Where prayers are effectual, they will bring in spiritual strength. But the prayers of many seem to be very spiritual, and to express all conceivable supplies of grace, and they are persisted in with constancy, — and God forbid we should judge them to be hypocritical and wholly insincere, — yet there is a defect somewhere, which should be inquired after, for they
are not so answered as that they who pray them are strengthened with strength in their souls. There is not that spiritual thriving, that growth in grace, which might be expected to accompany such supplications.
Grace and Duty of Being Spiritually Minded 3
This sermon is taken from the collected works and sermons of Samuel Davies volume 1. It is a sermon on the text 1 Peter 4:18
The Righteous Saved With Much Difficulty
And when the last trial is closed and their incorrigible barrenness is evinced, why should they not be cut down and cast into the fire? They never will bear fruit. They will only remain cumberersof the ground. Why should they be spared? It is reasonable that barren figtrees, after all hope of their fruitfulness is gone, should be removed out of the way, and, since they can be of no other use, should be made fuel for the fire. And if fruitless men had any ingenuousness in them, they would not desire to be left to cumber God’s ground. If they will not do any good, they ought not to wish to do hurt.
The Barren Fig Tree
Though regeneration is monergistic, what does God do prior to regeneration to prepare the sinner to see his need for grace?
Man’s Agency in Regeneration
Taken from the Rise and Progress of Religion -THERE is a case which often occurs in the Christian life, which they who accustom themselves much to the exercise of devotion have been used to call the “hiding of God’s face.” It is a phrase borrowed from the word of God, which I hope may shelter it from contempt at the first hearing. It will be my business in this chapter to state it as plainly as I can, and then to give some advice as to your own conduct when you fall into it, as it is very probable you may before you have finished your journey through this wilderness.
When God Seems to Hide His Face
Moore – 1811 – wrote, “The proper temper for prayer should precede the act. The disposition should be wrought in the mind before the exercise is begun. To bring a proud temper to an humble prayer, a luxurious habit to a self-denying prayer, or a worldly disposition to a spiritually-minded prayer, is a positive anomaly. A habit is more powerful than an act, and a previously indulged temper during the day will not, it is to be feared, be fully counteracted by the exercise of a few minutes devotion at night. “Cultivating a Devotional Spirit
…spurious revivals we honestly regard as the chief bane of our Protestantism. We believe that they are the chief cause, under the prime source, original sin, which has deteriorated the average standing of holy living, principles, and morality, and the church discipline of our religion, until it has nearly lost its practical power over the public conscience. R L Dabney
Spurious Religious Excitements