So the church: Solomon’s Song 2:16, ‘My beloved is mine, and I am his.’ I know, says the spouse, that Jesus Christ is mine. I can with the greatest confidence and boldness affirm it:
he is my head,
‘and I am his. I am as sure that I am his, as I am sure that I live.
I am his by purchase,
and I am his by conquest;
I am his by donation,
and I am his by election;
I am his by covenant,
and I am his by marriage.
I am wholly his;
I am peculiarly his;
I am universally his;
I am eternally his.
This I well know, and the knowledge thereof is my joy in life, and my strength and crown in death.
Though the two disciples had Christ for their companion, yet their hearts were full of fears and doubts, whilst their eyes were held that they should not know him, Luke 24:14, 15, &c. Till a Christian’s eyes be open to see his assurance, his heart will be full of doubts and perplexities.
Though Mary Magdalene was very near to Christ, yet she stands sighing, mourning, and complaining that they had stolen away her Lord, because she did not see him, John 20:13–16.
Christians! though you may be very near and dear to Christ, yet till you come to see your assurance,
you will spend your days in doubting,
The sum of all is this, as you would be rid of your burden of cares,
your burden of fears,
and your burden of doubts,
get a well-grounded assurance of your happiness and blessedness;
but if you are in love with your burdens, then neglect but the making of your calling and election sure, and you shall certainly make sure your burdens; they shall rise with you, and walk with you, and lie down with you, till they make your lives a hell.
Thomas Brooks, The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, “A Serious Discourse Touching a Well-Grounded Assurance”, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart, vol. 2 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1866), 400–401.
Painting: Duccio di Buoninsegna Emaus
Upon a Piece of Battred Plate
It is methinks a meet [appropriate] emblem of a suffering saint, who by afflicting strokes may lose somewhat of his accidental beauty; but nothing of his real worth. In the plate, the fashion is only marred; but the substance is neither diminished or embased. If you bring it to the scale, it weighs as much as it did; if you try it by the touchstone, it is as good silver as it was.
And is it not thus with a saint, when bruised and broken by many pressures? His luster and repute with men may be prejudiced and eclipsed by them, but not his person or his worth with God. If he be weighed in the unerring balance, he will not be found the lighter; if examined by his test, he will not be esteemed the less precious.
It is not the Cross that makes us vile, but sin; not passive evils we suffer, but active evils we do. The one may render us unamiable to men, but the other makes us unholy before God. The one raze the casket; the other makes a flaw in the jewel.
Happy and wise therefore is that man who makes Moses his choice pattern in choosing affliction rather than sin; esteeming it better to be an oppressed Hebrew that builds houses and palaces of brick rather than an uncircumcised Egyptian to dwell in them. For when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to them that love him.
 Note: There are a few uncommon words in this meditation. First, he speaks of “accidental” and “substance”. Consider a car: there are things which make a car a car; that which makes a car a car is its substance. The differences between a van and a race car are “accidents” [this is a wildly simplified version of the philosophical concepts. If you would like to read precise explanations of substance and accident, go here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-metaphysics/%5D
The “plate” is a flat sheet of silver or gold; or a coin made of silver or gold.
A “touchstone” is a means of testing whether an item which appears to be gold or silver is actually gold or silver.
A “casket” is the setting for a precious stone.
 If you nick a silver coin, it is still worth the same.
Thy righteousness is in heaven;’ and methought withal I saw with the eye of my soul, Jesus Christ at God’s right hand. I saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ Himself, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Now did my chains fall from my legs indeed; I was loosed from my afflictions and irons. Oh, methought, Christ! Christ’ there was nothing but Christ that was before my eyes! I could look from myself to Him and should reckon that all those graces of God that now were green on me, were yet but like those crack-groats and fourpence halfpennies that rich men carry in their purses, when their gold is in their trunks at home! Oh, I saw my gold was in my trunk at home! In Christ my Lord and Saviour! Now Christ was all; all my wisdom, all my righteousness, all my sanctification, and all my redemption!
- CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE: THE PRIVILEGES OF THE GODLY: TO KNOW ONESELF LOVED OF GOD
- Now therefore because there being so many difficulties in the ways of godliness–and those so hard to pass–and difficult enterprises are always commended by the good that follows them; it is necessary that the great privileges which belong to the godly should be explained.
