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Let us stand still, and admire and wonder at the love of Jesus Christ to poor sinners; that Christ should rather die for us, than for the angels. They were creatures of a more noble extract, and in all probability might have brought greater revenues of glory to God: yet that Christ should pass by those golden vessels, and make us vessels of glory—oh, what amazing and astonishing love is this!  This is the envy of devils and the admiration of angels and saints.

The angels were more honorable and excellent creatures than we.  They were celestial spirits; we earthly bodies, dust and ashes.  They were immediate attendants upon God, they were, as I may say, of his privy chamber; we servants of his in the lower house of this world, farther remote from his glorious presence: their office was to sing hallelujahs, songs of praise to God in the heavenly paradise; ours to dress the garden of Eden, which was but an earthly paradise.  They sinned but once, and but in thought, as is commonly thought; but Adam sinned in thought by lusting, in deed by tasting, and in word by excusing.  Why did not Christ suffer for their sins, as well as for ours?  Or if for any, why not for theirs rather than ours?  “Even so, O Father, for so it pleased thee,” Matthew 11:26.  We move this question, not as being curious to search thy secret counsels, O Lord, but that we may be the more swallowed up in the admiration of the “breadth, and length, and depth, and height of the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.”

The apostle, being in a holy admiration of Christ’s love, affirms it [beyond understanding], Ephesians 3:18, 19; that God, who is the eternal Being, should love man when he had scarce a being, Proverbs 8:30, 31, that he should be enamoured with deformity, that he should love us when in our blood, Ezekiel 16, that he should pity us when no eye pitied us, no, not our own.  Oh, such was Christ’s transcendent love, that man’s extreme misery could not abate it.  The deploredness of man’s condition did but heighten the holy flame of Christ’s love.  It is as high as heaven—who can reach it?  It is as low as hell—who can understand it?  Heaven, through its glory, could not contain him, man being miserable, nor hell’s torments make him refrain, such was his perfect matchless love to fallen man.  That Christ’s love should extend to the ungodly, to sinners, to enemies that were in arms of rebellion against him, Romans 5:6, 8, 10.  Yea, not only so, but that he should hug them in his arms, lodge them in his bosom, dandle them upon his knees, and lay them to his breasts, that they may suck and be satisfied, is the highest improvement of love, Isaiah 66:11-13.

That Christ should come from the eternal bosom of his Father, to a region of sorrow and death (John 1:18).  That God should be manifested in the flesh, the Creator made a creature (Isaiah. 53:4).  That he that was clothed with glory, should be wrapped with rags of flesh (1 Timothy 3:16).  That he that filled heaven should be cradled in a manger, John 17:5.  That the God of Israel should flee into Egypt (Matthew 2:14).  That the judge of all flesh should be condemned; that the God of life should be put to death (John 19:41).  That he that is one with his Father should cry out of misery, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matthew 26:39).  That he that had the keys of hell and death (Rev. 1:18) should lie imprisoned in the sepulchre of another, having, in his lifetime, nowhere to lay his head; nor after death, to lay his body (John 19:41, 42).  And [that] all this [is] for man, for fallen man, for miserable man, for worthless man, is beyond the thoughts of created natures.  The sharp, the universal and continual sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, from the cradle to the cross, does above all other things speak out the transcendent love of Jesus Christ to poor sinners.  That wrath, that great wrath, that fierce wrath, that pure wrath, that infinite wrath, that matchless wrath of an angry God, that was so terribly impressed upon the soul of Christ, quickly spent his natural strength, and turned his moisture into the drought of summer, Psalm 32:4; and yet all this wrath he patiently underwent, that sinners might be saved, and that “he might bring many sons unto glory” (Hebrews 2:10).

Oh wonder of love!  Love is submissive, it enables to suffer.  As the pelican, out of her love to her young ones, when they are bitten with serpents, feeds them with her own blood to recover them again; so when we were bitten by the old serpent, and our wound incurable, and we in danger of eternal death, then did our dear Lord Jesus, that he might recover us and heal us, feed us with his own blood (Genesis 3:15; John 7:53-56).  Oh love unspeakable!  This made [Bernard] cry out, “Lord, thou hast loved me more than thyself; for thou hast laid down thy life for me.”

It was only the golden link of love that fastened Christ to the cross (John 10:17), and that made him die freely for us, and that made him willing “to be numbered among transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12), that we might be numbered among [the] “general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven” Hebrews 12:23).  If Jonathan’s love to David was wonderful (2 Samuel 1:26), how wonderful must the love of Christ be to us, which led him by the hand to make himself an offering for us (Hebrews 10:10), which Jonathan never did for David.

