I. The nature of true saving faith in securing of the spiritual comfort 
of believers in this life, is of the highest importance. 
II. The way wherein true faith does evidence itself in the souls and 
consciences of believers, unto their supportment and comfort, under all 
their conflicts with sin, in all their trials and temptations. 
III. Faith will evidence itself by a diligent, constant endeavour to keep 
itself and all grace in due exercise, in all ordinances of divine 
worship, private and public. 
IV. A peculiar way whereby true fait will evidence itself, by bringing 
the soul into a state of repentance. 
by John Owen 
"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. 
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye 
be reprobates?"--2 Cor.13:5 
Prefatory note 
This treatise, entitled Gospel Grounds and Evidences of the Faith of 
God's Elect," was given to the world in 1695. The remainder of the title 
is scarcely applicable as a correct designation of the leading divisions 
of the work. and may, perhaps, have been added by those who had the 
charge of publishing it. In the preface by Isaac Chauncey, the reader is 
assured that the treatise is the production of Dr Owen. It bears internal 
evidence of the fact, and that he wrote it, with a view to publication. 
When he waives the formal discussion of some topics connected with his 
subject, on the ground that he had attempted the discussion of them "in 
other writings," it seems a just inference that it had been his intention 
to publish the treatise, though no explanation has transpired why it was 
withheld from the press for a period of twelve years after his death. The 
circumstance is of some moment, as showing that the work, though 
posthumous, may be held to contain the deliberate and matured judgement 
of the author on the question of which it treats. 
  His object is not to illustrate the common evidences of genuine 
religion, or the grounds on which we may conclude a man to be sincere in 
his religious profession. It is an inquiry rather into the evidences on 
which the elect of God, in any process of self-scrutiny, may ascertain 
the reality of their own faith. Ascribing to faith all the importance 
which is due to it as the instrumental cause of justification, the author 
suspends the entire question of the genuineness of conversion upon the 
existence of a fourfold development or operation of that gracious 
principle in the hearts of all who may be anxious to discover whether 
they have been really quickened and born of God. 
  After stating the nature of saving faith, and after a brief exhibition 
of the gospel as the divine method for the salvation of sinners through 
the merits of Christ, he proceeds to "the trial of faith," as the main 
object of the treatise. In the first place, he shows that faith, if 
genuine, includes or denotes implicit approbation of "God's way of saving 
sinners," in opposition to all schemes of merely human invention for our 
spiritual deliverance. This approbation of the divine plan for our 
redemption, in which he holds that the very essence and life of faith 
consist, is founded on the conviction; first, That the salvation revealed 
in the gospel is in harmony with the perfections and majesty of the 
divine character; secondly, That it is suited to tho views, desires, and 
aspirations of a soul enlightened by grace; and, thirdly, That it as 
effectually honours the moral law as if it had been completely fulfilled 
in the personal obedience of the saints. 
  Secondly, Faith is shown to imply an approbation of the will of God in 
requiring of us holiness and obedience, to the full measure of the 
perfection and spirituality demanded of us in the moral law. He appeals, 
in illustration of the obedience required, to the light of nature, and to 
the knowledge of good and evil which men enjoy through the law; but 
proves that without the light of saving faith there can be no adequate 
conception of the holiness required by the divine will, urging an acute 
distinction, which might rank as a separate contribution to the doctrine 
of conscience, and according to which its authority in determining the 
moral character of an action by no means implies the love of what is 
good, and the hatred of what is evil. The function of conscience he views 
is exclusively judicial, and shows that the motive which prompts to 
action must spring from other considerations. Two grounds are assigned on 
which faith approves of the holiness required of us:--the consistency of 
such a demand with the perfection of the divine nature; and its fitness, 
when full compliance is yielded with it, to advance us to the utmost 
perfection of which our own nature is capable. 
  Thirdly, Evidence of genuine faith is also afforded when the mind 
endeavours to keep itself in the due exercise of the grace of faith, inn 
the public and private ordinances of divine worship. If faith is not 
cultivated in the worship of God, all devotion is corrupted into the 
empty forms of superstition, as in the ritual of Popery; or becomes the 
mere wildfire of fanaticism, or degenerates into the rationalism which 
ignores all worship instituted by the authority of revelation. Judicious 
directions follow as to the best method of preserving faith in vivid 
exercise while we are engaged in the various acts of devotion. 
