RPM, Volume 13, Number 28, July 10 to July 16, 2011

Heaven on Earth




By Thomas Brooks

Chapter 8

A serious discourse concerning a well-grounded assurance.

Assurance has amazing transforming powers.
It changes iron to gold, ignominies to crowns,
and all sufferings to delights!



  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4
  • Chapter 5
  • Chapter 6
  • Chapter 7
  • Chapter 8

CHAPTER 8

Several special questions about assurance

[1.] The first question. But methinks I hear some precious souls saying, "We have, after much praying, weeping, and waiting, gained this pearl of price, assurance; but oh, how shall we do to strengthen it, how shall we do to keep it? Satan will labor to weaken our assurance, and to rob us of this jewel which is worth more than a world! What means must we use to strengthen our assurance and to secure it?" Now to this question I shall give these following answers:

First, If you would have your assurance strengthened and maintained, then keep close to soul-strengthening ways, be serious and sincere, be diligent and constant in the use of those means and ways wherein you first gained assurance, as prayer; the word, breaking of bread, communion of saints, etc. A serious and cordial use of holy and heavenly means is blessed, not only with a preservation of assurance—but likewise with an addition and increase of it. The ways of God, and his goings in the sanctuary, have wrought wonders upon you, when you were dead; how much more will they work upon you and for you, now that you are by grace made alive? He who will not apply himself to God's strengthening methods, will quickly find his assurance weakened, if not wholly gone. He who thinks himself too good for ordinances, will quickly grow weak in his assurance. The choicest prophets, and highest apostles, who had attained to the fullest assurance, kept close to the ways and precious institutions of Christ. Truly, those who pretend to live above ordinances, and yet live below them, never knew by experience what a mercy it was to have a well-grounded assurance, or else they have lost that blessed assurance that once they had. The doing heart, the diligent heart, turns the spark into a flame, the mite into a million, the penny into a pound, etc.

Secondly, If you would strengthen and maintain your assurance, then dwell much upon your spiritual and eternal privileges, namely, your adoption, justification, reconciliation, glorification, etc., 1 Pet 2:9. This you shall find by experience will mightily tend to the strengthening and maintaining of your assurance. He who neglects this rule will quickly find his sun to set in a cloud; and say, "My harp is tuned to mourning, and my flute to the sound of wailing!" Job 30:31. Holy and heavenly privileges are the food by which assurance is, cherished and maintained.

Thirdly, If you would strengthen and maintain your assurance, then look that your hearts run more out to Christ—than to assurance; more to the sun than to the beams; more to the fountain than to the stream; more to the root than to the branch; more to the cause than to the effect, Song 1:13. Assurance is sweet—but Christ is more sweet! Assurance is lovely—but Christ is altogether lovely! Song 5:16. Assurance is precious—but Christ is most precious! Prov 3:15. Though assurance is a flower which yields much comfort and delight—yet it is but a flower. Though assurance be a precious box—yet it is but a box. Though assurance be a ring of gold—yet it is but a ring of gold. And what is the flower compared to the root? What is the box compared to the precious perfume? What is the ring compared to the diamond? All these are no more than assurance is, compared to Christ. Therefore let your eye and heart, first, most, and last—be fixed upon Christ; then will assurance bed and board with you; otherwise you will quickly find your summer to be turned into winter.

Fourthly, If you would strengthen and maintain your assurance, then look that your hearts are more taken up with Christ—than with your GRACES. Though grace is a glorious creature, yet it is but a creature; therefore let grace have your eye—but be sure that Christ has your heart! Christ must have your heart. Christ will not allow your very graces to be rivals with him. He who minds his graces more than Christ, or that sets his graces upon the throne with Christ—will quickly find what it is to lose the face and favor of Christ. Your graces are but Christ's servants and handmaids; you may look upon them—but you must not love them. It is a reproach to Christ, that those who have married the master, should at the same time love the servants!

