I am now ready to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand.
Extracts from a paper by J. C. Ryle
“I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”Â—2 Tim. 4.6,7,8.
In the words of Scripture which head this page, we see the Apostle Paul looking three waysÂ—downward, backward, forward;
downward to the graveÂ—backward to his own ministryÂ—forward to that great day, the day of judgment!
It will do us good to stand by the Apostle’s side a few minutes, and mark the words he uses. Happy is that soul who can look where Paul looked, and then speak as Paul spoke!
(a) He looks downward to the grave, and he does it without fear. Hear what he says:Â—
“I am ready to be offered.”Â—I am like an animal brought to the place of sacrifice, and bound with cords to the very horns of the altar. The drink-offering, which generally accompanies the oblation, is already being poured out. The last ceremonies have been gone through. Every preparation has been made. It only remains to receive the death-blow, and then all is over.
“The time of my departure is at hand.”Â—I am like a ship about to put to sea. All on board is ready. I only wait to have the moorings cast off that fasten me to the shore, and I shall then set sail, and begin my voyage.
These are remarkable words to come from the lips of a child of Adam like ourselves! Death is a solemn thing, and never so much so as when we see it close at hand. The grave is a chilling, heart-sickening place, and it is vain to pretend it has no terrors. Yet here is a mortal man who can look calmly into the narrow “house appointed for all living,” and say, while he stands upon the brink, “I see it all, and am not afraid.”
(b) Let us listen to him again. He looks backward to his ministerial life, and he does it without shame. Hear what he says:Â—
“I have fought a good fight.”Â—There he speaks as a soldier. I have fought that good fight with the world, the flesh, and the devil, from which so many shrink and draw back.
“I have finished my course.”Â—There he speaks as one who has run for a prize. I have run the race marked out for me. I have gone over the ground appointed to me, however rough and steep. I have not turned aside because of difficulties, nor been discouraged by the length of the way. I am at last in sight of the goal.
“I have kept the faith.”Â—There he speaks as a steward. I have
held fast that glorious Gospel which was committed to my trust. I have not mingled it with man’s traditions, nor spoiled its simplicity by adding my own inventions, nor allowed others to adulterate it without withstanding them to the face. “As a soldierÂ—a runnerÂ—a steward,” he seems to say, “I am not ashamed.”
That Christian is happy who, as he quits the world, can leave such testimony behind him. A good conscience will save no manÂ—wash away no sinÂ—nor lift us one hair’s breadth toward heaven. Yet a good conscience will be found a pleasant visitor at our bedside in a dying hour. There is a fine passage in Pilgrim’s Progress which describes Old Honest’s passage across the river of death. “The river,” says Bunyan, “at that time overflowed its banks in some places; but Mr. Honest in his lifetime had spoken to one Good Conscience to meet him there; the which he also did, and lent him his hand, and so helped him over.” We may be sure there is a mine of truth in that passage.
(c) Let us hear the Apostle once more. He looks forward to the great day of reckoning, and he does it without doubt. Mark his words:Â—
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”Â— “A glorious reward,” he seems to say, “is ready and laid up in store for meÂ—even that crown which is only given to the righteous. In the great day of judgment the Lord shall give this crown to me, and to all beside me who have loved Him as an unseen Saviour, and longed to see Him face to face. My work on earth is over. This one thing now remains for me to look forward to, and nothing more.”
Let us observe that the Apostle speaks without any hesitation or distrust. He regards the crown as a sure thing, as his own already. He declares with unfaltering confidence his firm persuasion that the righteous Judge will give it to him. Paul was no stranger to all the circumstances and accompaniments of that solemn day to which he referred. The great white throneÂ—the assembled worldÂ—the open booksÂ—the revealing of all secretsÂ—the listening angelsÂ—the awful sentenceÂ—the eternal separation of the lost and savedÂ—all these were things with which he was well acquainted. But none of these things moved him. His strong faith overleaped them all, and he only saw Jesus, his all-prevailing Advocate, and the blood of sprinkling, and sin washed away. “A crown,” he says, “is laid up for me.” “The Lord Himself shall give it to me.” He speaks as if he saw it all with his own eyes.