  Fourthly, The last evidence specified of true faith is the evangelical 
repentance which it produces. Weanedness from the world, the lively 
remembrance of sin, a becoming intensity of godly sorrow on account of 
it, nd other spiritual duties, are described as essential elements in the 
penitential feelings and exercises of those who really believe unto 
  The treatise indicates an acquaintance with the true philosophy of 
human nature, thorough knowledge of the world, and of man individually, 
as he takes the hue of his character from surrounding objects and social 
influences, and that depth of Christian experience in which our author 
has perhaps been rarely excelled. He shines in the anatomy of human 
motives; and while he goes deeply into the subjective workings of faith, 
he is always keenly alive to the objective realities of evangelical 
truth. The Christian reader will find this treatise an admirable manual 
for self-examination.--Ed. 
To the Reader 
As faith is the first vital act that every true Christian puts Forth, and 
the life which he lives is by the faith of the Son of God, so it is his 
next and great concern to know that he does believe, and that believing 
he has eternal life; that his faith is the faith of God's elect, and of 
the operation of God: without some distinct believing knowledge of which 
he cannot so comfortably assure his heart before God concerning his 
calling and election, so far as to carry him forth in all the ways of 
holiness, in doing and suffering the will of God with necessary 
resolution and cheerfulness; the doing of which in a right manner, 
according to the tenor of the gospel, is no small part of spiritual 
skill; whereunto two things are highly requisite: first, That he be well 
acquainted with the doctrine of Christ, and know how to distinguish the 
gospel from the law; and, secondly, That he be very conversant with his 
own heart,that so by comparing his faith, and the fruits thereof, with 
the said doctrine of Christ, he may come to see that, as he has receivcd 
Christ, so he walks in him: all his reasonings concerning himself being 
taken up from the word of God, so that what judgment he passes upon 
himself may be a judgment of faith, and answer of a good conscience 
towards God; for all the trials of faith must at last be resolved into a 
judgment of faith, before which is made, the soul still labours under 
staggerings and uncertainties. 
  The design of this ensuing treatise is to resolve this great question, 
whether the faith we profess unto be true or no?--The resolution of 
which, upon an impartial inquiry, must needs be very grateful and 
advantageous to every one that has but tasted that the Lord is gracious. 
That the late reverend, learned, and pious Dr Owen was the author there 
needs be no doubt; not only because good assurance is given by such as 
were intrusted with his writings, but also in that the style and spirit 
running through the other of his practical writings is here very 
manifest; and, accordingly, with them is recommended to the serious 
perusal of every diligent inquirer into the truth of his spiritual estate 
and condition. 
                                                            Isaac Chauncey 
Evidences of the faith of God's elect 
The securing of the spiritual comforts of believers in this life is a 
matter of the highest importance unto the glory of God, and their own 
advantage by the gospel. For God is abundantly willing that all the heirs 
of promise should receive strong consolation, and he has provided ways 
and means for the communication of it to them; and their participation of 
it is their principal interest in this world, and is so esteemed by them. 
But their effectual refreshing enjoyment of these comforts is variously 
opposed by the power of the remainders of sin, in conjunction with other 
temptations. Hence, notwithstanding their right and title unto them by 
the gospel, they are ofttimes actually destitute of a gracious sense of 
them, and, consequently, of that relief which they are suited to afford 
in all their duties, trials, and afflictions. Now, the root whereon all 
real comforts do grow, whence they spring and arise, is true and saving 
faith,--the faith of God's elect. Wherefore they do ordinarily answer 
unto, and hold proportion with, the evidences which any have of that 
faith in themselves; at least, they cannot be maintained without such 
evidences. Wherefore, that we may be a little useful unto the 
establishment or recovery of that consolation which God is so abundantly 
willing that all the heirs of promise should enjoy, I shall inquire,  
What are the principal acts and operations of faith, whereby it will 
evidence its truth and sincerity in the midst of all temptations and 
storms that may befall believers in this world? 
