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TaylorOtwell
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Joined: 2006/6/19
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 Re:

Quote:
Make it so that you know how to be pleasant and cheerful without transgressing even the strictest rules of modesty



I find this difficult. Have you brothers had any progress in this? I find that when I am striving to walk in godliness and purity, I often can come across morose or sad, and I don't want this to be the case. I want to have a cheerful holiness.

Advice or counsel?

Grace to you,
Taylor


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Taylor Otwell

 2008/12/3 13:28Profile
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 Re: "Sober-Mindedness Pressed Upon Youth" Matthew Henry sermon modernized and in installments

I don't know brother Taylor. I have a tendency to be "serious" all the time, though it is not my intention. I am simply not interested in the gaity of the world. If you want to see me excited then let us speak of Jesus and our Heavenly Father and the blessed Holy Spirit. I don't know how many people get excited to speak of the wrath of God :-P not in a morbid or sadistic sense but in magnifying the glory and holiness and goodness of God.

So, I would say, when I am not preaching to people in earnestness and sincerity of heart for their salvation, I am cheerful. Not always with a smile but with peace of heart and mind. In part it is indeed my personality to be introverted but I am always open to speak of Christ. And without a doubt I probably come across as very morose and sad when people only wish to speak of carnal things. Sometimes it simply cannot be helped but I also, as you, try to keep this very thing in mind.

And to be honest, it is probably best that we should be morose and sad when others are so fixated to speak of carnal things. I have no pleasure in the hearing of it and I don't want to encourage them to continue in it (at the very least not to continue with me).


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Jordan

 2008/12/3 15:07Profile
PaulWest
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Joined: 2006/6/28
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 Re:

Quote:
I find this difficult. Have you brothers had any progress in this? I find that when I am striving to walk in godliness and purity, I often can come across morose or sad, and I don't want this to be the case.


This is a very legit concern. When I stive to live for Christ, I too only end up falling flat on my face and losing my temper. I think the secret here is to not try to be modest, but to instead let modesty happen to us by absorbing ourselves in the Word of God and by beginning each day with a time of quietude and prayer for God's grace. When we do this, miracles begin to happen.

It is when I am not trying to be holy, but just living ordinary life continuously trusting that Christ is my sanctifier, that God will open doors and people will come to me and confide their problems and express observations that totally befuddle me (because I know what I am without God's grace and Christ's blood). The unsaved are very observant; they look at true believers through the microscope, but if one is walking in the sanctifying grace through the power of God by faith, they will soon see someone whom you may not even be conscious you are magnifying: namely, Jesus Christ.

So learn now that emotions are often beguiling; the fact that you [i]feel[/i] miserable on the inside while trying to live for God doesn't necessarily carry over to the perceptions of others. If you've been with Christ, people will take notice...even if they won't make a mention of it. But if we try to [i]force[/i] a holy lifestyle with the hopes that the outer show will impact others, it will go sour fast. God will not endorse it, and the first slip of immodesty will clang loudly like a hypocritical gong.


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Paul Frederick West

 2008/12/3 15:16Profile
TaylorOtwell
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 Re:

Thanks for the insight, brothers.


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Taylor Otwell

 2008/12/3 18:15Profile
PaulWest
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 Re: (7)

[b](7) You must be steady and composed, and not giddy and unsettled.[/b] In contrast to a roving and wandering heart, and a heart divided, this we commonly take to be signified by a mind that acts and moves steadily and is one with itself. Be therefore sober-minded, and let your hearts be fixed.

Stablish them, and be not like Reuben who was "unstable as water", for those who are so will never excell. Fix now serious godliness in your youth; fix heaven as your end and holiness as your way. Halt no longer, hover no longer between the two, but be at a point. You have been bid to chose whom you will serve; stand no longer deliberating, but bring this matter finally at length to the issue you will abide by, and abide by it. Fix to whatever you were designed for in this world. Whatever it is that you are employed in, let your application to it be close and constant, and do not divert from it upon every slight and trivial pretense.

