Monday, January 14, 2013

"Sparks Of the Fire . . . "

"The principal torment of hell lies in the perfection of that trouble now that, for the present, is upon the conscience, and yet you make nothing of this.  You treat it as if it were only melancholy, as if the wrath of God that shall lie upon the damned in hell to all eternity were only a frenzy. . . . It is true that God does, indeed, oftentimes, bless the horrors of conscience to the saving of the soul, to bring the soul to Christ, but horrors of conscience, in their own nature, are the beginnings of the second death.  As pains and sickness of the body of a man or woman are the beginnings of the first death, so wounds and horrors of conscience are the beginnings of the second death.

"And therefor God, many times, to keep men from being swallowed up in those torments, makes them feel those torments.  They have some sparks of these torments of hell upon their souls now that they may be delivered from the flames of hell to all eternity.  Trouble of conscience for sin is nothing else but God letting out some sparks of hell upon the soul.  Now what a mistake is this for you to think that this nothing but melancholy when, the truth is, it is nothing else but the sparks of hell upon the soul.

"Now, if you have slight thoughts of the wrath of God upon the soul, it is impossible that you should prize Christ, because you do not know what He suffered.  But a man or woman who has felt the wrath of God upon their souls in the wounds of conscience for sin, such a one has little intimation of what the Lord Christ endured for them.  Such a one can tell what Christ endured and can so prize Christ and love Christ [as] the principal thing Christ suffered for sinners was the bearing of the wrath of the Father upon His soul. His soul-sufferings were more than His bodily sufferings.

"IF you have a little trouble of soul under the sense of sin now, know it is but as a spark of the fire that blazed out upon Christ.  If you have one drop upon you, it is but as one drop of those flood gates let out upon the soul of Jesus Christ.
You who have slight thoughts of trouble of conscience for sin, whoever you are, this is a most certain truth.  These thoughts of your heart shall certainly be altered one day, though they are slight now.  This I dare affirm for everyone that has slight thoughts of sin and the trouble for it.  These thoughts of their hearts shall be altered.  You must come to know sin in another manner than you do now."

[I transcribed these little sections from a book I wanted and got for Christmas, "The Evil of Evils" by Jeremiah Burroughs, first published in 1654.  It's an ol' Puritan classic . . . and relates to the topic I've been addressing as of late, fwiw :)]

[Jeremiah Burroughs (or Burroughes) was baptized in 1601 and admitted as a pensioner at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1617. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1621 and a Master of Arts degree in 1624. His tutor was Thomas Hooker.
Burroughs’s ministry falls into four periods, all of which reveal him as a zealous and faithful pastor. First, from about 1627 until 1631, he was assistant to Edmund Calamy at Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. Both men became members of the Westminster Assembly. Both men strongly opposed King James’s Book of Sports. Both refused to read the king’s proclamation in church that dancing, archery, vaulting, and other games were lawful recreations on the Lord’s Day.
Second, from 1631 to 1636, Burroughs was rector of Tivetshall, Norfolk, a church that still stands today. Despite the best efforts of his patron, Burroughs was suspended in 1636 and deprived in 1637 for refusing to obey the injunctions of Bishop Matthew Wren, especially regarding the reading of the Book of Sports, and the requirements to bow at the name of Jesus and to read prayers rather than speak them extemporaneously.
Third, from 1638 to 1640, Burroughs lived in the Netherlands, where he was teacher of a congregation of English Independents at Rotterdam, formerly ministered by William Ames. William Bridge was the pastor and Sidrach Simpson had established a second like-minded church in the city. Thus, three future dissenting brethren were brought together, all of whom would serve as propagandists for congregationalism later in the 1640s.
In the final period from 1640 to his death in 1646, Burroughs achieved great recognition as a popular preacher and a leading Puritan in London. He returned to England during the Commonwealth period and became pastor of two of the largest congregations in London: Stepney and St. Giles, Cripplegate. At Stepney, he preached early in the morning and became known as “the morning star of Stepney.” He was invited to preach before the House of Commons and the House of Lords several times. Thomas Brooks called him “a prince of preachers.”

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