Discovering the Soundness or Corruption of Men’s Hearts by the Manner in Which They Regard Indwelling Sin – From the Book, The Touchstone of Sincerity … 1698
They undoubtedly have graceless hearts who are distressed at the discovery of their sins by others, but who are not troubled on account of their guilt. Multitudes there are of this class: they are not awed by the consideration that God sees them; they are concerned chiefly that their appearance before men may be reputable; they scruple not to commit ten sins against God in order to hide one from the eyes of men.
Introduction: the word Revival defined. The Connecticut Evangelical Magazine. The authors Heman Humphrey, Bennet Tyler, Ashbel Green, and other key pastors in this history. Authentic narratives from numerous first-hand accounts.
I would by no means flatter you concerning this work, or go about to make you believe, that you shall find an easy light business of it: no, I would not have you expect any such thing. I would have you sit down and count the cost; and if you cannot find it in your hearts to engage in a great, hard, laborious, and expensive undertaking, and to persevere in it to the end of life, pretend not to be religious. Indulge yourselves in your ease; follow your pleasures; eat, drink, and be merry; even conclude to go to hell in that way, and never make any more pretenses of seeking your salvation.
There was too little discrimination between true and false religious feeling. There was too much encouragement given to outcries, faintings, and bodily agitations, as probable evidence of the presence and power of God. There was, in many, too much reliance on impulses, visions, and the pretended power of discerning spirits. There was a great deal of consciousness, and of a sinful disregard of ecclesiastical order. The disastrous effects of these evils, the rapid spread of false religion, the dishonour and decline of true piety, the prevalence of erroneous doctrines, the division of congregations, the alienation of Christians, and the long period of subsequent deadness in the church, stand up as a solemn warning to Christians, and especially to Christian ministers in all times to come.”
From Cases of Conscience, Case 23 “How may a professor, who fears lest his experiences are counterfeit and not genuine graces, come to such a satisfaction concerning his state, as shall encourage his continued reception of the Lord’s Supper?”
Though faith be a difficult work above our power, yet God commands us to use our utmost endeavors to believe. The reason why God commands us so to do, and how the infinite power of God in working faith, and our own endeavors, are very well consistent together. Discouragements removed, which may arise either from our own inability to believe, or from the sense of our great sinfulness, or from the thoughts of an absolute decree of election,
resolving to save only some particular persons.
Satan is able to work upon that other corrupt principle in us : guilt of
conscience. Both how many ways Satan is able to know matter by us to object against us ; as also, to set it on, and work upon the guilt and
erroneousness of the conscience.
By trouble and distress, and by a sense of a heavy load of guilt, God brings men down into the dust. God brings souls thus into the wilderness to show them their own helplessness, to let them see that they have nothing to which they can turn for help, to make them sensible that they are not rich and increased with goods, but wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; to show them that they are utterly undone and ruined, to make them sensible of their exceeding wickedness, and to bring them to be sensible how justly God might cast them off forever.
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