Learn to fix your thoughts, and be not wandering; let them not run from one thing to another, as a bird in flight - for thus thy thoughts run at length with fool's eyes to the ends of the earth. What thy hand finds to do and heart finds to think - which is to God's purpose - do it and think it with all your might and pursue it till thou bring it to an issue. Learn to fix your goals and act with a single eye, for the double-minded man - who is far from being sober-minded - cannot but be unstable in all his ways, and turns himself as the wind, and "he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea" (James 1:6,8).

Act consistently with yourselves; understand your own ways. Do not have your ear open to every whisper and suggestion that would turn you from it. Be no more children tossed to and fro with every bait (Eph. 4:14), but in understanding be ye men, be ye fixed, let your foot stand in an even place, and let your hearts be stablished. Be not moved - and be not removed.


*** section (8) coming soon


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Paul Frederick West

 2008/12/8 21:46Profile
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 Re: sober-mindedness

Brother West,

If I may ask, I have been waiting for the completion of the Sober-mindedness series and was wondering when it might be fully posted. I realize you are likely a busy man but I just wanted to let you know that your labor in this are not unnoticed. And I wanted to thank you for the 7 that are currently available.


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Jordan

 2009/1/20 15:49Profile
PaulWest
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 Re:

Quote:
And I wanted to thank you for the 7 that are currently available.



:-)

God bless you, dear brother. I have been busy, you are right, but never too busy to post edifying material. Especially if it involves anything by Henry. Thanks for the saintly push; I needed it.

Give me a few days. I'll complete the next segment.

Brother Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2009/1/20 16:05Profile
TaylorOtwell
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 Re:

[b]8. You must be content and easy, and not ambitious and aspiring.[/b] Some make the word to signify, [i]animi demissio[/i] — the bringing of the mind down to the condition, when the condition will not in every thing be brought up to the mind. A sober mind is that which accommodates itself to every estate of life, and every event of Providence, so that whatever changes happen, it preserves the possession and enjoyment of itself.

You who are young must learn to reconcile yourselves to your current situation, and make the best of it, because it is the will of God it should be as it is, and what pleases him should please us; for he knows what is fit to be done, and fit for us to have, better than we do. Let this challenge all troubling and discontented thoughts. Should it be according to your mind? Shall you who are but of yesterday control him, argue with him, or prescribe to him, whose counsels were of old from everlasting? It is folly to direct the divine disposals, but wisdom to delight in them.

He who determines the times before appointed, and the bounds of men's habitation, ordered what our rank and station should be in the world, what parents we should be born of, what lot we should be born to, and what our make and capacity of mind and body should be; and in these respects there is a great variety ordained by Providence between some and others, who yet are made of one blood ; some are born to wealth and honor, others to poverty and obscurity. Some seem made and marked by nature (that is, the God of nature) to be great and esteemed, while others seem doomed to be all their days little and low ; you see many above you, who make a name for themselves in the world, and are likely to do so yet more, while you are of little importance ; yet do not envy them, nor fret at the place God's providence has put you in, but make yourselves easy in it, and make the best of it, as those who are satisfied — not only in general, that all is well that God does ; but in particular, all is well that he does with you.

Possess your minds while you are young with a reverence for the divine Providence, its sovereignty, wisdom, and goodness ; and bring your minds unto a cheerful submission of yourselves to all its determinations ; Here I am, let the Lord do with me, and all my affairs, as seems good in his sight. This would have a mighty influence upon the conduct of your affairs, and the evenness of your spirits, all your days. Whatever earthly things are taken from you, or you lose the enjoyment of, resolve to be easy, not because you cannot help it, " This is an evil, and I must bear it," that is but a poor reason ; but because it is the will of God, whose will is his wisdom, " This is an evil, but it is designed for my good, and I will bear it"

Lay your expectations low from this world, and promise not yourselves great wealth or esteem in it. It is God's command,(Rom. xii. 16.) Do not covet the riches of this world, do not set your eyes and hearts upon them, as if they were the best things, and as if they would make you happy, and you could not be happy without them; but condescend to them of low estate, and take as much pleasure in conversation with them, as if they were company for princes and peers; or, as the margin reads it, Be content with modest things, with a modest habitation, modest diet, modest clothes, modest employments, if such be your lot, and instead of blaming it, bless God for it, that it is not worse, and believe that it is best for you.

