Why Do Christians Hate Theology? – John Boruff

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The Arminian Library: Books to Feed Your Spirit for Years to Come – John Boruff

1. The Works of John Wesley (Baker, 3rd ed, 1996)

2. The NIV Study Bible

3. The Holy Bible: King James Version (KJV)

4. Good News Bible: Today’s English Version (TEV) – hardcover

5. Martin Luther’s Commentary on Romans (Kregel, 1982)

6. Joseph Alleine’s A Sure Guide to Heaven (Banner of Truth, 1960)

7. Gordon Lindsay’s Commissioned with Power (Christ for the Nations, 2001)

8. Smith Wigglesworth: The Complete Collection (Whitaker, 2008)

9. Larry Christensen’s Speaking in Tongues (Bethany House, 1968)

10. Leonard Ravenhill, ed. A Treasury of Prayer (Bethany House, 1961)

11. —. Why Revival Tarries (Bethany House, 1979)

12. —. Meat for Men (Bethany House, 1979)

13. —. America is Too Young to Die (Bethany House, 1979)

14. —. Sodom Had No Bible (Bethany House, 1981)

15. —. Revival Praying (Bethany House, 1981)

16. —. Tried and Transfigured (Bethany House, 1982)

17. —. Revival God’s Way (Bethany House, 1986)

18. David Wilkerson’s The Vision (1973)

19. —. Set the Trumpet to Thy Mouth (1985)

20. John Wesley, ed. A Christian Library

21. —, ed. The Nature of Revival (Bethany House, 1987)

22. John Wimber’s Power Evangelism

23. —. Power Healing

24. —. Power Encounters

25. —. Power Points

26. David Lewis’ Healing: Fiction, Fantasy, or Fact?

27. Win Worley’s Battling the Hosts of Hell: Diary of an Exorcist

28. Sam Storms’ The Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Gifts

29. Jeff Doles’ Miracles and Manifestations of the Holy Spirit (church history)

30. Stanley Burgess’ The Holy Spirit: Ancient Christian Traditions

31. —. The Holy Spirit: Medieval Roman Catholic and Reformation Traditions

32. —. Christian Peoples of the Spirit

33. —, ed. Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements

34. Howard Carter’s Spiritual Gifts and Their Operation

35. —. Questions and Answers on Spiritual Gifts

36. Bernard McGinn, ed. The Foundations of Mysticism (1991)

37. —. The Growth of Mysticism (1994)

38. —. The Flowering of Mysticism (1998)

39. —. The Harvest of Mysticism in Medieval Germany (2005)

40. —. The Varieties of Vernacular Mysticism (2013)

41. —. Mysticism in the Reformation (2017)

42. —. Mysticism in the Golden Age of Spain (2017)

43. Louis Bouyer, ed. A History of Christian Spirituality

44. Paul Basden’s Exploring the Worship Spectrum

45. J. C. Ryle’s Holiness

46. Ray Comfort’s The World’s Greatest Preachers (on open-air preaching)

47. Larry Martin’s The Life and Ministry of William J. Seymour

48. Carol Wimber’s John Wimber: The Way It Was

49. Samuel Waldron, ed. 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith: A Modern Exposition

50. John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus

51. —. Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the World

52. John Gerstner’s Jonathan Edwards: A Mini-Theology

53. Jonathan Edwards’ The Wrath of Almighty God (Hell sermons)

54. Johann Arndt’s True Christianity

55. Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God (Whitaker, 1982)

