THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER, AND OF THE SEED by Thomas Taylor (1576-1632)
Those must needs fall off who never received the Word purely, for itself, but for other sinister respects; as either of glory and praise, if they see the profession in credit; or for profit, so long as they may gather with Christ and be gainers by him: they would stand on Mount Tabor with Christ, and while he is in his glory, Oh it is good being here: but are loth to go with him to Mount Calvary. Or they receive it only so far as may stand with their ease, delicacy, and slothfulness, but will put themselves to no hardness at all. Now all these that love themselves better than their Religion, must needs fail when the ends fail that put them on their profession. He that professeth for praise of men, when the world, being inconstant, withdraws her applause, he is gone: God’s Word shall have no further credit with him, than it hath from men.
This is the chapter on the seed that fell among the thorns.
The full title of this adult Sunday School lesson is Temporary and the Twofold Working of the Spirit. The Twofold working of the Spirit is the title of a chapter in A W Pink’s commentary on Hebrews where he details the work of the Holy Spirit upon the non-elect. It is also called “The Common Influences of the Holy Spirit. An examination of Thomas Goodwin’s treatise from Works Volume 6 “The Holy Spirit and the Temporary Believer” is also opened up with a story in this lesson also from Davis W Clark’s Deathbed Scenes, 1851 The Apostate.
From what hath been spoken it will ensue, that, if there be such a law in believers, it is doubtless their duty to find it out, to find it so to be. The more they find its power, the less they will feel its effects. It will not at all advantage a man to have an hectical distemper and not to discover it, — a fire lying secretly in his house and not to know it. So much as men find of this law in them, so much they will abhor it and themselves, and no more.
Proportionably also to their discovery of it will be their earnestness for grace, nor will it rise higher.
All flattery, and especially self-flattery, is criminal and injurious ; but self-flattery, in regard to the concerns of salvation, is to the last degree dangerous and destructive. To persuade ourselves, or endeavor to persuade others, that we possess goodness of which we are in reality destitute, is shameful and ruinous dissimulation. But of this, Laodiceans, and self-deceivers in every age, are guilty.
This narration is a reading of Thomas Chalmer’s Introduction to William Gurthie’s Trial of a Saving Interest. It also includes a chapter from John Angell James, Hindrances to Christian Progress in Sanctification.
One of the most helpful chapters in one of the most experimental books on the evidences that a person has saving faith. Pike wrote, “A mistake here may be most detrimental; and we ought to be very cautious, lest we fall into an error on either hand; lest the false hope of the hypocrite be encouraged, or the true hope of the gracious – soul be discouraged. We must not administer peace, where there is no peace; nor yet grieve the hearts of those, whom the Lord would not have made sad. To steer the direct course between presumption and despondency, is most desirable, and yet truly difficult. Let every one, therefore, read what follows with close attention, comparing it with the word of God, and begging that the Lord, the Spirit, may enable them to apply it to their own cases and consciences in a right manner.” Cases of Conscience – Pike and Hayward 1755
This is a sermon from the Collected Works of Matthew Henry Volume 1. From Four Discourses Against Vice and Profaneness. Henry wrote, “That is a miserable calling which lust only lives by, and which soul and body will certainly be ruined by. That is a miserable service wherein the devil is the master, sin’s drudgery is the work, and hell-fire the wages, for the end of those things is death.
Such houses, and their inhabitants and maintainers, are the scandal of a Christian nation, the pests of the towns and countries where they are, the slaughter-houses of precious souls, the rendezvous of the vilest of creatures ; and more frightful habitations of devils, holds of foul spirits, and cages of unclean and hateful birds, than Babylon the great will be when it is fallen, Rev. 18:2.
If thou wouldst be free from lust, keep far enough from the tempting object. If possible, dwell not in the house with any person that thou feelest thyself endangered by; if that be not possible, avoid their company, especially in private: abhor all lascivious and immodest actions. Dost thou give thyself the liberty of wanton dalliance, and lustful embracements, and yet think to be free from lust? wilt thou put thy hand into the fire, when thou art afraid of being burnt? Either thou hast the power of thy own heart, or thou hast not: if thou hast, why dost thou not quench thy lust? if thou hast not, why dost thou cast it upon greater temptations, and put it further out of thy power than it is? Fly from a tempting object for thy safety, as thou wouldst fly from an enemy for thy life. These loving enemies are more dangerous than hating enemies: they get the key of our hearts, and come in and steal our treasure with our consent, or without resistance; when an open enemy is suspected and shut out…..If you think this course too dear a cure, and had rather cherish your flesh and lust, you are not the persons that I am now directing; for I speak to such only as are willing to be cured, and to use the necessary means that they may be cured. If you be not brought to this, your conscience had need of better awakening.
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