The question very naturally arises: How comes it to pass that this knowledge which Divine inspiration postulates, and affirms to be innate and constitutional to the human mind, should become so vitiated? The majority of mankind are idolaters and polytheists and have been for thousands of years. Can it be that the truth that there is only one God is native to the human spirit and that the pagan “knows” this God?
Many men who live in ways which are not agreeable to the rules of God’s Word, yet are not sensible of it. And it is a difficult thing to make them so because the same lust that leads them into that evil way, blinds them in it. — Thus, if a man [lives] a way of malice or envy, the more malice or envy prevails, the more will it blind his understanding to approve of it. The more a man hates his neighbor, the more will he be disposed to think that he has just cause to hate him, and that his neighbor is hateful, and deserves to be hated, and that it is not his duty to love him. So if a man live in any way of lasciviousness, the more his impure lust prevails, the more sweet and pleasant will it make the sin appear, and so the more will he be disposed and prejudiced to think there is no evil in it.
From Sermons on the Parable of the 10 Virgins.
The doctrine of the day of judgment, in which men are taught that Christ will come with glory, majesty and mighty power on the clouds of heaven to judge the quick and dead, and that all, both small and great, must stand before him to give an account, is a very awful and awakening doctrine, tending very much to rouse both saints and sinners, and excite to watchfulness and diligence that they may be ready for such a day. But this doctrine has been preached in the world now for many ages, but men see nothing of the accomplishment of it; and many that hear of it are the less moved by it, because they look upon [it] as at a great distance. They hear that there are many things yet to be accomplished in the world before the day of judgment, and they never expect to see it while they live, nor till a great while after they are dead.
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.
In this lesson the conversation is continued between Faithful and Christian. Faithful recounts his interaction with Adam the First, Moses, Discontent, and then they both encounter Talkative. It includes an introduction to Jonathan Edwards on The Religious Affections, what are NOT signs that a person has holy affections.
SHOWING WHAT ARE NO CERTAIN SIGNS THAT RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS ARE GRACIOUS, OR THAT THEY ARE NOT.
That religious affections are very great, or raised very high, is no sign
- That they have great effects on the body, is no sign
III. That they cause those who have them to be fluent, fervent, and abundant, in talking of the things of religion, is no sign
- That persons did not excite them of their own contrivance and by their own strength, is no sign
- That they come with texts of Scripture, remarkably brought to the mind, is no sign
- That there is an appearance of love in them, is no sign
VII. Persons having religious affections of many kinds, accompanying one another, is no sign
VIII. That comforts and joys seem to follow awakenings and convictions of conscience, in a certain order, is no sign
- That they dispose persons to spend much time in religion, and to be zealously engaged in the external duties of worship, is no sign
- That they much dispose persons with their mouths to praise and glorify God, is no sign
- That they make persons that have them exceeding confident that what they experience is divine, and that they are in a good estate, is no sign
XII. That the outward manifestations of them, and the relation persons give of them, are very affecting and pleasing to the godly, is no sign
Now the question we have to put upon all this is, whether the righteous of our day, or those who deem themselves to be so, are really comporting themselves in a way answerable to such a representation? Are they running, so as that they may obtain ? Are they fighting, so as that they may gain a hard-won victory? Are they striving, so as that they may force an entrance of great obstruction and difficulty?
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
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?”
If we mourn not for the sins of others, we draw them upon us, we make them ours. They mourned here for all their abominations, lest they should be found guilty of any: and 1 Cor. v. the Corinthians were defiled with the sin of the incestuous person, because they did not mourn and do their duty to affect his heart, or remove him from their body. Bradford prayed the Lord to forgive him his other men’s sins.
Signs of and hindrances to progressive sanctification.