Christ is the pot of manna, the cruse of oil, the bottomless ocean, the most sparkling diamond in the ring of glory, etc.

The queen may look upon her glistening courtiers—but she must love upon the king! The wife may take pleasure in her lovely babes—but she must live upon her husband, and be most observant of her husband. So gracious souls may look upon their graces—but they must live upon king Jesus; they may take pleasure in their graces—but they must live upon Christ, and be most observant of Christ. This is the way to keep Christ and assurance; and he who walks contrary to this rule will soon find the loss of both. Christ will be all in all—or he will be nothing at all. Though his coat was once divided, yet he will never allow his crown to be divided, John 19:23; Isa 42:8.

Fifthly, If you would have your assurance strengthened and maintained, then labor to improve it to the strengthening of you against temptations, to the fencing of you against corruptions, to the raising of your resolutions, to the inflaming of your affections, to the bettering of your lives. 'We have,' says Cyprian, 'no such notions as many philosophers have—but we are philosophers in our deeds. We do not speak great things—but we do great things in our lives.' Assurance is a pearl of great price; he who will keep it must improve it. The ready way to maintain our natural strength, and to increase it, is to exercise it. Assurance is one of the choicest and chief talents which God ever entrusted man with, and he who does not improve it, and employ it, will quickly lose it, etc. God will not allow so golden a talent to gather rust, Matt 25:28. Win gold and wear gold, improve gold and keep gold; win assurance and wear assurance, improve assurance and keep assurance.

Dionysius, being advised that one of his subjects had hidden a great amount of money, commands him upon pain of death to bring it to him, which he did—but not all. He then went and dwelt in another country, where he took up some useful employment and profitably used the remainder of his money. When Dionysius heard of this, he sent back the money which he had taken from him, saying, 'Now you know how to use riches, take back what I took from you.' I shall leave you to make the application.

Sixthly, If you would have your assurance strengthened and maintained, then walk humbly with your God. Mic 6:8. God makes the humble man's heart his house to dwell in: Isa 57:15, "For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy—I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." The highest heavens and the lowest hearts are the habitations wherein the Holy One delights to dwell. Now this phrase, "I will dwell with the humble," includes several things:

1. It includes God's superintending the humble.

2. It includes God's assisting and strengthening of the humble.

3. It includes God's protection; I will dwell with the humble, that is, I will protect him and secure him, Job 22:29.

4. It includes God's sympathizing with the humble.

5. It includes God's applying all suitable good to the humble, Isa 57:18, and Isa 63:9. 6. It includes God's ruling and overruling the heart and the affections of the humble.

7. It includes God's teaching and instructing of the humble.

8. Lastly, it includes and takes in a clearer, a fuller, and a larger manifestation and communication of God to humble souls, Psalm 10:17, and Psalm 25:9.

'Ah!' says God, 'I will dwell with the humble; that is, I will more richly, more abundantly, and more gloriously manifest and make known my grace and glory, my goodness and sweetness, my loving-kindness and tenderness—to humble souls!'

Now tell me, humble souls, will not God's dwelling thus with you contribute very much to the strengthening and maintaining of your assurance? James 4:6, "But he gives more grace: therefore he says, God resists the proud" (or as the Greek word emphatically signifies—he sets himself in battle array against the proud), "but gives grace to the humble." Humility is both a grace, and a vessel to receive grace. God pours in grace into the humble souls, as men pour liquor into an empty vessel And truly, the more grace you have, the more will your assurance be strengthened and maintained. Well! remember this, the humble man's mercies are the sweetest mercies, the greatest mercies, the most growing and thriving mercies, the most blessed and sanctified mercies, and the most lasting and abiding mercies. Therefore, as you would have your assurance strengthened and maintained, walk humbly with your God! I say again, walk humbly, walk humbly with your God, and you shall wear the crown of assurance to your grave!