There are four things I wish to bring forward in speaking of the subject of assurance, and it may clear our way if I name them at
I. First, then, I will try to show that an assured hope, such as Paul here expresses, is a true and Scriptural thing.
II. Secondly, I will make this broad concessionÂ—that a man may never arrive at this assured hope, and yet be saved.
III. Thirdly, I will give some reasons why an assured hope is exceedingly to be desired.
IV. Lastly, I will try to point out some causes why an assured hope is so seldom attained.
I. First, then, I will try to show that an assured hope is a true and Scriptural thing.
Assurance, such as Paul expresses in the verses which head this paper, is not a mere fancy or feeling. It is not the result of high animal spirits, or a sanguine temperament of body. It is a positive gift of the Holy Ghost, bestowed without reference to men’s bodily frames or constitutions, and a gift which every believer in Christ ought to aim at and seek after.
In matters like these, the first question is thisÂ—What saith the Scripture? I answer that question without the least hesitation. The Word of God appears to me to teach distinctly that a believer may arrive at an assured confidence with regard to his own salvation.
I lay it down fully and broadly, as God’s truth, that a true Christian, a converted man, may reach such a comfortable degree of faith in Christ, that in general he shall feel entirely confident as to the pardon and safety of his soulÂ—shall seldom be troubled with doubtsÂ—seldom be distracted with fearsÂ—seldom be distressed by anxious questioningsÂ—and, in short, though vexed by many an inward conflict with sin, shall look forward to death without trembling, and to judgment without dismay.1 This, I say, is the doctrine of the Bible.
Such is my account of assurance. I will ask my readers to mark it well. I say neither less nor more than I have here laid down.
Now such a statement as this is often disputed and denied. Many cannot see the truth of it at all.
The Church of Rome denounces assurance in the most unmeasured terms. The Council of Trent declares roundly that a “believer’s assurance of the pardon of his sins is a vain and ungodly confidence;” and Cardinal Bellarmine, the well-known champion of Romanism, calls it “a prime error of heretics.”
The vast majority of the worldly and thoughtless Christians among ourselves oppose the doctrine of assurance. It offends and
annoys them to hear of it. They do not like others to feel comfortable and sure, because they never feel so themselves. Ask them whether their sins are forgiven, and they will probably tell you they do not know! That they cannot receive the doctrine of assurance is certainly no marvel.
But there are also some true believers who reject assurance, or shrink from it as a doctrine fraught with danger. They consider it borders on presumption. They seem to think it a proper humility never to feel sure, never to be confident, and to live in a certain degree of doubt and suspense about their souls. This is to be regretted, and does much harm.
I frankly allow there are some presumptuous persons who profess to feel a confidence for which they have no Scriptural warrant. There are always some people who think well of themselves when God thinks ill, just as there are some who think ill of themselves when God thinks well. There always will be such. There never yet was a Scriptural truth without abuses and counterfeits. God’s electionÂ—man’s impotenceÂ—salvation by graceÂ—all are alike abused. There will be fanatics and enthusiasts as long as the world stands. But, for all this, assurance is a reality and a true thing; and God’s children must not let themselves be driven from the use of a truth, merely because it is abused.
My answer to all who deny the existence of real, well-grounded assurance, is simply thisÂ—What saith the Scripture? If assurance be not there, I have not another word to say.
But does not Job say, “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God”? (Job 19.25,26.)
Does not David say, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me”? (Psalm 23.4.)
Does not Isaiah say, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee”? (Isaiah 26.3.)
And again, “The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness, and assurance for ever.” (Isaiah 32.17.)
Does not Paul say to the Romans, “I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”? (Rom. 8.38,39.)
Does he not say to the Corinthians, “We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”? (2 Cor. 5.1.)
And again, “We are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.” (2 Cor. 5.6.)
Does he not say to Timothy, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him”? (2 Tim. 1.12.)
And does he not speak to the Colossians of “the full assurance of understanding” (Col. 2.2), and to the Hebrews of the “full assurance of faith,” and the “full assurance of hope”? (Heb. 6.11;
Does not Peter say expressly, “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure”7 (2 Peter 1.10.)
