O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): I know this, that when God the Holy Ghost gives a man a view of himself, he is utterly loathsome in his own esteem.
THOMAS ADAM (1701-1784): Did the sight of your own deformity never make you start?
JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688): I was more loathsome in my own eyes than was a toad; and I thought I was so in God’s eyes, too; sin and corruption did as naturally bubble out of my heart, as water would bubble out of a fountain. I thought now that every one had a better heart than I had; I could have changed heart with anybody; I thought none but the devil himself could equalize me for inward wickedness and pollution of mind. I fell, therefore, at the sight of my own vileness, deeply into despair; for I concluded that that this condition that I was in could not stand with a state of grace. Sure, thought I, I am forsaken of God; sure I am given up to the devil, and to a reprobate mind; and thus I continued a long while, even for some years together.
RALPH ERSKINE (1685-1752): One of the first works which the Word and Spirit works in men, is to give them light to go down into the dark cellar of their hearts, and make discoveries: we are proud because we do not know ourselves; he that knoweth himself, loathes himself.
GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): The best of men see themselves in the worst light.
JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): There are some who think they have more faith because they feel no corruptions stir in them; and there are others who think they have no faith at all because they feel corruption struggling more and growing more troublesome to them. But the stirring and struggling of corruption―if men are indeed burdened and affected and afflicted with it―will rather prove their having faith than their wanting of it. Love that faith well which puts and keeps men contending in the fight with the body of death; for though it is not good in itself that corruption stirs, yet sin is of that sinful nature, that it flies always more in the face of them that look to God and heavenwards, than of others who are sleeping securely under its dominion.
R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): The first sign of spiritual life in the soul is generally the cry of distress from the sight of that which never gave trouble before—the pollution of sin. The mere natural man may dread the punishment of sin, but its uncleanness he cannot feel, he cannot discern.
THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): Sin is a pollution. The apostle calls it “filthiness,” James 1:21.
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): One of the principle things which distinguishes a regenerate person from an unregenerate one may be likened unto two rooms which have been swept but not dusted. In one, the blinds are raised and the sunlight streams in, exposing the dust still lying on the furniture. In the other, the blinds are lowered, and one walking through the room would be unable to discern its real condition. Thus it is in the case of one who has been renewed by the Spirit: his eyes have been opened to see the awful filth which lurks in every corner of his heart.
JAMES DURHAM: I dare say that though there is not so much corruption in a believer as there is in a natural man, yet it struggles much more and is more painful and disquieting to the believer, and breeds him a great deal more trouble. For, said the apostle on the matter, when God graciously poured light and life in me, sin took that occasion to grow angry and to be enraged that such a neighbour was brought in beside it. It could not endure that; and as an unruly and currish dog barks most bitterly when an honest guest comes to the house, so when grace takes place in the soul, corruption barks and makes more noise than it did before, Romans 7.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): I am glad that you complain of evil thoughts and temptations; for, though these things are not joyous, but grievous, they always accompany a saving work of grace; and if you were wholly unacquainted with them, you would have reason to suspect you were not in the right way.
If the Lord had not taught you, though your thoughts would have been as evil as they are now, you would not have been sensible of them, nor concerned about them. This is a token for good. By nature your thoughts would have been only evil, and that continually. But you find something within you that makes you dislike these thoughts; makes you ashamed of them; makes you strive and pray against them…Now, this something that resists your evil thoughts, what can it be? It cannot be nature; for we naturally have vain imaginations. It is the grace. The Lord has made you sensible of your disease, that you might love and prize the great Physician. The knowledge of His love for you shall make you hate these thoughts, and faith in His blood shall deliver you from the guilt of them; yet you will be pestered with them more or less, while you live in this world.
C. H. SPURGEON: There is light in Christ’s name for a troubled sinner. What is it?
JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Jesus; a name [which] may be interpreted “Saviour,” for the Hebrew word ישוע―Jesus―comes from ישע which signifies “to save.” And to this agrees the reason of the name given by the angel, Matthew 1:21―“thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save His people from their sins.”
C. H. SPURGEON: My sins trouble me, but He shall save His people from their sins―If a man is called a builder, we expect him to build; if a merchant, we expect him to trade; and as Jesus is a Saviour, He will carry on his sacred business, He will save multitudes. Why, surely there is a comfortable hope here.
R. C. CHAPMAN: Let us not be discouraged by any humiliating discoveries we may make of the evils of our hearts. God knows them all, and has provided the blood of Jesus Christ His Son to cleanse us from all sin. God regards our sins with the heart of a father, but not with the eye of a judge; for His sin-avenging justice has no further demands: the cross made satisfaction.
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): The best of men are only men at their very best. Patriarchs, prophets, apostles—martyrs, fathers, reformers, puritans—all, all sinners who need a Saviour: holy, useful, honourable in their place—but sinners after all.