And I shall insist on such alone as will bear the severest scrutiny by 
Scripture and experience. And,-- 
  The principal genuine acting of saving faith in us, inseparable from 
it, yea, essential to such acting, consists in the: 
choosing, embracing, and approbation of God's way of saving sinners, by 
the mediation of Jesus Christ, relying thereon, with a renunciation of 
all other ways and means pretending unto the same end of salvation. 
  This is that which we are to explain and prove. 
  Saving faith is our "believing the record that God has given us of his 
Son," 1 John 5:10, "And this is the record, that God has given to us 
eternal life; and this life is in his Son," verse 11. This is the 
testimony which God gives, that great and sacred truth which he himself 
bears witness unto,--namely, that he has freely prepared eternal life for 
them that believe, or provided a way of salvation for them. And what God 
so prepares he is said to give, because of the certainty of its 
communication. So grace was promised and given to the elect in Christ 
Jesus before the world began, 2 Tim.1:9; Tit.1:2. And that is so to be 
communicated unto them, in and by the mediation of his Son Jesus Christ, 
that it is the only way whereby God will give eternal life unto any; 
which is therefore wholly in him, and by him to be obtained, and from him 
to be received. Upon our acquiescence in this testimony, on our 
approbation of this way of saving sinners, or our refusal of it, our 
eternal safety or ruin does absolutely depend. And it is reasonable that 
it should be so: for, in our receiving of this testimony of God, we "set 
to our seal that God is true," John 3:33; we ascribe unto him the glory 
of his truth, and therein of all the other holy properties of his 
nature,--the most eminent duty whereof we are capable in this world; and 
by a refusal of it, what lies in us, we make him a liar, as in this 
place, 1 John 5:10, which is virtually to renounce his being. 
  And the solemnity wherewith this testimony is entered is very 
remarkable, verse 7, "There are three that bear record in heaven, the 
Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one." The 
trinity of divine persons, acting distinctly in the unity of the same 
divine nature, do give this testimony: and they do so by those distinct 
operations whereby they act in this way and work of God's saving sinners 
by Jesus Christ; which are at large declared in the gospel. And there is 
added hereunto a testimony that is immediately applicatory unto the souls 
of believers, of this sovereign testimony of the holy Trinity; and this 
is the witness of grace and all sacred ordinances: "There are three that 
bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and 
these three agree in one," verse 8. They are not at essentially the same 
in one and the same nature, as are the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost, yet 
they all absolutely agree in the same testimony; and they do it by that 
especial efficacy which they have on the souls of believer s to assure 
them of this truth. In this record, so solemnly, so gloriously given and 
proposed, life and death are set before us. The receiving and embracing 
of this testimony, with an approbation of the way of salvation testified 
unto, is that work of faith which secures us of eternal life. On these 
terms there is reconciliation and agreement made and established between 
God and men; without which men must perish for ever. 
  So our blessed Saviour affirms, "This is life eternal, that they may 
know thee" (the Father) "the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou 
hast sent," John 17:3. To know the Father as the only true God, to know 
him as he has sent Jesus Christ to be the only way and means of the 
salvation of sinners, and to know Jesus Christ as sent by him for that 
end, is that grace and duty which instates us in a right to eternal life, 
and initiates us in the possession of it: and this includes that choice 
and approbation of the way of God for the saving of sinners whereof we 
  But these things must be more distinctly opened:-- 
  1. The great fundamental difference in religion is concerning the way 
and means whereby sinners may be saved. From men's different 
apprehensions hereof arise all other differences about religion; and the 
first thing that engages men really into any concernment in religion, is 
an inquiry in their minds how sinners may be saved, or what they shall do 
themselves to be saved: "What shall we do? what shall we do to be saved?" 
"What is the way of acceptance with God?" is that inquiry which gives men 
their first initiation into religion. See Acts 2:37; 16:30; Micah 6:6-8. 
  This question being once raised in the conscience, an answer must be 
returned unto it. "I will consider," says the prophet, "what I shall 
answer when I am reproved," Hab.2:1. And there is all the reason in the 
world that men consider well of a good answer hereunto, without which 
they must perish for ever; for if they cannot answer themselves here, how 
do they hope to answer God hereafter? Wherefore, without a sufficient 
answer always in readiness unto this inquiry, no man can have any hopes 
of a blessed eternity. 
