True Assurance Afforded Unto the Faint of Heart
Is humor an ingredient in the word of God? In pondering such a question one conjures in his mind the various accounts in Scripture that often bring a reader to smile. There was the instance of Elijah begging for death in fear of Jezebel, immediately following his mocking the prophets of Baal in their vain efforts. Consider the case of Peter and his conversation with Rhoda. For having by the hand of almighty God been delivered from prison, Peter hastened to the door of the home that was engaged in prayer for his release. Peter was not long after left knocking on the door while the praying saints within scoffed at the young girl's tale. Humor? Consider Peter knocking, Rhoda stricken with fear, as though she had seen a ghost, and prayerful saints frustrated that their prayers had been interrupted by the hysteria of a maiden, who was claiming that their prayers had been answered. Then there is the story of Gideon. One need not ponder long in considering the account of Gideon to be amused with the memories of men lapping as dogs and an army in complete disarray from nothing more than smashing jars and trumpets. Perhaps one of the most humorous of characters in all of scripture was the man Gideon himself. For Gideon was paradoxical from his humble beginnings. First greeted by the angel as a mighty man of valor, Gideon in his exploits appeared to be anything but such a man. Surely a man so titled by heaven would rise like Moses and stand in the face of a great army. Perhaps like Noah he would endure years of opposition to rescue the Lord's chosen from her bondage and oppression. Could it be that this Gideon would be as notable as Nimrod the mighty hunter? But, while we hasten to raise the banner of Gideon's glory, we recall his first words to the Angel, "Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us (Judges 6:13)?" The satire increases, as Gideon absconds and the angel seemingly labors long to convince young Gideon of his especial role. Yet time and again Gideon is heard to say, "Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel?" Hearing such words our thoughts hearken back to another day, when a man not much like this Gideon did banter with the Angel; a man named Moses, a man of many excuses as was Gideon.
Is humor found in the word of God? Surely it may be debated. But what is interesting about the amusing stories of scripture is the shameful comedy of man's faithlessness. For whether it is bare-footed Moses arguing with the Angel of the Lord, or Peter wearing out his knuckles on Rhoda's door, or if it is Gideon looking for a fleece once wet and once dry, we cannot deny that it is the sheer mercy of Almighty God that forebears with weak and frail children of dust. Calvin writes, "But as our faith is slight and feeble unless it be propped on all sides and sustained by every means, it trembles, it wavers, totters, and at last gives way. Here our merciful Lord, according to his kindness, so tempers himself to our capacity that, since we are creatures who always creep on the ground, cleave to the flesh, and, do not think about or even conceive of anything spiritual, he condescends to lead us to himself even by these earthly elements, and to set before us in the flesh a mirror of spiritual blessings (Institutes IV, XIV, III)." It is the Lord himself that condescends to strengthen doubting sinners and make them mighty men of valor, men of faith. Consider the extremities of God's grace, in order to make doubting Gideon a warrior of his time. It was not at this first encounter that Gideon asked of the Lord the sign of the fleece. Instead, it was after Gideon had torn down the altar of Baal and the Lord had assembled a mighty army that we find Gideon testing the Lord. What does this say of a God that does not in an instant slay the doubting frail Gideon or drown the foolish man in his bowl of water wrung from the doubter's fleece? It says that God in his mercy is incomprehensible and stooping in remarkable grace. These matters set our thoughts aright, as we turn now to our subject of assurance.
The doctrine of Christian assurance is a doctrine of God's grace. Hopefully the reader has come by investigation of this doctrine to understand this to be true. For the very word assurance implies that God is faithful and men are full of doubt. Men are wholly dependent upon God for their salvation, from first to last, and must recline upon God's merciful desire to strengthen their fragile hearts. The doctrine of assurance teaches that God is ever visiting the weak with comforting aid in their foolish flights of doubting fancy. In our studies of this doctrine, our hope is that we have learned of our utter helplessness and full dependence upon our God to afford us assurance of our salvation. Such is our God to make weak, frail, and foolish men great men of valor. How does God build a mighty man of valor? Through His condescending work of building assurance in weak and feeble men. The first article demonstrated that the grounds of our assurance are the merits of Christ alone. Our second article confirmed that an aid to our assurance is the good works that all the saints of God are predestined and enabled to perform. Yet, are these the only means our Lord has granted His church to aid in her strength of faith? Certainly not, as God has given many other props for our feeble limbs. There is the church, there is Christian fellowship and charity, and there is His sovereignly dictated word. In addition, there remains that intangible matter of the external signs of God's grace afforded the church in her assurance of God's mercy and salvation. Our Lord Jesus Christ has left to his people the practice of water baptism and a table of fellowship commemorating his return; he has left his children two external means of assurance.
