MARKS OF SPIRITUAL DECLINE
- When you are reluctant to religious conversation, and the company of serious, heavenly-minded Christians, and enjoy yourself best with men of the world.
- When from preference, you are absent from meetings for prayer, confine yourself to Sabbath meetings, are easily detained from them, and are ready to excuse such neglects.
- When you are afraid to consider certain duties seriously, lest your conscience rebuke your past neglect, and insist on fidelity now.
- When it is more your object, in doing duty, to pacify conscience than to honour Christ, obtain spiritual profit, or do good to others.
- When you have an over-critical spirit respecting preaching; are dissatisfied with the manner, as inelegant, too plain, too intellectual, or not according to some favourite model or with the matter, as too doctrinal, or too preceptive; or when you complain of it as too close, or are suspicious of personality.
- When you are more afraid of being accounted strict, than of sinning against Christ by negligence in practice, and unfaithfulness to your Lord and Master.
- When you have little fear of temptation, and can trifle with spiritual danger.
- When you thirst for the complacency of men of the world, and are more anxious to know what they think or say of you, than whether you honour the Saviour in their sight.
- When scandals to religion are more the subject of your censure,
than of your secret grieving and prayer before God, and
faithful endeavours for their removal.
- When you are more afraid to encounter the scorn of an
offending man by rebuking sin, than of offending God by
- When you are more bent on being rich than holy.
- When you cannot receive deserved reproofs for faults, are
unwilling to confess them, and justify yourself.
- When you are impatient and unforbearing towards the
frailties, misjudgements, and faults of others.
- When your reading of the Bible is formal, hasty, lesson-wise or merely intellectual, and unattended with self-application; or when you read almost every other book with more interest than the Book of God.
- When you have more religion abroad than at home; are
apparently ‘fervent’ when ‘seen of men’, but languid when seen
only in the family, or to God alone.
- When your religious taste is more for the new things of men,
than for the old things of the treasury of God’s Word.
- When you call spiritual sloth and withdrawment from Christian
activity by the names of prudence and peaceableness, while
sinners are going to destruction, and the church suffering
declension; unmindful that prudence can be united with
apostolic fidelity, and peaceableness with most anxious seeking
of the salvation of souls.
- When, because there is a false zeal abroad, you will neither
trust yourself nor any others, in that ‘fervency of spirit, serving
the Lord’ which Paul taught and practised.
- When you are secretly more gratified at the fall of some
religious professor, than grieved for the wounds he
inflicted upon Christ.
- When under chastisements of Providence, you think more of
your sufferings than of your deserts, and look more for relief
than purification from sin.
- When you confess but do not forsake besetting sin.
- When you acknowledge, but still neglect, duty.