- The privileges must be show so that the godly may know their own happiness and strive to enjoy it; the wicked may see what great good things they deprive themselves of; and that all men may see the Christian life may be in better valued, which now of all sorts is too much underprized and so neglected and by some contemned and scorned.
- I will omit all those benefits which are common to the godly and the wicked (although these are far more sweet and savory to the godly than to others); or, those which are proper to some of the faithful in respect of their callings. I will consider only those which the wicked have no part or portion, and yet all the faithful may possess, one as well (though not so much) as another.
- These are either such as given us in this life to be enjoyed for our encouragement, or else those which God has in store for us in the life to come.
- We May Know Ourselves to be Beloved of God
- The first and chief of them which are given us in this life is that all true Christians may know themselves to be beloved of God, and that they shall be saved. 1 John 3:1, 1 John 5:13. This may be known by better evidence than any man can have of the things he holds in this life. This is not so well know at the first, but after experience has been gathered of the unchangeable love of God toward us, our confidence is increased; yea, the longer we enjoy this privilege, the better we know it; neither can it be so lost wholly or finally.
- Objection: Some of God’s children after they have been thus persuaded have fallen to doubting again.
- Answer: True Christians are renewed in part, and therefore some are by subtlety and cunning of Satan brought to the neglect or are careless of using the means whereby faith is confirmed, and so to doubting. And there are other who do too easily give place to distrust, thereby depriving themselves of this great privilege.
- This privilege is the greater because of the unspeakable glory and everlasting joy which it brings with it, whereas other delights are but fleeting and momentary. Which greatness will easily appear if we well consider the unspeakable woe and horror of such desperate persons as feel the lack of this happiness either here, or in hell.
- The Special Blessings of Being Known by God
- After God has vouchsafed the faithful this honor, that they may know the selves to be beloved of him, and that they shall be saved hereafter; he does not them, but is always with them, and has a special care of them above others, nay, when he is angry with others. Romans 5:5; Psalm 30:6-7; Luke 13:34; Deuteronomy 32:10; 1 Timothy 4:10; Matthew 10:30; Psalm 1:3; Psalm 23;1 Samuel 2:3.
- He esteems them not only as his household servants, but as his friends, John 15:15; his sons and heirs, Romans 8:17; his precious treasure, Exodus 19:5; yes, honors them so far as he calls them and makes them kings, Exodus 19:5. All which is both certain and constant onto the faithful, but it is not so with the wicked. So that by this it appears, that the estate poor child of God, is far better the best of the ugodly; yes, better than themselves sometimes would have asked or thought of.
- Those who are thus cared for of God, receive grace from him to live according to his will, that at death they may enter into his glory. For he teaches them to be fruitful in good life, but also to avoid foul offenses.
- As for the first, that is, a holy life whereunto God enables him by his own power, it is a great prerogative in that they need not account Christian life cumbersome, unsavory, heavy, tedious, as many do, but an easy yoke, a light burden, a pleasant race. This is in the Scripture called blessedness. Psalm 1, 84:2; Luke 111:4.
- Many indeed are, even good people, who in great part go without this privilege; but the cause is that they draw not by faith daily strength from Jesus Christ to subdue their lusts, but trust either to their own strength or and other means, until being frustrated of their desire, they either fallen to great vexation, or else plain security and looseness.
- For the remedy whereof, they must labor to be steadfast in faith, not yielding onto distrust, to learn to know that God who has taken care of his, will not leave them in their infirmities, but according to his all sufficient power, will succor and deliver them. Which if they once believe (as God requires we should) then shall they see themselves mightily stayed at upheld unto they be set at great liberty, and that it was the devil before held them in fear and bondage.
- Objection: we dare not believe that God will give us such grace, except first we first overcome our special corruptions.
- Answer: We have no strength of any such work, but we must obtain it by faith which is also commanded us. John 3:23. And until we do so, we shall be kept from our right by the craft of Satan.
 Privileges which are unique to particular stations of life or particular occupations.
The previous post in this series may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/paul-baynes-brief-directions-unto-a-godly-life-chapter-23/
To M.B., One of his flock who had felt deserted in soul
Peterhead, February 7, 1843.