Does not John say, “We know that we have passed from death unto life”? (1 John 3.14.)
And again, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life.”(I John 5.13.)
And again, “We know that we are of God.” (1 John 5.19.)
What shall we say to these things? I feel, for my own part, if I may take these Scriptures in their plain obvious meaning, the doctrine of assurance is true.
But my answer, furthermore, to all who dislike the doctrine of assurance, as bordering on presumption, is this:Â—It can hardly be presumption to tread in the steps of Peter, and Paul, of Job, and of John. They were all eminently humble and lowly-minded men, if ever any were; and yet they all speak of their own state with an assured hope. Surely this should teach us that deep humility and strong assurance are perfectly compatible, and that there is not any necessary connection between spiritual confidence and pride.
My answer, furthermore, is that many have attained to such an assured hope as our text expresses, even in modern times. I will not concede for a moment that it was a peculiar privilege confined to the Apostolic day. There have been in our own land many believers, who have appeared to walk in almost uninterrupted fellowship with the Father and the SonÂ—who have seemed to enjoy an almost unceasing sense of the light of God’s reconciled countenance shining down upon them, and have left their experience on record. I could mention well-known names, if space permitted. The thing has been, and isÂ—and that is enough.
My answer, lastly, is, It cannot be wrong to feel confidently in a matter where God speaks unconditionallyÂ—to believe decidedly when God promises decidedlyÂ—to have a sure persuasion of pardon and peace when we rest on the word and oath of Him that never changes. It is an utter mistake to suppose that the believer who feels assurance is resting on anything he sees in himself. He simply leans on the Mediator of the New Covenant, and the Scripture of truth.
He believes the Lord Jesus means what He says, and takes Him at His word. Assurance after all is no more than a full-grown faith; a masculine faith that grasps Christ’s promise with both handsÂ—a faith that argues like the good centurion. If the Lord “speak the word only,” I am healed. Wherefore then should I doubt? (Matt. 8.8.)
II. I pass on to the second thing I spoke of. I said, a believer may never arrive at this assured hope, which Paul expresses, and yet be saved.
I grant this most freely. I do not dispute it for a moment. I would not desire to make one contrite heart sad that God has not made sad, or to discourage one fainting child of God, or to leave the impression that men have no part or lot in Christ, except they feel assurance.
A person may have saving faith in Christ, and yet never enjoy an assured hope, such as the Apostle Paul enjoyed. To believe and have a glimmering hope of acceptance is one thing; to have “joy and peace” in our believing, and abound in hope, is quite another. All God’s children have faith; not all have assurance. I think this ought never to be forgotten.
I do not shrink from saying that by grace a man may have sufficient faith to flee to Christ; sufficient faith really to lay hold on HimÂ—really to trust in HimÂ—really to be a child of GodÂ—really to be saved; and yet to his last day be never free from much anxiety, doubt, and fear.
“A letter,” says an old writer, “may be written, which is not sealed; so grace may be written in the heart, yet the Spirit may not set the seal of assurance to it.”
A child may be born heir to a great fortune, and yet never be aware of his riches; may live childish, die childish, and never know the greatness of his possessions. And so also a man may be a babe in Christ’s family, think as a babe, speak as a babe, and, though saved, never enjoy a lively hope, or know the real privileges of his inheritance.
Let no man mistake my meaning when I dwell strongly on the reality, privilege, and importance of assurance. Do not do me the injustice to say, I teach that none are saved except such as can say with Paul, “I know and am persuadedÂ—there is a crown laid up for me.” I do not say so. I teach nothing of the kind.
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ a man must have, beyond all question, if he is to be saved. I know no other way of access to the Father. I see no intimation of mercy, excepting through Christ. A
man must feel his sins and lost estateÂ—must come to Jesus for pardon and salvationÂ—must rest his hope on Him, and on Him
alone. But if he only has faith to do this, however weak and feeble that faith may be, I will engage, from Scripture warrants, he shall not miss heaven.