Seventhly, If you would keep and maintain your assurance, then take heed and watch against those very particular sins by which other saints have lost their assurance. Take heed of carnal confidence and security. David lost his assurance by not guarding his heart against those evils, Psalm 30:6-7. Again, take heed of a light, slight, careless, and negligent spirit in holy and spiritual things. The spouse in the Canticles lost her assurance, and her sweet communion with Christ, by her lightness of spirit, Song 5:2-3,6. Again, take heed of a stout and unyielding spirit under the afflicting hand of God; this made God hide his face from them, Isa 57:17. In a word, take heed of tasting of forbidden fruit, remembering what Adam lost by a taste!

Eighthly, If you would maintain and keep your assurance, then frequently and seriously consider of the great difficulty of recovering assurance when it is lost. Oh! the sighs, the groans, the complaints, the prayers, the tears, the heart-renting, the soul-bleeding—which the recovery of your lost assurance will cost! The gaining of assurance at first cost you dear—but the regaining of it, if you should be so unhappy as to lose it, will put you to more pains and effort. Of the two, it is easier to keep assurance now you have it—than to recover it when you have lost it. It is easier to keep the house in reparations, than to build it up when it is fallen.

A man may easier make a seeing eye blind—than a blind to see; a man may soon put an instrument out of tune—but not soon put it in again; a man is easily borne down the stream—but cannot swim so easily up the stream, etc.

Ninthly, and lastly, Consider solemnly the sad and woeful evils and hindrances which will certainly follow upon the loss of your assurance. How can the bird fly without wings, and the wheels go without oil, and the workman work without hands, and the painter paint without eyes? etc. I will only touch upon a few of these hindrances.

(1.) None of the precious things of Christ will be so sweet to you—as formerly they have been.

(2.) You will neither be so fervent in duty, nor so frequent in duty, nor so abundant in duty, nor so spiritual in duty, nor so lively in duty, nor so cheerful in duty—as formerly you have been.

(3.) Afflictions will sooner sink you, temptations will sooner overcome you, oppositions will sooner discourage you.

(4.) Your mercies will be bitter, your life a burden, and death a terror to you; you will be weary of living, and yet afraid of dying, etc.

[2.] Now, the second question is this: Suppose some have not been so careful to keep and maintain their assurance as they should have been—but upon one account or another have left that blessed assurance which once they had; how may such sad souls be supported and kept from fainting, sinking, and languishing under the loss of assurance? To this question I shall give these following answers:

First, Souls who have lost that sweet assurance which once they had, may be supported and kept from fainting and sinking, by considering, that though they have lost their assurance, yet they have not lost their sonship; for once sons and always sons. You are sons, though dejected sons; you are sons, though comfortless sons; you are sons, though mourning sons, Rom 8:15-17. Once children of God—always children; once heirs of God—always heirs; once beloved of God—always beloved; once happy in Christ—always happy: [Psalm 89:30-32,34; John 13:5; Jer 31:3]

2 Sam 23:5, "Although my house be not so with God. For He has established an everlasting covenant with me, ordered and secured in every detail . Will He not bring about my whole salvation and my every desire?" 'Well,' says David, 'though neither myself, nor my house, have been so exact and perfect in our walkings before God as we should—and we have broken our covenants with him, and dealt unworthily with him, and turned our backs upon him, yet he has made with me an everlasting covenant, he has engaged himself to an everlasting covenant, that he will be my Father, and that I shall be his son. And this is my salvation and everlasting ground of consolation and supportation to my soul.'

The second support is this, Consider, that though your comfort, joy, and peace, does depend much upon your assurance; yet your eternal happiness and blessedness does not depend upon your assurance. If it did, you might be both happy and miserable in a day, yes, in an hour! Your happiness lies in your union with God, in your communion with God, in your interest in God; and not in your seeing and knowing your interest. Your joy and comfort lies in your seeing and knowing your interest in God—but your everlasting happiness lies in your being savingly interested in God. The welfare and happiness of the child lies in the kinship which he has in his father—but the joy and comfort of the child lies in his seeing, in his knowing of his interest in his father. It is so between the Lord and believers: Psalm 144:15, "Happy are the people who are in such a case; yes, happy is that people whose God is the Lord."