Here is a model of pastoral advice and counsel to one who feels a loss of assurance of one’s salvation. While not the only possible cause for a loss of assurance, persistence in some sin will cause a believer to suffer a lack of assurance (for a further discussion of this issue, see, https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/a-cherished-sin-can-damage-assurance/). Note how M’Cheyne begins with kindness and sympathy. Even as Paul wrote kindly to the Corinthians despite their manifest sins (1 Corinthians 1:1-13), M’Cheyne writes to his “friend.” He weeps with one who weeps (Romans 12:15b). When a Christian has moved from rebellion in sin to sorrow for sin, when one has shown to be weak and fainthearted, the wise counselor will match encouragement and help for the weak and faint-hearted (1 Thessalonians 5:14) (If this had been sometime earlier in the progress of the sin, perhaps M’Cheyne would have been required to admonish this friend.).
—I was very happy to hear from you. I grieve to hear of your sorrow; but Job’s sorrow was deeper, and David’s also, in Ps. 42. If you cannot say, “I found Him whom my soul loveth,” is it not sweet that you can say, “I am sick of love”—He is my beloved still, though He has withdrawn himself and is gone for a time? Seek into the cause of your declension. See that it be not some Achan in your bosom,—some idol set up in the corner of your heart. See that it be not some allowed sin,—an unlawful attachment that is drawing you away from the bleeding side of Jesus, and bringing a cloud between you and that bright Sun of Righteousness. When you find out the cause, confess it and bewail it in the ear of a listening God. Tell Him all; keep nothing back. If you cannot find out the cause, ask Him to tell it you. Get it washed in the blood of Jesus. Then get it subdued.—Micah 7:19. None but the Lord Jesus can either pardon or subdue. Remember not to rest in a state of desertion. “I will rise now and go about the city.” And yet do not think that you have some great thing to do before regaining peace with God. The work on which peace is given has all been done by Jesus for us. “The word is nigh thee.” Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
The sunshine is always sweeter after we have been in the shade; so will you find Jesus in returning to Him. True, it is better never to wander; but when you have wandered, the sooner you return the happier you will be. “I will go and return to my first husband, for then it was better with me than now.” Hos. 2:7.
Do not delay, but humble yourself under his mighty hand, and He will exalt you in due season.
I have been speaking to-night in this place to a large and attentive audience on Zech. 9:9. May you be enabled to apply it. Remember me to Mrs K——, and also to all your fellow-servants whom I know and love in the truth. Tell N—— C—— to make sure that she is in Christ, and not to take man’s word for it. Tell E—— L—— to abide in Jesus; and tell her brother to take care lest he be a rotten branch of the true vine. Tell W—— J—— to be faithful unto death.
I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in the truth.—
I am, your loving pastor, etc.
Robert Murray M’Cheyne
Many Christians become discouraged and struggle with sin — thinking themselves to have no faith. Yet they are mistaken in the matter, because they have confused the benefits of a lively faith with faith itself. It is as if a man with a wife thought himself unmarried because he has no children. Or, as Romaine will write, it as if a man complains that he has no apples without bothering to see if he has a tree:
How many errors in judgment, and consequent mistakes in practice, prevail at this day, chiefly arising from confounding faith with its fruits; and from not distinguishing between the word of God believed, and what will follow upon believing it aright! [Believing typically produces the fruit of assurance. However, the fruit of assurance is not faith: it is something produced by true faith.]
Thus, some make assurance to be of the essence of faith, others make it appropriation, and many make it consist in an impression upon the mind, that Christ loved me, and gave himself for me. These are fruits— what faith should produce, but not what it is. These are effects of faith working, and not definitions of the nature of faith.
A believer should be exhorted to make his calling and election sure; for it is his privilege. He ought to give all diligence to attain assurance, to appropriate Christ with all his blessings to himself, and to be clearly persuaded that Christ loved him, and gave himself for him. These are blessed fruits of believing. May God give his people more of them. But then the tree must be before the fruits, and the fruits grow upon the tree. Faith is first, and faith derives its being from believing the word of God, and all its fruits are continued acts of believing.
William Romaine “Treatises on the life, walk, and triumph of faith.”
Confusion here leads to much mischief in one’s spiritual life. The poor Christian looks for the fruit of assurance, finds none and then decides he has no faith — which throws him into despair. The despair and anxiety thus seek relief. Since he cannot turn to God for relief (since he has convinced himself he probably has no faith and thus no right basis to come to God), he turns from God and seeks a sin to settle his heart. Sin, being antithetical faith, merely stirs his bad conscience more and he becomes ever more discouraged — and now has seemingly better grounds to doubt his faith.