How are we to understand the importance of these visible signs, their use, and design in Christian living? In our day there is a dominant ignorance befallen most that claim to be of Christ, regarding the purpose, use, and employment of visible signs in our Christianity and worship. For one, the vast majority of Arminian churches have downplayed their significance, having gone the way of Whitgift and Finney, in erecting an altar in the church, replacing God's ordained symbol with every idolatrous form of mimicry. The seeker churches of our land dare not employ such prehistoric religious symbols, touting excuses of rote and passé practice. The vast remaining congregations of main line denominational religion, simply have gone the path of ceremonialism, with but a hostile nod toward Christ, when roused from their slumbering practice. Others misrepresent the true import and use of these signs, granting them incorporeal power and some mystical means of grace. Thus our day can be summarized as one of abuse, misuse, and neglect, regarding the visible signs the Lord has given as an means to strengthened assurance among his elect. True Christian assurance falters in one stead, due to the abuse, misuse, misrepresentation, and oversight of the proper use of these two external signs.
Noting the existence of these signs, we then must inquire how these external evidences of God's saving grace are to be employed in the church as a means to assurance? It is the premise of this article to explain and then speak of the employment of these two external signs of God's grace in the church. Here then is put forth a proposal,
Our Lord has left his church visible signs of his grace, so let us labor in their proper use in the strengthening of our assurance.
In establishing this proposition we shall first demonstrate that it is God's common course to provide visible means of assurance to his people in every age. Second, it shall be demonstrated that the new covenant age, though distinct from previous ages as an era greatly limited in external signs, still remains an age where external evidences of God's grace exist. They are however limited to those two tokens of baptism and the Lord's Supper. Third, we shall assault the intrusion of counterfeit signs of grace currently employed in the church today, which have resulted in a diminishing of the church's use and cherishing of her proper signs. Such impostors have led to misplaced assurances. The end purpose and design then of this treatise is to encourage the church of our day to cast out those hindrances to our assurance that have infiltrated our midst and to take up again proper care of the signs God has given us to aid in our assurance. Let us begin then by first establishing that,
I. Covenant Signs are a Means to Assurance
In every age, God has granted external signs to strengthen the faith of his own and remind them of his promises. From trees in the garden, to a bow set in the sky, to circumcision, and Gideon's fleece, God in his mercy has oft left his own people external signs of his promise. The Old Testament is replete with external signs of God's promises; from wells, altars, pillars and stones, the tabernacle, and even a bronze pole, which God has left his people visible tokens of his grace. Yet, if one considers the vast time covered from Eden to Bethlehem and compares this with the signs of heavenly origin, one notes the scarcity of external signs given of God to the people of the earth. It is a fact that external signs most often are found in relationship to God's establishment of a covenant, to remind his people of his promises. Noah and all the earth were given the bow, Abraham was granted circumcision, Moses and Israel the Sabbath. What might we say of these external manifestations of God's promises? They were given by the free grace of God to encourage his people in their earthly pilgrimage, while awaiting the true reality of the promise to which those signs pointed. But, as is common among men, such signs were often abused, misused, or overlooked. One notes God's fury with Moses, having an uncircumcised son as such an incidence of oversight and neglect. At times, the sign overshadowed the promise and became the reality of God's promise in the mind of the foolish. Thus to the Jew, circumcision became his grounds for confidence in declaring himself to be of God. In his ignorance, he failed to ascertain that circumcision was but a sign of God's coming grace that would cut away at the deadness of men's hearts. We must consider that it is not the external sign that bears our hope, it is God and His promise behind the sign that captures our confidence. It is the sinful desire of men to place their hope in external signs and to attribute a mystical power to an inanimate object, rather than acknowledging the God that authenticates the promise behind the sign.
