Faithful: A work of grace in the soul discovereth itself, either to himHow many assume they are Christians without testing their own faith in light of God's Word?
that hath it, or to standers-by.
To him that hath it, thus: It gives him conviction of sin, especially the defilement of his nature, and the sin of unbelief, for the sake of which he is sure to be damned, if he findeth not mercy at God’s hand, by faith in Jesus Christ. This sight and sense of things worketh in him sorrow and shame for sin. Psa. 38:18; Jer. 31:19; John 16:8; Rom. 7:24; Mark 16:16; Gal. 2:16; Rev. 1:6. He findeth, moreover, revealed in him the Saviour of the world, and the absolute necessity of closing with him for life; at the which he findeth hungerings and thirstings after him; to which hungerings, etc., the promise is made.
Now, according to the strength or weakness of his faith in his Saviour, so is his joy and peace, so is his love to holiness, so are his desires to know him more, and also to serve him in this world. But though, I say, it discovereth itself thus unto him, yet it is but seldom that he is able to conclude that this is a work of grace; because his corruptions now, and his abused reason, make his mind to misjudge in this matter: therefore in him that hath this work there is required a very sound judgment, before he can with steadiness conclude that this is a work of grace. John 16:9; Gal. 2:15,16; Acts 4:12; Matt. 5:6; Rev. 21:6.
To others it is thus discovered:
1. By an experimental confession of his faith in Christ.
2. By a life answerable to that confession; to wit, a life of holiness-heart-holiness, family-holiness, (if he hath a family,) and by conversation-holiness in the world; which in the general teacheth him inwardly to abhor his sin, and himself for that, in secret; to suppress it in his family, and to promote holiness in the world: not by talk only, as a hypocrite or talkative person may do, but by a practical subjection in faith and love to the power of the word. Job 42:5,6; Psa. 50:23; Ezek. 20:43; Matt. 5:8; John 14:15; Rom. 10:10; Ezek. 36:25; Phil. 1:27; 3:17-20. And now, sir, as to this brief description of the work of grace, and also the discovery of it, if you have aught to object, object; if not, then give me leave to propound to you a second question.
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