Back Contents Next

Cause: Great Debts Cause Bankruptcy

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation to Those Who Began the Heavenly Trade But Have Backslidden

Search Out the Causes of Your Soul’s Decay and Get Them Removed

Cause: Great Debts Cause Bankruptcy}

Great debts cause bankruptcy and will throw people backwards in wisdom’s commerce. When people owe more than they are worth, do not know how to pay it, get more behind every day, then their credit goes bad. They have often promised payment, but failed, so now their word is bad also. They can get no more goods; creditors will not trust, but suspect them and threaten them. Thus, they shut up shop and go bankrupt. This is also pernicious to heavenly traders when they become unfaithful to God and people. They run up debt for mercy, but never pay or render to God again. They are deep in debt to God for divine goodness, receive one mercy after another, one blessing after another, and make no returns for any of it. God sees neither principal or interest; they remain fruitless and unthankful in spite of all of God’s blessings. They make promises to do better and improve, but still break their promises. They go to sacraments1327 and renew their covenant with God, but go away and break it again. They make promises to God under affliction that if He will deliver them this once, they will never grieve and provoke Him anymore as they formerly did. They make big promises if God will hear this or that prayer, but when their desires are fulfilled, they forget God and break all their vows again.1328 They are ready to give their word on every occasion, then forget about it. This raises the jealousy of the Lord of Hosts, and He will trust them no more (Deuteronomy 32:21).1329 God withholds His hand and parts with no more goods, but threatens to lay hold of them and throw their souls into prison. He begins to sue them in the court of conscience, press criminal charges, and seize what they do have. Then away go peace, joy, and hope, and bankruptcy ensues.

These are some of the reasons why Christians fall back in their Christian life and decay in their heavenly trade. Oh, Christian! Bring the plumb bob and scale to your heart and life and find out from which of these comes the decays of your soul. Then honestly and fully take it to heart until you are fully convinced of your evil and willing on any terms to obtain remedy.

1327A reference to either partaking of the Lord’s Supper or attending at someone’s baptism, a good opportunity to renew one’s own baptismal or church membership vows.

1328A vow, made in humility, wisdom, and a due sense of one’s spiritual frailty and dependence on God’s grace may, for some people in some conditions, be helpful. But too many people think to bribe God as though He could benefit from us unprofitable slaves.

1329They have made me jealous with what is no god; they have provoked me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are no people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation” (Deuteronomy 32:21 ESV).

Back Contents Next