Deep distress of conscience, agonising fears of the wrath to come, powerful convictions of sin, putting away of all hope or comfort which does not come direct from the LORD, doubts, fears, and slavish bondage under the curse of the law and the apprehended wrath of the Almighty—such and similar experience is now almost universally set aside as unnecessary to the new birth; and an easier path is held forth as equally safe and far more comfortable.
But, however plausible it may appear in theory, and however pleasing it may be to the flesh, especially when dressed up with eloquent language and enforced with strong appeals to the natural feelings, what is all this soft and gentle preaching and writing but doing the very thing which God has so denounced in His holy word?
How He testifies against those prophets who prophesy smooth things; who prophesy deceits; who know not the way of the LORD, nor have walked in His counsel, but “prophesy a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought and the deceit of their heart.” (Jeremiah 14:14)
How, too, the prophet Ezekiel denounces the false prophets of his day, of whom one built up a wall, and others daubed it with untempered mortar. How he testifies against those foolish women that sew pillows to all armholes; and how he declares what the effect of all such smooth preaching is: “With lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life.” (Ezekiel 13:10, 18, 22)