What he forgets is that he is living by sight — he is making his sense to control his thinking — and not by faith. He fails to remember that faith grows into assurance. But just as a human is not born the size of an adult, so faith is not born with full fledged assurance:
When faith cometh by hearing, then we assent to the truth of what God hath said, and we rely upon his faithfulness to make good what he has promised. Assurance is this faith grown to its full stature: but we are not born six feet high.
The remedy here is plain enough: repent, return to Christ. As Richard Sibbes wrote in The Bruised Reed:
1. What should we learn from this, but to `come boldly to the throne of grace’ (Heb. 4:16) in all our grievances? Shall our sins discourage us, when he appears there only for sinners? Are you bruised? Be of good comfort, he calls you. Conceal not your wounds, open all before him and take not Satan’s counsel. Go to Christ, although trembling, as the poor woman who said, `If I may but touch his garment’ (Matt. 9:21). We shall be healed and have a gracious answer. Go boldly to God in our flesh; he is flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone for this reason, that we might go boldly to him. Never fear to go to God, since we have such a Mediator with him, who is not only our friend but our brother and husband. Well might the angel proclaim from heaven, `Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy’ (Luke 2:10). Well might the apostle stir us up to `rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice’ (Phil. 4:4). Paul was well advised upon what grounds he did it. Peace and joy are two main fruits of Christ’s kingdom. Let the world be as it will, if we cannot rejoice in the world, yet we may rejoice in the Lord. His presence makes any condition comfortable. `Be not afraid,’ says he to his disciples, when they were afraid, as if they had seen a ghost, `It is I’ (Matt. 14:27), as if there were no cause of fear where he was present.
2. Let this support us when we feel ourselves bruised. Christ’s way is first to wound, then to heal. No sound, whole soul shall ever enter into heaven. Think when in temptation, Christ was tempted for me; according to my trials will be my graces and comforts. If Christ be so merciful as not to break me, I will not break myself by despair, nor yield myself over to the roaring lion, Satan, to break me in pieces.
The solution for a bad conscience is not to wallow in one’s misery, or run from Christ, or ignore one’s conscience. Rather, the solution for sin and sorrow is repentance and Christ. He appears upon a throne of grace to receive sinners. Faith strides into the throne room, seeking grace.
John Cotton answers the question: Why would God ever let his people fall? For certainly God could stir the heart of a man to never lose its fervor. Yet the love of men grows cold; men walk carelessly; even the soundest believer will fall (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Genesis 12:13; Luke 22:61). What reason could have God to permit even his best servants to fail? Certainly God would receive more glory by the moral perfection of his people. Yet, yet, he lets them fall.
The capstone of Paul’s gospel presentation in Romans ends with the declaration that God transforms sin by means of mercy:
What use is there in such knowledge:
Use 3. To shew us where our happiness lieth, to wit, not in our own innocency, but in the covering of our sins, Ps. 32:1, 2; and therefore we seek for all our righteousness in Christ, Phil. 3:7–9; Rom. 3:23, 24.
John Cotton, Ecclesiastes
CHAPTER ONE: A Godly Life Begins With Saving Faith
Human misery grows out of sin (even though some may seek to deny that truth). God has provided a salvation: the ransom of Christ. Therefore, our primary concern must be to obtain that ransom. After noting the obstacles, Baynes sets out what it means to exercise saving faith. He explains the marks of true faith & the nature of assurance.
All Our Trouble Proceeds From Sin
Sure it is, that it was not thus with mankind in the beginning as now it is.
God created man happy, ye mutable [subject to change, able to change]; but Satan by deceit did cast him [Adam] from that happy condition; whereby besides the loss of that felicity, he was plunged into extreme misery, which consists in two things.
First, in sin.
Second, the curse following upon it.
First, sin is not only that first transgression of Adam whereby we are all guilty, but also that infection of soul and body arising from the former. Hence it is that the understanding is filled with blindness; the conscience wounded, seared and defiled; the memory forgetting good things, or not remembering anything right.
The will captive, of no strength to good but only to evil; the affections altogether disordered. The cogitations about heavenly matters are error, falsehood, and lies. The wishes and desires of the heart are earthly and fleshly. The outward behavior is nothing else but a giving up of the members of the body as instruments of sin.