Never, never let us curtail the freeness of the glorious Gospel, or clip its fair proportions. Never let us make the gate more strait and the way more narrow than pride and the love of sin have made it already. The Lord Jesus is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. He does not regard the quantity of faith, but the quality: He does not measure its degree, but its truth. He will not break any bruised reed, nor quench any smoking flax. He will never let it be said that any perished at the foot of the cross. “Him that cometh unto me,” He says, “I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6.37.)
III. I pass on to the third thing of which I spoke. I will give some reasons why an assured hope is exceedingly to be desired.
I ask special attention to this point. I heartily wish that assurance was more sought after than it is. Too many among those who believe begin doubting and go on doubting, live doubting and die doubting, and go to heaven in a kind of mist.
It would ill become me to speak in a slighting way of “hopes” and “trusts.” But I fear many of us sit down content with them, and go no further. I should like to see fewer “peradventurers” in the Lord’s family, and more who could say, “I know and am persuaded.” Oh, that all believers would covet the best gifts, and not be content with less! Many miss the full tide of blessedness the Gospel was meant to convey. Many keep themselves in a low and starved condition of soul, while their Lord is saying, “Eat and drink abundantly, O beloved.” “Ask and receive, that your joy may be full.” (Cant. 5.1;
(1) Let us remember then, for one thing, that assurance is to be desired, because of the present comfort and peace it affords.
Doubts and fears have power to spoil much of the happiness of a true believer in Christ. Uncertainty and suspense are bad enough in any conditionÂ—in the matter of our health, our property, our families, our affections, our earthly callingsÂ—but never so bad as in the affairs of our souls. And so long as a believer cannot get beyond “I hope,” and “I trust,” he manifestly feels a degree of uncertainty about his spiritual state. The very words imply as much. He says “I hope,” because he dares not say, “I know.”
Assurance will support a man in pain and sickness, make all his bed, and smooth down his dying pillow. It will enable him to say, “If my earthly house fail, I have a building of God.” (2 Cor. 5.1.) “I desire to depart and be with Christ.” (Phil. 1.23.) “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” (Psalm 73.26.)
The strong consolation which assurance can give in the hour of death is a point of great importance. We may depend on it, we shall never think assurance so precious as when our turn comes to die. In that awful hour there are few believers who do not find out the value and privilege of an “assured hope,” whatever they may have thought about it during their lives. General “hopes” and “trusts” are all very well to live upon while the sun shines and the body is strong;
but when we come to die, we shall want to be able to say, “I know” and “I feel.” The river of death is a cold stream, and we have to cross it alone. No earthly friend can help us. The last enemy, the king of terrors, is a strong foe. When our souls are departing, there is no cordial like the strong wine of assurance.
(2) Let us remember, for another thing, that assurance is to be desired, because it tends to make a Christian an active working Christian.
None, generally speaking, do so much for Christ on earth as those who enjoy the fullest confidence of a free entrance into heaven, and trust not in their own works, but in the finished work of Christ. That sounds wonderful, I dare say, but it is true.
A believer who lacks an assured hope, will spend much of his time in inward searchings of heart about his own state. Like a nervous, hypochondriacal person, he will be full of his own ailments, his own doubtings and questionings, his own conflicts and corruptions. In short, you will often find he is so taken up with his internal warfare that he has little leisure for other things, and little time to work for God.
But a believer, who has, like Paul, an assured hope, is free from these harassing distractions. He does not vex his soul with doubts about his own pardon and acceptance. He looks at the everlasting covenant sealed with blood, at the finished work, and never-broken word of his Lord and Saviour, and therefore counts his salvation a settled thing. And thus he is able to give an undivided attention to the work of the Lord, and so in the long run to do more.
Never were there such working Christians as the Apostles. They seemed to live to labour. Christ’s work was truly their meat and drink. They counted not their lives dear to themselves. They spent and were spent. They laid down ease, health, worldly comfort, at the foot of the cross. And one grand cause of this, I believe, was their assured hope. They were men who could say, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” (1 John 5.19.)
(3) Let us remember, for another thing, that assurance is to be desired, because it tends to make a Christian a decided Christian.