It is striking to note the decline of God-ordained external signs in the process of the unfolding revelation of Scripture. For it is an apparent course in God's plan to replace visible emblems of his grace with faith in the spoken word. One recalls the words of Christ to Thomas, for so long called the doubter in the upper room, "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed (John 20:29)." Faith appears to be the end of external evidences of God's grace. This may add clarity and insight to Paul's rebuke of the Corinthian church, which was abusing external evidences of God's authority in their worship. For Paul says in I Corinthians 13: 810, "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." While the identification of that perfect thing is debated, we note the emphasis upon the internal verses the external evidences of grace. The New Covenant age is an era marked by faith devoid of external aids to assurance. The previous age was an age marked by innumerable reminders of God's promises and presence with his people in external form; Moses, Aaron, the tabernacle, a pillar of fire and a cloud, a rod, a rock, a bronze serpent, to name but a few. This age is but the opposite. For Christians are scattered upon the face of the earth and every attempt to build edifices and relics to remind the church of her faith has done nothing more than deliver her into bondage and outward pomp. One does wonder then, are external signs to be employed by the church as a means to assurance?
II: The New Covenant signs
Despite the clear distinction of this age as one devoid of external signs, the New Covenant people of God are not left without external evidences of God's promises. In the word of God, Christ our Lord ordained the use of two external practices, as a means to strengthen, remind, and encourage the faith of God's frail children. The external sign of baptism is identified in the gospels first by practice and then by decree. We find our Lord Jesus Christ in each of the four gospels undergoing the process of water baptism. While men muse themselves in speculations and propositions regarding the purpose and effect of Christ's baptism, we need not look far to understand the importance of Christ's baptism. John himself declares the purpose of Christ's baptism, writing in John 1:3334, "And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God." Christ was baptized to authenticate his person as the Son of God, not for his own evidence or infusion of deity, but to demonstrate before men his authority and heavenly confirmation. Thus by ensample Jesus first is baptized to prepare the way for his own people. It is only proper then that Jesus in preparation of his own ascension and Lordship rule of his kingdom, would command his disciples, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Matthew 28:1820)." Baptism is given as an external sign unto those called forth by divine election, who are born of grace, as subjects of the heavenly kingdom.
Baptism has been given to the church as an evidence of Christ's promise to rule and accompany his people upon the face of this earth, amidst every nation and people that professes the name of Christ. We find then Christ bowing in great glory to serve his bride, granting her an external evidence of their heavenly origin and realm of living and his covenant promise. Though they are a people on earth oft afflicted, they are declared and confirmed to be of a heavenly kingdom. Water baptism does not make a person a member of Christ's kingdom; it simply declares that person to reasonably have evidenced himself a member already of that kingdom, by the presupposed regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Baptism then confirms the conscience of a man, affording him in his weakness confidence in a visible world, who having seen the invisible kingdom of God by regeneration and subsequent faith, of that promise yet unseen. Baptism is a means of assurance, but not the grounds of Christian assurance. Grace alone remains our grounds of Christian assurance.
Furthermore, our Lord has not only given forth an external evidence to his covenant people of their inclusion in his kingdom, but also, he has given them a sign of their certain hope of future success. The second external sign that exists in the church today is that of the Lord's Supper. This is the sign of continual reassurance that we one day will dine with Christ. Again, just as baptism, Christ our Lord ordained the use of this external practice, as a means to strengthen, remind, and encourage the faith of God's frail children and then confirmed its use by God's people in the scriptures, first by practice and then by decree. We find Christ gathering his disciples at the table on the night before his death, in order to initiate the practice that would perpetuate the delicate hope of his redeemed. Paul then confirmed the use and practice of the Lord's Table as a practice for the church, when he wrote, "This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come (I Cor 11:2526)." Our Lord first did demonstrate the practice, noting its use, and then confirmed its proper use, as herewith noted by the apostle Paul. What mercy is here demonstrated that our Christ even in his final hour before the cross, was looking to bend to weak and frail creatures and uphold them by visible means of his own grace. What does it say of the great love with which our Lord has loved us? Every occasion of dining at this table should do nothing more but remind us of his love and promises. Like a bride in waiting gazing at her ring, we are ever reminded of Christ's covenant promise and love for us. We do not look at the ring and say it in itself is his love, rather, we look at it and say it is a token of his love. We have these two tokens then given us in this age, that of baptism and that of the table. What do these signs afford us? They afford us remembrance, contemplation, hope, and assurance. These and these alone are established in the New Testament as the church's external means of assurance, given by the merciful condescension of her Lord. They are to be employed and cherished, as a bride would her precious ring. But we now turn our attention to note the tarnished ring that in this day sits upon the bride's finger.
