If we consider this first principle of life, there is not the least doubt but regeneration is accomplished in a moment. For there is no delay in the transition from death to life. No person can be regenerated so long as he is in the state of spiritual death: but in the instant he begins to live, he is born again. Wherefore no intermediate state between the regenerate and unregenerate can be imagined so much as in thought. Witsius, Herman. The Economy of the Covenants Between Man and God: Comprehending a Complete Body of Divinity
How may a person judge, when a promise or threatening comes from God, or is brought by Satan to the soul?
It must be acknowledged to be a very difficult and critical work to distribute to every one their proper portion, and so to divide the word of truth, as to give suitable eneouragement to those to whom it belongs, and vet to leave the hypocrite or presumptuous sinner no room to hope. It is equally difficult to attempt to destroy the vain
confidenee of the sinner, without disturbing the peace, and discouraging the minds of those who are the real followers of Jesus. Who is sufficient for these things? We readily confess our insufficieney ; but yet hope, that the Lord has enabled us to be in
some measure faithful, so far as our spiritual knowledge extends, and may he enable you who read, to deal faithfully with your own souls, that so neither our labour, nor your perusal, may be in vain.
What method must a Christian, in declining circumstances, take to recover a healthful and vigorous frame of soul, so as to be able to maintain real and close communion with God amidst the hurries and
business of this world ?
Through the reputed importunities of our friends, and from satisfactory evidenees of usefulness, we have been prevailed upon to commit to public view a select number of these answers, though somewhat contracted. And we hope, that those into whose
hands they may come, will read them with Christian candour. And may the Spirit of God, without whose peculiar blessing all attempts will be ineffectual to answer any saving purposes, make these a powerful means or bringing them nearer to Christ, and of making them more lively and active in his service ! If this happy end be but in the least answered, we shall rejoice, and give God all the glory, disregarding all the little contempt that may be cast upon us and our imperfect labours.
CASE 1.- How shall we distinguish between the working of natural affection, and the real exercise of grace in religious duties? S.PIKE
THE following answers were, amongst others, delivered in a weekly Lecture, during the last winter, with a view to remove the doubts of the timorous Christian, quicken him in his way to Zion, to guard against presumptuous hopes, and promote the life of religion in the soul. That these important ends might be answered, the auditory were desired to supply us with serious Cases of Conscience, arising from the difficulties they met with in the course of their experienee, and to conceal their names, that so they might, with the greater freedom, propose their respective cases, and that we, in our
solution of them, might be kept from the least degree of fear or restraint. – May 30th 1755
Worship – Natural or Spiritual?
What can be in itself more plain and manifest, and easily to be known by us, if it were not for a strange blindness, than we are to ourselves, who are always with, never absent from ourselves; always in our own view, before our own eyes; who have opportunity to look into our own hearts, and see all that passes there? And yet what is there that men are more ignorant of, than they are of themselves! There are many vicious practices, the unlawfulness of which is very plain, the sins are gross, and contrary not only to the Word of God, but to the light of nature. And yet men will often plead, there is no harm in such sins. Such as, many acts of gross uncleanness; and many acts of fraud, injustice and deceitfulness; and many others that might be mentioned.
A Solemn Warning to the Secure World, from the God of Terrible Majesty: Or, the Presumptuous Sinner Detected, His Pleas Consider’d, and His Doom Display’d. : Being an Essay, in which the Strong Proneness of Mankind to Entertain a False Confidence is Proved .
God who sometimes said unto Jerusalem, be instructed lest my Soul depart from thee, and thou become desolate, a Land not inhabited, doth by his solemn Judgements in like manner call from Heaven upon New-England, saying, be thou instructed, lest I depart from thee, and thou become desolate without an English Inhabitant.
Wherefore we are to be exhorted (and Oh that we might be persuaded) since we have been brought into such a bleeding state,
to make a right improvement of this dreadful Dispensation. O let not the Lord complain of New-England as sometimes of Israel, My People know not the Judgement of the Lord.
Cottage Lectures on Pilgrim’s Progress – 1849
Genuine penitents, for the most part, have far more difficulty in applying the promises of the gospel to their own case. They perceive, indeed, that a cold heart and a warm promise may
be brought near to each other by the word ; but they know, they feel that they cannot unite, and the cheerful blaze of hope and love be experienced within, until faith is given from above, and the promise is applied by a hand Divine.
Learn, dear brethren, from all this, first of all, the necessity of decision. How did Christian prevail over the arguments of Obstinate and Pliable when they came upon him, resolved to bring him back to the City of Destruction ? By what means was he enabled to send one of them back ashamed, and to induce the other to change his resolution, and to profess the faith which he came to oppose ?
It was by a bold, firm, and unyielding maintenance of the great truths which he had learned from his book, and which he had felt in his heart.
Charles Overton – 1805-1889
In 1847 appeared the first part, and in 1849 the second part, of the most popular of his works: ‘Cottage Lectures on Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” practically explained.’ These publications were very favourably received by the evangelical party, both in England and America.