56. Paul Washer’s The Gospel’s Power and Message

57. Benedicta Ward’s The Sayings of the Desert Fathers

58. —. The Lives of the Desert Fathers

59. Palladius’ The Lausiac History

60. John Cassian’s The Conferences

61. —. The Institutes

62. Oliver Davies’ Celtic Spirituality. (Classics of Western Spirituality)

63. The Life of the Holy Hildegard

64. St. Gregory the Great’s Life and Miracles of St. Benedict

65. The Rule of St. Benedict (Penguin)

66. R. Douglas Geivett’s A New Apostolic Reformation?

67. Hildegard of Bingen: Scivias (Classics of Western Spirituality)

68. Jacobus de Voragine’s The Golden Legend

69. The Book of Common Prayer (Anglican / Wesley)

70. The Cloud of Unknowing

71. Stanley Frodsham’s With Signs Following

72. —. Smith Wigglesworth: Apostle of Faith

73. Five Views on Law and Gospel

74. Five Views on Sanctification

75. Walter Hilton: The Scale of Perfection (Classics of Western Spirituality)

76. Jordan Aumann’s Spiritual Theology

77. —. Christian Spirituality in the Catholic Tradition

78. Wayne Grudem, ed. Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?

79. Jonathan Sarfati’s Refuting Evolution

80. Jonathan Wells’ Icons of Evolution

81. Steve Thompson’s You May All Prophesy

82. George Whitefield’s Journals (Banner of Truth, 1986) (open air preaching)

83. Daniel Jennings, ed. The Supernatural Occurrences of John Wesley

84. Philip Schaff’s “Early Church Fathers” collection

85. Peter Wiseman, ed. Fletcher’s Checks to Antinomianism (Beacon Hill, 1953)

86. P. Marie-Eugene, ed. I Am a Daughter of the Church (mystical theology)

87. A. Poulain’s The Graces of Interior Prayer (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1950)

88. Harold Horton’s The Gifts of the Spirit

89. W. G. T. Shedd’s The Doctrine of Endless Punishment

90. Richard Baxter’s A Call to the Unconverted

91. —. Anger Management

92. James Nichols and W. R. Bagnall, trans. The Writings of James Arminius (3 vols)

93. Adomnan’s Life of St. Columba

94. Andrew Strom’s Why I Left the Prophetic Movement

95. Michael Hamilton, ed. The Charismatic Movement

96. Cecil Robeck’s Charismatic Experiences in History (Hendrickson, 1986)

97. One Volume New Testament Commentary (Wesley, Henry, Clarke)

98. Ronald A. N. Kydd’s Healing Through the Centuries

99. Donald Dayton’s Theological Roots of Pentecostalism

100. —, ed., Charles Finney, Reflections on Revival

101. Mike Bickle’s Growing in the Prophetic

102. Bill Wiese, 23 Minutes in Hell

103. —. Hell: Separate Truth from Fiction

104. George Offor, ed. The Works of John Bunyan (Banner of Truth, 3 vols)

105. The Practical Works of Richard Baxter: Selected Treatises (Hendrickson)

106. Thomas Watson’s The Ten Commandments

106. —. A Body of Divinity

108. Teresa of Avila: The Interior Castle (Classics of Western Spirituality)

109. Athanasius: The Life of Antony (Classics of Western Spirituality)

110. Bonaventure: The Life of St. Francis (Classics of Western Spirituality)

111. Archibald Alexander’s Thoughts on Religious Experience (Banner of Truth)

112. John Sherrill’s They Speak with Other Tongues

113. Gary Greig, ed. The Kingdom and the Power (charismatic theology)

114. John Howie’s The Scots Worthies (Banner of Truth)

115. Clarke’s Christian Theology (Schmul)

116. Albert Farges’ Mystical Phenomena Compared (hardcover)

117. Herbert Thurston’s The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism

118. Thomas Oden’s The Transforming Power of Grace

119. —. Pastoral Theology

120. —. John Wesley’s Scriptural Christianity

121. —. John Wesley’s Teachings (4 vols)

122. Wayne Grudem, ed. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

123. —. Systematic Theology (fire burned in my mouth when reading on gifts)

124. Francis Turretin’s Institutes of Elenctic Theology (P&R Publishing, 3 vols)

125. John Loren Sandford’s The Elijah Task

126. —. Elijah Among Us

127. Craig Borlase’s William Seymour: A Biography

128. Francis MacNutt’s Healing

129. —. Deliverance from Evil Spirits

130. J. I. Packer’s A Quest for Godliness (Puritan spirituality)

131. —. Keep in Step with the Spirit

132. Henry Rack’s Reasonable Enthusiast (Wesley biography)

133. Margaret Poloma’s The Assemblies of God at the Crossroads (quenching gifts)

134. Randall Stephens’ The Devil’s Music (Christianity and rock music)

135. Norman Geisler’s When Critics Ask

136. Daniel Corner’s The Believer’s Conditional Security

137. W. T. Purkiser’s Security: The False and the True

138. Robert Shank’s Life in the Son

139. Joan Carroll Cruz’s Mysteries Marvels Miracles: In the Lives of the Saints

140. Louis Gifford Parkhurst, Jr., ed., Charles Finney, Principles of Revival

141. —. Principles of Salvation (Bethany House)

142. —. Principles of Devotion (Bethany House)

143. —. Principles of Sanctification (Bethany House)

144. —. Principles of Love (Bethany House)

145. —. Principles of Victory (Bethany House)

146. —. Principles of Holiness (Bethany House)

147. —. Principles of Liberty (Bethany House)

148. —. Principles of Union with Christ (Bethany House)

149. —. Principles of Prayer (Bethany House)

150. —. Principles of Christian Obedience (Bethany House)

151. —. Charles G. Finney’s Answers to Prayer (Bethany House)

152. Winkey Pratney, ed., Charles Finney, Crystal Christianity

153. Charles Finney’s Attributes of Love (Bethany Fellowship, 1963)

154. —. So Great Salvation (Kregel)

155. —. The Guilt of Sin (Kregel)

156. —. True and False Repentance (Kregel)

157. —. God’s Love for a Sinning World (Kregel)

158. —. Victory Over the World (Kregel)

159. —. True Saints (Kregel)

160. —. True Submission (Kregel)

161. Charles Finney’s Lectures on Systematic Theology (2 vols)

162. —, Garth M. Rosell, Richard Dupuis, The Memoirs of Charles G. Finney (1989)

163. —, William G. McLoughlin, Lectures on Revivals of Religion

164. Hambrick-Stowe, Charles G. Finney and the Spirit of American Evangelicalism

165. John Boruff’s The Gospel of Jesus Christ

166. Richard Steele’s The Religious Tradesman

167. Kathleen Walker MacArthur’s The Economic Ethics of John Wesley

168. Art Gish’s Beyond the Rat Race

169. Leland Ryken’s Worldly Saints (Puritan economics)

170. R. H. Tawney’s Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (Puritan economics)

171. Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Puritan)

172. A. W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God (Christian Publications, 1958, deer cover)

173. Philip Howard, ed. The Life and Diary of David Brainerd

174. Richard Ing’s Spiritual Warfare

175. Gabriele Amorth’s An Exorcist Tells His Story

176. Frank Hammond’s Pigs in the Parlor

177. John Flavel’s Sinful Speech

178. —. Impure Lust

179. Margaret J. Rinck’s Christian Men Who Hate Women (marital abuse)

180. Terry Mortenson, ed. Coming to Grips with Genesis

181. Mack Stokes’ The Holy Spirit in the Wesleyan Heritage

182. Richard Heitzenrater’s Wesley and the People Called Methodists

183. Cathy Truett’s It’s Easier to Succeed Than to Fail (Chick-fil-A growth)

184. Ira Milligan’s Understanding the Dreams You Dream

185. Donald Gee’s Concerning Spiritual Gifts


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Slavery: The Great Sin of the New England Puritans – John Boruff

Slavery: the great sin of the New England Puritans, and even Great Awakening preachers Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield! Totally contradicts the book of Exodus. It’s one thing if the government is forcing the institution of slavery, like the Romans did. It’s quite another for Christians, 1600 years after Jesus, to create the whole thing all over again. Ephesians 6:5 says that Christian slaves should respect their masters. This doesn’t mean the institution of slavery was “okay” with Paul. It’s a government issue, a political issue. Remember Moses had to take on the Egyptian GOVERNMENT to free the slaves. Paul’s objective wasn’t to be a social activist, but an evangelist. Wesley, commenting on Ephesians 6:5, reminds the English people, that after their time is up, the slaves are to be freed! See page 318 in William Wilberforce’s “Letter on the Abolition of the Slave Trade,” where he stated that it is not loving to one’s neighbor, and it is not showing respect to the interracial body of Christ, and it definitely does not honor the 7 year Jubilee to keep people in a continual state of slavery. The New England colonists should have seen this, despite Paul’s comments about the Roman slaves in the New Testament. What blackness, and darkness, and blindness, and shadows, and sin! What ignorance! Grief and insensitivity to the Holy Spirit!

