"You still seem to take it for granted that there is no true faith, but an explicit faith in Christ; and no explicit faith in Christ, but the faith of full assurance . . . There are two extremes in the doctrine of faith which should be carefully avoided by every Christian: the one is . . . that an adulterous murderer may have true, saving faith in the height of his complicated crimes: and the other is that . . . there is no saving faith but that which actually cleanses us from all inbred sin, and opens a present heaven in our breasts.
"The middle path of truth lies exactly between those opposite mistakes, and that path I endeavour to point out. As, on the one hand, it never came into my mind that an impenitent murderer can have even the saving faith of a heathen: so, on the other hand, it never entered my thoughts, that a penitent can believe with the faith of full assurance when he will: for this faith depends not only upon our general belief of the truth revealed to us, but also upon a peculiar operation of God, or revelation of his powerful arm.
"It is always attended with a manifestation of 'the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God.' And such a manifestation God in general grants to none but them that groan deeply under 'the spirit of bondage unto fear,' as Paul did while he remained blind at Damascus;— or them that are peculiarly faithful to the grace of their inferior dispensation, and pray as earnestly for 'power from on high,' as the apostles did after our Lord's ascension." ~ John Fletcher of Madeley