Has Your Heart Been So Affected?

Nothing is more manifest in fact, than that the things of religion take hold of men’s souls, no further then they affect them.  There are multitudes that often hear the Word of God, and therein hear of those things that are infinitely great and important, and that most nearly concern them, and all that is heard seems to be wholly ineffectual upon them, and to make no alteration in their disposition or behavior; and the reason is, they are not affected with what they hear. There are many that often hear of the glorious perfections of God, his almighty power, and boundless wisdom, his infinite majesty, and that holiness of God, by which he is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity, and the heavens are not pure in his sight, and of God’s infinite goodness and mercy, and hear of the great works of God’s wisdom, power and Goodness, wherein there appear the admirable manifestations of these perfections; they hear particularly of the unspeakable love of God and Christ, and of the great things that Christ has done and suffered, and of the great things of another world, of eternal misery, in bearing the fierceness and wrath of almighty God, and of endless blessedness and glory in the presence of God, and the enjoyment of his dear love; they also hear the peremptory commands of God, and his gracious counsels and warnings, and the sweet invitation of the gospel; I say, they often hear these things, and yet remain as they were before, with no sensible alteration on them, either in heart or practice, because they are not affected. I am bold to assert, that there never was any considerable change wrought in the mind or conversation of any one person, by anything of a religious nature, the ever he read, heard or saw, that had not his affections moved.  Never was a natural man engaged earnestly to seek his salvation: never were any such brought to cry after wisdom, and lift up their voice for understanding , and to wrestle with God in prayer for mercy; and never was one humbled, and brought to the foot of God, from anything that he ever heard or imagined of his own unworthiness and deservings of God’s displeasure; nor was ever one induced to fly for refuge unto Christ, while his heart remained unaffected.  Nor was there ever a saint awakened out of a cold, lifeless frame, or recovered from a declining state in religion, and brought back from a lamentable departure from God, without having his heart affected.  And in a word, there never was anything considerable brought to pass in the heart or life of any man living, by the things of religion, that had not his heart deeply affected by those things.

Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections, 101-2.

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Filed under Church History, Conversion, False Profession, God, Sanctification, Soteriology, Sovereignty, Theology

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