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Ravi Zacharias: Now a Theistic Evolutionist! – John Boruff


Related imageBioLogos is the number one group teaching theistic evolution. The idea that the six day creation in Genesis 1-2 was figurative and happened over millions of years. So, so disappointing to see long-time evangelical apologist RAVI ZACHARIAS listed on their site link above as their supporter. He used to be a Christian & Missionary Alliance preacher. Satan is going after the Bible-believing evangelical apologists. Zacharias edited Walter Martin’s Kingdom of the Cults and did a foreword for Leonard Ravenhill’s Why Revival Tarries. Its so grieving to hear him abandoning six day creation, because I think he used to believe in that. Only more reason to confuse people and not ground them in the Bible. (Recently, the Bible Answer Man, Hank Hanegraaff, was long reputed as Walter Martin’s successor, and of a Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) affiliation. Super Puritan. Now, he’s Eastern Orthodox and praying to dead saints and icons! Dude!) Ephesians 5:15-17: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” It makes me want to study the Bible. Take a look at Jonathan Sarfati’s Refuting Compromise. He leaves no room for personal interpretation on this critical issue that undermines the authority and trustworthiness of the Bible. Ken Ham quotes Zacharias as saying this in 2014:

Rather than spend our time debating for hours whether its billions of years or whether its thousands of years, we should instead by arguing for the fact that you cannot explain the full questions of life—origin, meaning, morality and destiny—without a personal, moral, First Cause, which is God himself. We go to the ultimate cause, not the ultimate methods of how it all came about. You will never be able to get a coherent worldview without positing an eternal moral personal First Cause. That’s what I want to defend—I don’t want to argue a timeline.

I can recommend some great books. Seven Days That Divide the World: The Beginning According to Genesis and Science by John C. Lennox (theistic evolutionist), my colleague at Oxford, is a brilliant book on dealing with where the issues here really lie.

This leads me to ask another question: which Christian apologists believe in the literal six day creation and a 6,000 year old earth? To me, this is an issue of Biblical authority; and shows me where the apologists’ loyalties lay. Either to the Bible or to secular science; either to God’s Word or their own mind. Here’s an incomplete list so far:

1. John MacArthur

2. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

3. Chuck Smith 

4. Master Books
     – Jonathan Sarfati, Ken Ham, Ray Comfort, Henry Morris

5. Presbyterian & Reformed
     – John C. Whitcomb,
John Frame, R. C. Sproul, Cornelius Van Til, Richard Pratt
     – John Frame – Systematic Theology, Apologetics
     – R. C. Sproul – Essential Truths, Defending Your Faith, Classical Apologetics
     – Cornelius Van Til – Defense of the Faith, Christian Apologetics, Systematic Theology

6. Reformation Heritage Books
     – John Fesko, Voddie Baucham, K. Scott Oliphint, Greg Bahnsen

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Worldly Wiseman – Pilgrim’s Progress

A clip from the recent 2019 animated version by Revelation Media.

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The Evils of Loving Money – John Boruff

Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith.                                                                                        — 1 Timothy 6:6-12

The man of God is told to flee from the ungodly pursuit of wealth: not that money itself is evil. But generally, the forms of employment that men often get tempted and ensnared by, and the kinds of worldly-wise friendships they get involved in—cause them to lose faith in God’s providence (supernatural provisions,) and instead place their trust in their job skills, beefed up resumes, capitalistic philosophies, and cut throat attitudes. Losing trust in God to provide for their financial needs, and misplacing their trust in “the strength of their own hands” (Deut. 8:17), men tend to stop reading, studying, and living by the Bible. Casting off its restraints, they adopt “many foolish and harmful desires,” just like every other non-Christian. These are they which only arise from greed: foolish desires which are expensive and unnecessary; and they are harmful, because they can lead to destructive outcomes, such as losing lots of money from a gambling addiction. Adam Clarke had this to say about the temptation to get rich in verse 9:

It is in consequence of the temptation of the devil that they have determined to be rich; this temptation once received, others quickly succeed: and when they have swallowed down the temptation to the thing, then they drink in a thousand temptations to the means; and all these lead them, into an unforeseen and concealed trap. This Greek word signifies a net, trap, gin, snare, springe, or pit dug in the ground filled with sharp stakes, and slightly covered over; so that when a man, or any animal, steps upon it, he tumbles in, and is taken or destroyed. Such a snare is that into which those who will be rich must necessarily fall.

These lusts or desires are not only foolish, but they are hurtful; the mind is debased and narrowed by them; benevolent and generous feelings become extinct; charity perishes; and selfishness, the last and lowest principle in mental degradation, absorbs the soul; for these foolish and hurtful lusts drown men in destruction and perditionthe soul is destroyed by them here, and brought through them into a state of perdition hereafter.

Godliness is the first word used in this passage and so it is the priority. Reminiscent of Job 1:21, the thought is that we carry nothing into this world, and we will take no money with us out of it. We enter this world with a body and soul; and leave it only as a soul. This world, under the guidance of the devil, would have you believe that you should max out on possessions; whereas Jesus and the apostles would have us to live as simply as we can: acquiring as little as possible. We are directed to look forward to heavenly rewards much more so than for earthly gains and possessions. Worldly-wise men would have us to enjoy and show off our affluence and possessions. But if we were to follow their counsel, we would have to be worriedliving in fear of thefts, burglary, bankruptcy, jealousy, and even murder: since money is usually the primary motivator for that heinous crime. Rich men, provided they follow worldly ideasas most dotend to have poor relationships, because by looking down on 75% percent of mankind, most if not all of their energy, like Ebenezer Scrooge, is focused on money, and not upon the glory of God, or on developing Christian friendships. They become like the rich man in Luke 16, called Dives by theologians, perhaps because he dived into Hell fire, for refusing to offer financial help to a poor and homeless saint named Lazarus.

Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and money” (Matt. 6:24). Either one has to be your lord. If Jesus is your Lord, then all of your decisions will be based on your submission to Christ: seeking to obey what he has taught us in the Bible. But if money is your lord, then all of your decisions will be aimed at what can give you a financial advantage. When money is a man’s lord and master, he can be heartless to people and icy cold about the Word of God. Certainly that is what happens when a man’s opinions and decisions are mainly motivated by financial gain. Proverbs 30:8-9: “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God!” Matthew Henry, commenting on 1 Timothy 6:8, asked, “What will worldlings do when death shall strip them of their happiness and portion, and they must take an everlasting farewell of all these things, on which they have so much doted?” and again on 6:10: “Covetous persons will quit the faith, if that be the way to get money.”