Indecision and doubt about our own state in God’s sight is a grievous evil, and the mother of many evils. It often produces a
wavering and unstable walk in following the Lord. Assurance helps to cut many a knot, and to make the path of Christian duty clear and plain.
I believe we have here one chief reason why so many in this day are inconsistent, trimming, unsatisfactory, and half-hearted in their conduct about the world. Their faith fails. They feel no assurance that they are Christ’s, and so feel a hesitancy about breaking with the world. They shrink from laying aside all the ways of the old man, because they are not quite confident they have put on the new. In short, I have little doubt that one secret cause of “halting between two opinions” is want of assurance. When people can say decidedly, “The Lord, he is the God,” their course becomes very clear. (1 Kings 18.39.)
(4) Let us remember, finally, that assurance is to be desired, because it tends to make the holiest Christians.
This, too, sounds wonderful and strange, and yet it is true. It is one of the paradoxes of the Gospel, contrary at first sight to reason and common sense, and yet it is a fact. Cardinal Bellarmine was seldom more wide of the truth than when he said, “Assurance tends to carelessness and sloth.” He that is freely forgiven by Christ will always do much for Christ’s glory, and he that enjoys the fullest assurance of this forgiveness will ordinarily keep up the closest walk with God. It is a faithful saying and worthy to be remembered by all believers, “He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3.3.). A hope that does not purify is a mockery, a delusion, and a snare.
None are so likely to maintain a watchful guard over their own hearts and lives as those who know the comfort of living in close communion with God. They feel their privilege, and will fear losing it. They will dread falling from the high estate, and marring their own comforts, by bringing clouds between themselves and Christ. He that goes on a journey with little money about him takes little thought of danger, and cares little how late he travels. He, on the contrary, that carries gold and jewels will be a cautious traveller. He will look well to his roads, his lodgings, and his company, and run no risks. It is an old saying, however unscientific it may be, that the fixed stars are those which tremble most. The man that most fully enjoys the light of God’s reconciled countenance, will be a man tremblingly afraid of losing its blessed consolations, and jealously fearful of doing anything to grieve the Holy Ghost.
IV. I come now to the last thing of which I spoke. I promised to point out some probable causes why an assured hope is so seldom attained. I will do it very shortly.
(1) One most common cause, I suspect, is a defective view of the doctrine of justification.
I am inclined to think that justification and sanctification are insensibly confused together in the minds of many believers. They receive the Gospel truthÂ—that there must be something done IN us, as well as something done FOR us, if we are true members of Christ:
and so far they are right. But then, without being aware of it, perhaps, they seem to imbibe the idea that their justification is, in some degree, affected by something within themselves. They do not clearly see that Christ’s work, not their own workÂ—either in whole or in part, either directly or indirectlyÂ—is alone the ground of our acceptance with God; that justification is a thing entirely without us, for which nothing whatever is needful on our part but simple faithÂ— and that the weakest believer is as fully and completely justified as the strongest.
Many appear to forget that we are saved and justified as sinners, and only sinners; and that we never can attain to anything higher, if we live to the age of Methuselah. Redeemed sinners, justified sinners, and renewed sinners doubtless we must beÂ—but sinners, sinners, sinners, we shall be always to the very last. They do not seem to comprehend that there is a wide difference between our justification and our sanctification. Our justification is a perfect finished work, and admits of no degrees. Our sanctification is imperfect and incomplete, and will be so to the last hour of our life. They appear to expect that a believer may at some period of his life be in a measure free from corruption, and attain to a kind of inward perfection. And not finding this angelic state of things in their own hearts, they at once conclude there must be something very wrong in their state. And so they go mourning all their daysÂ—oppressed with fears that they have no part or lot in Christ, and refusing to be comforted.
Let us weigh this point well. If any believing soul desires assurance, and has not got it, let him ask himself, first of all, if he is quite sure he is sound in the faith, if he knows how to distinguish things that differ, and if his eyes are thoroughly clear in the matter of justification. He must know what it is simply to believe and to be justified by faith before he can expect to feel assured.
