Grace, Assurance, Doubt, and the Common Christian.

Written by Thomas Brooks (1608-1680)
Adapted from a Cabinet of Choice Jewels

rays-of-light-shining-throug-dark-cloudsWhile we are in this old world, we shall have—water with our wine, gall with our honey, and some clouds with our brightest sun shiny days…

Most Christians think, that as long as they have any doubtings they have no assurance; but they consider not, that there are many degrees of infallible certainty, which are below a perfect or an undoubting certainty.

Doubtless some darkness, more or less, will overspread the face of every Christian’s soul, and unbelief in one degree or another will be making headway against their faith; and hypocrisy in one degree or another will be making headway against sincerity; and pride in one degree or another will be making headway against humility; and passion in one degree or another will be making head against meekness; and earthly-mindedness in one degree or another will be making head against heavenly-mindedness, etc. Yet as long as a Christian has the sight of his graces or his gracious evidences, he may and ought to walk in much peace, comfort, and joy.

Such Christians as are resolved to lie down in sorrow, until they have attained to a perfect assurance—must resolve to lie down in sorrow…

…until they come to lay down their heads in the dust. Our graces are imperfect, and therefore that assurance that arises from the sight and evidence of them must needs be imperfect. Perfect signs of grace can never spring from imperfect grace, 1 Thes. 3:10. Now, if this were seriously apprehended, studied, and minded by many weak Christians, they would not at every turn call their spiritual estates into question, as they do, because they find some seeds and stirrings of pride, hypocrisy, vain-glory, and other sinful humours and passions working in them.

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Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: Thomas Brooks (1608–1680) was an English non-conformist Puritan preacher and author. Much of what is known about Thomas Brooks has been ascertained from his writings. Born, likely to well-to-do parents, in 1608, Brooks entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1625, where he was preceded by such men as Thomas Hooker, John Cotton, and Thomas Shepard. He was licensed as a preacher of the Gospel by 1640. Before that date, he appears to have spent a number of years at sea, probably as a chaplain with the fleet.

After the conclusion of the First English Civil War, Thomas Brooks became minister at Thomas Apostle’s, London, and was sufficiently renowned to be chosen as preacher before the House of Commons on December 26, 1648. His sermon was afterwards published under the title, ‘God’s Delight in the Progress of the Upright’, the text being Psalm 44:18: ‘Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from Thy way’. Three or four years afterwards, he transferred to St. Margaret’s, Fish-street Hill, London.

As a writer C. H. Spurgeon said of him, ‘Brooks scatters stars with both hands, with an eagle eye of faith as well as the eagle eye of imagination’. In 1662, he fell victim to the notorious Act of Uniformity, but he appears to have remained in his parish and to have preached as opportunity arose. Treatises continued to flow from his pen.