III: An idolatrous place within our midst
Recall the parable of the woman in the gospel, who, having lost a coin perceivably from her dowry, is frantically given to search through the night for that one lost coin. Christian, a drachma has fallen from our dowry in this day. A thief has come and taken our coin. Or, if you prefer, an unsightly element has settled upon it, rusting its outer form, and tarnishing its luster. All throughout our land, the visible church has taken our precious tokens of grace and has lent them to abuse, misuse, and neglect. How can we sit idly by and watch our cherished tokens trampled underfoot by those that would mock our Lord's condescending grace? Shall we not give ourselves to reclaiming the proper use and care of the Lord's external means of assurance? No saint can deny that great abuse of God's external means of assurance fills the visible church in our day. Some have taken our tokens and set them forth as Israel did the bronze serpent, worshipping them as though they had the power over life and death inherent within them. These speak of infused grace and power that these inanimate objects do not possess. Many in our land have made baptism or the Lord's Supper equivalent to salvific strength, as though they were the very flesh or saving arm of our Lord himself. I speak of those who would equate these practices with any other use than simple external assurances of God's promises. Others have simply laid them aside as useless or cumbersome, as though to mock God and think themselves better to construct their own means of assurance. These are those who prefer to erect altars for men to hearken unto, or those who craft icons or invent the celebrations of saints. These are those that think themselves wiser of salvation to dictate to frail children what may or may not be used to strengthen faith. Then, perhaps even more troubling, is the indifference or lack of care among those of faith, who think little of these signs or give little thought or attention to their use. All around misuses, mimicry, and abuses have become our greatest shame. What then are we to do? We are to give ourselves to reform, reform of our practice, reform of our view of these emblems, and a return to their proper use and care. Let us cast out the inventions of men that have infiltrated our midst, let us put away our foul indifference, and let us return to godly use of our external means of assurance. How though do we travel such a course?
First, we must again agree that there are only two external signs prescribed of our Lord to be used of the church and thusly abolish all other such inventions. It is high time for a bonfire of our vanities. Icons, a place in our buildings that many have dubbed an altar, ceremonialism, vestments, societal baggage, and even seemingly biblical practices, such as foot-washing, tongue-speaking, and other mystical practices, have no place in our worship. God has not ordained nor mandated their use as external means of assurance. Only those practices of baptism and the Lord's Supper have a continuing use in our worship. This is not to exclude the reading, preaching, teaching, and recitation of God's Word in worship. We cannot find justification for the use of human inventions in our worship in either conscience or God's Word. We may find occurrences of practices in the Word of God that has an appearance of use, but we do not find them commissioned by our Lord for our use in external assurance. Nor do we find them associated with our covenant. Only those signs of baptism and the Lord's Supper have both prescription and subscription found in our Lord's commands. Calvin would declare these practices and the preaching of the Word to be the distinguishing marks of the church. What then does it say of our day, where these marks are all but extinct? It should be no surprise that the silencing of God's word in the pulpits of our land and homes has led to the construction of every invention and frivolity of man in the worship of God. The proper use and understanding of the visible means of assurance afforded the church has gone the way of neglect, as the proper use and understanding of God's word has all but ceased in the vast majority of those places that claim to worship God. When we again turn our attention, by grace, to God's word, we shall again rightly view these two external signs as the ordained practice of the church in visible marks of assurance. Then shall we polish and cherish our tokens of grace once again.