Among the philosophers there were two hundred and eighty opinions concerning happiness, some affirming happiness to lie in one thing, some in another. Ah! but by the Spirit and word we are taught that happiness lies in our oneness with God, in our nearness and dearness to God, and in our conformity to God, etc. Mark, the Scripture pronounces him happy, whose hope is in God, though he lacks assurance: Psalm 146:5, "Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God." Again, he is happy who trusts in the Lord, though for the present he lacks assurance. Prov 16:20, "And whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he." Again, he is happy who fears the Lord, who has set up God as the object of his fear, though he lacks assurance of the love of God: Prov 28:14, "Happy is the man who always fears the Lord;" who fears to offend, who fears to disobey, who fears to rebel, etc. Again, he is happy that believes in Christ, that rests and stays upon Christ—as the Scriptures everywhere testify, though he may lack assurance.

Happiness lies not in any transient act of the Spirit, as assurance is—but in the more permanent and lasting acts of the Spirit. The philosopher could say, "That he was never a happy man—who might afterwards become miserable." If a man's eternal happiness did lie in the assurance of his happiness, then might a man be crowned with Xerxes's favorite in the morning, and beheaded with him in the evening of the same day.

But this is the believer's blessedness—that his condition is always good—though he does not always see it to be good; that his state is always safe—though it is not always comfortable.

To make up happiness, these things must concur:

1, it must be a suitable good to our natures;

2, it must be an excellent good—a good which has worth and excellency in it;

3, it must be a sufficient good; a few shavings of gold will not make a man rich, etc.;

4, it must be a permanent good. It is permanency which sets the greatest price, and has the greatest influence, into our happiness and felicity.

The third support to keep those precious souls from fainting and sinking who have lost that sweet assurance that once they had, is to consider that though their loss be the greatest and saddest loss that could befall them, yet it is a recoverable loss, it is a loss that may be recovered, as these scriptures clearly evidence. [Psalm 71:20-21, and Psalm 42:5,7-8; Isa 54:7-8; Mic 7:18-19; Song 3:4; Psalm 84:11, etc.] And does not this age furnish us with many instances of this kind? Doubtless many there are among the precious sons and daughters of Zion, who have lost this pearl of price, and after waiting, weeping, and wrestling, have found it again! Therefore be not discouraged, O sighing, losing souls! In the loss of temporals, it is a great support to men's spirits that their loss may be made up, and why should it not be so in spirituals also?

The fourth support to keep their hearts from sinking and breaking who have lost that sweet assurance that once they had, is, seriously to consider that your loss is no greater, nor no sadder, than what the noblest and the choicest saints have sustained, as you may see by comparing these scriptures. [Psalm 30:6-7, and Psalm 51:12; Job 23:8-9; Isa 8:17] Many of those who were once the worthies of this world, and are now triumphing in that eternal world among the princes of glory, had lost that sweet assurance and sense of divine love and favor which they once enjoyed. Therefore let not your spirits faint and fail. In temporal losses it is a comfort and a support to have companions with us; and why should it not much more be so in spirituals?

The fifth support to bear up their spirits who have lost that sweet assurance that once they had, is for them to remember, and seriously mind, that though they have lost assurance, yet they have not lost the blessed breathings and sweet influences of the Spirit upon them. Witness their love to Christ, their longing after Christ, their fear of offending Christ, their care to please Christ, their high esteem of Christ, and their mourning for the dishonors that by themselves or others are done to Christ, etc. [Song 3:5; Mic 7:7-9, compared, Isa 8:17; Isa 50:10] A man may enjoy the warmth, heat, and influence of the sun, when he has lost the sight of the sun. David had lost his assurance, he had lost the sight of the sun; and yet he enjoyed the warmth and influences of it upon his heart, as is evident in Psalm 51.

