What a different spirit is now at work in the leaders of God’s remnant, than that which breathed through the life of those holy men of God, whom these men of our day claim as their fathers!
It is truly dreadful to behold the deceitful workers (transformed as the ministers of righteousness), which the Lord has now allowed for a little space to bear rule over His people (according to His righteous judgment for the sins of the Church)! These have been truly groomed to this end, as, I am convinced, many of them have heard the call of God in this generation, and have assayed to go up, while yet ignorant of the inviolable rules & means of attaining! And, by and by, they have become disillusioned, discouraged, and depressed, and their only “gathering together” is unto the mutual deterioration of former convictions, and the soothing of their troubled consciences, by the one accord of failure, and backsliding among the best of them… And this for years in continuance! May the Lord truly undo this web of hypocrisy, and save all whom He wills, and bring these fallen heads into subjection with mighty signs and wonders!
I mean, there are many men in this hour, who have been stricken with those piercing words of the Puritans, or the radical acts of the Reformers, or the meticulous ways of the Methodists — but, alas, where is their purity of heart and life, their reformational zeal, their methodical relationship to the glory of God?! When once they heard the penetrating rhetoric of the late great Ravenhill, who called them to a life conformed to the doctrine’s which they ascribed! Or Aiden Wilson Tozer, who vehemently stirred them to many hours of closet-prayer, oft times in silent awe and adoration!… Where is such conformity now to be found, such lives of devotion? I have seen, and heard with my ears, the self-professed “sons” of such men, nowadays disclaiming the very righteousness of their fathers which they once praised as the adder sting which drove them to a look at the Savior!
O what a miserable revolting spirit is this!
Are these not the days of Josiah’s sons, who so suddenly turned out of the way which their father had commanded them! Imagine it, after a 13 year revival, wherein it was said, "And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the LORD their God. And all his days they departed not from following the LORD, the God of their fathers" (II Chron. 34:33). Then — SUDDENLY! — when Josiah was conveyed from this world's stage to glory, his sons, every one, forsook the ways of their father, and apostasized, though they kept the form, saying, "The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, are these" (Jer. 7:4)! This utter hypocrisy of Josiah's treacherous sons warranted the flaming remonstrance, and nigh martyrdom of the by-then venerated prophet Jeremiah, the friend, and comrade-in-revival of this Josiah (see, Jer. 7:1-10:25; 26:1-24)!
O my soul, are these the days of Uzziah, who sought God in the lifetime of his seer, and spiritual mentor Zechariah, and when he died, quickly turned out of the way which he commanded him (see, II Chron. 26)!
Are these the days of that once admirable Joash, who did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of his spiritual father, that noble priest Jehoiada, then capitulated, and forsook the law of Moses (in which Jehoiada instructed him), forsook the house the Lord, forsook the prophets, and even killed the son of Jehoiada who protested the declension — till there was no remedy! (see, II Chron. 24).
I consider Edwards, who many of these men take to be a chief captain of the faith: “Most excellent in his generation, nor yet to be surpassed,” so they say! This man was filled with contempt, and scorned the slightest thought of the conformity of his mind, merely, to the truth of divine wisdom, and not his life and character also! It was enough to him, that the truth to which he ascribed with all of his heart, would become the reflexive practice of his life — anything short to him was utterly contemned! Behold, but a few of his RESOLUTIONS, which he made early on in his pilgrimage, and which ruled his entire walk with God to the end!
Resolved, That I will do whatsoever I think to be most to the glory of God, and my own good, profit, and pleasure, in the whole of my duration; without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved, to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved, so to do, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.
Resolved, To be continually endeavouring to find out some new contrivance and invention to promote the forementioned things.
Resolved, If ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.
Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.
Resolved, To think much, on all occasions, of my dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.
Resolved, If I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.
Resolved, That I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
Resolved, To live so, at all times, as I think is best in my most devout frames, and when I have the clearest notions of the things of the gospel, and another world.
Resolved, To endeavour to obtain for myself as much happiness in the other world as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigour, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.
Resolved, To study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive, myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
Resolved, To strive every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.
Resolved, To be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that, in Prov. xx. 6. ‘A faithful man, who can find?’ may not be partly fulfilled in me.
Resolved, Constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or not; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of.
Resolved, That I will act so, as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world.
Resolved, That I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned.
Resolved, To endeavour, to my utmost, so to act, as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven and hell torments.
Resolved, Whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination.
On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true lustre, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, To act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time.
Resolved, When I find those ”groanings which cannot be uttered,“ of which the apostle speaks, and those ”breathings of soul for the longing it hath,” of which the psalmist speaks, Psalm cxix. 20. that I will promote them to the utmost of my power; and that I will not be weary of earnestly endeavouring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness.