Saturday, December 01, 2007

'Seekers' Are Poor Judges of Their Own Needs

From "Old Truth". File this under "when will we learn":

"Quoting Ichabod Spencer . . .

During a time of a revival, a pastor that I had not known very well called upon me, and by invitation preached for me at my regular weekly evening service. I had mentioned to him the existing seriousness among the people. His sermon did not suit me. He made careless statements; seemed to me to rely on impressions more than on truth; seemed to value his own powers, and to desire other people to rely on theirs. I perceived that he highly esteemed himself, as "a revival preacher", and I thought he preached "revival" and prayed "revival", rather than Christianity. After we arrived home, and my pastor friend had retired for the night, a good friend came in to see me, and inquired how I liked his sermon. I criticized it strongly. My friend then told me, that as she left the church she crossed paths with one of our young ladies, who had been serious for some weeks, and who said to her, "oh that sermon will do me good. It was just what I wanted. I wish our pastor would preach like that". I felt humbled and sad.

And as my pastor friend was much older than myself, I thought it became me to consider more carefully what he had preached, and what I had been saying.

But I noticed that, from that time, the serious impressions of this young lady, who thought "the sermon would do her good", began evidently to diminish. I saw her often, and aimed to bring back the depth and solemnity of her former seriousness. It was all in vain. She grew more and more indifferent, till finally she went back to the world entirely. There she remains. Years have rolled on; but she remains a stranger to Christ.

Convicted sinners are very poor judges of what "will do them good". The very things which they think they need, are often the very things that are snares to their souls. How is it possible for "natural man, who discerneth not the things of the Spirit of God", to tell what will do him good? He has no sincere liking for God, or the truth of God. And if likings are to be consulted, the truth must often be sacrificed.

It is better to trouble his conscience, than to please his heart. A convicted sinner is the last person in the world to judge justly, in regard to the kind of instruction he needs. He will seize error more readily than truth, and if his tastes are consulted, his soul will be endangered. In consulting such tastes lies the cunning art deceivers, who lead crowds to admire them, and run after them, and talk of them, while they care not for the truth, "deceiving and being deceived".

From: A Pastor's Sketches, (year 1850)"

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