The Successive Steps of Going Astray

It rarely, if ever, happens, that the heart throws off at once all the restraints of virtue, and plunges suddenly into the depths of vice. It is not by one stride, that the moral youth passes from sober habits at home to those of an opposite nature abroad—but generally by slow and successive steps. The judgment and conscience would recoil from a temptation which proposed to him to become profligate at once; and if he ever becomes proficient in vice, he must be led on by insensible degrees, and little by little make advances in the way of wickedness, and in the counsels of the ungodly. This is what is meant by the deceitfulness of sin.… Read More The Successive Steps of Going Astray

How To Avoid The Cage Stage

Having made up your minds, upon evidence, as to what is truth, then have as little to do with religious controversy as you can. Seek a practical religion, rather than a polemical religion. Treat it as a something rather to be done than to be talked about. Be not fond of disputation. Be no religious knight-errant, fighting against every one who differs from you. A pugnacious disposition, whether it be from natural combativeness, or prevailing vanity—is a dangerous thing to piety, which, like the dew, falls only in a still atmosphere, and lies longest in the shade. Be too much taken up with adding “to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity” (2 Pet. 1:5-7), to have much time for strife and contention.… Read More How To Avoid The Cage Stage

Young Officers’ Conduct in Church Courts | Samuel Miller

I would earnestly advise every young minister to speak very little the first two or three times that he occupies a seat in the higher judicatories of the church. The art of transacting business wisely, expeditiously, and with suitable temper, in a deliberative assembly, is not to be learned in an hour, or a day. To do it well, requires close observation; considerable experience; watching the manner, course, and success of the best models; much attention to the discipline of our own feelings; and a frequent conning over the lesson, which we are always slow to learn, that other people have knowledge and wisdom, as well as we; and that opposing us, is not always infallible testimony that our opponent is wrong. All this requires time. The first two sessions of ecclesiastical bodies that you attend, then, are by no means too much for you to pass as a close, vigilant, silent learner. Rely on it, for any young minister to wish that distinguished precocity should mark his efforts as a speaker in church courts, is seldom, nay, never wise.… Read More Young Officers’ Conduct in Church Courts | Samuel Miller

Four Reasons Satan Enlists Women in His Schemes

It is marked in ancient history that there was almost never an eminent heresy or heretic, but had some special women for the promoters thereof, who oftentimes took to themselves the name of prophetesses. Eusebius marks it of many (which is cited in the second century). Simon Magus had his Helena; Carpocrates his Marcellina; Apelles his Philumena; Montanus had two whom he called prophetesses, to wit, Priscilla and Maximilla; and Augustine frequently mentions one Lucilla, who was a great ring-leader of the Donatists. So it is likely the Nicolaitans had such a prophetess for furthering their design in the church of Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29).… Read More Four Reasons Satan Enlists Women in His Schemes

When Godly Ministers Lack Righteous Judgment

Men may be very straight and tender in the work of God, and bold in reference to suffering; and yet faint and be defective in the prosecuting of church censures against erroneous men. This appears both from this epistle and that which follows, where their particular condition and public carriage in other things is exceedingly commended; yet is there a “notwithstanding” in both in reference to this. If it be asked: What can be the reason that honest, tender, and zealous men should be so often defective in this, who yet may be zealous and fervent against scandalous practices? Answer. These reasons may be given.… Read More When Godly Ministers Lack Righteous Judgment