I have laboured in your presence to preach up the privilege of strong faith; I have urged you to strive after full assurance of faith; but never let these lips say a word or a syllable against that holy carefulness which makes a broad distinction between presumption and assurance. Depend upon it, privilege preached always without precept will breed a surfeit and lethargy in God’s people: what we want at certain seasons is, not a promise, but a telling, burning word of self-examination, the flavour of which we may not like, but which shall work in our souls spiritual good of a more lasting sort than sweet comforts would bring to us. Examine yourselves, dear friends, then, by this. I do not ask you whether your hearts are perfect—they are not; I do not ask you whether your hearts never go astray, for they are prone to wander; but I do ask you: Is your heart resting upon Jesus Christ? Is it a believing heart? Does your heart meditate upon divine things? Does it find its best solace there? Is your heart a humble heart? Are you constrained to ascribe all to sovereign grace? Is your heart a holy heart? Do you desire holiness? Do you find your pleasure in it? Is your heart bold for God? Does your heart ascribe praises to God? Is it a grateful heart? And is it a heart that is wholly fixed upon God, desiring never to go astray? If it be, then you have marks of election. Search for these, and add to all your searching this prayer, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’
For meditation: Earlier in this sermon, Spurgeon illustrated the marks of election from Psalm 23: a heart that is believing (v 1), meditative (v 2), humble (vv 2–3a), holy (v 3b), brave (v 4), contented and grateful (v 5), constant (v 6). Can you see these marks in yourself?