Christ’s love is like his name, and that is Wonderful (Isaiah. 9:6); yea, it is so wonderful, that it is supra omnem creaturam, ultra omnem measuram, contra omnem naturam, above all creatures, beyond all measure, contrary to all nature.  It is above all creatures, for it is above the angels, and therefore above all others.  It is beyond all measure, for time did not begin it, and time shall never end it; place doth not bound it, sin doth not exceed it, no estate, no age, no sex is denied it, tongues cannot express it, understandings cannot conceive it: and it is contrary to all nature; for what nature can love where it is hated?  What nature can forgive where it is provoked?  What nature can offer reconciliation where it receiveth wrong?  What nature can heap up kindness upon contempt, favor upon ingratitude, mercy upon sin?  And yet Christ’s love hath led him to all this; so that well may we spend all our days in admiring and adoring of this wonderful love, and be always ravished with the thoughts of it.

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This precious truth thus proved, looks sourly and wishly upon all those that affirm that believers cannot in this life attain unto a certain well-grounded assurance of their everlasting happiness and blessedness – as [do] papists and Arminians: all know that know their writings and teachings, that they are in arms against this Christ-exalting, and soul-cheering doctrine of assurance. “I know no such thing as assurance of heaven in this life,” saith Grevinchovius, the Arminian.

Assurance is a pearl that they trample under feet. It is a beam of heaven that hath so much light, brightness, and shining glory in it, that their bleary eyes cannot behold it.  Assurance is glory in the bud, it is the suburbs of paradise, it is a cluster of the land of promise, it is a spark of God, it is the joy and crown of a Christian; greater is their impiety and folly that deny assurance, that cry down assurance under the name or notions whatsoever.  They are rather tormenters than comforters that say, poor souls may know that there is a crown of righteousness, but they must not presume to know that they shall have the honor to wear that crown.

Arminians are not ashamed to say, that God may crown a man one hour, and uncrown him in the next.  They blush not to say that a man may be happy and miserable, under love and under wrath, an heir of heaven and a firebrand of hell, a child of light and a child of darkness, and all in an hour.  Oh what miserable comforters are these!  What is this but to torment the weary soul?  Ah! How sad it is for men to affirm that wounded spirits may know “that the Sun of righteousness hath healing in his wings,” Mal. 4:2; but they cannot be assured that they shall be healed.  The hungry soul may know that there is bread enough in his Father’s house but cannot know that he shall taste of that bread, Luke 15:17.  The naked soul may know that Christ hath robes of righteousness to cover all spots, sores, defects, and deformities of it, but may not presume to know that Christ will put these royal robes upon it, Rev. 3:18.  The impoverished soul may know that there be unsearchable riches in Christ, but cannot be assured that ever it shall partake of those riches, Ephesians 3:8.

All that these men allow poor souls is guesses and conjectures that it may be well with them. They will not allow souls to say with Thomas, “My Lord, and my God,” John 20:18; nor with Job to say, My Redeemer lives,” Job 19:25; nor with the church, I am my beloved’s, and his desire is towards me,” Solomon’s Song 7:10.  And so they leave souls in a cloudy, questioning, doubting, hovering condition.

What more uncomfortable doctrine than this?  What more soul-disquieting, and soul-unsettling doctrine than this?  Thou art this moment in a state of life, thou mayest the next moment be in a state of death?  Thou art now gracious, thou mayest the next hour be graceless?  Thou art now in the promised land, yet though mayest die in the wilderness?  Thou art today a habitation for God, thou mayest tomorrow be a synagogue of Satan?  Thou hast today received the white stone of absolution, thou mayest tomorrow receive the black stone of condemnation?  Thou art now in Thy Savior’s arms, thou mayest tomorrow be in Satan’s paws?  Thou art now Christ’s freeman, thou mayest tomorrow be Satan’s bondman?  Thou art now a vessel of honor, thou mayest suddenly become a vessel of wrath?  Thou art now greatly beloved, thou mayest soon be as greatly loathed?  This day thy name is fairly written in the book of life, tomorrow the book may be crossed, and thy name blotted out for ever?  This is the Arminians’ doctrine, and if this be not to keep souls in a doubting, trembling and shivering condition, what is it?

