Many nowadays appear to leap into peace without any convictions of sin — they do not seem to have known what the guilt of sin means; but they scramble into peace before the burden of sin has been felt. It is not for me to judge, but I must confess I have my fears of those who have never felt the terrors of the Lord, and I look upon conviction of sin as a good groundwork for a well-instructed Christian. I observe as a rule that when a man has been put in the prison of the law, and made to wear the heavy chains of conviction, and at last obtains his liberty through the precious blood, he is pretty sure to cry up the grace of God, and magnify divine mercy. He feels that in his case salvation must be of grace from first to last, and he naturally favors that system of theology which magnifies most the grace of God. Those who have not felt this, whose conversion has been of the more easy kind, produced rather by excitement than by depth of thought, seem to me to choose a flimsy divinity, in which man is more prominent, and God is less regarded.
I am sure of this one thing, that I personally desire to ascribe conversion in my own case entirely to the grace of God, and to give God the glory of it; and I dread that conversion which could in any degree deprive God of being in his everlasting decrees the cause of it, by his effectual Spirit the direct agent of it, by his continued working through the Holy Ghost the perfecter of it. Give God the praise, my brethren. You must do so, if you have thoroughly experienced what God’s anger means, and what the turning away of it means.
From a sermon entitled "A New Song For New Hearts," delivered May 1, 1870. Image by Jean-Raphaël Guillaumin under Creative Commons License.