Tag Archives: self examination

Ministerial Confessions Oct. 1651 Scotland

Some General Heads of the Causes why the LORD contends with the Land, agreed upon (after seeking of the LORD) by the Commission of the GENERAL ASSEMBLY 1650, with the advice of divers Ministers from several parts of the Kingdom, met at Edinburgh, October 1651, so far as for the present they could attain light therein, which they offer and advise to be made use of by all the LORD’s People in the Land, leaving place to add, as the Lord shall make further discoveries hereafter of the guiltiness of the Land, and intending more fully and particularly to enlarge this Paper.

We have not been men of prayer. The spirit of prayer has slumbered among us. The closet has been too little frequented and delighted in. We have allowed business, study or active labor to interfere with our closet hours. A feverish atmosphere has found its way into our closet, disturbing the sweet calm of its blessed solitude. Sleep, company, idle visiting, foolish talking and jesting, idle reading, unprofitable occupations, engross time that might have been redeemed for prayer. Why is there so little concern to get time to pray? Why is there so much speaking, yet so little prayer? Why is there so much running to and fro, yet so little prayer? Why so much bustle and business, yet so little prayer?

Ministerial Confessions 1651

William Shedd – Sin in the Heart the Source of Error in the Head

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?

Sin in the Heart the Source of Error in the Head

John Owen – A Real Sense of Sin’s Forgiveness is Rare – Why?

This discovery of forgiveness in God is great, holy, and mysterious, and which very few on gospel grounds do attain unto.

It is, then, no easy thing to make a discovery of forgiveness to a soul, when the work and employment which conscience, upon unquestionable grounds, challengeth unto itself lies in opposition unto it. Hence is the soul’s great desire to establish its own righteousness,

Forgiveness of Sin, The sense of it is rare

 

Jonathan Edwards – The Reason Many Profession Christians Live in Sin But Are Ignorant of It

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.

Why Many Professors Live in Sin and Are Ignorant of It

Jonathan Edwards – A Warning to Sleeping Professors, Slumbering While the Bridegroom Tarries

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.

Warning to Sleeping Professors Slumbering While the Bridegroom Tarries

 

John Flavel – Discovering the Soundness or Corruption of Men’s Hearts 1698

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.

Regarding Indwelling Sin, the Saint and Wicked Contrasted

John Owen – How to Set Your Affections on Things Above, Preface and Chapter 1

Owen wrote, ”

There is a being earthly minded which consists in an inordinate affection unto the things of this world. It is that which is sinful, which ought to be mortified; yet it is not absolutely inconsistent with the substance and being of the grace inquired after. Some who are really and truly spiritually minded, yet may, for a time at least, be under such an inordinate affection unto and care about earthly things, that if not absolutely, yet comparatively, as unto what they ought to be and might be, they may be justly said to be earthly minded. They are so in respect of those degrees in being spiritually minded which they ought to aim at and may attain unto. And where it is thus, this grace can never thrive or flourish, it can never advance unto any eminent degree.

Setting Affections on Things Above 1

Alexander Whyte – Look to Your Motives – 1894

Preached at St. George’s Whyte says, ”

Now from all this, it follows as clear as day that our true sanctification, our true holiness of heart, our true and full and final salvation, all lie in the rectification, the simplification, and the purification of our motives. The corruption and pollution of our hearts—trace all that down to the bottom, and it all lies in our motives: in the selfishness, the unneighbourliness, the unbrotherliness, the ungodliness of our motives. We are all our own motive in all that we do: we are all our own main object and our own chief end. And it is just this that stains and debases so much that we do.”

Look To Your Motives

Thomas Sullivan – Pilgrim’s Progress Study – Talkative, Adam the 1st, Shame

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.

Pilgrim’s Progress – Faithful, Christian and Encounter with Talkative

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

  1. 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

  1. That persons did not excite them of their own contrivance and by their own strength, is no sign
  2. That they come with texts of Scripture, remarkably brought to the mind, is no sign
  3. 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

  1. That they dispose persons to spend much time in religion, and to be zealously engaged in the external duties of worship, is no sign
  2. That they much dispose persons with their mouths to praise and glorify God, is no sign
  3. 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

Gisbertus Voetius – Spiritual Desertion – 1659 – Introduction

This book is recorded – {narrated} from the title Spiritual Desertion with the kind permission of the Dutch Reformed Translation Society. www.dutchreformed.org It is the narrator’s opinion that it is unequaled regarding the subject that it treats. The opinion is based on the use of the spiritual/clinical terms that are not even employed in our day. (1) because the relation of Christian experience is often more superficial (2) if the distressed is even asked to delineate them at all – often the feelings are suppressed or there is little patience to deal with these subjects at this level. (3) because the best authors are understood and quoted by this author from a bygone day that even though now are available on line are rarely consulted with the patience that is required to read the old English.  Special thanks to Reformation Heritage Books and my dear friends David Woolin, and Dr. Joel Beeke as well.

Spiritual Desertion – Introduction