Christians, remember, this is your happiness and blessedness, that “none can pluck you out of your Father’s hand,” John 10:29.  That you are “kept,” as in a garrison, or as with a guard, “by the power of God through faith unto salvation,” 1 Peter 1:5.  “That the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but the kindness of the Lord shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenant of peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on you,” Isaiah 54:10.  “That Christ ever lives to make intercession for you,” Heb. 7:25; and that men and devils are as able, and shall as soon, make a world, dethrone God, pluck the sun out of the firmament, and Christ out of the bosom of the Father, as they shall pluck a believer out of the everlasting arms of Christ, or rob him of one of his precious jewels, Deut. 33:26, 27.  I shall close up this chapter with an excellent saying of Luther: “The whole Scripture,” saith he, “doth principally aim at this thing, that we should not doubt, but that we should hope, that we should trust, that we should believe, that God is a merciful, a bountiful, a gracious, and a patient God to his people.”

From Thomas Brooks, Heaven Made Sure.

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Let us stand still, and admire and wonder at the love of Jesus Christ to poor sinners; that Christ should rather die for us, than for the angels. They were creatures of a more noble extract, and in all probability might have brought greater revenues of glory to God: yet that Christ should pass by those golden vessels, and make us vessels of glory—oh, what amazing and astonishing love is this! This is the envy of devils and the admiration of angels and saints.

The angels were more honorable and excellent creatures than we. They were celestial spirits; we earthly bodies, dust and ashes. They were immediate attendants upon God, they were, as I may say, of his privy chamber; we servants of his in the lower house of this world, farther remote from his glorious presence: their office was to sing hallelujahs, songs of praise to God in the heavenly paradise; ours to dress the garden of Eden, which was but an earthly paradise. They sinned but once, and but in thought, as is commonly thought; but Adam sinned in thought by lusting, in deed by tasting, and in word by excusing. Why did not Christ suffer for their sins, as well as for ours? Or if for any, why not for theirs rather than ours? “Even so, O Father, for so it pleased thee,” Matthew 11:26. We move this question, not as being curious to search thy secret counsels, O Lord, but that we may be the more swallowed up in the admiration of the “breadth, and length, and depth, and height of the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.”

The apostle, being in a holy admiration of Christ’s love, affirms it [beyond understanding], Ephesians 3:18, 19; that God, who is the eternal Being, should love man when he had scarce a being, Proverbs 8:30, 31, that he should be enamoured with deformity, that he should love us when in our blood, Ezekiel 16, that he should pity us when no eye pitied us, no, not our own. Oh, such was Christ’s transcendent love, that man’s extreme misery could not abate it. The deploredness of man’s condition did but heighten the holy flame of Christ’s love. It is as high as heaven—who can reach it? It is as low as hell—who can understand it? Heaven, through its glory, could not contain him, man being miserable, nor hell’s torments make him refrain, such was his perfect matchless love to fallen man. That Christ’s love should extend to the ungodly, to sinners, to enemies that were in arms of rebellion against him, Romans 5:6, 8, 10. Yea, not only so, but that he should hug them in his arms, lodge them in his bosom, dandle them upon his knees, and lay them to his breasts, that they may suck and be satisfied, is the highest improvement of love, Isaiah 66:11-13.

That Christ should come from the eternal bosom of his Father, to a region of sorrow and death (John 1:18). That God should be manifested in the flesh, the Creator made a creature (Isaiah. 53:4). That he that was clothed with glory, should be wrapped with rags of flesh (1 Timothy 3:16). That he that filled heaven should be cradled in a manger, John 17:5. That the God of Israel should flee into Egypt (Matthew 2:14). That the judge of all flesh should be condemned; that the God of life should be put to death (John 19:41). That he that is one with his Father should cry out of misery, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matthew 26:39). That he that had the keys of hell and death (Rev. 1:18) should lie imprisoned in the sepulchre of another, having, in his lifetime, nowhere to lay his head; nor after death, to lay his body (John 19:41, 42). And [that] all this [is] for man, for fallen man, for miserable man, for worthless man, is beyond the thoughts of created natures. The sharp, the universal and continual sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, from the cradle to the cross, does above all other things speak out the transcendent love of Jesus Christ to poor sinners. That wrath, that great wrath, that fierce wrath, that pure wrath, that infinite wrath, that matchless wrath of an angry God, that was so terribly impressed upon the soul of Christ, quickly spent his natural strength, and turned his moisture into the drought of summer, Psalm 32:4; and yet all this wrath he patiently underwent, that sinners might be saved, and that “he might bring many sons unto glory” (Hebrews 2:10).

Oh wonder of love! Love is submissive, it enables to suffer. As the pelican, out of her love to her young ones, when they are bitten with serpents, feeds them with her own blood to recover them again; so when we were bitten by the old serpent, and our wound incurable, and we in danger of eternal death, then did our dear Lord Jesus, that he might recover us and heal us, feed us with his own blood (Genesis 3:15; John 7:53-56). Oh love unspeakable! This made [Bernard] cry out, “Lord, thou hast loved me more than thyself; for thou hast laid down thy life for me.”

