I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys. Song of Songs 2:1
When all the hidden things of darkness shall be brought to light, and the counsels of the heart shall be made manifest; when those secret impurities and subtle frauds whereof the world did never suspect us, shall be exposed and laid open to public view, and many thousand actions which we never dreamed to be sinful, or else had altogether forgotten, shall be charged home upon our consciences, with such evident convictions of guilt, that we shall neither be able to deny nor excuse them. Then shall all the angels in heaven, and all the saints that ever lived upon the earth, approve that dreadful sentence which shall be passed on wicked men; and those who perhaps did love and esteem them when they lived in the world, shall look upon them with indignation and abhorrence, and never make one request for their deliverance.
The heart of man is his worst part before it is regenerated, and the best part afterward; it is the seat of principles, and the fountain of actions. The eye of God is, and the eye of the Christian ought to be, principally fixed upon it.
Outward reformation only (though of excellent use) is but a new appearance, not a new creature, a change of life, not of the heart; whereas this work we discourse of is a new birth in the understanding and will; it begins at the spirit and descends from thence to the body; it is a sanctification in spirit, soul, and then body.
The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. Moses said, “I will turn aside now, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.” Exodus 3:2-3
It is better to mortify one sin than to understand all mysteries…knowledge without repentance will be but a torch to light men to hell.
The common talk is observing God and reforming the life, but who of a thousand speaks of the necessity of a new nature?
And then let us never look upon any sin as light and inconsiderable; but be fully persuaded, that the smallest is infinitely heinous in the sight of God, and prejudicial to the souls of men; and that, if we had the right sense of things, we should be as deeply affected with the least irregularities, as now we are with the highest crimes.
No bridegroom enriches his bride with such honors by marriage, as Christ does; he makes them related to God as their father, and from that day the mighty and glorious angles think it no dishonor to be their servants.
Why does faith act no stronger but because it is clogged with sense? Why does love to God burn no purer but because it is hindered with lust? Original sin incorporates with our graces. As bad lungs cause an asthma or shortness of breath, so original sin having infected our heart, our graces now breathe very faintly.