Read this discussion on the Puritan Board:
Robert Traill (The Throne of Grace), Works 1:192-193:
We commonly value most that growth in grace that hath fair blossoms and fruit, appearing to our comfort, and to the Lord’s praise before others. And it is indeed desirable, and to be studied, Matt. 5:16; John 15:8. But there is a growth that may be carried on in the root only, in the rooting grace of a Christian: as in clearer discoveries of indwelling sin in the heart, and in more self-diffidence and self-distrust. Paul had this fruit, 2 Cor. 1:8, 9. It is a sad thing, that many Christians are so fond of themselves, of the good that is in them, that the Lord seeth that nothing is so fit to cure them of this, as leaving them to themselves. And when this leaving of them to themselves hath brought them to a discovery of themselves, and that discovery hath wrought a distrust of themselves, and that distrust hath taught them faith in God; then the Lord hath reached his end on them, and will change his way with them.
Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/the-rooting-grace-of-a-christian.90973/, Comment 1
Hugh Binning, Works, pp. 327-328:
What should we do then, since sin is always lodging in our mortal bodies, during this time of necessary abode beside an ill neighbour? What should be our exercise? Even this, – confess your sins; confess, I say, as long as you have them, draw out this the length of that. Be continually groaning to him under that body of death, and mourning under your daily infirmities and failings. That stream of corruption runs continually, – let the stream of your contrition and confession run as incessantly; and there is another stream of Christ’s blood, that runs constantly too, to cleanse you. Now, herein is the discovery of the vanity and deceitfulness of many of your confessions, public and private: the current of them soon dries up; there is no perpetuity or constancy in them, no daily humbling or abasing yourselves; but all that is, is by fits and starts upon some transient convictions or outward censures and rebukes; and thus men quickly cover and bury their sins in oblivion and security, and forget what manner of persons they were.
Hugh Binning, Works, p. 318:
Among believers in Christ there is much difference in self-judging; extreme contrarieties, both between diverse persons, and in one and the same at diverse times. You know that some are kept in the open view of their own sins and infirmities, and while they aim at holiness, they are wholly disabled to that worthy endeavour by their discouragements arising from the apprehension of their own weakness and infinite short-coming. Now to elevate and strengthen such spirits, that word was seasonably cast in, “and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin:” for it properly belongs to the comfort of such fainting souls; and it is all one as if he had said, up and be doing, and the blood of Christ shall cleanse your evil doings. He goeth not about to persuade them to have better thoughts of themselves, or lower apprehensions of their sins, but only to have higher and more suitable thoughts of Christ, and the virtue of his blood; and this is the only cure, – not to abate from that low esteem of ourselves, but to add to the esteem and grow in the lively apprehension of Christ. I would not counsel you to think yourselves better, but to think better of him, that all your confidence may arise from him.
James Smith, 1856
Every man has the power of choosing for himself, and he exercises that power, either to his destruction or salvation. If left to himself — his choice ruins him; if swayed by the grace of God — that grace saves him. Man’s nature and disposition may be known by his choice. How do men in general choose? Look at four points.
First, their course. The man that chooses his own course, chooses a course of sin.
He lies, because he chooses.
He swears, because he chooses.
He gets drunk, because he chooses.
He steals, because he chooses.
He commits fornication or adultery, because he chooses.
He despises the Gospel, because he chooses.
The course he chooses is a sinful course, just the opposite of the course pointed out by God’s holy and righteous law. Hence the Lord says, “They have chosen their own ways.” If man deliberately chooses to disobey God, to break his holy law, and live daily insulting him to his face — can he complain if God punishes him for his guilty, daring, inexcusable conduct? Especially when he is warned of his danger, exhorted to desist, invited to turn to the Lord, and promised a free pardon of all sin upon doing so! Can it be unjust in God to punish such sinners? If they were reasonable — would they not expect to be punished?
Secondly, their companions. Sinners love sinners, therefore if a man choose his own companions — he will choose sinful companions. He will not choose the prayerful, the holy, the self-denying ones. The mirthful chooses mirthful companions. The wicked chooses wicked companions. Just look into the alehouse, into the brothel, or into the theater — who are there? Companions. How did they come there? It was their own choice. Why did they choose to go there? Because they were wickedly inclined, and had “pleasure in unrighteousness.”
So, if wechoose sinners, ungodly people, for our companions now — can we expect that God will put us among his children, or give us a place in Heaven with the saints when we die? If we enjoy the company of the wicked or the carnal on earth — could we enjoy the company of the holy, the spiritual, in Heaven? It is impossible! If, therefore, we choose the company of lost sinners now — we must expect to be associated with lost sinners forever. If we choose their pleasures now — we ought to expect to suffer their punishment in eternity.
Thirdly, their object of trust. We must have an object of trust — or someone or something in which to confide. Now, the Lord proposed himself to be that object — but man chooses anyone or anything before the Lord! Does he want to trust in someone for safety? He will trust anyone — even a dog, or a stone wall, before he will trust the Lord. Does he want something on which to trust for eternal life, or on which to build his hopes of Heaven? He will trust his own tears, or prayers, or sufferings, or works; yes he would sooner trust in his very sins, than trust in the precious blood and glorious righteousness of the Lord Jesus. The very spirit of Popery is, refusing to trust in Christ alone for acceptance with God. The essence of Puseyism is, refusing to rely on the atonement of Christ alone for everlasting life. This is the stone that is set at nothing of all Popish, Puseyite, Socinian, and a thousand other builders. Yet God proposes the work of Christ alone, and the person of Christ alone — to be the object of our trust and confidence. If men refuse to trust in Jesus only, as God bids them, and prefer trusting in some spider’s web, or building upon some sandy foundation — can they complain if God “rejects their confidences,” and allows them to reap the due desert of their folly?
Fourthly, their end. There is an end that is divinely glorious — it is everlasting life; and there is an end which is unutterably dreadful — it is everlasting destruction away from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power.
Now, he who chooses to walk in the way — may be said to choose the end to which it leads; especially if he does so after he is warned, and the result of his course is kindly and clearly pointed out. Now, strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads unto life, and few there are who find it. But because wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction — many there are who go in thereat. Yet to all who read the New Testament, Jesus says, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads unto life, and few there are who find it.” The same admonition is uttered from the pulpit, repeated in this book, and presented to the eye and ear of sinners in a thousand forms.
Now, if under such circumstances men choose the broad road, persevere in the broad road, and refuse to be either driven or drawn from it — are they not also choosing the end to which the broad road leads? And if they choose death in the error of their ways — can they complain if they find themselves at last in everlasting burnings? The fate of the sinner is both reasonable and just, it is but the wages of his sin!
Fountain in Siena (Italy) by I, Ciliegio
Robert Traill (Stedfast Adherence to the Profession of our Faith), Works 3:223:
“I am a vile sinful creature.” What then? We are called to come to a fountain that is opened for sin and for uncleanness, if I may so speak. Come in filthy, and go out clean: Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool, Isa. 1:18. What reason has God to argue thus with poor sinners? That he should reason thus with unreasonable sinners? That he should freely offer his pardoning mercy to those that are altogether undeserving of it? As if God should say, I know all that you can speak must only be from your sins; I know them better than you do. Come, hearken to me; take my counsel. Your sins shall be no hindrance; they shall be removed quickly.
Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/come-in-filthy-and-go-out-clean.92270/, Comment 1