In this matter, as well as in many others, the old Galatian heresy is the most fertile source of error, both in doctrine and in practice. People ought to seek clearer views of Christ, and what Christ has done for them. Happy is the man who really understands Â“justification by faith without the deeds of the law.”
(2) Another common cause of the absence of assurance is, slothfulness about growth in grace.
I suspect many true believers hold dangerous and unscriptural views on this point; I do not of course mean intentionally, but they do hold them. Many appear to think that, once converted, they have
little more to attend to, and that a state of salvation is a kind of easy :hair, in which they may just sit still, lie back, and be happy. They seem to fancy that grace is given them that they may enjoy it, and they forget that it is given, like a talent, to be used, employed, and improved. Such persons lose sight of the many direct injunctions “to increaseÂ—to growÂ—to abound more and moreÂ—to add to our faith,” and the like; and in this little-doing condition, this sitting-still state of mind, I never marvel that they miss assurance.
Is any reader of this paper one of those who desires assurance, but has not got it? Mark my words. You will never get it without diligence, however much you may desire it. There are no gains without pains in spiritual things, any more than in temporal. “The soul of the sluggard desireth and hath nothing.” (Prov. 13.4.)
(3) Another common cause of a want of assurance is an inconsistent walk in life.
With grief and sorrow I feel constrained to say that I fear nothing more frequently prevents men attaining an assured hope than this. The stream of professing Christianity in this day is far wider than it formerly was, and I am afraid we must admit at the same time it is .much less deep.
Inconsistency of life is utterly destructive of peace of conscience. The two things are incompatible. They cannot and they will not go together. If you will have your besetting sins, and cannot make up your minds to give them upÂ—if you will shrink from cutting off the right hand and plucking out the right eye when occasion requires itÂ—I will guarantee you will have no assurance.
A vacillating walkÂ—a backwardness to take a bold and decided lineÂ—a readiness to conform to the worldÂ—a hesitating witness for ChristÂ—a lingering tone of religionÂ—a flinching from a high standard of holiness and spiritual lifeÂ—all these make up a sure recipe for bringing a blight upon the garden of your soul.
Lastly, let me turn to all believers who read these pages, and speak to them a few words of brotherly counsel.
The main thing that I urge upon you is thisÂ—if you have not got an assured hope of your own acceptance in Christ, resolve this day to seek it. Labour for it. Strive after it. Pray for it. Give the Lord no rest till you “know whom you have believed.”
Finally, do not forget that assurance is a thing which may be lost for a season, even by the brightest Christians, unless they take care.
Assurance is a most delicate plant. It needs daily, hourly watching, watering, tending, cherishing. So watch and pray the more when you have got it. As Rutherford says, “Make much of assurance.” Be always upon your guard. When Christian slept in the arbour, in Pilgrim’s Progress, he lost his certificate. Keep that in mind.
David lost assurance for many months by falling into transgression. Peter lost it when he denied his Lord. Each found it again undoubtedly, but not till after bitter tears. Spiritual darkness comes on horseback, and goes away on foot. It is upon us before we know that it is coming. It leaves us slowly, gradually, and not till after many days. It is easy to run down hill. It is hard work to climb up. So remember my cautionÂ—when you have the joy of the Lord, watch and pray.
Above all, grieve not the Spirit. Quench not the Spirit. Vex not the Spirit. Drive Him not to a distance, by tampering with small bad habits and little sins. Little jarrings between husbands and wives make unhappy homes, and petty inconsistencies, known and allowed, will bring in a strangeness between you and the Spirit.
Hear the conclusion of the whole matter.
The man who walks with God in Christ most closely will generally be kept in the greatest peace.
The believer who follows the Lord most fully and aims at the highest degree of holiness will ordinarily enjoy the most assured hope, and have the clearest persuasion of his own salvation.
1″Full assurance that Christ hath delivered Paul from condemnation, yea, so full and real as produceth thanksgiving and triumphing in Christ, may and doth consist with complaints and outcries of a wretched condition for the indwelling of the body of sin.”Â—Rutherford’s Triumph of Faith. 1645.