  Now, the real answer which men return unto themselves is according to 
the influence which their minds are under from one or other of the two 
divine covenants,--that of works or that of grace. And these two 
covenants, taken absolutely, are inconsistent, and give answers in this 
case that are directly contradictory to one another: so the apostle 
declares, Rom.10:5-9. The one says, "The man that does the works of the 
law shall live by them; this is the only way whereby you may be saved:" 
the other wholly waives this return, and puts it all on faith in Christ 
Jesus. Hence there is great difference and great variety in the answers 
which men return to themselves on this inquiry; for their consciences 
will neither hear nor speak any thing but what complies with the covenant 
whereunto they do belong. These things are reconciled only in the blood 
of Christ; and how, the apostle declared, Rom.8:3. The greatest part of 
convinced sinners seem to adhere to the testimony of the covenant of 
works; and so perish for ever. Nothing will stand us in stead in this 
matter, nothing will save us, "but the answer of a good conscience 
towards God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ," 1 Pet.3:21. 
  2. The way that God has prepared for the saving of sinners is a fruit 
and product of infinite wisdom, and powerfully efficacious unto its end. 
As such it is to be received, or it is rejected. It is not enough that we 
admit of the notions of it as declared, unless we are sensible of divine 
wisdom and power in it, so as that it may be safely trusted unto. Hereon, 
upon the proposal of it, falls out the eternally distinguishing 
difference among men. Some look upon it and embrace it as the power and 
wisdom of God; others really reject it as a thing foolish and weak, not 
meet to be trusted unto. Hereof the apostle gives an account at large, 1 
Cor.1:18-24. And this is mysterious in religion:--the same divine truth 
is by the same way and means, at the same time, proposed unto sundry 
persons, all in the same condition, under the same circumstances, all 
equally concerned in that which is proposed therein: some of them hereon 
do receive it, embrace it, approve of it, and trust unto it for life and 
salvation; others despise it, reject it, value it not, trust not unto it. 
To the one it is the wisdom of God, and the power of God; to the other, 
weakness and foolishness: as it must of necessity be the one or the 
other,--it is not capable of a middle state or consideration. It is not a 
good way unless it be the only way; it is not a safe, it is not the best 
way, if there be any other; for it is eternally inconsistent with any 
other. It is the wisdom of God, or it is downright folly. And here, after 
all our disputes, we must resort unto eternal sovereign grace, making a 
distinction among them unto whom the gospel is proposed, and the almighty 
power of actual grace in curing that unbelief which blinds the minds of 
men, that they can see nothing but folly and weakness in God's way of the 
saving of sinners. And this unbelief works yet in the most of them unto 
whom this way of God is proposed in the gospel; they receive it not as an 
effect of infinite wisdom, and as powerfully efficacious unto its proper 
end. Some are profligate in the service of their lusts, and regard it 
not; unto whom may be applied that [saying] of the prophet, "Hear, ye 
despisers, and wonder, and perish." Some are under the power of darkness 
and ignorance, so as that they apprehend not, they understand not the 
mystery of it; for "the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness 
comprehendeth it not." Some are blinded by Satan, as he is the god of 
this world, by filling their minds with prejudice, and their hearts with 
the love of present things, that the light of the glorious gospel of 
Christ, who is the image of God, cannot shine into them. Some would mix 
with it their own works, ways, and duties, as they belong unto the first 
covenant; which are eternally irreconcilable unto this way of God, as the 
apostle teaches, Rom.10:3,4. Hereby does unbelief eternally ruin the 
souls of men. They do not, they cannot, approve of the way of God for 
saving sinners proposed in the gospel, as an effect of infinite wisdom 
and power, which they may safely trust unto, in opposition unto all other 
ways and means, pretending to be useful unto the same end; and this will 
give us light into the nature and acting of saving faith, which we 
inquire after. 
  3. The whole Scripture, and all divine institutions from the beginning, 
do testify, in general, that this way of God for the saving of sinners is 
by commutation, substitution, atonement, satisfaction, and imputation. 