It was only the golden link of love that fastened Christ to the cross (John 10:17), and that made him die freely for us, and that made him willing “to be numbered among transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12), that we might be numbered among [the] “general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven” Hebrews 12:23). If Jonathan’s love to David was wonderful (2 Samuel 1:26), how wonderful must the love of Christ be to us, which led him by the hand to make himself an offering for us (Hebrews 10:10), which Jonathan never did for David.

Christ’s love is like his name, and that is Wonderful (Isaiah. 9:6); yea, it is so wonderful, that it is supra omnem creaturam, ultra omnem measuram, contra omnem naturam, above all creatures, beyond all measure, contrary to all nature. It is above all creatures, for it is above the angels, and therefore above all others. It is beyond all measure, for time did not begin it, and time shall never end it; place doth not bound it, sin doth not exceed it, no estate, no age, no sex is denied it, tongues cannot express it, understandings cannot conceive it: and it is contrary to all nature; for what nature can love where it is hated? What nature can forgive where it is provoked? What nature can offer reconciliation where it receiveth wrong? What nature can heap up kindness upon contempt, favor upon ingratitude, mercy upon sin? And yet Christ’s love hath led him to all this; so that well may we spend all our days in admiring and adoring of this wonderful love, and be always ravished with the thoughts of it.

The current formatting and editing is copyrighted by Jim Ehrhard, 2000. You are permitted to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author; (2) any modifications are clearly marked; (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction; and (4) you do not make more than 100 copies without permission. If you would like to post this material to your web site or make any use other than as defined above, please contact Teaching Resources International

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“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” Romans 8:16

1. It is inward and secret.

First, The Spirit of Christ doth not witness by any outward voice, as God did from heaven of (Mat. 3:17); nor by an angel, as to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:30-34); but in an inward, secret, glorious, and unspeakable way he bids believers be of good cheer, their sins are forgiven them, as Christ said to the palsied man in the Gospel (Mat. 9:2). And this truth is to be solemnly observed against those poor deceived and deluded souls in these days that would make the world believe that they have had such and such glorious things made known by an outward, audible voice from heaven.

It is much to be feared that they never found the inward, the sweet, tire secret, the powerful testimony and report of the Spirit of Christ. that boast, and brag, and rest so much upon an outward testimony. In 1 Kings 19:11-13, you read of “a great strong wind that rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks: but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind there was an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire there was a still small voice,” and the Lord spake to Elijah in that still small voice. Ah, Christians! the Spirit of the Lord makes not a noise, but he comes in a still small voice, as I may say, and makes a soft and secret report to the soul, that it is beloved, that it is pardoned, and that it shall be for ever glorified.

2. It is gained in holy ways.

Secondly, the testimony and witness of the Spirit of Christ is only gained and enjoyed in holy and heavenly ways, as you may clearly see by comparing the following Scriptures together: Acts 10:4; Dan. 9:22; Isa. 64:5; Acts 10:44. The Spirit of the Lord is a Holy Spirit, and he cannot, he will not, make any report of the love of the Father to the soul out of a way of holiness.

Verily, all those glorious reports that many boast they have met with in sinful ways, in wretched and ungodly ways, are from the hissing of the old serpent, and not from the whisperings of the Spirit of grace. I think it is little less than blasphemy for any to affirm, that the blessed Spirit of Christ doth make reports of the love and favor of God to persons walking in ways of wickedness and baseness.

3. It is clear, full, and satisfying.

Thirdly, the testimony and witness of the Spirit of Christ, is a clear, a full, a satisfying testimony and witness, John 14:17; 1 John 3:24. The soul sits down under the home-reports of the Spirit, and saith, Lord, it is enough; the soul being full, sits down and sweetly sings it out: “My beloved is mine, and I am his. I am my well-beloved’s, and his desire is towards me,” Song of Solomon 2:16, and 7:10. “The Lord is my portion and the lot of mine inheritance,” Psalm. 16:5. “I have none in heaven but thee, neither is there any on earth that I desire in comparison of thee,” Psalm 73:15. “Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,” 2 Tim. 4:8. “Make haste, my beloved,” Song of Solomon, 8:14.

