Sunday, February 25, 2007

For those doubting their regeneration -- Case 5.

Case 5. "The attainments of hypocrites and apostates are a terror to me, and come like a shaking storm on me, when I am about to conclude, from the marks of grace, which I seem to find in myself, that I am in the state of grace."

Answer. These things should, indeed, stir us up to a most serious and impartial examination of ourselves; but ought not to keep us in a continued suspense as to our state. Sirs, you see the outside of hypocrites, their duties, their gifts, their tears, and so on—but you see not their inside; you do not discern their hearts, the bias of their spirits. Upon what you see of them, you found a judgment of charity as to their state; and you do well to judge charitably in such a case, because you cannot know the secret springs of their actions: but you are seeking, and ought to have, a judgment of certainty as to your own state; and therefore are to look into that part of religion, which none in the world but yourselves can discern in you, and which you can as little see in others.

A hypocrite's region may appear far greater than that of a sincere soul: but that which makes the greatest figure in the eyes of men, is often of least worth before God. I would rather utter one of those groans which the apostle speaks of, Rom. 8:26, than shed Esau's tears, have Balaam's prophetic spirit, or the joy of the stony-ground hearer. "The fire that shall try every man's work," will try, not of what bulk it is—but "of what kind it is," 1 Cor. 3:13. Though you may know what bulk of religion another has, and that it is more bulky than your own—yet God does not regard that; why, then, do you make such a matter of it? It is impossible for you, without divine revelation, certainly to know of what sort another man's religion is: but you may certainly know what sort your own is of, without extraordinary revelation; otherwise the apostle would not exhort the saints to "give diligence to make their calling and election sure," 2 Peter 1:10. Therefore, the attainments of hypocrites and apostates should not disturb you, in your serious inquiry into your own state.

I will tell you two things, wherein the lowest saints go beyond the most refined hypocrites:

1. In denying themselves; renouncing all confidence in themselves, and their own works; acquiescing in, being well pleased with, and venturing their souls upon, God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, Matt. 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." And, chap. 11:6, "Blessed is he who shall not be offended in me." Phil. 3:3, "We are the true circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Jesus Christ, and have no confidence in the flesh."

2. In a real hatred of all sin; being willing to part with every lust, without exception, and to comply with every duty which the Lord makes, or shall make known to them, Psalm 119:6, "Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all your commandments." Try yourselves by these.

--Thomas Boston, from Human Nature in Its Fourfold State.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sunday, February 18, 2007

For those doubting their regeneration -- Case 4.

Case 4. "But when I compare my love to God with my love to some created enjoyments, I find the pulse of my affections beat stronger to the creature than to the Creator. How then can I call him Father? Nay, alas! those turnings of heart within me, and glowings of affection to him, which I had, are gone; so that I fear all the love which I ever had to the Lord has been but a fit and flash of affection, such as hypocrites often have.

Answer. It cannot be denied, that the predominant love of the world is a certain mark of an unregenerate state, 1 John 2:15, "If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Nevertheless, those are not always the strongest affections which are most violent. A man's affections may be more moved, on some occasions, by an object that is little regarded, than by another that is exceedingly beloved; even as a little brook sometimes makes more noise than a great river. The strength of our affections is to be measured by the firmness and fixedness of the root, not by the violence of their actings.

Suppose a person meeting with a friend, who has been long abroad, finds his affections more vehemently acting towards his friend on that occasion, than towards his own wife and children; will he therefore say, that he loves his friend more than them? Surely not. Even so, although the Christian may find himself more moved in his love to the creature, than in his love to God; yet it is not therefore to be said, that he loves the creature more than God, seeing love to God is always more firmly rooted in a gracious heart, than love to any created enjoyment whatever: as appears when competition arises in such a manner, that the one or other is to be foregone.

Would you, then, know your case? Retire into your own hearts, and there lay the two in the balance, and try which of them weighs down the other. Ask yourself, as in the sight of God, whether you would part with Christ for the creature, or part with the creature for Christ, if you were left to your choice in the matter? If you find your heart disposed to part with what is dearest to you in the world for Christ at his call, you have no reason to conclude you love the creature more than God; but, on the contrary, that you love God more than the creature, although you do not feel such violent motions in the love of God, as in the love of some created thing, Matt. 10:37, "He who loves father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me." Luke 14:26, "If any man comes to me, and hates not his father and mother – he cannot be my disciple." From which texts compared, we may infer, that he who hates, that is, is ready to part with, father and mother for Christ, is, in our Lord's account, one that loves them less than him, and not one who loves father and mother more than him.

Moreover, you are to consider that there is a twofold love to Christ.

1. There is a SENSIBLE love to him, which is felt as a dart in the heart, and makes a holy love-sickness in the soul, arising from lack of enjoyment, as in that case of the spouse, Cant. 5:8, "I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him that I am sick of love:" or else from the fullness of it, as in Cant. 2:5, "Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples; for I am sick of love." These glowings of affection are usually wrought in young converts, who are ordinarily made "to sing in the days of their youth," Hos. 2:15. While the fire-edge is upon the young convert, he looks upon others, reputed to be godly, and not finding them in such a temper or disposition as himself, he is ready to censure them; and to think there is far less religion in the world than indeed there is. But when his own cup comes to settle below the brim, and he finds that in himself which made him question the state of others, he is more humbled, and feels more and more the necessity of daily recourse to the blood of Christ for pardon, and to the Spirit of Christ for sanctification; and thus grows downwards in humiliation, self-loathing, and self-denial.