Greed and grief go hand in hand. When a man is greedy for money, and all his decisions are based on gain, then it grieves the Holy Spirit. Grief comes to the man as worry of financial loss enters his mind, through any of the many ways that such losses may come; not having the comforts of the Holy Ghost are a grief to him, as he does not have the Comforter to help him through the hardships of life, because even the rich are discontent, often driven by selfish and materialistic desires, not being grounded in the faith, in orthodox Christian doctrines (see Adam Clarke’s Christian Theology and P. C. Nelson’s Bible Doctrines for starters on that, by the way); and grief will come to the greedy man through the loss of relationships with people who have not yet attained to his high level of financial statuswith financial competition and economic judging being his prevailing attitudes towards other human beings. So, if you see yourself making decisions in your life based on money alone, and not on hearing God’s voice, and not on a clean conscience about matters—then run the other way and strive for purity!

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The Backslider In Heart – Charles Finney

The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways.–Prov. 14:14

Young Charles Finney 2 - c1835I cannot conclude this course of lectures, without warning converts against backsliding. In discussing this subject, I will state,

I. What backsliding in heart is not.

II. What backsliding in heart is.

III. What are evidences of backsliding in heart.

IV. Show what are consequences of backsliding in heart.

V. How to recover from this state.

I. What backsliding in heart is not.

1. It does not consist in the subsidence of highly excited religious emotions. The subsidence of religious feeling may be an evidence of a backslidden heart, but it does not consist in the cooling off of religious feeling.

II. What backsliding in heart is.

1. It consists in taking back that consecration to God and his service, that constitutes true conversion.

2. It is the leaving, by a Christian, of his first love.

3. It consists in the Christian’s withdrawing himself from that state of entire and universal devotion to God, which constitutes true religion, and coming again under the control of a self-pleasing spirit.

4. The text implies that there may be a backslidden heart, when the form of religion and obedience to God are maintained. As we know from consciousness that men perform the same, or similar acts from widely different, and often from opposite motives, we are certain that men may keep up all the outward forms and appearances of religion, when in fact, they are backslidden in heart. There is no doubt, that the most intense selfishness often takes on a religious type, and there are many considerations, that might lead a backslider in heart, to keep up the forms, while he had lost the power of godliness in his soul.

III. What are evidences of a backslidden heart.

1. Manifest formality in religious exercises. A stereotyped formal way of saying and doing things, that is clearly the result of habit, rather than the outgushing of the religious life. This formality will be emotionless and cold as an iceberg, and will evince a total want of earnestness in the performance of religious duty. In prayer and in religious exercises the backslider in heart will pray or praise, or confess, or give thanks with his lips, so that all can hear him, perhaps, but in such a way that no one can feel him. Such a formality would be impossible where there existed a present, living faith and love, and religious zeal.

2. A want of religious enjoyment is evidence of a backslidden heart. We always enjoy the saying and doing of those things that please those whom we most love; furthermore, when the heart is not backslidden, communion with God is kept up, and therefore all religious duties are not only performed with pleasure, but the communion with God involved in them, is a source of rich and continual enjoyment. If we do not enjoy the service of God, it is because we do not truly serve him. If we love Him supremely, it is impossible that we should not enjoy His service at every step. Always remember then, whenever you lose your religious enjoyment, or the enjoyment of serving God, you may know that you are not serving Him right.

3. Religious bondage is another evidence of a backslidden heart. God has no slaves. He does not accept the service of bondmen, who serve him because they must. He accepts none but a love service. A backslider in heart, finds his religious duties a burden to him. He has promised to serve the Lord. He dare not wholly break off from the form of service, and he tries to be dutiful, while he has no heart in prayer, in praise, in worship, in closet duties, or in any of those exercises which are so spontaneous and delightful, where there is true love to God. The backslider in heart is often like a dutiful, but unloving wife. She tries to do her duty to her husband, but fails utterly because she does not love him. Her painstaking to please her husband is constrained, not the spontaneous outburst of a loving heart, and her relation, and her duties, become the burden of her life. She goes about complaining of the weight of care that is upon her, and will not be likely to advise young ladies to marry. She is committed for life, and must therefore perform the duties of married life, but oh, it is such a bondage! Just so with religious bondage. The professor must perform his duty. He drags painfully about it, and you will hear him naturally sing backslider’s hymns.

“Reason I hear, her counsels weigh,
And all her words approve;
And yet I find it hard to obey,
And harder still, to love.”

4. An ungoverned temper.

While the heart is full of love, the temper will naturally be chastened and sweet, or at any rate, the will will keep it under, and not suffer it to break out in outrageous abuse, or if at any time, it should so far escape from the control of the will as to break loose in hateful words, it will soon be brought under, and by no means suffered to take the control and manifest itself to the annoyance of others. Especially will a loving heart confess and break down, if at any time bad temper gets the control. Wherever, therefore, there is an irritable, uncontrolled temper allowed to manifest itself to those around one, you may know there is a backslidden heart.

5. A spirit of uncharitableness is evidence of a backslidden heart. By this, I mean a want of that disposition that puts the best construction upon every one’s conduct that can be reasonable–a want of confidence in the good intentions and professions of others. We naturally credit the good professions of those whom we love. We naturally attribute to them right motives, and put the best allowable construction upon their words and deeds. Where there is a want of this there is evidence conclusive of a backslidden or unloving heart.

6. A censorious (nitpicky) spirit is conclusive evidence of a backslidden heart. This is a spirit of fault-finding, of impugning the motives of others, when their conduct admits of a charitable construction. It is a disposition to fasten blame upon others, and judge them harshly. It is a spirit of distrust of Christian character and professions. It is a state of mind that reveals itself in harsh judgments, harsh sayings, and the manifestation of uncomfortable feelings toward individuals. This state of mind is entirely incompatible with a loving heart, and wherever a censorious spirit is manifested by a professor of religion, you may know there is a backslidden heart.

