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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Puritan Nuggets of Gold # 5

Assurance of Eternal Life (continued)

Assurance is not of the essence of a Christian. It is required to the bene esse (the well-being), to the comfortable and joyful being of a Christian; but it is not required to the esse, to the being of a Christian. A man may be a true believer, and yet would give all the world, were it in his power, to know that he is a believer. To have grace, and to be sure that we have grace, is glory upon the throne, it is heaven on this side of heaven. (Thomas Brooks)

None have assurance at all times. As in a walk that is shaded with trees and checkered with light and shadow, some tracks and paths in it are dark and others are sunshine. Such is usually the life of the most assured Christian. (Ezekiel Hopkins)

Does assurance remain when comforts are gone?

Take heed thou thinkest not grace decays because thy comfort withdraws. Did ever faith triumph more in our Saviour crying "My God, my God!" Here faith was at its meridian when it was midnight in respect of joy. (William Gurnall)

A man's assurance may be as good, as true, when he lies on the earth with a sense of sin, as when he is carried up to heaven with a sense of love and foretaste of glory. (John Owen)

Sense of sin may often be great, and more felt than grace; yet not be more than grace. A man feels the ache of his finger more sensibly that the health of his whole body; yet he knows that the ache of a finger is nothing so much as the health of the whole body. (Thomas Adams)

God dwells as glorious in a saint when he is in the dark, as when he is in the light, for darkness is His secret place, and His pavilion round about Him are dark waters. (William Erbery)

Great comforts do, indeed, bear witness to the truth of thy grace, but not to the degree of it; the weak child is oftener in the lap than the strong one. (William Gurnall)

It is natural to the soul to rest upon everything below Christ; to rest upon creatures, to rest upon graces, to rest upon duties, to rest upon divine manifestations, to rest upon celestial consolations, to rest upon gracious evidences, and to rest upon sweet assurances. Now the Lord, to cure His people of this weakness, and to bring them to live wholly and solely upon Jesus Christ, denies comfort, and denies assurance, etc., and for a time leaves His children of light to walk in darkness. Christians, this you are always to remember, that though the enjoyment of assurance makes most for your consolation, yet the living purely upon Christ in the absence of assurance, makes most for Christ's exaltation. He is happy that believes upon seeing, upon feeling, but thrice happy are those souls that believe when they do not see; that love when they do not know that they are beloved; and that in the want of all comfort and assurance, can live upon Christ as their only all. He that hath learned this holy art, cannot be miserable; he that is ignorant of this art cannot be happy. (Thomas Brooks)

The Christian must trust in a withdrawing God. (William Gurnall)

He that wants assurance of the truth of his grace, and the comfort of assurance, must not stand still and say, "I am so doubtful and uncomfortable that I have no mind to duty," but ply his duty, and exercise his grace, till he find his doubts and discomforts to vanish. (Richard Baxter)

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