resurrection, they asked Him, "Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). The apostles saw Jesus' crucifixion as His defeat and were filled with despair; but the thief on the cross, through the clearer insight of deeper faith, saw Christ's death as His victory and was filled with hope.
Conversion also varies in emphasis and depth of misery, deliverance, and thankfulness. One person is led more clearly and deeply into misery, another in deliverance, and a third in thankfulness. While all truly converted persons experience something of all three, the emphasis and depth of each varies.
John Bunyan and John Newton were both converted, God-fearing ministers, whose labors God richly blessed. When writing of their conversion experiences, however, note the difference in emphasis:
In his autobiography, Bunyan writes of experiencing several deep, despairing, convictions and temptations, before finding deliverance in Christ. The following is one example:
Now I thought, surely I am possessed of the devil; at other times again, I thought I should be bereft of my wits; for instead of lauding and magnifying God the Lord with others, if I have but heard Him spoken of, presently some most horrible blasphemous thought or other would bolt out of my heart against Him; so that whether I did think that God was, or again did think there were no such thing, no love, nor peace, nor gracious disposition could I feel within me.
In these days, when I have heard others talk of what was the sin against the Holy Ghost, then would the tempter so provoke me to desire to sin that sin, that I was as if I could not, must not, neither should be quiet until I had committed that; now, no sin would serve but tirat; if it were to be committed by speaking of such a word, then I have been as if my mouth would have spoken that word, whether I would or not; and in so strong a measure was this temptation upon me, that often I have been ready to clap my hand under my chin, to hold my mouth from opening; and to that end also I have had thoughts at other times, to leap with my head downward, into some muck-hill hole or other, to keep my mouth from speaking.
Now I blessed the condition of the dog and toad, and counted the estate of everything that God had made far better than this dreadful state of mine, and
Bereft of my wits - Out of my mind; losing my senses
Lauding - Praising
Disposition - Emotional state of mind; state of feelings