Furthermore, if we are to regain the proper use of these external signs of grace, we must again acknowledge and understand that no other signs are profitable to God's people, even though others may pretend of use. Many might argue that altar calls, icons, and supposed supernatural signs are not a hindrance to true worship, but rather, an exercise of our liberty and a greater mark of spirituality. While we that champion the New Covenant and its day speak oft of liberty and freedom, we do not do so at the sake of either godly prescription or charitable manner. Men may be truly sincere and sober in their practices, but only that which God has prescribed, held with faith, is truly pleasing to God. When Israel built the golden calf, God did not commend them for their desire to worship him, as they made the calf as a representation of the God that led them out of Egypt. Instead, God's wrath and anger was aroused by their idolatry. For they did not worship God as he ordained, but they worshipped their own foolish invention and the ignorance of their hearts. In this day of the new covenant, we are not a lawless people that are free to construct every visible form for our use. We are not at such liberty. We scandalize our Lord's church when we abuse our liberty with such assertions and practices. Our liberty is properly exercised when we employ what God has given as useable for us, and only rightly exercised when that employment is met with our affection and joy in love for our Christ and his church. Therefore, we must deny that the use of any external sign, other than baptism and the Lord's supper, is profitable for our assurance. We may think others beneficial, but we are simply fooling ourselves. Consider how this is clearly evidenced in the apostle Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, where we have him scolding the invention and misuse of external means within the church. Paul writes to reconfirm proper Christian practice and worship. It is in charity, it is in sobriety and order, and it is honoring from willful, affectionate, and humble worship of God. We may fail in practice by employing our own inventions, and we may fail in practice, even when we employ the right tokens, but do so with a contrary heart. Not only then must we reform our external practice, but our heart's practice as well. This author notes the insurmountable obstacle in such a desire for reform, and pleads before heaven's throne for the grace necessary for the reforming of the church.
Last, we must agree that every invention of man is but a hindrance to true godliness and assurance. Again, some may agree and acknowledge that certain practices are not prescribed of God, but then assert that they are still useful and profitable to evangelism or assurance. This is the argument of pragmatism. Take for example the altar call. Some may argue that while it is not found in God's word, it still is an effective tool. Let us examine this claim. First note its origin, as Ian Murray writes, "The origin of the procedure is obscure. It was unknown in England, but the term reveals the Church of England background of its first promoters, who referred loosely to the end of a church building, in front of the communion table, as the altar. Before the end of the 18th century, in some congregations of the Methodist Episcopal Church the innovation had been introduced of inviting 'mourners' to come to the front, metaphorically, 'to the altar (Murray, 185)." Absent from the church for the majority of its history, such a practice is considered orthodox and necessary today. The tent revivals of the second Great Awakening seem to be the chief cause for the invention of the altar call. Perplexed by vast crowds, unable to baptize and conduct the Lord's Supper with such numbers, men began simply to erect a place for mourners to come to or they would simply walk through the aisles and count numbers. Immediate discussion was raised as to such a practice in the church. Again Ian Murray writes, "the relation of the public appeal to assurance was not an argument about whether saving faith carries assurance with it. That was not in question. The weakest true believer, resting on the promises of Christ, has sure grounds for assurance. But the issue was whether every person who is ready to profess faith has, at once, sufficient reason to tell themselves and others that they have become Christians (Murray, 368)." Has the invention of the altar call been useful and profitable to the church in establishing Christian assurance?
One need simply consider our history since altar calls have been introduced as an accepted practice. We have the creation of the Carnal Christianity doctrine, wide spread Arminianism, and vast multitudes despairing because of false assurances. Murray says, "The altar-call evangelism not only confused regeneration and faith but it also confused the biblical doctrine of assurance (Murray, 368)." The altar call was the logical tool of Arminism and Charles Finney's championed use of means. "The anxious-seat evangelism wanted to do away with any doubts in those who made the public response. The whole strength of its appeal, as already said, lay in its suggestion that a response would ensure salvation. (Murray, 368)." Yet we do not find this methodology producing Christians of sound assurance and faith, rather, we find a vast multitude of people who have made a momentary profession of faith, living a godless life with full assurance that they are Christians. Finney bemoaned the failure of this system on his deathbed, but the visible church of our day has ignored his regret. Instead, they prefer to stamp countless multitudes with confidence in nothing more than futile lip service and worthless promises. What use do the Arminians have for the token of baptism, when they have an altar that they claim grants full assurance? What use do they have of the Lord's Supper, when they have the sinner's prayer as their reminder of cancelled sin?