The curse makes them subject in this life for his use of the creatures to dearth, famine, etc. For his body, to sickness and other pains.
In his sense for his friends to like calamities; in his soul to vile affections, to blindness, hardness of heart, desperation, madness, etc. And both body and soul to endless and easeless torture in the world to come.
But Not Everyone Agrees
Objection: All are not in this case or estate.
Answer: All are subject by nature to the same wrath of God. They which feel it not, that case is no better, but rather worse than the other.
The Only Remedy to Sin is the Work of Christ
The only sufficient remedy for the saving of man is to satisfy God’s justice, which by sin is violated. His justice is satisfied by suffering the punishment due to the sin and by present keeping of the Law. Therefore it is not to be sought for ourselves, nor in any other creature. It being appointed by the Father, was undertaken and wrought by Christ, and sealed in men’s hearts by the Holy Ghost.
How Does One Obtain the Redemption of Christ?
Objection: How did Christ’s redemption become ours; I answer:
Answer: God the Father of his infinite love gave him freely to us, with all his whole work of redemption. The divine mystery is brought to light by the gospel. The use whereof is to manifest that righteousness in Christ, whereby the law is fully satisfied, and salvation attained.
The remedy of the tidings of it is received only by faith, which faith is so to give credit to God’s Word, revealing this mercy and truth of God: and by these, the Holy Ghost enlightening him to conceive, drawing him to believe, and so uniting came to Christ.
The knowledge of the former things is not sufficient for him that will come to happiness: but this knowledge works.
First, he is drawn by the secret work of the Spirit of God, to be persuaded that the doctrine taught does concern him. He has wisdom given to him to apply general things particularly to himself: Colossians 1:9. First, the preaching of the law and the threatened curses of it; whereby he sees himself guilty before God of eternal punishment and wrath.
Secondly, the Lord directs him to enter into further consideration with himself, of it about his present estate, and counsels what to do in this extremity — and that not lightly, but seriously, as a matter of life and death. Jeremiah 8:6; Luke 7:15.
Thirdly, from the former consultation, he comes to this resolution, that he will not return to his old ways, but in all humility and meekness and brokenness of heart say with Paul; Lord what will you do I do?
Fourthly, by this means he comes to an unfeigned desire of forgiveness, which always proceeds from a found hope that God will be entreated of him.
This hungering after mercy and longing after Christ is very earnest and fervent, though in some with more timorousness than in others. This makes the gospel to be glad tidings and the feet of them that bring it to be beautiful to him.
Fifthly, with earnest, humble, and particular confession of his sins, he pours out prayers to God for the pardon of them in Christ.
Sixthly, he having found out this pearl, prizes it as it is worth: and therefore sells all that he has, and bids farewell to his sweetest delights for the attaining of it; which affection is not for a moment, but is written as it were with the point of the diamond, never to be razed out again.
Seventhly, then he comes to apply the gospel to himself as before he did the law, and seals up his salvation in his heart, reasoning from those gracious promises which God has made to such as he.
Thus by often and deep weighing the truth, unchangeableness and perpetuity of the promises, he comes at length to be settled in faith. This faith unites him to Christ, and brings it to happiness. And it is wrought inwardly by the Spirit, while men obey God’s ordinance in the hearing of the Word, the outward means of salvation.
The Visible Signs of Saving Faith
Now the marks of faith to be seen in the believer by himself or others are:
1. If he strives against doubting, Judge 6:17.
2. If not feeling faith, he complains bitterly of the lack of it.
3. If he seeks fervently to be settled in believing.
4. If he desires to search out this sin which may possibly hinder him and endeavor expel it.
The main cause why so many do lack of faith is the devil’s bewitching and blinding of men. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. Wherein man’s fault is that he opens his ears, and gives credit to Satan’s deceitful suggestions.
Obstacles to Saving Faith
For the preventing therefore of this danger, the Lord has given watchmen to warn the people of the peril. The reason therefore why men do not avoid it, is either in the minister — that he does not warn them a right – or else in the people, that they do not receive it.