Such power, majesty, and glory, attends the glorious testimony of the Spirit of Christ, as scatters all clouds, as resolves all doubts, as answers all objections, and as silences the wrangling soul. If the testimony of the Spirit of Christ were not a full, satisfying testimony, it could never fill the soul with such joy as is “unspeakable and full of glory,” and with “such peace as passes understanding;” if the testimony were not satisfactory, the soul would still be under fears and doubts, the heart would still be a-wrangling and complaining that it might be left to perish and to find the door of mercy shut against it. If you bring news to a condemned person that the king hath pardoned him, and that he will receive him to favor, and confer such and such dignity upon him, yet this doth pot quiet him nor satisfy him, till he knows it is the king’s act. Till he is satisfied in that, he cannot say it is enough, he cannot be cheerful, he cannot be full of delight. But when he is satisfied that it is the king’s act, that the king hath certainly done this and that for him, then he is satisfied, and then sighing and mourning flies away, and then he rejoices with joy unspeakable. So it is with a believing soul under the testimony and witness of the spirit of Christ.

4. It is not operative in all believers.

Fourthly, though the Spirit be a witnessing Spirit, yet he doth not always witness to believers their adoption, and their interest in Christ. There is a mighty difference between the working of the Spirit and the witness of the Spirit. There are often tunes many glorious and efficacious works of the Spirit, as faith, love, repentance, and holiness, where there is not the witness of the Spirit, Isa. 50:10. David at that very time had the Spirit, and many sweet workings of the Spirit in him and upon him, when he had by sin lost the witness and testimony of the Spirit, Psalm 51:10-12.

Though the Spirit of the Lord be a witnessing and a sealing Spirit, yet he doth not always witness and seal up the love and favor of the Father to believers’ souls, as you may see by the following scriptures, and as the experience of many precious Christians can abundantly evidence: Job 23:8, 9; 1 John 5:13; Psalms 88 and 77; Micah 7:8, 9; Isa. 8: 17. All believers do not see a like need of this testimony, they do not all alike prize this testimony, they do not all alike observe it and make good use of it; and, therefore, it is no wonder if the Spirit be a witnessing Spirit to some and not to others. You do but gratify Satan and wrong your own souls, when you argue that certainly you have not the Spirit, because he is not a witnessing and a sealing Spirit to your souls. Though it be the office of the Spirit to witness, yet it is not his office always to witness to believers their happiness and blessedness.

The Spirit may act one way and in one room of the soul, when he doth not act in another. Sometimes the Spirit works upon the understanding, sometimes upon the will, sometimes upon the affections, sometimes upon faith, sometimes upon fear, sometimes upon love, sometimes upon humility. Our hearts are the Spirit’s harps. If a man should always touch one string in an instrument, he would never play various tunes, he would never make pleasant music; no more would the Spirit, if he should be always a-doing one thing in the soul. Therefore he acts variously. Sometimes he will shew himself a quickening Spirit. sometimes an enlightening Spirit, sometimes a rejoicing Spirit, sometimes a sealing Spirit, and always a supporting Spirit.

5. It is a sure testimony.

Fifthly, the testimony and witness of the Spirit is a sure testimony, a sure witness. The Spirit is truth itself; he is the great searcher of the deep things of God. The Spirit of the Lord is the discoverer, the confuter, and destroyer of all false spirits. The Spirit is above all possibility of being deceived; he is omnipotent, he is omniscient, he is omnipresent; he is one of the cabinet council of heaven. He lives in the bosom of the Father, and can call them all by name upon whom the Father hath set his heart, and therefore his testimony must needs be true. It is a surer testimony than if a man should hear a voice from heaven pronouncing him to be happy and blessed. You may safely and securely lay the weight of your souls upon this testimony; it never bath deceived, it never will deceive any that bath leaned upon it. This testimony will be a rock that will bear up a soul, when other false testimonies will be but “a reed of Egypt” that will deceive the soul, that will undo the soul; as I am afraid many in this age of delusion have found by sad experience.

6. It is always accompanied by the testimony of our own spirit.

Sixthly, the testimony of God’s Spirit is always accompanied with the testimony of our own spirit. These may be distinguished, but they can never be separated. When the Spirit of God bears his witness for a man, the man’s own spirit doth not witness against him. Look, as face answers to face, so doth the witness of a believer’s spirit answer to the witness of the Spirit of Christ. Rom. 8:16, “The Spirit witnesseth together with our spirits that we be the sons of God.” Now, if our own consciences do not testify first that we are sons and heirs, the Spirit doth not testify; for the Spirit bears witness together with our spirits. The Word is very express [clear] in 1 John 3:21, “But if our hearts condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. But if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts, and knoweth all things.” 1 John 5:8-12.

