This is a reading from A W Pink’s book, The Doctrine of Man’s Impotence. – Or Total Inability
Letters of Edward Payson mostly to his mother, around 1805.
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.
Christians in a state of declension, like the wise virgins in Matthew 25, may decline very low in grace.
“The dreadfulness of their depravity appears in that they are so sottishly blind and ignorant. God gave man a faculty of reason and understanding, which is a noble faculty. Herein he differs from all other creatures here below. He is exalted in his nature above them, and is in this respect like the angels, and is made capable to know God, and to know spiritual and eternal things. And God gave him understanding for this end, that he might know him, and know heavenly things and made him as capable to know these things as any others. But man has debased himself and has lost his glory in this respect. He has become as ignorant of the excellency of God, as the very beasts. His understanding is full of darkness. His mind is blind. It is altogether blind to spiritual things. Men are ignorant of God, and ignorant of Christ, ignorant of the way of salvation, ignorant of their own happiness, blind in the midst of the brightest and clearest light, ignorant under all manner of instructions.”
The third part of this lengthy treatise – The Grace and Duty of Being Spiritually Minded – has never been narrated before, but must be included in the best of Owen’s works on Christian practice. Owen wrote, “The great contest of heaven and earth is about the affections of the poor worm which we call man. That the world should contend for them is no wonder; it is the best that it can pretend unto. But that the holy God should as it were engage in the contest and strive for the affections of man, is an effect of infinite condescension and grace.” Works Vol. 7 p. 484. If any Christian wants to know what it is to “love the world” and to “be crucified” to it, this is the book he should read, and now listen to.
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?
How mad are men, who so often hear of these things and pretend to believe them; who can live but a little while (a few years); who do not even expect to live here longer than others of their species ordinarily do; and who yet are careless about what becomes of themselves in another world, where there is no change and no end!
This is the testimony of the narrator of books on this podcast.
The highest degree to which a temporary believer can possibly attain, described by the apostle Paul, Heb. 6, which yet falls short of that saving work, wrought in a sincere believer, there spoken of by him. Apostacy and the Temporary Believer