“It is a fact well known, and often recognized, that those Christians who have paid the most scrupulous attention to the word of God as the standard of character, have attained to the highest degree of moral excellence. They have been the most humble, and penitent; because they have seen the most clearly how small the measure of their holiness, and how many their failings and sins. The pride of their hearts has been continually mortified, by looking at themselves, in the light of God’s holy word. They have had the strongest faith in Christ; because they have had the deepest conviction of their own sinfulness, and misery, and helplessness, and the clearest views of his glory and fulness. They have been the most sincere and fervent in prayer; because by making the scriptures their rule, they have become the most deeply sensible of their poverty, and of the abundance of blessings they need; the most sensible too that no one, but God, can bestow these blessings; and particularly that they must trust in him alone to supply what is wanting in their Christian character. Thus they have been brought to feel a strong attachment to the throne of grace, and to be importunate and persevering in prayer. Such Christians have been the most obedient to the divine commands, the most active in doing good, and the most patient and submissive under trials; because the word of God has most effectually taught them, that such obedience, and activity, and submission, is a reasonable service, and is to be regarded as the very substance of practical religion, and the grand proof of regeneration.”
–Leonard Woods, in his introduction to William Sprague’s Lectures on Revivals of Religion, pp. xvii-xviii.