Though your sun, O Christian, is set in a cloud—yet it will rise again, and in the interim you have and do enjoy the warmth and influences of the sun!

Therefore sorrow not, mourn not, as one without hope. Those warm influences which the Sun of righteousness has now upon your heart, are infallible evidences that he will shine forth and smile upon you as in the days of old; therefore let your bow still abide in strength, Psalm 42:5,7-8,11.

The sixth support to keep their hearts from fainting and sinking who have lost that sweet assurance that once they had, is seriously to consider, that it will be but as a day—but as a short day, before the loss of your assurance shall be made up with a more clear, full, perfect, and complete enjoyment of God. Before long, O mourning soul, your sun shall rise and never set, your joy and comfort shall be always fresh and green. God shall soon comfort you on every side, it shall be night with you no more, you shall be always in the bosom of God, Isa 57:18-20. Psalm 71:20-21, "Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again." The time is at hand, O perplexed soul, when you shall have smiles without frowns, light without darkness, day without night, wine without water, sweet without bitter, and joy without sorrow!

The year of jubilee is at hand. You now sow in tears, you shall shortly reap in joy! Yes, "everlasting joy shall be upon your head," and "sorrow and sighing shall flee away," therefore faint not. [Lev 25; Psalm 129:5; Isa 35:2]

[3.] The third question is this, namely, What MEANS must souls use to recover assurance when it is lost? I shall give a few short answers to this question, and so draw to a close.

First, If you would recover assurance, then you must labor diligently to find out that sin, that Achan, which has robbed you of your wedge of gold, of your assurance. Surely it is not for mere infirmities—but enormities, that God has put out your candle, and caused your sun to set at noon. Surely you have been feeding, not tasting, of forbidden fruit. So God has stripped you of your robes, and taken the crown from off your head, and turned you out of paradise. But this is not all.

Therefore, in the second place, weep much, mourn much, over the Achan, over those wicked messes which have turned your day into night, your rejoicing into sighing, etc. David does thus in Psalm 51, and God takes him up from his knees, and restores to him "the joy of his salvation." Though God is displeased with your sins, yet he is well-pleased with your tears. Rev 2:4-5. When ancient Rome was heathenish, if the malefactor brought to be whipped fell upon his knees before the one whom he had wronged, it was held a greater offence if the offended one allowed the offender to be whipped. The promise is, that he will "revive the spirit of the contrite," Isa 57:15.

It is said of Adam that he turned his face towards the garden of Eden, and from his heart lamented his fall. Ah! losing souls, turn your face towards heaven, and from your hearts lament your fall, lament your loss. Nothing touches God's heart, like penitent tears. No sooner does Ephraim weep over his sins—but the affections of God are stirring towards him, and God cannot hold, but he must proclaim to the world that mourning Ephraim, bemoaning Ephraim, is his dear son, his pleasant child, and that he will "surely have mercy on him;" or, as the Hebrew has it, "I will abundantly have mercy on him," Jer 31:18-20.

It is an excellent expression of Basil, "It grieves, it irks, it is tedious to our most munificent, great, glorious God—that we ask anything little of him. He would have us ask great things of him." When our hearts are set to weep over our sins, God will so act in ways of love towards us, that it shall not long be night with our souls. God will never allow them to be drowned in sorrow—who are set upon drowning their sins in penitential tears. The Jews have a saying, that since the destruction of Jerusalem, 'the door of prayers has been shut.' 'But the door of tears was never shut,' says one. God has by promise engaged himself that those who "sow in tears shall reap in joy," Psalm 126:5. The tears of God's people have such a kind of omnipotency in them, that God himself cannot withstand them. 2 Kings 20:5, "I have seen your tears. I will heal you, and three days from now you will get out of bed and go to the Temple of the Lord." [Psalm 39:12; Job 16:20; Mark 9:24-25, etc.]

