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far otherwise with the assurance of sense. One can. not have faith without having assurance in it, for (as said Mr. Patrick Hamilton) " It is a sureness:" but he may have, and in fact often has faith, while he is not assured of it, not certain that he hath it. This assurance is not properly believing in Christ, but be. lieving that we have believed in him.

It is not a direct act terminating in him, but a reflex, whereby we believe, or are persuaded of the truth of that aci. That, as was just now observed, may be without this. He that feareth the Lord may walk in darkness, and have no light, Isa. 1. 10. None of that light which is in the reflex act; none of that light whereby he knows that his faith is true and not feigned; the faith of God's elect, and not that which may be found in reprobates. “ For though a man cannot but be conis scious of an act of his own soul, as to the substance “ of that act; yet he may be in the dark as to the

specific nature of it; than which nothing is more ordi.

nary among serious Christians. And thus, as a real “ saint is conscious of his own heart's moving in af“ fection towards God, yet sometimes doth not as“ suredly know it to be the true love of God in “ him, but fears it to be an hypocritical flash of affec. “ tion; so he may be conscious of his persuasion, and “ yet doubt if it be the true persuasion of faith, “ and not that of the hypocrite*.” But though the direct act may be without the reflex, yet this cannot possibly be without that. As a thing must be, before I can know its existence; so I must believe, before I can know that I have believed: Christ and his pardon must be mine in possession, before I can know so much. Hence it is that the assurance of sense must, in the order of nature, and time too, follow that assurance which is in faith.

By the one I believe, on the footing of the free promise in Christ, that I shall be saved: by the other I believe on the inward evidence of grace, that that


* Boston ubi. supra.

my faith is true, not hypocritical. The one asketh, What hath God said?' The other, What hath God wrought? By that I believe what he hath said to me; by this, what he hath done in me. In that I hear a word, and believe it; in this I see and feel a work, and therefore believe it. By the one I believe that I shall be pardoned, by the other that I am pardoned already. By that I am persuaded that I shall be saved, by this I am persuaded that I am actually in a state of grace and salvation. By that I trust wholly upon the promise for pardon, by this I am assured of pardon as already applied* “ The assurance of faith “ has its object and foundation without the man, but " that of sense has them within him. The assurance “ of faith looks to Christ in the promise and covenant “ of God, and says, This is all my salvation; God “ has spoken in his holiness, I will rejoice: But the

assurance of sense looks inward at the works of God, “ such as the person's own graces, attainments, ex“ periences and the like. The assurance of faith giv

ing an evidence to things not seen, can claim an “ interest in, and plead a relation to, a hiding and “ withdrawing God; Zion said, my Lord hath forgot“ ten me; and the spouse, I opened to my beloved, but my

beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone. So he may be a forgetting and withdrawing God to my feeling, and yet to my faith, my God, and

my Lord still, says holy Rutherford ; even as the " wife may believe the angry and forsaking husband, " is still her husband. But on the other hand, the 4 assurance of sense is the evidence of things seen “ and felt. The one says, I take him for mine; the “ other says, I feel he is mine. The one says with “ the Church, my God (though he cover bimself with

a cloud, that my prayer cannot pass through,) yet “ will hear me! The other, my God has heard me. “ The one says he will bring me forth to the light, “ and I shall behold his righteousness; the other,

Pemble p. 141.

“ He hath brought me forth to the light, and I do « behold his righteousness. The one says, though he “ should kill me, yet will I trust in him; the other, e he smiles and shines on me, therefore will I love « him and trust in him."

Thus much as to the different kinds of assurance. Follow its different degrees. And here I would ob- . serve as to the assurance which is in faith, ist. That sometimes it is little, very little; and that especially in its beginning. Though in the progress of the Chris. tian life, it may be like a mighty tree; yet at first it is generally as a grain of mustard seed only. “Or “ like a spark amidst the troubled sea of all manner “ of corruption and lusts, where the rolling waves “ of unbelieving doubts and fears, hellish temptations " and suggestions, and the like, moving on the face “ of that depth, are every now and then going over “ it; and were there not a divine hand and care en“gaged for its preservation, would effectually extin. “ guish and bury it. What wonder that in such

a case it many times cannot be discerned; yet 56 will it still hold so much of the exercise of justi

fying faith, so much persuasion t," or assurance. This lowest degree of assurance is that I apprehend which scripture calls the beginning of our confidence, Heb. iii. 14. 2dly. Sometimes there is much assur, ance. The Thessalonian converts received the gospel with much assurance, 1 Ep. i. 5. They were not of little, but of great faith. Believers have this much assurance in proportion as they get the victory over their doubts and fears, having good hope through grace, 2 Thess. ii. 16.

