Friday, February 12, 2010

The 'gist' of Chapter 2 of Personal Declension

You can get a 'feel' for chapter 2 of Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul (Winslow, Octavius. Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul. 5th ed. London: John Farquhar Shaw, 1853 ) by looking at a few lists gleaned from the pages of this chapter.

Marked characteristics of decay and declension of love:
  1. When God becomes less an object of fervent desire, holy delight, and frequent contemplation, we may suspect a declension of Divine love in the soul.
  2. Not only in the declension of Divine love in the soul, does God become lass an object of adoring contemplation and desire, but there is less filial approach to Him.
  3. Hard thoughts of God in his dispensations, may be regarded as another undeniable symptom.
  4. When there is but little inclination for communion with God, and the throne of grace is sought as a duty rather than a privilege, and, consequently, but little fellowship is experienced, a stronger evidence we need not of a declension of love in the soul.
  5. When there is a less tender walk with God, we may be at no loss to ascertain the state of our love.
  6. Need we add, when Christ is less glorious to the eye, and less precious to the heart, Divine love in the soul of a believer must be on the wane? it cannot be otherwise.
  7. A decay of love to the saints of God, is a strong evidence of a decay of love to God himself.
  8. When love to God declines, with it will decline an interest in the advancement and prosperity of his cause: the one invariably follows the other. (71-80)

Causes of declension:
  1. Worldly encroachment is a fruitful cause; no two affections can be more opposite and antagonistic than love to God and love to the world: it is impossible that they can both exist with equal force in the same bosom; the one or the other must be supreme, - they cannot occupy the same throne.
  2. An idolatrous and unsanctified attachment to the creature, has again and again crucified love to Christ in the heart. Upon the same principle that no man can love the world and God with a supreme and kindred affection, so no man can give to Christ and the creature the same intensity of regard.
  3. Again; interpreting God's covenant dealings in the light of judgments rather than the fruits of love, will tend greatly to deaden the soul's affections towards God. (81-5)

Steps to revival of waning grace in the believer:
  1. ...let the believer seek to know the exact state of his love to God. A knowledge of himself, is the first step in the return of every soul to God.
  2. Trace out and crucify the cause of your declension in love.
  3. Draw largely from the fount of love in God.
  4. Deal much and closely with a crucified Savior.
  5. Do not fail to honor the Holy Spirit in this great work of revival.
  6. Lastly: remember that though your love has waxed cold, the love of your God and Father towards you has undergone no diminishing: not the shadow of a change has it known. (87-93)

1 comment:

  1. That'll preach. Imagine the awakening you would have in churches if you told them they didn't love God or at least acted like they didn't. Good medicine. I needed to read that. Struggling with that lately I think.