Edification

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
~ 1 Thessalonians 4:18

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
~ Hebrews 3:13

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
~ Hebrews 10:25

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
~ Romans 14:19

Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
~ Romans 15:2

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
~ Ephesians 4:12

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
~ Ephesians 4:16

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
~ Ephesians 4:29

But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
~ Jude 1:20

Cottage Lectures, Or, The Pilgrim’s Progress Practically Explained, by Charles Overton. The following contains an excerpt from Lecture Twenty-Four, focusing on John Bunyan’s work.

LECTURE XXIV.

THE FLATTERER, ATHEIST, AND HOPEFUL’S EXPERIENCE.

Increase my faith, increase my hope,

When foes and fears prevail;
And bear my fainting spirit up,

Or soon my strength will fail.
Whene’er temptations fright my heart,

Or lure my feet aside,
My God, thy powerful aid impart,

My guardian and my guide.
Oh keep me in thy heavenly way,

And bid the tempter flee;
And let me never, never stray,

From happiness and thee.

1 Thess. v. 11.
Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

III. We come next to the edifying conversation of Christian and Hopeful over the Enchanted Ground. As they journeyed onward, they came into a country where the air naturally tended to drowsiness. This was the Enchanted Ground. Here the eyes of Hopeful became so heavy that he could scarcely keep them open, and he proposed to his brother that they should take a little rest.

But now Christian acted the part of a faithful friend. He reminded Hopeful how the watchful shepherd had warned them to beware of sleeping in the Enchanted Ground; and by way of keeping off drowsiness, he proposed that they should enter into some profitable discourse. Hopeful acknowledged the faithfulness and the wisdom of his companion’s rebuke, and agreed to his proposal with all his heart. Then did Christian begin with a deeply interesting question, and asked his fellow “ how he came at first to look after the good of his soul.” Hopeful answered, that he continued a great while delighted with those things which were sold in Vanity Fair, and enumerated the sins and follies to which he had been addicted. But at length, from what he heard from Christian and Faithful, he began to think that the end of these things is death, and that they exposed him to the wrath of God. He owned, however, in reply to another question of Christian, that he had struggled hard against conviction. He was unwilling to know all his guilt and danger, and shut his eyes to the light. A variety of causes united to make him act in such a manner. He knew not at first that these awakening fears were produced by the Holy Spirit. He was loth to part with sin. He could not break with ungodly companions. The pangs of conviction were so painful that he would gladly escape then by any means. For these reasons, had sought a little relief wherever he could, but again and again his distress had returned upon him. When Christian inquired what it was especially that had brought his sins again to mind, very affecting was the reply: The sight of a good man in the street, the feeling of bodily pain, the sound of the tolling bell, hearing of a sudden death, or the thought of dying and coming to judgment himself, any one of these was sufficient to give him the alarm, and recall his distress. Upon these occasions he had great difficulty in removing the uneasiness that weighed upon his conscience. He thought that he must mend his life, or else perish for ever. 6. And did he endeavour to amend ?” Yes, truly. He fled from his sin and sinful company, and betook to religious duties, and for a while began to think well of himself. But all would not do; iniquities still prevailed against him, and trouble and distress increased upon him.

Christian asked, How was this, since his life was now reformed ? To this he replied, as every deeply experienced person must reply. The solemn passages of Scripture, which declare the sinfulness and worthlessness of all we do, sank deep into his heart. Thus he argued : If a man runs a hundred pounds into debt, and after that shall pay for every thing that he gets, while the old debt is uncrossed shall pay the debt. Thus he considered, that by his sins he had run a great way into the book of God, and that his present amendment could make no satisfaction for sins that are passed. In addition to this, with his increasing light, he began to discover the iniquity that defiled his best performances, so that he was obliged to conclude, that, without any reference to his well-remembered sins, there was enough sin in any one duty to send him to hell, even though his former life had been faultless.

6 And what did he do then?” In this dilemma he broke his mind to Faithful, who told him plainly that unless he was saved by the righteousness of another, and not by his own, he could never be saved at all. Had this been told him before he had been convinced of sin, he would have laughed at it; and though now, at the first, it sounded strangely to him, he was soon convinced that such a righteousness must be found for him, or else he must perish. He was directed where such a righteousness was to be found, and shown how it was made available for the sinner’s justification. He was assured that the atoning blood and perfect obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ alone could meet his necessities; and that if only he would believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, he should be saved, all his sins should be freely forgiven, and he would then have a perfect righteousness, even the righteousness of Christ, in which to stand before God.

Hopeful had many scruples and many objections before he could avail himself of this wonderful and glorious plan of salvation. But he had a wise adviser in Faithful, who well replied to his objections…

…promises and the gracious invitations of the gospel, and earnestly besought him to apply to Christ in heartfelt prayer, and to cast himself unreservedly upon what he had done for the salvation of sinners.

Christian next inquired, “ And did you do as you were bidden ?” Hopeful replied, “ Yes, over, and over, and over.” Christ was not revealed to him in his saving office and character upon the first application. No; he had very repeatedly to ply the throne of grace before any light or comfort broke in – upon him; and very often had he serious thoughts of desisting, and giving up in despair. But a deep persuasion, that nothing but an interest in the righteousness of Christ could save him, convinced him that to leave off was to die, and that he could but die at the throne of grace. In addition to this, a, secret hope would now and then spring up in his mind, that though the fulfilment of the promise might tarry long, in due time it would come, if he continued to wait for it. And he was not disappointed.

Christian then asked, how at length Christ was revealed to him. And deeply affecting, as well as very scriptural, was the reply of Hopeful. It was by no voice or vision, but by the opening of the eyes of his understanding, and the apprehension of Christ by faith, that Hopeful at length found peace and rest to his soul. One day, as he was very sad, and the remembrance of his sins sat heavily upon him, and he was looking for eternal damnation, he thought of the glorious Redeemer saying to him, “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. When he objected the greatness of his sin, the cheering assurance was he asked what it was to believe, he was made to understand that COMING AND BELIEVING ONE ; AND THAT WHOEVER RAN OUT IN HIS, HEART AND AFFECTION TO CHRIST, AND RESTED ON HIM FOR SALVATION, DID REALLY BELIEVE ON HIM. Then did the water stand in his eyes, and he asked again, if indeed such a wretched sinner as himself would be accepted. The gracious reply was given, “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out;” and he was taught how to regard the Lord Jesus Christ, that he might rightly believe in him. He saw that he must look for righteousness in his person, and satisfaction for his sins in his blood; that what Christ did and suffered in our nature was not for himself, but for him that will accept it for his salvation, and be thankful. This was sufficient for Hopeful. He set to his seal that God was true. And now was his heart full of joy, his eyes full of tears, and his affections running over with love to the name, and people, and ways of Jesus Christ.

Christian acknowledged (and what Christian can do less ?) that this indeed was a revelation of Christ to the soul. And only once more did he ask his comrade what effect this revelation of Christ had upon him. Hopeful replied, ” It made me see that all the world, with all the righteousness of it, is in a state of condemnation ; it made me see that God the Father, though he be just, can justly justify the coming sinner; it made me greatly ashamed of the vileness of my former life, and confounded me with the sense of my own ignorance. Never before had I such a view of the beauty of Jesus Christ; it made me love a holy life, and long to do something for the honour and glory of the Lord Jesus; yea, I in my body, I could spill it all for the sake of the Lord Jesus.’

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