Evidences of a State of Grace
From the June 1810 edition of the Baptist Magazine
The following Question having been discussed at a Meeting of our Brethren, we readily give it a place, with the result of their enquiries.
What are the genuine Evidences of being in a state of Grace?
Answer. Spiritual prayer. Invoking God’s name with reverence, acknowledging our sins with grief, imploring divine Mercy with fervency; by faith intreating God to bless us for the sake of the glorious Person, Obedience and Atonement of Christ; pleading the precious promises made to every coming sinner, and desiring him to save us for the sake of the glory that will redound to his adorable name.
Hunger for spiritual food. Daily desiring to live on the infinite fulness, and finished salvation of Christ. Longing for the application of the soul-interesting doctrines, promises, and invitations of the Gospel.
Love to the Brethren. For the sake of the image of Christ in them, and on account of their relation to God. Choosing them as our companions for both worlds. Preferring their employments, pains and pleasures above all the carnal gratifications which this world presents.
Being well pleased with Christ. Rejoicing to see him the God-man, standing between God and us, in the breach which we have made by sin. Well-pleased with his heavenly instructions, his infinite sacrifice, and his special dominion: so that while the Father says, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, our hearts echo back “This is thy beloved Son in whom we are well pleased.”
Love to God’s Salvation. Because it exposes sin, just suits our deplorable circumstances as perishing sinners, leaves no room for creature boasting, and because it reflects everlasting glory to all the Perfections of God.
Submission to tribulation: excited by a sense of what we deserve, of what Christ endured for us; of what others saints have passed through; of our need of tribulation; of every trial coming by divine appointment, and being under the management of divine providence; and by a view of the weight of glory which our light and short afflictions are working out for us.
Longing for the prosperity of the Cause of God. If our concern to see sinners converted, young converts going forward, and the saints lively, is confined to our own societies, we long for the prosperity of our own cause, not of the cause of God. The real christian desires the prosperity of the cause of Christ in all places and among all denominations. He is glad to see the grace of God, be it wheresoever it may, and longs for that happy time when all nations shall serve Christ.
Mourning the absence of God. The subjects of divine grace love their heavenly Father, and are frequently saying, O that I knew where I might find him, and this desire not being granted, sorrow will in consequence be felt. But as we mourn not the absence of those whom we do not love, neither would the absence of God affect us if we did not love him.
Humility. Lying abased before God, under a sense of his greatness, our littleness, vileness, and awful deserts; renouncing our own righteousness; with all the heart, embracing the proclamation of salvation by grace, and willingly ascribing the whole of the honour of Salvation to Him that has done the whole of the work. Being willing to be instructed by the least in the family of God; in lowliness of mind esteeming each other better than ourselves.
The holy bias of the will. The subjects of divine grace would live in faith, rejoice in hope, burn with love, be humble in the dust, and always be near God; yea they would be perfectly holy, but alas! They see themselves to be just the reverse of what they would be, for the good that they would do not, but the evil which they would not that they do. Under this they groan being burdened.
Satisfaction in God as our chosen Portion. Realizing by sweet experience that to enjoy God is to enjoy durable riches, true honour, and substantial pleasure; that to be full of God is to be full of happiness; that to live confined to God is the most delightful liberty that creatures can possibly enjoy. The believer is no farther happy than as he lives in God, and if he is but enjoyed there is no creature, the absence of which can make him miserable. Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee.
Finally. Longing for Heaven, for the sake of what it is. That is, for the sake of being perfectly holy–forever with the Lord–always beholding the glory of Christ–having extensive views of the unveiled mysteries of Providence and Redemption–enjoying the lovely company of all the redeemed hosts–and being always engaged in blessing and praising the Lord.
These are some of the leading features of the christian character, or evidences of being in a state of Grace.