7. It is always according to scripture.

Seventhly, the witness of the Spirit is ever according to the Word. There is a sweet harmony between the inward and the outward testimony, between the Spirit of God and the Word of God. The scriptures were all [inspired] by the Spirit (2 Pet. 1:20, 21) and therefore the Spirit cannot contradict himself, which he would do, if he should give any testimony contrary to the testimony of the Word. It is blasphemy to make the testimony of the Spirit to contradict the testimony of the Word. The Spirit hath revealed his whole mind in the Word, and he will not give a contrary testimony to what he hath given in the Word. The Word saith, They that are born again, that are new creatures, that believe and repent, shall be saved. But thou art born again, thou art a new creature, thou believest and repentest; therefore thou shalt be saved, saith the Spirit. The Spirit never looseth where the Word bindeth, the Spirit never justifies where the Word condemns, the Spirit never approves where the Word disapproves, the Spirit never blesses where the Word curses.

In the Old Testament all revelations were to be examined by the Word, Deut. 13:1-4. Isa. 8:20, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light (or no morning) in them.” So in that of John 16:13, “The Spirit shall lead you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but what he shall hear, that shall he speak.” Here the Holy Ghost is brought in as some messenger or ambassador who only relates things faithfully according to that he hath in charge. Such as look and lean upon the hissing of the old serpent may have a testimony that they are blessed, against the testimony of the Word: but wherever the Spirit of Christ gives his testimony, it is always according to the Word.

8. It is holy.

Eighthly, it is a holy witness, a holy testimony. Nothing makes the heart delight more in the love, study, practice, and growth of holiness, than the glorious testimony of the Holy Spirit; and the more clear and full the testimony is, the more holy and gracious it will make the soul. Nothing puts upon the soul such golden engagements to holiness, as the Spirit sealing a man up to the day of redemption, as the Spirit speaking and sealing peace, love, and pardon to the soul, Psalm 85:8; 1 Cor. 15:31; 2 Cor. 5:14. Nothing makes a man more careful to please Christ, more fearful to offend Christ, more studious to exalt Christ, and more circumspect to walk with Christ, than this testimony of the Spirit of Christ.

Verily, that is not the blessed whispering of Christ’s Spirit, but the hissing of the old serpent, that makes men bold with sin, that makes men daily with sin, that makes man a servant to sin, that breeds a contempt of ordinances, a neglect of holy duties, a carelessness in walking with God.

9. It is only bestowed on renewed hearts.

Ninthly and lastly, assurance is a jewel, a pearl of such price, that God only bestows it upon renewed hearts. The Spirit never sets his seal upon any, but upon those that Christ hath first printed his image upon. God gives the white stone, Rev. 2:17, but only to those from whom he hath taken the heart of stone (Ezek. 36:25-27 compared). Christ never tells a man that his name is written in the book of life, till he hath breathed into him spiritual life, Luke 10:20. Christ never says, “Son, be of good cheer, thy sin is pardoned,” till he hath first said, “Be thou healed, be thou cleansed,” Luke 5:18-20. Christ never gives a man a new name that is better than the names of sons and daughters, till he hath made him a new creature, Isa. 56:5; 2 Cor. 5:17. Of slaves Christ first makes us sons, before we cry Abba, Father, Rom. 8:15. Of enemies, he first makes us friends, before he will make us of his court and household, Eph. 2:13-20. Christ will never hang a pearl in a swine’s snout, nor put new wine into old bottles, nor his royal robes upon a leprous back, nor his golden chain about a dead man’s neck, nor his glistering crown upon a traitor’s head.

The Spirit never sets his seal upon any but those that Christ hath first set as a seal upon his heart, Eph. 1:13; Song of Solomon 8:6. The Spirit only bears witness to such as hate sin as Christ hates it, and that love righteousness as Christ loves it, that hate sin more than hell, and that love truth more than life, Psalm 45:7

Excerpted and edited from Heaven on Earth.

The current formatting and editing is copyrighted by Jim Ehrhard, 1999. You are permitted to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author; (2) any modifications are clearly marked; (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction; and (4) you do not make more than 100 copies without permission. If you would like to post this material to your web site or make any use other than as defined above, please contact Teaching Resources International

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By working the soul to make false inferences from the cross actings of providence. Saith Satan, “Dost thou not see how Providence crosses thy prayers, and crosses thy desires, thy tears, thy hopes, thy endeavors?” Surely if his love were towards thee, if his soul did delight and take pleasure in thee, he would not deal thus with thee.

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That many things may be cross to our desires that are not cross to our good. Abraham, Jacob, David, Job, Moses, Jeremiah, Jonah, and Paul met with many things that were contrary to their desires and endeavors, that were not contrary to their good; as all know that have wisely compared their desires and endeavors and God’s actings together. Physic [medicines] often works contrary to the patients’ desires, when it doth not work contrary to their good.