Not that I would have young people mean-spirited, or cramped in their aims and endeavors; whatever your business is, strive to be excellent and eminent in it; whatever your livelihood is, be diligent, that by the blessing of God upon it, it may, like Job's, be increased in the land. A good man leaves an inheritance, honestly got, to his children's children. But I would not have you ambitious of great things; do not covet to add cubits to your stature; let it suffice to thrive by inches, with the increases of the sober-minded; who do not make haste to be rich, for " Soft and fair goes far."

We commonly say of you who are young, that you are upon your preferment; shall I persuade you to reckon it your best preferment to be eminently pious, and serviceable to the glory of God, and the interests of his kingdom in the world? That is the way to have the best reputation among men, which wise men reckon no despicable preferment, for a good name is better than precious ointment. Aim at advancing yourselves, not that you may live in more pomp and ease, but that you may be in so much the better capacity to do good, and that is true preferment.

We commonly say of you who are young, that now is your time to make your fortune; it is a heathenish expression, for it is not blind fortune, but an all seeing Providence, that we are governed by ; but that is not all; it is not in your power to make your own lot; Every man's judgment proceeds from the Lord, every creature is that to you, and no more, than he makes it to be; and, therefore, you must seek his favor; and reckon your lot best made when you have the Lord to be the portion of your inheritance and your cup, and then say, The lines are fallen to you in pleasant places ; that is best for you, which is best for your souls, and in that you must soberly rest satisfied.

Jacob was setting out in the world, and going to take him a wife, when all he desired and aimed at, and, if I may so say, intended for in his marriage articles, was bread to eat, and clothing to put on, to be kept in his way, and brought finally to his father's house in peace; and why should any of the spiritual seed of Jacob look higher in this world, who knows and hopes he has eternal riches in reversion after one life ? Let young people be modest and moderate, and sober-minded, in their desires and expectations of temporal good things, as becomes those who see through them, and look above and beyond them, to the things not seen, that are eternal.

[i]Section 9 coming soon...[/i]


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Taylor Otwell

 2009/12/30 9:07Profile
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 Re: "Sober-Mindedness Pressed Upon Youth" Matthew Henry sermon modernized a

Quote:
"Dear saints, I've had a burden to make the sermons of Matthew Henry more accessible to youth and people who otherwise wouldn't read Puritan literature." -PaulWest



Thank you for sharing this, brother Paul! As a young person myself, I will benefit greatly from this. I believe I'll pass this on to some other friends as well. :)

 2009/12/30 14:15Profile
TaylorOtwell
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Posts: 927
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 Re:

[b]9. You must be grave and serious, and not frothy and vain.[/b] This meaning we commonly give to the word here used. Him that is serious we call a sober man; and I put this last, of the ingredients of this sober-mindedness, because it will have a very great influence upon all the rest; we should gain our point entirely with young people, if we could but prevail with them to be serious. It is serious piety we would bring them to, and to live in good earnest.

Not that we would oblige young people never to be merry, or have any ill-natured design upon them to make them melancholy. No, religion allows them to be cheerful; it is your time, make your best of it. Evil days will come, of which you will say you have no pleasure in them, when the cares and sorrows of this world increase upon you, and we would not have you to anticipate those evil days. It is mentioned as an instance of the promised prosperity, and flourishing state, of Jerusalem, that the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof, Zech. 8:5. No, religion prescribes cheerfulness to all those who are sincere and hearty in it; Go your way, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God now accepts your works, Eccl. 9:7. God expects to be served by us with joyfulness and gladness of heart, in the abundance of all things, Deut. 28:47.

And it is certain, that none have such good reason to be cheerful as godly people have, none can be so upon better grounds, or with a better grace; so justly or so safely. I have often said, and I must take all occasions to repeat it, that a holy, heavenly life, spent in the service of God, and in communion with him, is without doubt the most pleasant, comfortable life, that any one can live in this world.

