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FAITH OF GOD'S ELECT;
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 DOTH EVIDENCE ITSELF IN THE SOUL 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 FAITH WILL EVIDENCE ITSELF, BY BRINGING THE SOUL INTO A STATE OF REPENTANCE.
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. xiii. 5.
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 doth believe, and that believing, he hath 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 knows 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 hath received Christ, so he walks in him; all his reasonings concerning himself being taken up from the word of God, so that what judgment he passeth 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 hath 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 entrusted 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.