I remember a story of a godly man, who had a great desire to go to France, and as he was going to take shipping he broke his leg; and it pleased Providence so to order it, that the ship that he should have gone in at that very same time was cast away, and not a man saved; and so by breaking a bone his life was saved. Though Providence did work cross to his desire, yet it did not work cross to his good.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That the hand of God may be against a man, when the love and heart of God is much set upon a man. No man can conclude how the heart of God stands by his hand. The hand of God was against Ephraim, and yet his love, his heart, was dearly set upon Ephraim: “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus: Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. Turn thou me, and I shall he turned; for thou art the lord my God. Surely, after that I was returned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh; I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still. Therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord” (Jer. 31:18-20).

God can look sourly, and chide bitterly, and strike heavily, even where and when he loves dearly, The hand of God was very much against Job, and yet his love, his heart, was very much set upon Job, as you may see by comparing chapters 1 and 2, with 41 and 42. The hand of God was sore against David and Jonah, when his heart was much set upon them. He that shall conclude that the heart of God is against those that his hand is against, will condemn the generation of the just, whom God unjustly would not have condemned.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan, is, to consider, That all the cross providences that befall the saints are but in order to some noble good that God doth intend to prefer [confer] upon them. Providence wrought cross to David’s desire in taking away the child sinfully begotten, but yet not cross to more noble good; for was it not far better for David to have such a legitimate heir as Solomon was, than that a bastard should wear the crown, and sway the scepter?

Joseph, you know, was sold into a far country by the envy and malice of his brethren, and afterwards imprisoned because he would not be a prisoner to his mistress’s lusts; yet all these providences did wonderfully conduce to his advancement, and the preservation of his father’s family, which was then the visible church of Christ. It was so handled by a noble hand of providence, that what they sought to decline [injure], they did promote. Joseph was therefore sold by his brethren that he might not be worshipped, and yet he was therefore worshipped because he was sold.

David was designed to a kingdom, but oh the straits, troubles, and deaths that he runs through before he feels the weight of his crown! And all this was but in order to the sweetening of his crown, and to the settling of it more firmly and gloriously upon his head. God did so contrive it that Jonah’s offense, and those cross actings of his that did attend it, should advantage that end which they seemed most directly to oppose. Jonah he flies to Tarshish, then cast into the sea, then saved by a miracle. Then the mariners, as it is very probable, who cast Jonah Into the sea, declared to the Ninevites what had happened; therefore he must be a man sent of God, and that his threatenings must be believed and hearkened to, and therefore they must repent and humble themselves, that the wrath threatened might not be executed.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That all the strange, dark, deep, and changeable providences that believers meet with, shall further them in their way to heaven, in their journey to happiness. Divine wisdom and love will so order all things here below, that they shall work for the real, internal, and eternal good of them that love him. All the rugged providences that David met with did contribute to the bringing of him to the throne; and all the rugged providences that Daniel and the “three children” met with did contribute to their great advancement. So all the rugged providences that believers meet with, they shall all contribute to the lifting up of their souls above all things, below God. As the waters lifted up Noah’s ark nearer heaven, and as all the stones that were about Stephen’s ears did but knock him the closer to Christ, the cornerstone, so all the strange rugged providences that we meet with, they shall raise us nearer heaven, and knock us nearer to Christ, that precious cornerstone.

Remedy (5). That all the troubles and afflictions that you meet with in a way of righteousness shall never hurt you, they shall never harm you. All the afflictions that attend men in a way of righteousness can never rob them of their treasure, of their jewels. They may rob them of some slight things, as the sword that is by their side, or the stick in their hand, or of the flowers or ribbons that be in their hats. The treasures of a saint are the presence of God, the favor of God, union and communion with God, the pardon of sin, the joy of the Spirit, the peace of conscience, which are jewels that none can give but Christ, nor none can take away but Christ.

Now why should a gracious soul keep off from a way of holiness because of afflictions, when no afflictions can strip a man of his heavenly jewels which are his ornaments and his safety here, and will be his happiness and glory hereafter? Why should that man be afraid, or troubled for storms at sea, whose treasures are sure, his grace is safe, his comfort is safe, and his crown is safe in the hand of Christ. “I know him in whom I have believed, and that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him until that day,” saith the apostle (2 Tim. 1:12). The child’s most precious things are most secure in his father’s hands; so are our souls, our graces, and our comforts in the hand of Christ.

Excerpted and edited from Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices.