2. There is a RATIONAL love to Christ, which, without these sensible emotions felt in the former case, evidences itself by a dutiful regard to the divine authority and command. When one bears such a love to Christ, though the vehement stirrings of affection be lacking—yet he is truly tender of offending a gracious God; endeavors to walk before him unto all well pleasing; and is grieved at the heart for what is displeasing unto him, 1 John 5:3, "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments."

Now, although that sensible love does not always continue with you, you have no reason to deem it a hypocritical fit, while the rational love remains with you; any more than a loving and faithful wife needs question her love to her husband, when her fondness is abated.
--Thomas Boston, from Human Nature in Its Fourfold State.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Blogger's Questions

Ok, I got tagged. So here goes.

1. Do you like the look and the contents of your blog?

Yeah, I guess so.

2-Does your family know about your blog?

Some do, some don't.

3-Can you tell your friends about your blog?

Sure, though I know some friends would enjoy some things, and some would enjoy other things, while most will probably not enjoy all of it.

4-Do you just read the blogs of those who comment on your blog?

No, I read much more than that.

5-Did your blog positively affect your mind?

I think so. It's like journaling sometimes -- it makes me organize my thoughts more than I tend to do just inside my own little head.

6-What does the number of visitors to your blog mean?

Nothing at all. I have no idea how many people stop by. I never checked stats. I don't even have a counter thingy.

7-Do you imagine what other bloggers look like?

I pretty much just assume most people are ugly. That way I'm pleasantly surprised if I meet someone I was wrong about.

8-Do you think blogging has any real benefit?

It's all part of online life, I think. I've met and talked to real friends in real life as a result being online, so yeah. Plus if someone can read something on my blog that they find helpful, that's a real benefit. I know I've read stuff on other blogs that were helpful to me.

9-Do you think that the blogosphere is a stand alone community separated from the real world?

I don't even know what that means. I'm thinking "no."

10-Do some political blogs scare you? Do you avoid them?

Scared of a blog? No. I'm not scared of the rain either. I'm probably more scared of myself than of anything else (I'm not equating being scared with that fear of the Almighty).

11-Do you think that criticizing your blog is useful?

I criticize myself all the time, but I'm afraid that most of my criticisms are not very useful. Honest and good criticism from a friend is good medicine, though sometimes it tastes bad.

12-Have you ever thought about what would happen to your blog in case you died?

I haven't given it too much thought. I guess there'd be a lot of spam comments!

13-Which blogger had the greatest impression on you?

Brother John told me he thought a blog would suit me, and that he thought I might enjoy it. Then he stopped blogging.

14-Which blogger do you think is the most similar to you?

Hmm.... I don't know, maybe this guy.

Tag: Everybody.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What a day so far...

Deep freeze, exploding transformers, fire engines, power flickering, and puke.

I stayed home from work. Not because I can't drive in the snow - I actually like driving in the snow. But because Jesse was up barfing all night, and is still going strong today. More than one transformer blew up on nearby power lines -- I could see the explosions from my window. The power flickered and there was a very strange noise, along with the crackle-BOOM. They'll likely be killing the power around here to fix it. So, I didn't want to leave my wife with sick chillins, potentially in the dark, alone. So, out to shovel snow, which is HEAVY because of the freezing rain that it's been soaking up. I helped push our local Snoop Dog's car out of his parking spot. I feel a bit worn out right now. Maybe I should have went to work to relax. Cole spotted a bright red cardinal in the hard. It was sitting in our crab apple tree, looking like a painting or something (what with all the snow around). It looked like something Amanda would take a picture of and win a contest with. Speaking of Amanda... how does a slob like me get invited to view her blog now that it's gone VIP only?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tournament Update, etc.

Ok, quick recap of this weekend's Karate Tournament --

Daniel sparring (he's on the right with the red headgear):

Daniel (far left) won a gold and a bronze medal:

Conner (on the right) sparring:

Two golds and a silver for Conner:

Calle (on the right) sparring:

Calle took home 3, that's THREE gold medals, sweeping every event she was in:

And Cole took home two silver and a bronze:

In other news:
Gideon fell asleep on Jesse's Thomas the Tank Engine futon:

And today was the first significant snowfall of 2007 in these parts (the latest ever recorded, I understand):

(Yes, those are my bare feet. Yes, there's something wrong with me. No, I don't know what exactly it is that is wrong with me).

Sunday, February 11, 2007

For those doubting their regeneration -- Case 3.

Case 3. "I find the motions of sin in my heart more violent since the Lord began his work on my soul, than they were before that time. Can this consist with a change of my nature?"