Unlike Arminianism that can take or leave baptism and the Lord's Supper, Calvinism is intricately related to the signs of new covenant assurance. Baptism represents a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration a lost sinner apart from an exercise of the will or any other work. The Lord's supper stands as a reminder of the effectual, atoning work of Jesus Christ for elect sinners only, reminding us regularly of our continuing need for persevering grace. Arminianism has no difficulty finding itself so intricately related to the new measures of tent revivals and its child, the alter-call, at the cost of trampling underfoot the true tokens of God's grace. Where men hear, men choose, men walk, and men act, through the use of natural means, we cast aside all needed external signs of grace alone. Logically then, Calvinism provides assurance based upon Christ and his merits alone, Arminianism provides assurance based upon man's choice and man's actions. In one God is glorified, in another, men are cheered for their good choice. Shall we wonder why the signs of our covenant are laid aside and human inventions employed? Bread from heaven, blood from a God-man, and water from the sovereign work of Holy Spirit regeneration, has little place in a gospel where the will is championed. These have an earthly altar, conceived in their own hearts, where assurance is as tenuous and as crumbling as the empty altar that men here below approach. Are men's inventions then profitable for the church?
Some though still might argue in the case of altar calls that if nine people leave falsely assured and one truly assured, then the altar call is vindicated as useful. I ask the reader though to consider these words of R.L. Dabney and a response to the use of means just because they work: the quote comes from Ian Murray's book, Revival and Revivalism. In it, Murray writes of Dabney, "answering the question, 'Conversion is so important that if any cases prove genuine is that not enough to justify the method?' Dabney addresses the use of means. 'If some were said to employ these means 'because a few are truly converted, and make stable, useful Christians; and the rest when they find out the shallowness of their experience, are simply where they were before,'" Dabney replied, "this reply rests on a number of fallacies. The lapsed who were once held up before public view as converts are not where they were before; they are likely to be more careless and more indifferent. Furthermore, in their lapse the reputation of the gospel has been brought down in the eyes of the world. On the other hand, those who were saved did not owe their conversion to their public response. They were people in whom God was working, and whose consciences had become tender, so that, hearing that coming to the front was their duty, they responded. Whatever they were told, their conversion was not the result of that action. It was the work of the Holy Spirit and of gospel truth. So even in these cases nothing was gained by the unbiblical measure, and much harm would have been avoided had it not been used (Murray 367)." Brethren, we are not better off by the use of such measures!
If the proposition of this article has been adequately proven, there remain
viable conclusions to be drawn by God's people. Our Lord Jesus Christ has
granted the church two and only two visible means to assurance in this age.
All other practices, inventions, whether they have a semblance of use or
propriety, are but a hindrance to our assurance and evangelism. We must neither
employ them nor confirm them in use or practice, as they are contrary to
godly worship and our hope. They do nothing more than trouble us, mislead
us, and hinder us in our pursuit of true joyful piety. We must reform our
practice and worship, or we shall continue to suffer from every evil introduced
into our worship and our own disparity. God is neither amused nor pleased
by our efforts, if we cast aside what he has ordained for our use, or use
it contrary to its prescription. True religion is from the heart, willful,
joyful, and in accordance with the Word of God. Anything else is less than
true and a raping of Christ's bride and a pillaging of his house. Let us
take our idols and bury them under the Terebinth tree and understand what
is useful and what is not. For we do not state these matters to bind up our
liberty, but rather, to set us at liberty that we might know freedom from
man's inventions and from false assurances. Christian, pray that God shall
visit his church again with a reformation of heart and practice, and restore
unto us a rich board of mercy from which to dine in peace. We may find our
frailty amusing, but we must not find our sin so entertaining. God have mercy
on us. Amen.
From: "Sound of Grace Online"
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