Tag Archives: Conversion

“The conversion of Luke Short” by Michael Boland

“Even a brief glance at Flavel’s history gives some indication of his outstanding character. Of his influence, Wood, the Royalist historian, observes that he had more disciples than either John Owen or Richard Baxter.

One who was intimately acquainted with him, John Galpine of Totnes, draws attention in his memoir of Flavel to three characteristics: his diligence, his longing for the conversion of souls, and his peaceable and healing spirit.

In addition to the incidents recorded in his own writings, there are some remarkable examples of the effects of Flavel’s ministry. Luke Short was a farmer in New England who attained his hundredth year in exceptional vigour though without having sought peace with God.

One day as he sat in his fields reflecting upon his long life, he recalled a sermon he had heard in Dartmouth as a boy before he sailed to America.

The horror of dying under the curse of God was impressed upon him as he meditated on the words he had heard so long ago and he was converted to Christ– eighty-five years after hearing John Flavel preach.”

–Michael Boland, “Introduction” in John Flavel, The Mystery of Providence (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1678/2002), 11.

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“God alone opens the heart” by Richard Sibbes

“As our hearts are shut and closed up naturally, so God, and God alone, opens the heart, by His Spirit in the use of the means. God opened Lydia’s heart.

God hath many keys. He hath the key of heaven to command the rain to come down. He hath the key of the womb; the key of hell and the grave; and the key of the heart especially. ‘He opens, and no man shuts; and shuts and no man opens,’ Rev. 3:7.

He hath the key of the heart to open the understanding, the memory, the will, and affections. God, and God only, hath the key of the heart to open that. It is His prerogative.

He made the heart, and He only hath to do with the heart. He can unmake it, and make it new again, as those that make locks can do. And if the heart be in ill temper, He can take it in pieces, and bring it to nothing as it were, as it must be before conversion.

And He can make it a new heart again. It is God that opens the heart, and God only. All the angels in heaven cannot give one grace, not the least grace. Grace comes altogether from God. It is altogether from God.

All the creatures in the world cannot open the heart, but God only by His Holy Spirit. For nature cannot do above its sphere, as we say, above its own power. Natural things can do but natural things.

For nature to raise itself up to believe heavenly things, it cannot be. Therefore as you see vapours go as high as the sun draws them up, and no higher, so the soul of man is lift up to heavenly things by the power of God’s Spirit.

God draws us and then we follow. God, I say, only openeth the heart.”

–Richard Sibbes, “Lydia’s Conversion,” in The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, Volume 6, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; W. Robertson, 1863), 524.

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“The food of faith” by Herman Bavinck

“The new life in Christ, just like all natural life, must be nourished and strengthened. This is possible only in communion with Christ in the Holy Spirit and through the word of Scripture. Enlightened by the Spirit, believers gain a new knowledge of faith.

The gospel is the food of faith and must be known to be nourishment. Salvation that is not known and enjoyed is no salvation. God saves by causing Himself to be known and enjoyed in Christ.

Biblically speaking, faith is trust-filled surrender to God and His word of promise. In the New Testament, this trust involves acceptance of the apostolic witness concerning Christ and personal trust in Christ as Savior and risen, exalted Lord.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 4: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation. Ed. John Bolt and Trans. John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 96.

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“You pierced my heart” by Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430)

“With Your word You pierced my heart, and I loved You.”

–Augustine of Hippo, St. Augustine Confessions, Trans. Henry Chadwick (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), X.vi.8, p. 183.

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“Late have I loved You” by Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430)

“Late have I loved You, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved You. And see, You were within and I was in the external world and sought You there, and in my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely created things which You made. You were with me, and I was not with You.

The lovely things kept me far from You, though if they did not have their existence in You, they had no existence at all. You called and cried out loud and shattered my deafness. You were radiant and resplendent, You put to flight my blindness.

You were fragrant, and I drew in my breath and now pant after You. I tasted You, and I feel but hunger and thirst for You. You touched me, and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is Yours.”

–Augustine of Hippo, St. Augustine Confessions, Trans. Henry Chadwick (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), X.xxvii.38, p. 201.

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“The power that is in the Gospel” by Charles Spurgeon

“The Gospel is preached in the ears of all—it only comes with power to some. The power that is in the Gospel does not lie in the eloquence of the preacher, otherwise men would be the converters of souls. Nor does it lie in the preacher’s learning, otherwise it would consist in the wisdom of man.

The power which converts souls does not even lie in the preacher’s simplicity or adaptation to his work—that is a secondary agency, but not the cause. Again, the power which converts souls does not even lie in the pathos which the speaker may employ.

Men may weep to the tragic muse in a theater as well as to prophetic strains in a chapel! Their creature passions may be impressed through the acting on the stage as well as by the utterance of God’s own servants! No, there is something more than this needed and where it is absent, all preaching is nothing!

We might preach till our tongues rotted, till we should exhaust our lungs and die, but never a soul would be converted unless there were the mysterious power of the Holy Spirit going with it, changing the will of man! O Sirs! We might as well preach to stone walls as preach to humanity unless the Holy Spirit is with the Word to give it power to convert the soul!

We are reminded of Mr. Rowland Hill, who once met a man in the street at night, not quite drunk, but almost so. The man said, ‘Mr. Hill, I am one of your converts.’ ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘I dare say you are one of mine—but if you were one of God’s, you would not be in the state in which you now are.’

Our converts are worth nothing. If they are converted by man they can be unconverted by man! If some charm or power of one preacher can bring them to Christ, some charm or power of another preacher can take them from Christ. True conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit and of the Holy Spirit alone.”

–Charles Spurgeon, “Election: Its Defenses and Evidences,” as cited on http://www.biblebb.com/files/spurgeon/2920.htm (accessed June 10, 2012).

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