7. A lack of interest in God’s Word, is also an evidence of a backslidden heart. Perhaps nothing more conclusively proves that a professor has a backslidden heart, than his losing his interest in the Bible. While the heart is full of love, no book in the world is so precious as the Bible. But when the love is gone, the Bible becomes not only uninteresting but often repulsive. There is no faith to accept its promises, but conviction enough left to dread its threatenings. But in general the backslider in heart is apathetic about the Bible. He does not read it much, and when he does read it, he has not interest enough to understand it. Its pages become dark and uninteresting, and therefore it is neglected.

8. A lack of interest in secret prayer is also an evidence of a backslidden heart.

Young Christian! If you find yourself losing your interest in the Bible and in secret prayer, stop short, return to God, and give yourself no rest, till you enjoy the light of his countenance. If you feel disinclined to pray, or read your Bible, if when you pray and read your Bible, you have no heart in it, no enjoyment, if you are inclined to make your secret devotions short, or, are easily induced to neglect them, if your thoughts, affections and emotions wander, and your closet duties become a burden, you may know that you are a backslider in heart, and your first business is, to break down, and see that your love and zeal are renewed.

9. A lack of interest in the conversion of souls and in efforts to promote revivals of religion. This of course reveals a backslidden heart. There is nothing in which a loving heart takes more interest than in the conversion of souls in revivals of religion, and in efforts to promote them.

10. A lack of interest in published accounts or narratives of revivals of religion, is also an evidence of a backslidden heart. While one retains his interest in the conversion of souls, and in revivals of religion he will, of course, be interested in all accounts of revivals of religion anywhere. If you find yourself, therefore, disinclined to read such accounts, or find yourself not interested in them, take it for granted that you are backslidden in heart.

11. The same is true of missions, and missionary work and operations. If you lose your interest in the work, and in the conversion of the heathen, and do not delight to read and hear of the success of missions, you may know that you are backslidden in heart.

12. The loss of interest in benevolent enterprises generally is an evidence of a backslidden heart. I say the loss of interest, for surely, if you were ever converted to Christ, you have had an interest in all benevolent enterprises that came within your knowledge. Religion consists in disinterested benevolence. Of course, a converted soul takes the deepest interest in all benevolent efforts to reform and save mankind. In good government, in Christian education, in the cause of temperance, in the abolition of slavery, in provisions for the poor, and in short, in every good word and work, just in proportion as you have lost your interest in these, you have evidence that you are backslidden in heart.

13. The loss of interest in truly spiritual conversation is another evidence of a backslidden heart. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matt. 12:34). This our Lord Jesus Christ announced as a law of our nature. No conversation is so sweet to a truly loving heart, as that which relates to Christ, and to our living Christian experience. If you find yourself losing interest in conversing of heart religion, and of the various and wonderful experiences of Christians, if you ever knew what the true love of God is, you have fallen from it, and are a backslider in heart.

14. A loss of interest in the conversation and society of highly spiritual people, is an evidence of a backslidden heart. We take the greatest delight in the society of those who are most interested in the things that are most dear to us. Hence, a loving Christian heart will always seek the society of those who are most spiritually-minded, and whose conversation is most evangelical and spiritual. If you find yourself wanting in this respect, know for certain that you are backslidden in heart.

15. The loss of interest in the question of sanctification is an evidence of a backslidden heart. I say again, the loss of interest, for, if you ever truly knew the love of God, you must have had a great interest in the question of entire consecration to God, or of entire sanctification. If you are a Christian, you have felt that sin was an abomination to your soul. You have had inexpressible longings to be rid of it forever, and everything that could throw light upon that question of agonizing importance, was most intensely interesting to you. If this question has been dismissed, and you no longer take an interest in it, it is because you are backslidden in heart.

16. The loss of interest in those newly converted, is also an evidence of a backslidden heart. The Psalmist says, “All who fear thee will be glad when they see me, because I have hoped in thy Word.” This he puts into the month of a convert, and who does not know that this is true? Why, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God, over one sinner that repents, and is there not joy among the saints on earth, over those that come to Christ, and are as babes newly born into the kingdom of heaven? Show me a professor of religion, who does not manifest an absorbing interest in converts to Christ, and I will show you a backslider in heart, and a hypocrite; he professes religion, and has none.

17. An uncharitable state of mind in regard to professed converts, is also an evidence of a backslidden heart. Charity or love, hopes all things, and believes all things, and is very ready to judge kindly and favorably of those who profess to be converted to Christ, will naturally watch over them with interest, pray for them, instruct them, and have as much confidence in them as it is reasonable to have. A disposition therefore, to pick at, criticize, and censure them, is an evidence of a backslidden heart.

18. The want of the spirit of prayer is evidence of a backslidden heart. While the love of Christ remains fresh in the soul, the indwelling spirit of Christ will reveal himself as the spirit of grace and supplication (Zech. 12:10). He will beget strong desires in the soul for the salvation of sinners and the sanctification of saints. He will often make intercessions in them, with great longings, strong crying and tears, and with groanings that cannot be uttered in words, for those things that are according to the will of God, or to express it in Scripture language, according to Paul, in Romans 8:26-27: “Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself, makes intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searches the hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints, according to the will of God.” If the spirit of prayer departs, it is a sure indication of a backslidden heart, for while the first love of a Christian continues he is sure to be drawn by the Holy Spirit to wrestle much in prayer.

19. A backslidden heart often reveals itself by the manner in which people pray. For example, praying as if one was in a state of self-condemnation, or very much like a convicted sinner, is an evidence of a backslidden heart. Such an one will reveal the fact, that he is not at peace with God. His confessions and self-accusations will show to others what perhaps he does not well understand himself. His manner of praying will reveal the fact, that he has not communion with God; that instead of being filled with faith and love, he is more or less convicted of sin, and conscious that he is not in a state of acceptance with God. He will naturally pray more like a convicted sinner, than like a Christian. It will be seen by his prayer that he is not in a state of Christian liberty–that he is having a Romans 7 experience, instead of that which is described in Romans 8.