In the Ministers:
1. If they teach not at all.
2. If they teach seldom.
3. If they teach, but not plainly to the capacity of the hearer.
4. If by catechizing they do not teach the grounds of faith in right and good order.
5. If they be not ready by private conference to satisfy their doubts.
6. If they have not a Christian care of giving good example by a holy and blameless life.
Ministers must consider their duty laid forth:
First, by titles as watchmen, laborers (Matthew 9:37); salt and light (Matthew 5:13-14); shepherds (Job 21:15); good scribes (Matthew 13); stewards (first Corinthians 4:1); nurses (1Thessalonians 2:7).
Secondly, in Commandments (Acts 20:28; 2 Timothy 4:2). For their better encouragements, they must consider:
1.The honor vouchsafed to them, to be God’s ambassadors.
2. The comfort of this labor.
3. The good that they may do.
4. The great reward prepared for them, Daniel 12:3.
The lets [hindrances, obstacles] that are the people:
1. If they esteem lightly of the gospel, preferring other things before it.
2. If they imagine that an impossible thing to get assurance of salvation in this life.
3. If they think it but not impossible, yet not anyway necessary.
4. If they think it both possible and necessary, but to hard to come by.
5. If they be careless and ignorant.
6. If for fear of losing other pleasures, they forbear to seek after this.
7. If they presume of their faith, living still in their sins.
8. If there were never thorough brokenness of heart prepared to receive the gospel.
9. If for fear of not continuing, they will not begin.
10. If they do work upon themselves, but to deal slightly with it.
11. If they content themselves with sudden flashes but sooner out and do not seek to be settled.
An Occasional Desire to Avoid Hell is not Saving Faith
A naked and bare desire of salvation now and then stirred up in a man is not to believe.
First, true desire cannot be satisfied without it, and therefore gives not over [does not stop] till it obtain it.
Secondly, it makes high account of it, as a book precious faith; and the valuing of it according to the worthiness of it: he seeks willingly and readily: he settles his heart upon the promises of God. He meditates on God’s Commandments, that he should believe: by these means he comes to be settled. Which done, he must beware of all occasions that may unsettled. Again, especially that he did not give too much place to fleshly reasons of carnal bout things, nor hearken to evil suggestions.
Fear and Assurance
Because the children of God after they have believed are often drawn from their hold, and cause to be suspected themselves, and to so fall into much fear in doubting but they are none of the Lord’s, they must therefore learn to strengthen themselves thus:
1. They must know that in God there is no shadow of change, and therefore it is their weakness to entertain such thoughts, Psalm 77:13. For he ought not to cast away his confidence, Hebrews 10:35.
2. He may persuade himself that he laborers after, and going to rest his weary heart on the promises of God, shall never be holy for Satan, though sometimes destitute of feeling.
Question: Now if any ask, Why does God suffers children to fall to such fears? It is this:
Answer: Lest by a sudden absolute change, they should become secure or presumptuous.
3. They must know that the root of our comfort is not in the strength of our Christian life, but of the free grace of God in Christ. And therefore, the weakness there and ought not to bring us into doubting of our salvation. It may be weak, but it shall never be extinguished; for he that his newborn can never die.
4. They must call to mind that they may it be yet children, subject to many diseases, and some of those, such as may take away sense of life. Which moves move us not to despair, but to seek with all diligence for the cure of them: whereas if any object:
Objection: Many of the faithful are brought to that pass, that being persuaded that they are reprobates, or near onto desperation; they have a sense of God’s wrath, and are in great anguish of conscience: how shall they stay themselves in this estate?
1. They may be assured of this, they are not without hope of mercy, because they have not sinned against the Holy Ghost; for they have not bullishly set themselves against the truth of God, they have not willfully persecuted against their conscience, but to love the same desire to be partakers of it.
2. They must learn to know from whom this delusion comes, even from Satan who labors either to wring their hope from them, or else to weary their lives with heaviness and discomfort. This he attempts:
First, by spiritual suggestion, he being a spirit, and helped also with long experience which he has had of this trade, and therefore fit. He [is] also full of malice, and of unsearchable subtlety, with exceeding strength, and therefore ready thus to trouble us. Thus he incites us sins, not only which by nature we love, but even to those which we have no inclination onto. And when he has thus fastened upon many a man, than he labors to dim his knowledge and understanding, that he may laid no hold on any truth to comfort them, or make benefit of any promise.
Secondly, [Satan deludes] by outward objects [difficulties] and occasions forcibly persuading to sin. Now because these things proceed rather from Satan than from themselves, there is no cause why they should be discouraged.
