by John Colquhoun
Dr. Colquhoun (pronounced Colhoun) has sprinkled copious Scripture references throughout this treatise. He uses many of them repeatedly. They not only support what he says, but amplify it. Most references were removed from the original footnotes, and superscripted instead. I chose not to link them to an online Bible, as that might be more distracting than helpful. But at times, I footnoted an entire verse for further insight, or provided additional Scripture references.
This modernization is not a paraphrase of his treatise. However, his sentence structure was often parenthetical, and his syntax overly complex, making it awkward to read. I simplified those. Many sentences were run-on; they’ve been broken into separate sentences. His punctuation was flooded with commas, colons, and semi-colons. Most were removed, or replaced with dashes or periods. Archaic words were updated (thee, thine, thou). I’ve added footnotes with a definition or explanation; those are marked with “–WHG.” Other footnotes are Dr. Colquhoun’s. Words that are now uncommon in usage have been replaced with more familiar ones. British spellings have been retained (honour, favour, Saviour). Most italics are original, but I added a few to emphasize his contrasts. Where I thought it was helpful for smoother reading, I also added a few contractions (don’t, doesn’t). My intent was to make it a bit less formal, and more engaging. This is, after all, his personal exhortation and encouragement to suffering believers in the church, at every level of maturity and education.
Although reformed doctrine is affirmed throughout, this text is very practical. I believe it should be read and digested by all Christians, not just those who feel inadequate in their walk, or somehow abandoned by God. It’s as much about our assurance of salvation as about our spiritual comfort. Dr. Colquhoun repeatedly addresses our union and communion with Christ, as the cause and source of all our comfort, consolation, and joy. This is because our hope is in Jesus Christ Himself, not just in what He has done to save His people. There is an emphasis throughout, on particular atonement — “his warrant to trust in Christ for salvation for himself in particular.” Election is not part of the gospel offer, but particular atonement ought to be. It contributes greatly to our assurance, and thus to our comfort:
“You cannot know that you have been elected, till after you have trusted in Him. Your election to salvation forms no part of your revealed warrant to trust in Jesus for salvation. … Your ignorance of your election, then, cannot lessen that warrant; and your knowledge of your election cannot add to it. The offers and invitations of the gospel are not directed to men as elect sinners — but as sinners of mankind. Although you don’t know if you are an elected sinner, you do know that you are a sinner of Adam’s race. Therefore the offers and calls are addressed to you; and they afford you an authentic right to place the confidence of your heart in Christ, for all the blessings of salvation.” (See chapter 7)
I pray that you are as blessed and fortified by this book as I have been. Perhaps you’ll gain a better understanding of what it means for you to be in Christ, and the joy that flows from it.
William H. Gross
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1.Spiritual Comfort in General.
CHAPTER 2.The great importance and usefulness of spiritual comfort for the saints.
CHAPTER 3.The way in which believers lose their spiritual comfort.
CHAPTER 4.The grievous consequences of a believer's losing his spiritual consolation.
CHAPTER 5.The nature and signs of melancholy
Sect. 1. Signs of melancholy, especially in a true Christian.
Sect. 2. Directions to Christians who are afflicted with melancholy.
Sect. 3. Advice to relations and friends of Christians afflicted with melancholy.
CHAPTER 6. The designs of God in permitting some of His children to lose their spiritual comfort.
The means which disconsolate believers should employ to recover spiritual comfort.
CHAPTER 8.The means which believers should employ to attain increasing comfort.
CHAPTER 9.Directions for attaining establishment in holy consolation.
Verses which are most encouraging and consoling to a fainting soul.