But that which I would caution you against under this head, is vain and carnal mirth, that mirth, that laughter of the fool, of which Solomon says, [i]It is mad[/i], and [i]What doeth it[/i]? Innocent mirth is of good use in its time, and place, it will revive the spirit, and fit you for business, a merry heart does good like a medicine; but then it must be used like a medicine, must be taken physically, only when there is occasion for it, and not constantly, like our daily bread; and like medicine, it must be taken by rule; as not too often, so not too much at a time, like opiates, which are taken by drops, and with great caution. When you make use of these medicines, it must be with due correctives, and you must take great care of yourselves, lest that turn to your prejudice, and become a snare and a trap, which was intended for your health and welfare.

Allow yourselves in mirth as far as will consist with sober-mindedness, and no further; be merry and wise; never let your mirth transgress the laws of piety, charity, or modesty, nor encroach upon your time for devotion and the service of God. Wise men will always reckon him over-fond of his mirth, who will rather lose his friend than his jest; much more may he be reckoned so, who will rather lose his God and a good conscience. Never make sport with the Scripture and sacred things, but let that which is serious always be spoken of with seriousness; for it is dangerous playing with sharp tools.

Take heed lest your mirth exceed due bounds, and transport you into any indecencies; that you give not yourselves too great a liberty, and then think to excuse it by saying, Am not I in sport.' Prov. 26:19. Set a double guard at such a time before the door of your lips, lest you offend with your tongues; and especially keep your hearts with all diligence. Let the inward thought still be serious; and in the midst of your greatest mirth, retain a disposition habitually serious, and a reigning affection to spiritual and divine things; such as will make you indifferent to all vain mirth and pleasure, and set you above it, and enable you to look upon that with a holy contempt, which many spend so much of their time in with so great a complacency. A serious Christian, though, to relax himself and entertain his friends, he may allow himself a little mirth and recreation, yet he will make it to appear that he is not in his element, that he knows better pleasures, and has given them the preference. A believing foretaste of the milk and honey of Canaan, is enough to put the mouth quite out of taste with the garlic and onions of Egypt.

But while I am pressing you who are young to be always serious, habitually so, always well affected to serious work, what shall we think of those who are never serious? Who are always merry, always jesting, always bantering, so that you never know when they speak in earnest; who are always in pursuit of some sensual pleasure or other, and never know what it is to be one quarter of an hour serious, from the beginning of the year to the end of it? Certainly they forget, that for all these things God shall bring them into judgment, and they know not how soon. O that this laughter might be turned into the mourning of true penitents, and this joy into the heaviness of sincere converts, that it may not be turned, as otherwise it certainly will be, into the weeping and wailing of damned sinners! The same Jesus who said, Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted, has said also, Woe unto you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep, Luke 6:25.

Shall I now prevail with you who are young, to value wisdom above wit, and that which helps to make you serious above that which helps to make you merry; and to take as much pleasure in gravity, as others do in vanity? It will be the honor of your youth, will arm you against the temptations you are surrounded with, and will not only mark you for something considerable in this world, but for something infinitely more so in the other world. And, if you understand yourselves aright, I dare say, one hour spent in the employments and enjoyments of a sober, serious mind, will afford you more true comfort in the reflection, than many spent in mirth and gaiety, because it will certainly pass so much better in the account another day.

If you take the world for your guide, you will be bid to "laugh and be fat;" will be told that "an ounce of mirth is worth a pound of sorrow;" but if you will attend to the dictates of the word of God, (and it is fit that the word that must judge us hereafter should rule us now,) that will tell you, that sorrow is better than laughter; and that it is better to go to the house of mourning, than to the house of feasting, for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better; it is made serious.

And thus you see what it is to be sober-minded, and how much of your duty it takes in; but are you content that it should take in all this? Can you say, that though in many things you come short, yet you esteem all these precepts, and all the things contained in them, to be right, and, therefore, hate every false way? You will then be very willing to have this sober-mindedness further pressed upon you.

[i]Section II of the treatise coming soon, Lord willing[/i]


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Taylor Otwell

 2010/1/8 19:53Profile





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