20. A backslidden heart will further reveal itself in praying almost exclusively for self, and for those friends that are regarded as parts of self. It is often very striking and even shocking to attend a backslider’s prayer meeting, and I am very sorry to say that many prayer meetings of the church are little else. Their prayers are timid and hesitating, and reveal the fact that they have little or no faith. Instead of surrounding the throne of grace and pouring their hearts out for a blessing on those around them, they have to be urged up to duty, to take up their cross. Their hearts do not, will not, spontaneously gush out to God in prayer. They have very little concern for others, and when they do, as they say, take up their cross and do their duty, and pretend to lead in prayer, it will be observed that they pray just like a company of convicted sinners, almost altogether for themselves. They will pray for that, which, should they obtain it, would be religion, just as a convicted sinner would pray for a new heart, and praying for religion as they do, manifests that they have none, in their present state of mind. Ask them to pray for the conversion of sinners, and they will either wholly forget it, or just mention them in such a way as will show that they have no heart to pray for them. I have known professed Christian parents to get into such a state that they had no heart to pray for the conversion of their own children, even when those children were under conviction. They would keep up family prayer, and attend a weekly prayer meeting, and never get out of the old rut, of praying round and round for themselves. A few years since, I was laboring in a revival in a Presbyterian church. At the close of the evening sermon, I found that the daughter of one of the elders of the church, was in great distress of mind. I observed her convictions were very deep. We had been holding a meeting with inquirers in the vestry, and I had just dismissed the inquirers, when this young lady, came to me in great agitation, and begged me to pray for her. The people had mostly gone, except a few that were waiting in the body of the church for those friends to be dismissed that had attended the meeting of inquiry. I called the father of this young lady into the vestry that he might see the very anxious state of his daughter’s mind. After a short personal conversation with her in the presence of her father, I called on him to pray for her, and said that I would follow him, and urged her to give her heart to Christ. We all knelt, and he went through with his prayer, kneeling by the side of his sobbing daughter, without ever mentioning her case. His prayer revealed that he had no more religion than she had, and that he was very much in her state of mind–under an awful sense of condemnation. He had kept up the appearance of religion. As an elder of the church, he was obliged to keep up appearances. He had gone round and round upon the tread-mill of his duties, while his heart was utterly backslidden. It is often almost nauseating to attend a prayer meeting of the backslidden in heart. They will go round, round, one after the other, in reality praying for their own conversion. They do not so express it, but that is the real import of the prayer. They could not render it more evident that they are backsliders in heart, if they were every one to take his oath of it.

21. Absence from stated prayer meetings for slight reasons is a sure indication of a backslidden heart. No meeting is more interesting to a wakeful Christian than the prayer meeting, and while they have any heart to pray, they will not be absent from prayer meetings unless prevented from attending by the providence of God. If a call from a friend at the hour of meeting, can prevent their attendance, unless the call be made under very peculiar circumstances, it is strong evidence that they do not wish to attend, and hence, that they are backsliders in heart. A call at such a time would not prevent their attending a wedding, a party, a picnic, or a comedy routine. The fact is, it is hypocrisy for them to pretend that they really want to go, while they can be kept away for slight reasons. If it were any place where they much desired to go, they would excuse themselves, and say, “I was just going to ride,” or, “I was just going to such a place,” and away they would go.

22. The same is true of the neglect of family prayer, for slight reasons.

While the heart is engaged in religion, Christians will not readily omit family devotions, and whenever they are ready to find an excuse for the omission, it is a sure evidence that they are backslidden in heart.

23. When secret prayer is regarded more as a duty than as a privilege, it is because the heart is backslidden. It has always appeared to me almost ridiculous, to hear Christians speak of prayer as a duty. It is one of the greatest of earthly privileges. What should we think of a child’s coming to its parent for its dinner, not because it was hungry, but as a duty. How would it strike us to hear a beggar speak of the duty of asking alms of us. It is an infinite privilege to be allowed to come to God, and ask for the supply of all our wants. But to pray because we must, rather than because we may, seems unnatural. To ask for what we want, and because we want it, and because God has encouraged us to ask, and has promised to answer our request, is natural and reasonable. But to pray as a duty and as if we were obliging God by our prayer, is quite ridiculous, and is a certain indication of a backslidden heart.

24. Pleading for worldly amusements, is also an indication of a backslidden heart. The most grateful amusements possible, to a truly spiritual mind, are those engagements that bring the soul into the most direct communion with God. While the heart is full of love and faith, an hour, or an evening spent alone, in communion with God, is more delightful than all the amusements which the world can offer. A loving heart is jealous of everything that will break up or interfere with its communion with God. For mere worldly amusements it has no relish. When the soul does not find more delight in God than in all worldly things, the heart is sadly backslidden.

25. Spiritual blindness is another evidence of a backslidden heart. While the eye is single the whole body will be full of spiritual light, but if the eye be evil, (which is a backslidden heart) the whole body will be full of darkness.

Spiritual blindness reveals itself in a lack of interest in God’s Word, and in religious truth generally. It will also manifest a lack of spiritual discernment, and will be easily imposed upon by the suggestions of Satan. A backslidden heart will lead to the adoption of lax principles of morality. It does not discern the spirituality of God’s law, and of His requirements generally. When this spiritual blindness is manifest it is a sure indication that the heart is backslidden.

26. Religious apathy, with worldly wakefulness and sensibility, is a sure indication of a backslidden heart. We sometimes see persons who feel deeply and quickly on worldly subjects, but who cannot be made to feel deeply on religious subjects. This clearly indicates a backslidden state of mind.

27. A self-indulgent spirit is a sure indication of a backslidden heart. By self-indulgence, I mean a disposition to gratify the appetites, passions and propensities, “to fulfill the desires of the flesh and of the mind” (Eph. 2:3).

This, in the Bible, is represented as a state of spiritual death. I am satisfied that the most common occasion of backsliding in heart, is to be found in the clamor for indulgence of the various appetites and propensities. The appetite for food is frequently, and perhaps more frequently than any other, the occasion of backsliding. Few Christians, I fear, apprehend any danger in this direction. God’s injunction is, “Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Christians forget this, and eat and drink to please themselves–consult their appetites, instead of the laws of life and health. More persons are ensnared by their tables than the church is aware of. The table is a snare of death to multitudes that no man can number. A great many people who avoid alcoholic drinks altogether, will indulge in tea and coffee, and even tobacco, and in food, both in quantity and quality that violates every law of health. They seem to have no other law, than that of appetite, and this they so deprave by abuse that, to indulge it, is to ruin body and soul together. Show me a gluttonous professor, and I will show you a backslider.

