Sunday, February 21, 2010

A common progression

The partial testimony of a Moravian named Albinus Feder, as recorded by John Wesley in his journal entry of August 12th, 1738.

“I, for three years fought against sin with all my might, by fasting and prayer, and all the other means of grace. But notwithstanding all my endeavors, I gained no ground; sin still prevailed over me; till at last, not knowing what to do farther, I was on the very brink of despair. Then it was, that, having no other refuge left, I fled to my Savior as one lost and undone, and that had no hope but in His power and free mercy.

"In that moment I found my heart at rest, in good hope that my sins were forgiven; of which I had a stronger assurance six weeks after, when I received the Lord’s Supper here. But I dare not affirm, I am a child of God; neither have I the seal of the Spirit. Yet I go on quietly doing my Savior’s will, taking shelter in his wounds, from all trouble and sin, and knowing He will perfect his work in his own time.

“Martin Döber, when I described my state to him, said he had known very many believers who, if he asked the question, would not have dared to affirm, that they were the children of God. And he added, ‘It is very common for persons to receive remission of sins, or justification through faith in the blood of Christ, before they receive the full assurance of faith; which God many times withholds, till he has tried whether they will work together with him in the use of the first gift.

"Nor is there any need (continued he, Döber) to incite any one to seek that assurance by telling him, the faith he has is nothing. This will be more likely to drive him to despair, than to encourage him to press forward. His single business, who has received the first gift, is, to believe on, and to hold fast that whereunto he hath attained: To go on, doing his Lord’s will, according to the ability God hath already given; cheerfully and faithfully to use what he has received, without solicitude for the rest.’” ~ Albinus Feder

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