This sermon was published in the magazine called The National Preacher, for the year 1832. It hardly has its equal, in my humble opinion, for searching the profession and thinking forward to the great sifting on judgment day. “It is not this withering passion alone that will be tested by the gospel. It is adapted to try the hypocrite and all his subterfuges, and all his mental reservations; in all his evasions to escape the simple and decided duties of Christian piety. Every demand of truth or duty brings his character out. The doctrines of the gospel disturb or discuss him. Those solemn and awful, and yet tender truths, which go beyond the coldest moral sentiments, and which speak of the just government of God, of sovereignty, of election, of hell, of holiness, and prayer, trouble him. Those expressions of pure and advanced piety which speak of the higher joys of the Christian and tell of communion with God, disquiet him. Those sentiments which speak of active piety, which call on him for decided zeal in the cause of God, irritate him. Those assaults which religion makes on his corrupted feelings, those reproofs what she administers when he conforms to the world, those denunciations which thunder along his path when he lives just like other men, and is ashamed of the religion which he professes to love, provoke him. His mind is ruffled by the demands of a life of sincere and prayerful piety. So Job asks, respecting the hypocrite, “will he always call upon God?”
In today’s lesson we covered the last two scenes in the House of the Interpreter and Christian losing his burden at the sight of the cross. Why Christian’s sometimes don’t get assurance right away.
From the sermon, “Now there are but few, comparatively speaking, who have any clear sight or any deep feeling of what sin really is; and the reason, for the most part, is because they have such a slight, shallow, superficial knowledge of who and what God is. But let them once see the purity of God by the eye of faith, let them once have a manifestation of His justice and holiness, majesty and greatness to their soul, and let them, seeing light in His light, have a corresponding sight and sense of the deep and desperate state in which they are as fallen children of a fallen parent, then will they no longer have slight, superficial feelings of the nature and evil of sin, but will so see and feel its hideous and damnable character as to make them cry out with Isaiah in the temple, “Woe to me! I am ruined!
In this lesson, we continue to discuss the pilgrimmage of Christian as he meets Evangelist, goes to Wicket Gate, talks to Goodwill and then goes to the House of the Interpreter. Due to time constraints, we only deal more fully with two of the first 5 pictorial instructions, the dust, the swept floor and the maiden with a pitcher of water. (2) The wall with the fire, the casting of water on the one side of the fire, but it’s burning hotter. The last two pictures in the Interpreter’s House will be addressed, D V, next week.
This is the first of a number of Sunday School lessons taught at The Reformed Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, MI. This first lesson deals with the historical background, some biographical information. Then we transitioned to reading the first paragraphs of the book and commenting.
….When men see the badness of their own hearts, they are ready to be discouraged, but they are then in a more hopeful condition than before: If men be strangers to their own hearts, they will trust in themselves, and neglect Christ. God first discovers to them what they are, and then he discovers the excellency of Christ to them: men will never come to Christ, till they are convinced what corrupt, blind and dead creatures they are. And therefore the more God shews him of the badness of his heart, the more graciously he deals with him: The badness of the heart is matter of sorrow, but the sight of that badness is matter of encouragement; the more they see of that, the more hope there is of their being prepared for Christ.
Does this sermon need an introduction? I have narrated for 32 years, I have narrated this sermon many times. But I can assure you, this narration tonight never affected me so much. I poured my heart into it with the conviction that if I died tonight, I am glad to have ended on this note.