This is the language of the first promise, and all the sacrifices of the 
law founded thereon; this is the language of the Scripture: "There is a 
way whereby sinners may be saved,--a way that God has found out and 
appointed." Now, it being the law wherein sinners are concerned, the rule 
of all things between God and them should seem to be by what they can do 
or suffer with respect unto that law. "No," says the Scripture, "it 
cannot be so; 'for by the deeds of the law no man living shall be 
justified in the sight of God.'" Ps.143:2; Rom.3:20; Gal.2:16. Neither 
shall it be by their personal answering of the penalty of the law which 
they have broken; for they cannot do so, but they must perish eternally: 
for, "If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, 0 Lord, who shall stand?" 
Ps.130:3. There must therefore be, there is another way, of a different 
nature and kind from these, for the saving of sinners, or there is no due 
revelation made of the mind of God in the Scripture. But that there is 
so, and what it is, is the main design of it to declare: and this is by 
the substitution of a mediator instead of the sinners that shall be 
saved, who shall both bear the penalty of the law which they had incurred 
and fulfill that righteousness which they could not attain unto. 
  This in general is God's way of saving sinners, whether men like it or 
no: "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the 
flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for 
sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might 
be fulfilled in us," Rom.8:3,4. See also Heb.10:5-10. "He made him to be 
sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of 
God in him," 2 Cor.5:21. 
  Here unbelief has prevailed with many in this latter age to reject the 
glory of God herein; but we have vindicated the truth against them 
sufficiently elsewhere. 
  4. There are sundry things previously required to give us a clear view 
of the glory of God in this way of saving sinners: such are, a due 
consideration of the nature of the fall of our first parents, and of our 
apostasy from God thereby. I may not stay here to show the nature or 
aggravations of them; neither can we conceive them aright, much less 
express them. I only say, that unless we have due apprehensions of the 
dread and terror of them, of the invasion made on the glory of God, and 
the confusion brought on the creation by them, we can never discern the 
reason and glory of rejecting the way of personal righteousness, and the 
establishing this way of a mediator for the saving of sinners. A due 
sense of our present infinite distance from God, and the impossibility 
that there is in ourselves of making any approaches unto him, is of the 
same consideration; so likewise is that of our utter disability to do any 
thing that may answer the law, or the holiness and righteousness of God 
therein,--of our universal unconformity in our natures, hearts, and their 
acting, unto the nature, holiness, and will of God. Unless, I say, we 
have a sense of these things in our minds and upon our consciences, we 
cannot believe aright, we cannot comprehend the glory of this new way of 
salvation. And whereas mankind has had a general notion, though no 
distinct apprehension, of these things, or of some of them, many amongst 
them have apprehended that there is a necessity of some kind of 
satisfaction or atonement to be made, that sinners may be freed from the 
displeasure of God; but when God's way of it was proposed unto them, it 
was, and is, generally rejected, because "the carnal mind is enmity 
against God." But when these things are fixed on the soul by sharp and 
durable convictions, they will enlighten it with due apprehensions of the 
glory and beauty of God's way of saving sinners. 
  5. This is the gospel, this is the work of it,--namely, a divine 
declaration of the way of God for the saving of sinners, through the 
person, mediation, blood, righteousness, and intercession of Christ. This 
is that which it reveals, declares, proposes, and tenders unto sinners,-- 
there is a way for their salvation. As this is contained in the first 
promise, so the truth of every word in the Scripture depends on the 
supposition of it. Without this, there could be no more intercourse 
between God and us than is between him and devils. Again, it declares 
that this way is not by the law or its works,--by the first covenant, or 
its conditions,--by our own doing or suffering; but it is a new way, 
found out in and proceeding from infinite wisdom, love, grace, and 
goodness,--namely, by the incarnation of the eternal Son of God, his 
susception of the office of a mediator, doing and suffering in the 
discharge of it whatever was needful for the justification and salvation 
of sinners, unto his own eternal glory. See Rom.3:24-27; 8:3,4; 2 
Cor.5:19-21, etc. 
  Moreover, the gospel adds, that the only way of obtaining an interest 
in this blessed contrivance of saving sinners by the substitution of 
Christ, as the surety of the covenant, and thereon the imputation of our 
sins to him, and of his righteousness unto us, is by faith in him. 