Thirdly, they must call to mind that God calls and encourages us to trust and believe in him; and therefore it must needs to please him that they are removed from their faith, to give place to the spirit of error.
One Should Not Judge Saving Faith on the Ground of “Feelings”
Objection: And now if they feel not the sweet taste of God’s grace?
1. Yet they must not measure themselves by that they presently feel, when the soul has lost her feelings; but by the time passed, when they were free from temptation.
2. The fruits of their faith are often evident the eye of others, when they themselves cannot see them.
3. They must be acquainted with the ways of God, who often does hide himself for season, but they may with more earnest desire seek for his wonted [customary] grace, and with more joyful to support praise him when they’ve obtained it again. And if this hinder them because
A True Believer is not a Perfect Christian
Objection: They cannot live as God’s children do, or as he requires; they are to be encouraged here with, that
Answer: There plants which take not their full perfection it wants, but little by little with daily watering addressing: and that patience and consistency with a resolute minds to bear God’s trial, will bring a good and in all temptation.
Not Every Evidence Proves True Saving Faith
That every Christian may see his estate to be good, actually profitable to consider how far an unbeliever may go; and so whether he hath gone further.
1. The unbeliever may be terrified with the sins, his conscience terrified by the spirit of bondage, Matthew 27:3.
2. He may be pensive after sin committed, 1 Kings 21:7.
3. He may find joy and delight in the gospel, and of the exercises of religion, Matthew 13:20.
4. He may have a taste of the life to come with Balaam.
5. He may reference the ministers and obey them in many things as Herod did, and it never be sealed up to eternal life. Many that have made great glorious shows and seem to have been very forward, have after either in prosperity waxed wanton, or an affliction weary. Many which have shined as lights first season have fallen away even before trouble came. Many have had great grief of mind, and so seem onto themselves to have repented; but yet have deceived themselves, because they never furnish themselves with true faith, a pure heart, a good conscience, change of their life to the love of God; their hearts are not upright, nor will they deal plainly with the Lord. But if we would not lose all or labor, we must go further than any unrepentant person could go; we must never cease to we have more humility, sincerity and truth of heart, and certain marks the testimony of our salvation.
They [those who have truly repented] will hear the gospel diligently: but we must lay our estate [measure the state of our faith] with it, and receive the print of it upon our hearts and lives, and be cast into the mold of it, and so find the power of salvation.
They will refrain from, themselves, and drive out of their families many sins.
But we must willingly be reformed and what part of our life soever we can’t be justly challenged: and not blemish or profession in anything.
Distinguishing Marks of Saving Faith
Although the love of God in Christ, the work of the Spirit applying [it: the love and work of Christ], and faith apprehending [it], be the chief cause of our conversion,  they are not so easily felt by us – [even though] they are sure and infallible grounds of themselves of salvation. therefore it is necessary to add some other of facts or other properties of true faith, to accompany the love of God, and of Christ Jesus in us; and other works or fruits of the Holy Ghost by the gospel, which may more clearly be perceived discerned in faith and self; and were clearly testified that where the speed, there shall that be found also.
The first inseparable companion of faith is joy and comfort, glorious and unspeakable, Acts 8:39.
But it will be said
Objection: Some true believers are even sad and sorrowful.
Answer: Indeed they mourn and groan for a while after that which may make them merry forever: and in this morning they are blessed. Matthew 5:4. Their estate [is] far to be preferred before the laughter of the ungodly which is but madness [Ecclesiastes 2:2].
1. The child of God being converted cannot but admire this change of the state and even be astonished at the love and mercy of God: for what should move him to bestow such happiness upon so unworthy a creature, Job 14:22, Psalms 116:8, 139:34.
2. This holy and reverent admiration must not be only at our first conversion, but ought every day to be renewed in the Lord, who does every day pardon our sins (Psalms 118:8) and does also uphold us in our confidence and integrity.
3. The true believer feeling the love of God to be shed abroad in his heart, has also with in him unfeigned love Kindle towards God, Psalm 116:1; Luke 7:47. Which love of God must [over]shadow the love of all other things whatsoever.
4. He cannot but have his heart enlarged into thankfulness, and praise God even in afflictions themselves, Psalm 116:12.
5. There is begotten a holy and earnest desire to have more communion with God; even to enjoy his blessed presence and to see his glory, 2 Corinthians 5:1.
