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Confession18.1. Although hypocrites and other
unregenerate men may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes, and carnal
presumptions of being in the favour of God, and estate of salvation;(a) which
hope of theirs shall perish:(b) yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus,
and love Him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before
Him, may, in this life, be certainly assured that they are in the state of
grace,(c) and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall
never make them ashamed.(d)
(a) Job 8:13, 14; Mic. 3:11; Deut. 29:19; John
(b) Matt. 7:22, 23.
(c) I John 2:3; I John 3:14, 18, 19, 21, 24; I John 5:13.
(d) Rom. 5:2, 5.
Confession18.2. This certainty is not a bare conjectural
and probable persuasion, grounded upon a fallible hope;(e) but an infallible
assurance of faith, founded upon the divine truth of the promises of
salvation,(f) the inward evidence of those graces unto which these promises
are made,(g) the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our
spirits that we are the children of God:(h) which Spirit is the earnest of our
inheritance, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption.(i)
(e) Heb. 6:11, 19.
(f) Heb. 6:17, 18.
(g) II Pet. 1:4, 5, 10, 11; I John 2:3; I John 3:14; II Cor. 1:12.
(h) Rom. 8:15, 16.
(i) Eph. 1:13, 14; Eph. 4:30; II Cor. 1:21, 22.
Confession18.3. This infallible assurance doth not so
belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and
conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it:(k) yet, being
enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he
may without extraordinary revelation, in the right use of ordinary means,
attain thereunto.(l) And therefore it is the duty of everyone to give all
diligence to make his calling and election sure;(m) that thereby his heart may
be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to
God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper
fruits of this assurance:(n) so far is it from inclining men to looseness.(o)
(k) I John 5:13; Isa. 50:10; Mark 9:24; Ps. 88 throughout; Ps. 77 to
(l) I Cor. 2:12; I John 4:13; Heb. 6:11, 12; Eph. 3:17, 18, 19.
(m) II Pet. 1:10.
(n) Rom. 5:1, 2, 5; Rom. 14:17; Rom. 15:13; Eph. 1:3, 4; Ps. 4:6, 7; Ps.
(o) I John 2:1, 2; Rom. 6:1, 2; Tit. 2:11, 12, 14; II Cor. 7:1; Rom. 8:1, 12;
I John 3:2, 3; Ps. 130:4; I John 1:6, 7.
Confession18.4. True believers may have the assurance of
their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as, by
negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some special sin, which
woundeth the conscience and grieveth the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement
temptation, by God's withdrawing the light of His countenance, and suffering
even such as fear Him to walk in darkness and to have no light:(p) yet are
they never so utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that
love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart, and conscience of
duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may, in due
time, be revived;(q) and by the which, in the mean time, they are supported
from utter despair.(r)
(p) Cant. 5:2, 3, 6; Ps. 51:8, 12, 14; Eph. 4:30, 31; Ps. 77:1 to 10; Matt.
26:69, 70, 71, 72; Ps. 31:22; Ps. 88 throughout; Isa. 50:10.
(q) I John 3:9; Luke 22:32; Job 13:15; Ps. 73:15; Ps. 51:8, 12; Isa. 50:10.
(r) Mic. 7:7, 8, 9; Jer. 32:40; Isa. 54:7, 8, 9, 10; Ps. 22:1; Ps. 88