  Here comes in that trial of faith which we inquire after. This way of 
saving sinners being proposed, offered, and tendered unto us in the 
gospel, true and saving faith receives it, approves of it, rests in it, 
renounces all other hopes and expectations, reposing its whole confidence 
  For it is not proposed unto us merely as a notion of truth, to be 
assented to or denied, in which sense all believe the gospel that are 
called Christians,--they do not esteem it a fable; but it is proposed 
unto us as that which we ought practically to close withal, for ourselves 
to trust alone unto it for life and salvation. And I shall speak briefly 
unto two things:--I. How does saving faith approve of this way? on what 
accounts, and unto what ends? II. How it does evidence and manifest 
itself hereby unto the comfort of believers. 
How does saving faith approve of this way? on what accounts,  
and unto what ends? 
First, It approves of it, as that which every way becomes God to find 
out, to grant, and propose: so speaks the apostle, Heb.2:10, "It became 
him, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their 
salvation perfect through sufferings." That becomes God, is worthy of 
him, is to be owned concerning him, which answers unto his infinite 
wisdom, goodness, grace, holiness, and righteousness, and nothing else. 
This faith discerns, judges, and determines concerning this way,--namely, 
that it is every way worthy of God, and answers all the holy properties 
of his nature. This is called "The light of the knowledge of the glory of 
God in the face of Jesus Christ," 2 Cor.4:6. 
  This discovery of the glory of God in this way is made unto faith 
alone, and by it alone it is embraced. The not discerning of it, and 
thereon the want of an acquiescence in it, is that unbelief which ruins 
the souls of men. The reason why men do not embrace the way of salvation 
tendered in the gospel, is because they do not see nor understand how 
full it is of divine glory, how it becomes God, is worthy of him, and 
answers all the perfections of his nature. Their minds are blinded, that 
the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, does 
not shine unto them, 2 Cor.4:4. And so they deal with this way of God as 
if it were weakness and folly. 
  Herein consists the essence and life of faith:--It sees, discerns, and 
determines, that the way of salvation of sinners by Jesus Christ proposed 
in the gospel, is such as becomes God and all his divine excellencies to 
find out, appoint, and propose unto us. And herein does it properly give 
glory to God, which is its peculiar work and excellency, Rom.4:20; herein 
it rests and refreshes itself. 
  In particular, faith herein rejoices in the manifestation of the 
infinite wisdom of God. A view of the wisdom of God acting itself by his 
power in the works of creation (for in wisdom he made them all), is the 
sole reason of ascribing glory unto him in all natural worship, whereby 
we glorify him as God; and a due apprehension of the infinite wisdom of 
God in the new creation, in the way of saving sinners by Jesus Christ, is 
the foundation of all spiritual, evangelical ascription of glory to God. 
  It was the design of God, in a peculiar way, to manifest and glorify 
his wisdom in this work. Christ crucified is the "power of God, and the 
wisdom of God," 1 Cor.1:24; and "all the treasures of wisdom and 
knowledge are hid in him," Col.2:3. All the treasures of divine wisdom 
are laid up in Christ, and laid out about him, as to be manifested unto 
faith in and by the gospels He designed herein to make known his 
"manifold wisdom," Eph.3:9,10. 
  Wherefore, according to our apprehension and admiration of the wisdom 
of God in the constitution of this way of salvation is our faith, and no 
otherwise; where that does not appear unto us, where our minds are not 
affected with it, there is no faith at all. 
  I cannot stay here to reckon up the especial instances of divine wisdom 
herein. Somewhat I have attempted towards it in other writings; and I 
shall only say at present, that the foundation of this whole work and 
way, in the incarnation of the eternal Son of God, is so glorious an 
effect of infinite wisdom, as the whole blessed creation will admire to 
eternity. This of itself bespeaks this way and work divine. Herein the 
glory of God shines in the face of Jesus Christ. This is of God alone; 
this is that which becomes him; that which nothing but infinite wisdom 
could extend unto. Whilst faith lives in a due apprehension of the wisdom 
of God in this, and the whole superstruction of this way, on this 
foundation it is safe. 
