of Francis Newport (died 1623) This book is no longer available as a free pdf, but it can be found alongside of the death bed of Samuel Finley. It was titled “The Death Bed of a Free-Thinker and the Death Bed of a Christian contrasted. The story of Finley’s death is detailed in chapter 19 of A. Alexander’s Thought on Religious Experience. Death Bed of the Believer. Finley said, ” Although I have as earnestly desired death, as the hireling pants for the evening shade, yet will I wait all the days of my appointed time. I have often struggled with principalities and powers, and have been brought to the borders of despair. Lord, let it suffice.” Finley preached the funeral sermon for Samuel Davies.
From the sermon, ” Wrath will come upon them without any restraint or moderation in the degree of it. God doth always lay, as it were, a restraint upon himself. He doth not stir up his wrath. He stays his rough wind in the day of his east wind. He lets not his arm light down on wicked men with its full weight. But when sinners shall have filled up the measure of their sins, there will be no caution, no restraint. His rough wind will not be stayed nor moderated. The wrath of God will be poured out like fire. He will come forth, not only in anger, but in the fierceness of his anger; he will execute wrath with power, so as to show what his wrath is, and make his power known. There will be nothing to alleviate his wrath. His heavy wrath will lie on them, without anything to lighten the burden, or to keep off, in any measure, the full weight of it from pressing the soul. — His eye will not spare, neither will he regard the sinner’s cries and lamentations, however loud and bitter. Then shall wicked men know that God is the Lord. They shall know how great that majesty is which they have despised, and how dreadful that threatened wrath is which they have so little regarded.”
The Right Method for a Settled Peace of Conscience and Spiritual Comfort. ” For my own part I must profess, that my soul hath more
frequent support from the consideration of God’s gracious and merciful nature, than from the promise itself.”
The Right Method for a Settled Peace of Conscience and Spiritual Comfort. ” God hath sent me to you, with that joyful message, which needs no more but your believing entertainment, to make it sufficient to raise you from the dust, and banish those terrors and troubles from your hearts, and help you to live like the sons of God. He commandeth me to tell you, that he takes notice of your sorrows. He stands by when you see him not, and say, he hath forsaken you. He minds you with greatest tenderness, when you say, he hath forgotten you.”
This recording is a collection of written prayers that are very edifying. The last is from John Calvin. Many of these were read from first editions made available through the Early English Books Online – Text Creation Partnership, including Henry Bull, from 1566. But they have been read into more modern English. The first two prayers are from the book Family Prayers by William Jay, 1769-1854. Unlike the popular book Valley of Vision, every prayer and author is introduced as to its authorship.