28. A seared conscience is also an evidence of a backslidden heart. While the soul is wakeful and loving, the conscience is as tender as the apple of the eye. But when the heart is backslidden, the conscience is silent and seared, on many subjects. Such an one will tell you that he is not violating his conscience, in eating or drinking, or in self-indulgence of any kind. You will find a backslider has but little conscience. The same will be true in regard to sins of omission very generally. Multitudes of duties may be neglected and a seared conscience will remain silent. Where conscience is not awake, the heart is surely backslidden.

29. Loose moral principles are a sure indication of a backslidden heart. A backslider in heart, will write letters on the Sabbath, engage in secular reading, and in much worldly conversation. In business, such an one will take little advantages, and play off business tricks, conform to the habits of worldly business men, in the transaction of business, will be guilty of deception and misrepresentation in making bargains, will demand exorbitant interest, and take advantage of the necessities of his fellow men.

30. Prevalence of the fear of man, is an evidence of a backslidden heart. While the heart is full of the love of God, God is feared, and not man. A desire for the applause of men is kept down, and it is enough for such an one to please God, whether men are pleased or displeased. But when the love of God is decreased, “the fear of man, that bringeth a snare,” gets possession of man (Prov. 29:25). To please man rather than God, is then his aim. In such a state he will sooner offend God than man.

31. Being a stickler about forms, ceremonies, and non-essentials, is evidence of a backslidden heart. A loving heart, is particular only about the substance and power of religion, and will not nitpick about its forms.

32. A fault-finding attitude about measures in promoting revivals of religion, is a sure evidence of a backslidden heart. Where the heart is fully set upon the conversion of sinners, and the sanctification of believers, it will naturally approach the subject in the most direct manner, and by means in the highest degree calculated to accomplish the end. It will not object to, and stumble at, measures that are evidently blessed of God, but will exert its utmost sagacity in devising the most suitable means to accomplish the great end on which the heart is set.

IV. Show what are consequences of backsliding in heart. The text says, that the backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways.

1. He shall be filled with his own works. But these are dead works, they are not works of faith and love, which are acceptable to God, but are the filthy rags of his own righteousness. If they are performed as religious services, they are but loathsome hypocrisy, and an abomination to God, there is no heart in them, and to such a one, God says, “Who hath required this at our hands?…You are they that justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men, is an abomination in the sight of God…I know you, that you have not the love of God in you” (Isa. 1:12; Luke 16:15; John 5:24).

2. He shall be filled with his own feelings. Instead of that sweet peace and rest, and joy in the Holy Ghost, that he once experienced, he will find himself in a state of unrest, dissatisfied with himself and everybody else, his feelings often painful, humiliating, and as unpleasant and unlovely, as can be well conceived. It is often very trying to live with a backslider. They are often have pet peeves, are nitpicky, and irritating, in all their ways. They have forsaken God, and in their feelings is more of Hell than Heaven.

3. They will be filled with their own prejudices. Their willingness to know and do the truth has gone. They will very naturally commit themselves against any truth that bears hard upon their self-indulgent spirit. They will endeavor to justify themselves, will neither read nor hear that which will rebuke their backslidden state, and they will become deeply prejudiced against everyone that shall cross their path. If anyone reproves them, they account him as an enemy. They hedge themselves in, and shut their eyes against the light, stand on the defensive, and criticize everything that would search them out.

4. A backslider in heart will be filled with a hostile attitude. Such a man will almost surely tally up grudges against those with whom he has any business or other relations. He will chafe in almost every relation of life, will allow himself to be vexed and angry, and get into such relations with some, and perhaps many persons, that he cannot pray for them honestly, and can hardly treat them with common decency. This is an almost certain result of a backslidden heart.

5. The backslider in heart will be fallen of his own mistakes. He is not walking with God. He has fallen out of the divine order. He is not led by the Spirit, but is walking in spiritual darkness. In this state he is sure to fall into many and grievous mistakes, and may get entangled in such a way as to mar his happiness, and, perhaps, destroy his usefulness for life. Mistakes in business, mistakes in forming new relations in life, mistakes in using his time, his tongue, his money, his influence–all will go wrong with him as long as he remains in a backslidden state.

6. The backslider in heart will be filled with his own lusts. His appetites and passions, which had been kept under, have now resumed their control, and having been so long suppressed, they will seem to avenge themselves by becoming more clamorous and despotic than ever. The animal appetites and passions will burst forth, to the astonishment of the backslider, and ten to one, if he does not find himself more under their influence, and more enslaved by them than ever before.

7. The backslider in heart will he filled with his own words. While in that state, he will not, and cannot, control his tongue. It will prove itself to be an unruly member, full of deadly poison, will set on fire the course of nature, and is itself set on fire by Hell. By his words he will involve himself in many difficulties and perplexities, from which he can never extricate himself, until he comes back to God.

8. He will be full of his own trials. Instead of keeping out of temptation, he will run right into temptation. He will bring upon himself multitudes of trials that he never would have had, had he not departed from God. He will complain of his trials, and yet constantly multiply them. A backslider feels his trials keenly, and, while he complains of being so tried by everything around him, he is constantly aggravating them, and being the author of them, he seems industrious to bring them upon himself like an avalanche.

9. The backslider in heart shall be full of his own follies. Having rejected the divine guidance, he will evidently fall into the depths of his own foolishness. He will inevitably say and do multitudes of foolish and ridiculous things. Being a professor of religion, these things will be all the more noticed, and of course bring him all the more into ridicule and contempt. A backslider is, indeed, the greatest fool in the world. Having experimental knowledge of the true way of life, he has the infinite folly to abandon it. Knowing the fountain of living water, he has forsaken it, and hewed out to himself cisterns–broken cisterns that can hold no water. Having been guilty of this infinite folly, the whole course of his backslidden life must be that of a fool, in the Bible sense of the term.

10. The backslider in heart will fall of his own troubles. God is against him, and he is against himself. He is not at peace with God, with himself, with the church, or with the world. He has no inward rest. Conscience condemns him. God condemns him. All that know his state condemn him. “There is no peace to the wicked, saith my God” (Isa. 57:21). There is no position in time or space in which he can be at rest.

