From The Christian’s Daily Walk.
Now set upon the work of reformation and of reconciliation, general or particular, as you find there is need. It is not enough to search-out and consider your ways, nor yet to lament them – if you do not turn again unto the Lord (Lam 3:40-42, Ps 119:59, & Zeph 2:1-3) and turn your feet unto His testimonies; and seek grace and forgiveness. The gospel opens a way and affords means to attain both, through the commands and promises thereof, in the doctrine of faith and repentance.
Now, therefore, bring yourself to the gospel. Try yourself thereby:
- first, whether your first faith and repentance were sincere; then
- set upon reforming, and getting pardon of particular and later [recent] offences.
But learn to put a difference between the commands of the gospel and of the law: The law exacts absolute obedience [whereas] the gracious gospel, through Christ, accepts of the truth of faith and repentance, so that there be an endeavour after their perfection.
It would take too long to show you at large the signs of unfeigned faith and repentance. I will, for the present, just ask you to consider these [questions to test yourself]:
- Have you been truly humbled for sin?
- Through the promises and commandment of the gospel, which bids you believe, have you conceived hope of mercy, relying on Christ for it?
- And thereupon, have you had a true change in your whole man, so that you make God your utmost end, and receive the Lord Jesus as your only Saviour?
- And, out of hatred of sin and love unto Christ and His ways, do you have a will, in all things, to live honestly (Heb. 13:18) and to always keep a good conscience towards God and man (Acts 24:16); desiring the sincere milk of the Word, to grow by it (1 Peter 2:2); and loving the brethren (1 John 3:14, Ps 16:3), desiring and delighting in communion with them?
If so, then you may be confident that your first faith, repentance, and new obedience were sound.
However, if you find that they [i.e., first faith, repentance and new obedience] were not sound, then you must begin now to repent and believe.
It is not yet too late.