To lay hold of and receive the gospel by a true and saving faith is an act of the soul that has been made a new creature, which is the workmanship of God... Wherefore whoever receiveth the grace that is tendered in the gospel, they must be quickened by the power of God, their eyes must be opened, their understandings illuminated, their ears unstopped, their hearts circumcised, their wills also rectified, and the Son of God revealed in them.
Look how fears have presented themselves, so have supports and encouragements; yea, when I have started, even as it were at nothing else but my shadow, yet God, as being very tender of me, hath suffered me to be molested, but would with one Scripture or another, strengthen me against all; insomuch that I have often said, Were it awful, I could pray for greater trouble, for the greater comfort's sake.
Conversion is not the smooth, easy-going process some men seem to think... It is wounding work, this breaking of the hearts, but without wounding there is no saving... Where there is grafting there will always be a cutting, the graft must be let in with a wound; to stick it onto the outside or to tie it on with a string would be of no use. Heart must be set to heart and back to back or there will be no sap from root to branch. And this, I say, must be done by a wound, by a cut.
Here is the life of prayer, when in or with the Spirit, a man being made sensible of sin, and how to come to the Lord for mercy; he comes, I say, in the strength of the Spirit, and crieth Father. That one word spoken in faith is better than a thousand prayers, as men call them, written and read, in a formal, cold, lukewarm way.
The kingdom of heaven is for the heirs - and if children, then heirs; if born again, then heirs. Wherefore it is said expressly, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. By this one word, down goes all carnal privilege of being born of flesh and blood, and of the will of man. Canst thou produce the birthright?
Therefore, I bind these lies and slanderous accusations to my person as an ornament; it belongs to my Christian profession to be vilified, slandered, reproached and reviled, and since all this is nothing but that, as God and my conscience testify, I rejoice in being reproached for Christ's sake.
Hope has a thick skin and will endure many a blow; it will put on patience as a vestment and will endure all things (if they be of the right kind) for the joy that is set before it. Hence patience is called patience of hope,' because it is hope that makes the soul exercise long-suffering under the cross until the time comes to enjoy the crown!
It gave me no pleasure to see people drink in my opinions if they seemed ignorant of Jesus Christ and the value of being saved by Him. Sound conviction for sin, especially the sin of unbelief, and a heart set on fire to be saved by Christ, with a strong yearning for a truly sanctified soul-this was what delighted me; those were the souls I considered blessed.
[Mr. Gifford] made it much his business to deliver the people of God from all those false and unsound rests that by nature we are prone to make and take to our souls. He pressed us to take special heed that we took not up any truth upon trust - as from this or that, or any other man or men - but to cry mightily to God that He would convince us of the reality thereof, and set us down therein by his own Spirit in the holy word.
The God in whose hands are all our days and ways, did cast into my hand one day a book of Martin Luthers; it was his Comment on Galatians . . . . I found my condition in his experience so largely and profoundly handled, as if his book had been written out of my heart . . . . I do prefer this book of Martin Luther upon the Galatians, excepting the Holy Bible, before all the books that ever I have seen, as most fit for a wounded conscience.
Then said he, ’I am going to my Father’s; and though with great difficulty I am got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have fought His battles who now will be my rewarder.’.... So he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on... Read more »