6. The former grace makes him to forsake this world, to become a stranger and pilgrim, and so to have no more to do with this world than he needs must. Not that he leave the necessary duties to forsake his calling, but that he is not so tied to these things, but that he could willingly leave them, and so being ready to die, is made fit to live.
7. He cannot but lament and be ashamed of his former unkindness to God, and is ready to be revenge of himself for it.
8. It cannot be, but knowing out of what misery he hath escaped, unto what happiness he has attained, he pity others that already are as he was, and wish and labor to make them as he is. One means whereof is edifying conference, Proverbs 10:21.
How to Persevere in Faith
If any has tasted of that happiness which comes by a true faith and does therefore desire to keep the same, here is the losing of it, he must for his confirmation:
1. Nourish with himself daily [with a] high estimation  his grace. He must think it is chief happiness and most precious treasure [that he ever set his] heart  upon. [He must fear ever losing that grace.]
2. He must both by prayer daily and oft beg of God, and also seriously meditate on the gracious promises of God in nature, truth, perpetuity. For want [lack] of this calling to mind of [these] things, you need to let slip out of their minds those grounds of faith by which sometimes they have found comfort.
3. He must help himself by ordinary and reverent hearing the glad tidings of salvation preached unto them; as also by the holy use of the sacraments.
4. He must carefully retain a viewing of his sins by right examination; the sight of them will keep him from taking offense of the cross of Christ, make the tartness and hardness and bitterness of his sins will make Christ’s death most sweet and pleasant onto him.
5. He must labor to settle himself even by the experience which he himself had found of God is goodness towards him, and is working in him.
6. He may confirm himself even by the example of others, who [though] weak, have become strong, and of such as he is; [who] have become such as he desires to be. By these means God’s children come to have a holy acquaintance with God, and to know his will toward them: the Lord disposing even their weakness onto their good, that they may by their falls be humbled, and God by their of holding may be glorified.
One special thing is always to begin the day with deep consideration of God, his gracious favor towards us; which if we do not, little can be looked for in the day, but either unsavory lightness, and so to be deceived; or unprofitable care, so to be disquieted.
There are Three Degrees of Subjective Assurance
By that which has been said before, it is to be observed, that although true faith be in substance one and the same; yet there are three degrees of it, it is plain.
1. First is the weakest and least measure, when there is a yet no assurance in the believer, and yet inseparable fruits, and infallible tokens of it.
2. The degree is when some assurances wrought in the believer at some time, but very weak; and is often to seek and wanting, and recovered again by entering into due consideration of his estate, and of the truth of God who has promised it.
3. The third is the highest degree of it, though more strong in better settled in some than others; and this has assurance accompanying it for the most part usually unless the believer do[es] quench the Spirit in himself: or the Lord (to show him that he stands by grace) does leave him to himself for his own glory, and the better establishing of him afterwards.
 All biblical counseling must proceed in this manner. Since the goal of biblical counseling is not primarily the remediation of some immediate trouble (such as a bad marriage), but rather growth in Christlikeness (although growth in Christlikeness will have the secondary effect of improving one’s marriage), the first step must be saving faith. Thus, the emphasis in biblical counseling on evangelism – or, as Jay Adams calls it, “pre-counseling” – is an emphasis which goes back at least to the Puritans.
 Throughout his work – as was typical of Puritan preaching – Baynes responds to potential objections. William Perkins called this “clearing the text”. You may see this same point in Spurgeon’s sermons: Yet, rather than state it as an “objection” Spurgeon will begin with the words, “Someone may say” (or something like that).
 We need more than historical knowledge to come to a saving faith.
 A common element of Puritan preaching was to preach the law plainly and surely to bring conviction and establish the need for salvation. A discussion of this may be found in William Guthrie’s The Christian’s Great Interest.
 Pastoral ministry must match public preaching with private counsel.
 John Bunyan describes this state in Pilgrim’s Progress.
 They will personally refrain from many sins. And, they will also see that some sins are removed from their own families.
 The work of the Holy Spirit in one’s life is often not immediately understood or experienced as the work of the Spirit. To see this matter developed at more length, see the discussion in The Christian’s Great Interest.
 This paragraph is an evidence of the occasionally careless editing of the text.
 “Subjective” assurance is the assurance felt by the believer. Assurance is also objective and may be based upon the promises of God.