Nate was relating to me that in one of his preaching classes, the professor said to bring in application of the text about every 5 minutes. Here Durham ties together 3 directions as a remedy for those who have forgotten their first love. Here I offer his summation of the direction, and then his application, by way of observation, of these exercises.
This reminded me of a larger work on similiar exercises for the languishing or decaying Christian, Obediah Sedgwick’s “Christ’s Counsel to His Languishing Church“. I may turn to this work in the future for Sabbath reflections. It is one of my top 5 favorite books.
Rev 2:4-5a Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works;
These three go well together, and notably prescribe the remedy of a soul backslidden from liveliness to deadness, and directs to the recovery of their former state, which will not be attained by lazy Prayers, and fainting complaints; but by serious up-stirring, and exercise of these three, self-searching, repentance, and practice, and that in the native order as they lie.
More particularly, from the several directions, Observe, (1) That as forgetfulness of our own condition, and not reflecting on ourselves, is the great cause of much declining and backsliding in heart, and of continuing therein; so upon the contrary, self examination, and remembering of our own way, and reflecting on ourselves is the notable mean to prevent decay, and to entertain a good frame; as also to further the exercise of repentance, and to recover a frame when it is lost. (2) Believers may fall into that neglect. (3)When Believers become negligent, they decline in part, though not wholly. (4) When Believers fall, they are to take the same way for their recovery. (5) Believers may be under great decay, and yet not take great notice of it, nor from whence they are fallen; yea, it implieth further, that where the decay is within, and the carriage [is] fair without, (as here) its hard to get them convinced of it.
From the second step of the direction, Repent, &c. Obsv. (1) That Repentance is a duty incumbent even to Believers, 1 John 1:8. (2) That it is called for, wherever there is sin, even of omissions, as here. But, (3) Especially where there is declining. (4) Change of practice, where there has been sin, will not be sufficient, if repentance for what is past do not accompany it.
From the third step, Do the first works, Obsv. (1) That Believers first works are often more commendable than these which come after. (2) There may be great difference in the same works on the matter, even of the same person, in Christ’s account. (3) Works, and works lively gone about, are called for from Believers: Christ Jesus was no legal Preacher [or “Preacher of Legalism”]; yet doth He require both Repentance and Works from these Ephesians.