But what if we examine ourselves according to these marks, and discover that we have an imperfect evidence of these things?
We find that we exalt Christ, but not so much as we should. We hate sin, but we still sin.
We like sound doctrine, but it seems so little of it has trickled down from our ears to our hearts and lives. We love others, but we find there is still a heap of self-love, too! No believer will be perfect in this life —Phil 3. Herein is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Indeed there is a counterfeit love, that often appears among those who are led by a spirit of delusion.
THE DISTINGUISHING MARKS OF A WORK OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD, APPLIED TO THAT UNCOMMON OPERATION THAT HAS LATELY APPEARED ON THE. Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God - Kindle edition by Jonathan Edwards. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or.
There is commonly in the wildest enthusiasts, a kind of union and affection, arising from self-love, occasioned by their agreeing in those things wherein they greatly differ from all others, and from which they are objects of the ridicule of all the rest of mankind. Thus the ancient Gnostics, and the wild fanatics that appeared at the beginning of the reformation, boasted of their great love one to another; one sect of them, in particular, calling themselves the family of love.
But this is quite another thing, than that Christian love I have just described: There is enough said in this passage of the nature of a truly Christian love, thoroughly to distinguish it from all such counterfeits. The surest character of true divine supernatural love—distinguishing it from counterfeits that arise from a natural self-love—is, that the Christian virtue of humility shines in it; that which above all others renounces, abases, and annihilates what we term self.
Christian love, or true charity, is an humble love.
He that thus dwells in love, dwells in God, and God in him. The love that appeared in that Lamb of God, was not only a love to friends, but to enemies, and a love attended with a meek and humble spirit. Thus I have spoken particularly to the several marks the apostle gives us of a work of the true Spirit. There are some of these things which the devil would not do if he could: And there are other things that the devil neither can nor will do; he will not give men a spirit of divine love, or Christian humility and poverty of spirit; nor could he if he would.
He cannot give those things he has not himself: These marks, that the apostle has given us, are sufficient to stand alone, and support themselves. They plainly show the finger of God, and are sufficient to outweigh a thousand such little objections, as many make from oddities, irregularities, errors in conduct, and the delusions and scandals of some professors.
But here some may object to the sufficiency of the marks given, what the apostle Paul says in 2 Cor. And if we look over what is said about these false prophets, and false apostles, as there is much said about them in the New Testament, and take notice in what manner the devil was transformed into an angel of light in them, we shall not find any thing that in the least injures the sufficiency of these marks to distinguish the true Spirit from such counterfeits.
The devil transformed himself into an angel of light, as there was in them a show, and great boast, of extraordinary knowledge in divine things; Col. Hence their followers called themselves Gnostics, from their great pretended knowledge: Hence they are called false apostles, and false prophets: Again, there was a false show of, and lying pretensions to, great holiness and devotion in words: Hence they are called deceitful workers, and wells and clouds without water.
There was also in them a show of extraordinary piety and righteousness in their superstitious worship: So they had a false, proud, and bitter zeal: But how do such things as these in the least injure those things that have been mentioned as the distinguishing evidences of the true Spirit?
Having thus fulfilled what I at first proposed, in considering what are the certain, distinguishing marks, by which we may safely proceed in judging of any work that falls under our observation, whether it be the work of the Spirit of God or no; I now proceed to the Application. Edwards' Marks of a Work of the True Spirit. More from the Foundations of Freedom special feature. More Church History on Spiritual Life.
Her children stand and bless her.
Would the prince of darkness, in order to promote his kingdom of darkness, lead men to the sun? The devil has always shown a mortal spite and hatred towards that holy book, the Bible. He has done all in his power to extinguish that light, or else draw men off from it. He knows it to be that light by which his kingdom of darkness is to be overthrown. He has long experienced its power to defeat his purposes and baffle his designs. It is his constant plague.
It is the sword of the Spirit that pierces him and conquers him. It is that sharp sword that we read of in Revelation Every text is a dart to torment the old serpent. He has felt the stinging smart thousands of times. Therefore the devil is engaged against the Bible and hates every word in it. Another rule by which to judge spirits is that whatever operates as a spirit of truth, leading people to truth, convincing them of those things that are true — we may safely determine that it is a right and true spirit.
For instance, if the spirit at work makes men more aware than they used to be of the central gospel truths: He represents things as they truly are.
He brings men to the light. On the other hand, the spirit of darkness will not uncover and make manifest the truth. Christ tells us that Satan is a liar, and the father of lies. His kingdom is a kingdom of darkness. It is upheld and promoted only by darkness and error. Satan has all his power and dominion by darkness. Whatever spirit removes our darkness and brings us to the light undeceives us. If I am brought to the truth and am made aware of things as they really are, my duty is immediately to thank God for it without inquiring by what means I have such a benefit.
But here some may object. This book was great and a quick read. The surest character of true divine supernatural love—distinguishing it from counterfeits that arise from a natural self-love—is, that the Christian virtue of humility shines in it; that which above all others renounces, abases, and annihilates what we term self. A man that has been thoroughly terrified with a sense of his own danger and misery, is not easily flattered and made to believe himself safe, without any good grounds. Every text is a dart to torment the old serpent. He has felt the stinging smart thousands of times; therefore he is engaged against the Bible, and hates every word in it:
If the spirit that is at work among a people operates as a spirit of love to God and man, it is a sure sign that it is the Spirit of God.