Answer. Dreadful is the case of many, who, after God has had a remarkable dealing with their souls, tending to their reformation, have thrown off all bonds, and have become grossly and openly immoral and profane; as if the devil had returned into their hearts with seven spirits worse than himself. All I shall say to such people is, that their state is exceedingly dangerous; they are in danger of sinning against the Holy Spirit: therefore, let them repent, before it be too late.

But if it be not thus with you; though corruption is stirring itself more violently than formerly, as if all the forces of hell were raised, to hold fast, or bring back, a fugitive; yet these stirrings may consist with a change of your nature. When the restraint of grace is newly laid upon corruption, it is no wonder if it acts more vigorously than before, "warring against the law of the mind," Rom. 7:23. The motions of sin may really be most violent, when the new principle is brought in to cast it out. The sun sending its beams through the window, discovers the motes in the house, and their motions, which were not seen before; so the light of grace may discover the risings and actings of corruption, in another manner than ever the man saw them before, though they really do not rise nor act more vigorously.

Sin is not quite dead in the regenerate soul; it is but dying, and dying a lingering death, being crucified: no wonder there are great fightings, when it is sick at the heart, and death is at the door. Besides, temptations may be more in number, and stronger, while Satan is striving to bring you back, who are escaped, than while he only endeavored to retain you: "After you were illuminated, you endured a great fight of affliction," says the apostle to the Hebrews, chap. 10:32. But "cast not away your confidence," ver. 35. Remember his "grace is sufficient for you," and "the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly."

Pharaoh and his Egyptians never made such a formidable appearance against the Israelites, as at the Red Sea, after they were brought out of Egypt: but then were the pursuers nearest to a total overthrow, Exod., chap. 14. Let not this case, therefore, make you raze the foundations of your trust; but be you emptied of self, and strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, and you shall come off victorious.
--Thomas Boston, from Human Nature in Its Fourfold State.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tournament Day

Today the four karate kids are competing in a friendly inter-school tournament. The three C's are competing in three events each, and little Daniel is competing in two. All four will be sparring. Unlike the last tournament we did, no division has more than one Waybright in it, so kids with other last names have a shot, and none of my kids will be forced to beat their sibling. I plan on posting some pics after the tournament (I'm predicting that between the four of them... we'll be bringing home about 8 medals. But we'll see).

Friday, February 09, 2007

A bit of frivolity, I suppose

Did Dylan invent rap? A bit of stream of consciousness beat poetry put to music:

My favorite lines:

"Maggie comes fleet foot, face full of black soot."

"You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows."

"Twenty years of schoolin' and they put you on the day shift."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

For those doubting their regeneration -- Case 2.

Case 2. "If I were a new creature, sin could not prevail against me as it does."

Answer. Though we must not lay pillows for hypocrites to rest their heads upon, who indulge themselves in their sins, and make the doctrine of God's grace subservient to their lusts, lying down contentedly in the bond of iniquity like men that are fond of golden chains; yet it must be owned, "the just man falls seven times a day;" and iniquity may prevail against the children of God. But if you are groaning under the weight of the body of death, the corruption of your nature; loathing yourself for the sins of your heart and life; striving to mortify your lusts; fleeing daily to the blood of Christ for pardon; and looking to his Spirit for sanctification: though you may be obliged to say with the Psalmist, "Iniquities prevail against me;" yet you may add with him, "As for our transgressions you shall purge them away," Psalm 65:3. The new creature does not yet possess the house alone: it dwells by the side of an ill neighbor, namely, remaining corruption, the relics of depraved nature. They struggle together for the mastery. "The flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh," Gal. 5:17. And sometimes corruption prevails, bringing the child of God into captivity to the law of sin, Rom. 7:23. Let not therefore the prevailing of corruption make you, in this case, conclude you are none of God's children: but let it humble you, to be the more watchful, and to thirst the more intensely after Jesus Christ, his blood and Spirit; and that very disposition will evidence a principle of grace in you, which seeks the destruction of sin that prevails so often against you.
--Thomas Boston, from Human Nature in Its Fourfold State.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

For those doubting their regeneration -- Case 1.

I shall propose and briefly answer some cases or doubts, which may possibly hinder some people from the comfortable view of their happy state. The children's bread must not be withheld; though, while it is held forth to them, the dogs should snatch at it.

Case 1. "I doubt if I be regenerate, because I know not the precise time of my conversion; nor can I trace the particular steps of the way in which it was brought to pass."

Answer. Though it is very desirable to be able to give an account of the beginning, and the gradual advances, of the Lord's work upon our souls, as some saints can distinctly do, the manner of the Spirit's working being still a mystery—yet this is not necessary to prove the truth of grace. Happy he who can say, in this case, as the blind man in the Gospel, "One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see." As, when we see flame, we know there is fire, though we know not how or when it began; so the truth of grace may be discerned in us, though we know not how or when it was dropped into our hearts. If you can perceive the happy change which is wrought on your soul; if you find your mind is enlightened, your will inclined to comply with the will of God in all things; especially to fall in with the divine plan of salvation, through a crucified Redeemer; in vain do you trouble yourself, and refuse comfort, because you know not how and what way it was brought about.

--Thomas Boston, from Human Nature in Its Fourfold State.

Friday, February 02, 2007


Kosher hotdogs = Ethnic food.