The current formatting and editing is copyrighted by Jim Ehrhard, 1999. You are permitted to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author; (2) any modifications are clearly marked; (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction; and (4) you do not make more than 100 copies without permission. If you would like to post this material to your web site or make any use other than as defined above, please contact Teaching Resources International

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This precious truth thus proved, looks sourly and wishly upon all those that affirm that believers cannot in this life attain unto a certain well-grounded assurance of their everlasting happiness and blessedness–as papists and Arminians: all know that know their writings and teachings, that they are in arms against this Christ-exalting, and soul-cheering doctrine of assurance. “I know no such thing as assurance of heaven in this life,” saith Grevinchovius the Arminian.

Assurance is a pearl that they trample under feet; it is a beam of heaven that hath so much light, brightness, and shining glory in it, that their bleary eyes cannot behold it. Assurance is glory in the bud, it is the suburbs of paradise, it is a cluster of the land of promise, it is a spark of God, it is the joy and crown of a Christian; greater is their impiety and folly that deny assurance, that cry down assurance under the name or notions whatsoever. They are rather tormenters than comforters that say, poor souls may know that there is a crown of righteousness, but they must not presume to know that they shall have the honor to wear that crown.

Arminians are not ashamed to say, that God may crown a man one hour, and uncrown him in the next; they blush not to say that a man may be happy and miserable, under love and under wrath, an heir of heaven and a firebrand of hell, a child of light and a child of darkness, and all in an hour. Oh what miserable comforters are these! What is this but to torment the weary soul? Ah! How sad it is for men to affirm that wounded spirits may know “that the Sun of righteousness hath healing in his wings,” Mal. 4:2; but they cannot be assured that they shall be healed. The hungry soul may know that there is bread enough in his Father’s house but cannot know that he shall taste of that bread, Luke 15:17. The naked soul may know that Christ hath robes of righteousness to cover all spots, sores, defects, and deformities of it, but may not presume to know that Christ will put these royal robes upon it, Rev. 3:18. The impoverished soul may know that there be unsearchable riches in Christ, but cannot be assured that ever it shall partake of those riches, Eph. 3:8.

All that these men allow poor souls, is guesses and conjectures that it may be well with them. They will not allow souls to say with Thomas, “My Lord, and my god,” John 20:18; nor with Job to say, My Redeemer lives,” Job 19:25; nor with the church, I am my beloved’s, and his desire is towards me,” Solomon’s Song 7:10. And so they leave souls in a cloudy, questioning, doubting, hovering condition.

What more uncomfortable doctrine than this? What more soul-disquieting, and soul-unsettling doctrine than this? Thou art this moment in a state of life, thou mayest the next moment be in a state of death; thou art now gracious, thou mayest the next hour be graceless; thou art now in the promised land, yet though mayest die in the wilderness; thou art to-day a habitation for God, thou mayest to-morrow be a synagogue of Satan; thou hast to-day received the white stone of absolution, thou mayest to-morrow receive the black stone of condemnation; thou art now in Thy Savior’s arms, thou mayest to-morrow be in Satan’s paws; thou art now Christ’s freeman, thou mayest to-morrow be Satan’s bondman; thou art now a vessel of honour, thou mayest suddenly become a vessel of wrath; thou art now greatly beloved, thou mayest soon be as greatly loathed; this day thy name is fairly written in the book of life, to-morrow the book may be crossed, and thy name blotted out for ever. This is the Arminians’ doctrine, and if this be not to keep souls in a doubting, trembling and shivering condition, what is it?

Christians, remember this is your happiness and blessedness, that “none can pluck you out of your Father’s hand,” John 10:29; that you are “kept,” as in a garrison, or as with a guard, “by the power of God through faith unto salvation,” 1 Peter 1:5. “That the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but the kindness of the Lord shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenant of peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on you,” Isa. 54:10. “That Christ ever lives to make intercession for you,” Heb. 7:25; and that men and devils are as able, and shall as soon, make a world, dethrone God, pluck the sun out of the firmament, and Christ out of the bosom of the Father, as they shall pluck a believer out of the everlasting arms of Christ, or rob him of one of his precious jewels, Deut. 33:26, 27. I shall close up this chapter with an excellent saying of Luther: “The whole Scripture,” saith he, “doth principally aim at this thing, that we should not doubt, but that we should hope, that we should trust, that we should believe, that God is a merciful, a bountiful, a gracious, and a patient God to his people.”

From Thomas Brooks, Heaven Made Sure.

The current formatting and editing is copyrighted by Jim Ehrhard, 1999. You are permitted to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author; (2) any modifications are clearly marked; (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction; and (4) you do not make more than 100 copies without permission. If you would like to post this material to your web site or make any use other than as defined above, please contact Teaching Resources International

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