Thirdly, If you would recover assurance, then do not sit down discouraged—but be up and doing! Remember what a pearl of great price you have lost, and "repent and do your first works," Rev 2:4-5. Resume the good old work of believing, meditating, examining, praying, hearing, mourning, etc. A man who has been recovered formerly out of such or such a disease, if he relapses, he will use the same means again, he will apply the same remedies again—"this remedy once healed me—I will try it again."

Begin again, and resume those very ways by which at first you got assurance. Resume family duties, apply yourself to public ordinances, be much in closet services; stir up every gift which is in you, stir up every grace which is in you, stir up all the life which is in you, and never leave off blowing, until you have blown your little spark into a flame! Never leave off using your penny, until you have turned your penny into a pound. Never leave off improving your mite, until your mite is turned into a million. God will be found in the use of means, and he will restore our lost mercies in the use of means, Psalm 22:26. But this is not all.

Therefore, in the fourth place, wait patiently upon the Lord. David did so, and at length the Lord brought him out of the horrible pit—out of the pit of confusion, and set his feet upon a rock, and established his goings, and put a new song of praise into his mouth, Psalm 40:1-3. God never has, nor never will fail, the waiting soul. Though God loves to try the patience of his children, yet he does not love to tire out the patience of his children; therefore he will not contend forever, neither will he be always angry, lest the spirits of his people should fail, Isa 57:16-19.

Assurance is a jewel worth waiting for. It is a pearl which God gives to none but such as have waited long at mercy's door. It is a crown that everyone must win by patient waiting, before he can wear it. God does not think the greatest mercies too good for waiting souls, though he knows the least mercy is too good for impatient souls. The breasts of the promises lie full and open to waiting souls, Isa 30:18, and Isa 64:4, and Isa 49:23. The waiting soul shall have anything from God—but the froward and impatient soul gets nothing from God but frowns, and blows, and wounds, and broken bones. Sad souls would do well to make that text their bosom companion, John 14:18, "I will not leave you comfortless," or orphans, "I will come to you." And that Heb 10:36-37, "For you have need of patience, so that after you have done God's will, you may receive what was promised. For in yet a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay."

Fifthly and lastly, If you would recover assurance, then take heed of refusing comforts when God brings them to your door; take heed of throwing gospel cordials away. This was Asaph's sin: "My soul refused to be comforted." God comes and offers love to the soul—and the soul refuses it; God comes and spreads the promises of consolation before the soul—and the soul refuses to look upon them; God comes and offers the riches of grace—and the soul refuses to accept of them. Ambrose says, "If I would offer you gold today, you would not say, 'I will come and get it tomorrow.' And will you lightly put God off when he offers peace and comfort to your soul?"

Sometimes the hand—the man who brings the cordial—is not liked, and therefore men refuse it. Well! remember this: when gold is offered, men care not how great or how base he is, who offers it. Neither should we care by whom the cordials and consolations of the gospel are offered to us, whether they are offered by the hand of Isaiah, a prophet of the blood-royal; or by Amos, from among the herdsmen of Tekoa. If the sweets of heaven are set before you, it is your wisdom and your duty to taste of them, and to feed upon them, without stumbling at the hand which presents them.

Now for a close I shall make a few short USES of what has been said, and so conclude.

[1.] The first use. You who have assurance, be thankful for it. It is a jewel more worth than heaven and earth; therefore be thankful. Assurance is a mercy nobly-descended; it is from above. Man is not born with it in his heart, as he is with a tongue in his mouth, James 1:17. Assurance is a peculiar mercy; it is a flower of paradise which God sticks only in his children's bosoms. Assurance is a mercy-sweetening mercy; it is a mercy which puts the garland upon all our mercies. Assurance makes every bitter sweet, and every sweet more sweet.

