A short entry this day, with the hope that you would reflect on this through the day, and take it to heart. We find in the diary of the Rev. Jacob Jones Janeway on this day, September 8, 1808, the following entry, well worth pondering :
“This day, agreeably to the recommendation of the General Assembly, has been observed as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, by the churches under their care. The reason of the recommendation was the aspect of our national affairs. Alas, that so few attend public worship! But God will hear, I hope, the prayers of the pious few. In other churches, perhaps the day was more generally observed. The Lord lend a listening ear, and in mercy spare our guilty land. My devotions in private were comfortable. I had liberty to mourn with grief over the sins of my country, this city, my family, my own, and to ask forgiveness. I concluded the whole by renewing my covenant. The Lord accept of my devotions, and pardon the sins of my holy things.”
Words to Live By:
In his sermon on Psalm 119:136, Thomas Manton concludes this doctrine from the text, “That it is the duty and property of a godly man to mourn bitterly, even for other men’s sins.” I dare say the times now demand such prayer. More than ever, this old doctrine of the Scripture must be revived and returned to practice. It is a duty resting upon all Christians, Manton says. God calls His people to grieve over the sins of those around them. Our prayers must be so focused and intentional.
There is more here than can be unfolded in short order, so with your indulgence, I present you with a reading list. You may have some of these works in your own library. If not, many are readily available on the Internet with a little searching. All are well worth your time to read, though the sermons by Thomas Manton are among the clearest in pressing home this vital doctrine.
Adams, Thomas, on the text of 2 Peter 2:7-10 in his commentary on 2 Peter.
Baynes, “A Caveat for Cold Christians,” in Naphtali Press Anthology, vol. 4, pp. 199-206. [text: Rev. 2:4-5]
Bridge, William, “Comfort to Mourners for the Loss of Solemn Assemblies,” Sermon 7 of “Seasonable Truths in Evil Times,” Works, 3. 407-426.
Bunyan, John, The Excellency of a Broken Heart, esp. pp. 42-43, 76.
Burroughs, Jeremiah, Gospel Fear (SDG, 1992), pp. 75-166, on 2 Kings 22:19.
Burroughs, Jeremiah, Sermons VI-XI, The Saints Happiness. Ligonier, PA: SDG, 1992, pp. 36-74.
Henry, Matthew, see his comments on Jer. 13:17; Ezek. 9:4; and 2 Peter 2:7-8.
Howe, John, “The Redeemer’s Tears Wept Over Lost Souls,” in Works, pp. 316-389.
Jenkin, William, “How Ought We to Bewail the Sins of the Places Where We Live?,” in The Morning Exercises at Cripplegate [aka Puritan Sermons], vol. 3, pp. 110-128.
Kitchen, John, “How Must We Reprove, That We May Not Partake of Other Men’s Sins?,” in The Morning Exercises at Cripplegate [aka Puritan Sermons], vol. 1, pp. 121-142.
Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn, “Blessed Are They That Mourn,” in Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, vol. 1, pp. 53-62.
Manton, Thomas, on 2 Peter 2:8, Works, pp. 183-184 and 423-426.
*Manton, Thomas, on Psalm 119:137, Vol. 3 of the 1990 Banner of Truth reprint set, pp. 139-154.
McCrie, Thomas, “Sermon on Psalm 119:136: Grief for the Sins of Men” in Naphtali Press Anthology, 2.2: 42-47.
Roberts, Maurice, “The Remembrance of Old Sins,” in The Banner of Truth, October 1994, pp. 1-5.
Sibbes, Richard, “The Art of Mourning,” in Josiah’s Reformation, Works, vol. 6, pp. 59-75.
____________ , “Spiritual Mourning, Works, vol. 6, pp. 265-292.
Spurgeon, Charles H., Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 51, pp. 485b-486.
Watson, Thomas, The Godly Man’s Picture (Banner of Truth, 1992), pp. 55-60; 77-96; etc.
Welsh, John, Sermons on Repentance, in Naphtali Press Anthology, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 33-49 and 1.4, pp. 42-55.
Williams, Daniel, “What Repentance of National Sins Doth God Require, as ever we expect National Mercies?” in The Morning Exercises at Cripplegate [aka Puritan Sermons], vol. 4, pp. 585-616.