11. The backslider in heart will be full of his own cares. He has turned back to selfishness. He counts himself and his possessions as his own. He has everything to care for. He will not hold himself and his possessions as belonging to God, and lay aside the responsibility of taking care of himself and all that he possesses. He does not, will not, cast his care upon the Lord, but undertakes to manage everything for himself, and in his own wisdom, and for his own ends. Consequently, his cares will be multiplied, and come upon him like a deluge.

12. The backslider in heart will be full of his own perplexities. Having forsaken God, having fallen out of his order, and into the darkness of his own folly, he will be filled with perplexities and doubts in regard to what course he shall pursue to accomplish his selfish ends. He is not walking with, but contrary to God. Hence, the providence of God will constantly cross his path, and baffle all his schemes. God will frown darkness upon his path, and take pains to confound his projects, and blow his schemes to the winds.

13. The backslider in heart will be filled with his own anxieties. He will be anxious about himself, about his business, about his reputation, about everything. He has taken all these things out of the hands of God, and claims them and treats them as his own, and having faith in God no longer, and being unable to control events, he must of necessity be filled with anxiety with regard to the future. These anxieties are the inevitable result of his madness and folly in forsaking God.

14. The backslider in heart will be filled with his own disappointments. Having forsaken God, and taken the attitude of self-will before him, God will inevitably disappoint him in pursuing his selfish ends. He will frame his ways to please himself, without consulting God. Of course God will frame his ways so as to disappoint him. Determined to have his own way, he will be greatly disappointed if his plans are frustrated, and the certain course of events under the government of God must of course bring a series of disappointments upon subjects that have rebelled against him.

15. The backslider in heart must be full of his own losses. He regards his possessions as his own, his time as his own, his influence as his own, his reputation as his own. The loss of any of these he accounts as his own loss. Having forsaken God, and being unable to control the events upon which the continuance of those things is conditioned, he will find himself suffering losses on every side. He loses his peace. He loses his property. He loses much of his time. He loses his Christian reputation. He loses his Christian influence, and if he persists he loses his soul.

16. The backslider in heart shall be full of his own crosses. All religious duty will be irksome, and, therefore, a cross to him. His state of mind will make multitudes of things into crosses, that in a Christian state of mind, would have been pleasant in a high degree. Having lost all heart in religion, the performance of all religious duties are crossing to his feelings. There is no help for him, unless he returns to God. The whole course of divine providence will run across his path, and his whole life will be a series of crosses and trials. He cannot have his own way. He cannot gratify himself by accomplishing his own wishes and desires. He may beat and dash himself against the everlasting rocks of God’s will and God’s way, but break through and carry all before him he cannot. He must be crossed and recrossed, and crossed again, until he will fall into the divine order, and sink into the will of God.

17. The backslider in heart will be filled with his own tempers. Having forsaken God, he will be sure to have much to irritate him. In a backslidden state, he cannot possess his soul in patience. The vexations of his backslidden life will make him nervous and irritable; his temper will become explosive and uncontrollable.

18. The backslider in heart shall be full of his own disgraces. He is a professor of religion. The eyes of the world are upon him, and all his inconsistencies, worldly-mindedness, follies, bad tempers, and hateful words and deeds, disgrace him in the estimation of all men who know him.

19. The backslider in heart will be full of his own delusions. Having an evil eye, his whole body will be full of darkness. He will almost certainly fall into delusions in regard to doctrines, and in regard to practices. Wandering on in darkness, as he does, he will, very likely, swallow the grossest delusions. Spiritism, Mormonism, universalism, and every other “ism” that is wide from the truth, will be very likely to gain possession of him. Who has not observed this of backsliders in heart?

20. The backslider in heart will be filled with his own bondage. His profession of religion brings him into bondage to the church. He has no heart to consult the interests of the church, or to labor for its up-building, and yet he is under covenant obligation to do so, and his reputation is at stake. He must do something to sustain religious institutions, but to do so, is a bondage. If he does it, it is because he must and not because he may. Again, he is in bondage to God. If he performs any, that he calls religious duty, it is rather as a slave than as a freeman. He serves from fear or hope, just like a slave, and not from love. Again, he is in bondage to his own conscience. To avoid conviction and remorse, he will do or omit many things, but it is all with reluctance, and not at all of his own cordial good will.

21. The backslider in heart is full of his own self-condemnation. Having enjoyed the love of God, and forsaken him, he feels condemned for everything. If he attempts religious duty, he knows there is no heart in it, and hence condemns himself. If he neglects religious duty, he of course condemns himself. If he reads his Bible, it condemns him. If he does not read it, he feels condemned. If he goes to meeting, the services condemn him, and if he stays away, he is condemned. If he prays in secret, in his family, or in public, he knows he is not sincere, and feels condemned. If he neglects or refuses to pray, he feels condemned. Everything condemns him. His conscience is up in arms against him, and the thunders and lightnings of condemnation follow him, wherever he goes.

V. How to recover from a state of backsliding.

1. Remember whence you are fallen (Rev. 2:5). Take up the question at once, and deliberately contrast your present state with that in which you walked with God.

2. Take home the conviction of your true position. No longer delay to understand the exact situation between God and your soul.

3. Repent (turn away from your sins) at once, and do your first work over again.

4. Do not attempt to get back, by reforming your mere outside conduct. Begin with your heart, and at once set yourself right with God.

5. Do not act like a mere convicted sinner, and attempt to recommend yourself to God, by any impenitent works or prayers. Do not think that you must reform, and make yourself better before you can come to Christ, but understand distinctly, that coming to Christ, alone, can make you better. However much distressed you may feel, know for a certainty that until you repent and accept His will, unconditionally, you are no better, but are constantly growing worse. Until you throw yourself upon His sovereign mercy, and thus return to God, he will accept nothing at your hands.

6. Do not imagine yourself to be in a justified state (the state of salvation), for you know you are not. Your conscience condemns you, and you know that God ought to condemn you, and if he justified you in your present state, your conscience could not justify him. Come, then, to Christ at once, like a guilty, condemned sinner, as you are, own up, and take all the shame and blame to yourself and believe that even with all your wanderings from God, he loves you still–that he has loved you with an everlasting love, and, therefore, with loving kindness is drawing you.

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