Assurance has amazing transforming powers. It changes iron to gold, ignominies to crowns, and all sufferings to delights! He enjoys little, who lacks assurance; he lacks nothing who enjoys it. Therefore be thankful if you have experienced the sweetness of it.

How much cause have you to rejoice, upon whose heads the Lord has put the crown of assurance, a crown of more worth and weight than all princes' crowns in the world. Oh, what cause have you to be thankful for assurance!

[2.] The second use. If God has given you assurance, then do not envy the outward felicity and happiness of the men of the world, Psalm 37:17-18; Prov 23:17. Alas! what are mountains of dust, compared to mountains of gold? what are the stones of the street, compared to rocks of pearl? what are crowns of thorns, compared to crowns of gold, etc.? No more are all the treasures, honors, pleasures, and favors of this world, compared to assurance. The great men of the world are objects of pity—but not of envy. Who envies the prisoner at the bar? Who envies the malefactor who is going to execution? Who envies the dead man that is going to his grave? God has done more for you by giving you assurance than if he had given you all the world, yes, ten thousand worlds!

When the Spanish ambassador boasted that his master was king of such a place, and of such a place, and of such a place, etc., the French ambassador answered, 'My master is king of France, king of France, king of France;' signifying thereby, that France was of more worth, than all the kingdoms under the power of the king of Spain. Ah, Christians! when the men of the world shall cry out, 'Oh, my riches! oh, my honors! oh, my preferments!' You may well cry out, 'Oh, assurance, assurance, assurance!' there being more real worth and glory in that than is to be found in all the wealth and glory of the world. Therefore do not envy the outward prosperity and felicity of worldly men, etc.

[3.] The third use. If God has given you assurance, then give no way to slavish fears. Fear not the scorn and reproaches of men, fear not any necessities. God will not deny him a crust—to whom he has given a Christ; he will not deny him a crumb—upon whom he has bestowed a crown; he will not deny him a less mercy—upon whom he has bestowed assurance, which is the prince of mercies. Fear not death, for why should you fear death, who have assurance of eternal life?

[4.] The fourth use. If God has given you a well-grounded assurance of your everlasting happiness and blessedness, then question his love no more. God does not love to have his love always called into question, by those who he has once assured of his love. No sins of God's children, makes any alteration in His love to them. Just so--none, no, not even God's sharpest dispensations, should make any alteration in our thoughts and affections towards Him. Psalm 89:30-35; Jer 31:3; Eccles 9:8.

[5.] The fifth use. If God has given you assurance, then live holily, live angelically, keep your garments pure and white, walk with an even foot, be shining lights, Rev 3:4; Matt 5:16. Your happiness here is your holiness, and in heaven your highest happiness will be your perfect holiness. Holiness differs nothing from happiness—but in name. Holiness is happiness in the bud, and happiness is holiness at the full. Happiness is nothing but the quintessence of holiness. The more holy any man is, the more the Lord loves him, John 14:21-23.

Augustine does excellently observe, in his tract on John 1:14, "that God loved the humanity of Christ more than any man, because he was fuller of grace and truth than any man." The philosopher could say, "that God was but an empty name without virtue." So are all our professions without holiness. Holiness is the very marrow and quintessence of all religion. Holiness is 'God' stamped and printed upon the soul; it is Christ formed in the heart; it is our light, our life, our beauty, our glory, our joy, our crown, our heaven, our all. The holy soul is happy in life, and blessed in death, and shall be transcendently glorious in the morning of the resurrection, when Christ shall say, "Lo, here am I, and my holy ones, who are my joy! Lo, here am I, and my holy ones, who are my crown! Upon the heads of these holy ones will I set an immortal crown!" Even so, Amen! Lord Jesus.



This article is provided as a ministry of Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill). If you have a question about this article, please email our Theological Editor.

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