This is a good degree, and great boldness in the faith, which is in Christ Jesus, 1 Tim. . iii. 13. 3dly. Sometimes there


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Answer to Commissioners Queries, p. 71. + Ibid. p. 63. The Tract to which the Author here refers once and again, is Answers to Queries put by the Commission of the General Asssembly of the Church of Scotland, to Messrs. Boston, Erskines, &c. by these Ministers. They contain a most accurate and masterly defence of several leading truths of the gospel, and highly deserts the attention of all, especially students of theology and young ministero.

is full assurance, “ol. ii. 2. Heb. vi. 11, and x. 22. Thus Abraham staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in the faith, giv. ing glory to God: and being fully persuaded that what he had promised, he was able also to perform, Rom. iv. 20, 21. ' A place and proof among a thou. sand, that faith consists in persuasion. Thus the be. liever is sometimes helped to the exercise of a full as. surance that he shall be saved by grace: nothing doubting. When thus sailing as with wind and tide, he doubts no more concerning his own salvation, than he does concerning the Godhead of his Saviour, or any other truth plainly revealed in holy scripture. He as firmly believes that Christ will save him, as he does that he is the Son of God. This full assurance, how. ever, cannot with any propriety be called perfect. It is no more perfect than the other graces of the Spirit. The waters of unbelief are never altogether dried up, though sometimes they make no noise. There is still unbelief in the heart, though borne down by an opposite principle. And this full assurance may, for the trial or correction of the believer, be reduced as to its first, its lowest, degree. He who to-day was an angel of God, may to-morrow cry as an infant in the cradle. The sun of full assurance may go down as at noon. Thus there are various degrees of assurance in the faith of believers. It is neither equal in all, nor perfect in any. In some it is little, in others much, in others full, but perfect in none.

4thly. The assurance one has of his faith is also susceptible of very different degrees. And these, I judge, generally keep pace with the measure of his faith. If it is weak, so is his assurance of it: if strong, his assurance is the same. The reason is, true faith is generally discernable, according to its more or less vigorous acting. If very weak, the man has the greater difficulty in discerning it, and hence the less assurance of its truth: if it be very strong, he can the more easily perceive it, and consequently have the higher assurance that it is true. This, I suppose, will generally be found the case with believers, except when under the assaults of temptation, or when, for some special reason, their eyes are holden (like the two going to Emmaus, Luke xxiv. 16.) that they may not see Christ dwelling in them. It is not more certain that believers receive the Spirit of God, than that they receive him for this very end, that they may know the things which are freely given to them of God, 1 Cor. ii. 13.

Object. 4th. A fourth objection raised against our doctrine is, that it supersedes the necessity of self-examination in order to make our calling and election sure. For if in believing, we assure ourselves that we shall be saved by Christ, what need of further evi. dence? If in faith we be sure of our salvation, what need of marks, signs, or evidences, of grace?

Answer. To this we answer, much every way. There is much necessity of self-examination, and inward evidences, in many respects: chiefly in two, viz. to discover the truth, and to increase the strength, of our faith.

1st. The evidences of faith are necessary to discover its truth: whether it be feigned or unfeigned, a dead or a lively faith. Men may persuade themselves that they shall be saved from wrath, while this persuasion cometh not of him that calleth them. They may go down to hell with this lie as in their right hand, and pleasantly delude themselves into damnation. If this their persuasion or assurance of salvation, allow them in the love and practice of sin; it is a lie, and is not the truth. Of the faith which does not produce good works, we may say in the words of an apostle, a Can that faith save him?" James ii. 14. Can a faith which does not work by love, ,save the man who hath it? No, it cannot. It is not true faith, else it would shew itself by working, as the body does its life by breathing. A poor sinner who believes that he shall be saved by Christ, cannot but be conscious of this belief, as to the entity or substance of the action, while at the same time he may be in great uncertainty as to

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