  Goodness, love, grace, and mercy, are other properties of the divine 
nature, wherein it is gloriously amiable. "God is love;" there is none 
God but he. Grace and mercy are among the principal titles which he 
everywhere assumes to himself; and it was his design to manifest them all 
to the utmost in this work and way of saving sinners by Christ, as is 
everywhere declared in the Scripture. And all these lie open to the eye 
of faith herein: it sees infinite goodness, love, and grace, in this way, 
such as becomes God, such as can reside in none but him; which it 
therefore rests and rejoices in, 1 Pet.1:8. In adherence unto, and 
approbation of, this way of salvation, as expressive of these perfections 
of the divine nature, does faith act itself continually. 
  Where unbelief prevails, the mind has no view of the glory that is in 
this way of salvation, in that it is so becoming of God and all his holy 
properties, as the apostle declares, 2 Cor.4:4. And where it is so, 
whatever is pretended, men cannot cordially receive it and embrace it; 
for they know not the reason for which it ought to be so embraced: they 
see no form nor comeliness in Christ, who is the life and centre of this 
way, "no beauty for which he should be desired," Isa.53:2. Hence, in the 
first preaching of it, it was "unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto 
the Greeks foolishness;" for by reason of their unbelief they could not 
see it to be, what it is, "the power of God, and the wisdom of God;" and 
so it must be esteemed, or be accounted folly. 
  Yea, from the same unbelief it is that at this day the very notion of 
the truth herein is rejected by many, even all those who are called 
Socinians, and all that adhere unto them in the disbelief of supernatural 
mysteries. They cannot see a suitableness in this way of salvation unto 
the glory of God,--as no unbeliever can; and therefore those of them who 
do not oppose directly the doctrine of it, yet do make no use of it unto 
its proper end. Very few of them, comparatively, who profess the truth of 
the gospel, have an experience of the power of it unto their own 
  But here true faith stands invincibly,--hereby it will evidence its 
truth and sincerity in the midst of all temptations, and the most dismal 
conflicts it has with them; yea, against the perplexing power and charge 
of sin thence arising. From this stronghold it will not be driven; whilst 
the soul can exercise faith herein,--namely, in steadily choosing, 
embracing, and approving of God's way of saving sinners by Jesus Christ, 
as that wherein he will be eternally glorified, because it is suited 
unto, and answers all the perfections of, his nature, is that which every 
way becomes him,--it will have wherewith to relieve itself in all its 
trials. For this is faith, this is saving faith, which will not fail us. 
That faith which works in the soul a gracious persuasion of the 
excellency of this way, by a sight of the glory of the wisdom, power, 
grace, love, and goodness of God in it, so as to be satisfied with it, as 
the best, the only way of coming unto God, with a renunciation of all 
other ways and means unto that end, will at all times evidence its nature 
and sincerity. 
  And this is that which gives the soul rest and satisfaction, as unto 
its entrance into glory, upon its departure out of this world. It is a 
great thing, to apprehend in a due manner that a poor soul that has been 
guilty of many sins, leaving the body, it may be, under great pain, 
distress, and anguish, it may be by outward violence, should be 
immediately admitted and received into the glorious presence of God, with 
all the holy attendants of his throne, there to enjoy rest and 
blessedness for evermore. But here also faith discerns and approves of 
this great, of this ineffable, divine operation, as that which becomes 
the infinite greatness of that wisdom and grace which first designed it, 
the glorious efficacy of the mediation of Christ, and the excellency of 
the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, without any expectation from any 
thing in itself, as a cause meritorious of an admission into this glory. 
Neither did ever any man know what it is, or desire it in a due manner, 
who looked for any desert of it in himself, or conceived any proportion 
between it and what he is or has done in this world. Hence some of those 
who have not this faith have invented another state, after men are gone 
out of this world, to make them meet for heaven, which they call 
purgatory; for on what grounds a man should expect an entrance into 
glory, on his departure out of this world, they understand not. 
  Let them who are exercised with temptations and dejections bring their 
faith unto this trial; and this is the case, in various degrees, of us 
all:--First, then, examine strictly by the word whether this be a true 
description of the nature and acting of saving faith. Sundry things are 
supposed or asserted in it; as,--1. That the way of saving sinners by 

(continued in part 2...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: owev-1.txt