I came across the following quote taken from the autobiography of Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers, regarding how he counseled a woman in his congregation on the question of assurance. He called her Mrs. Much-Afraid. I think its great advice to take to heart.
One day, when I was talking with her, she told me that she had not any hope at all, she had no faith; she believed that she was a hypocrite.
I said, “Then don’t come to the chapel any more; we don’t want hypocrites there. Why do you come?”
She answered, “I come because I can’t stop away. I love the people of God; I love the house of God; and I love to worship God.”
“Well,” I said, “you are an odd sort of hypocrite; you are a queer kind of unconverted woman.”
“Ah!” she sighed, “you may say what you please, but I have not any hope of being saved.”
So I said to her, “Well, next Sunday, I will let you go into the pulpit, that you may tell the people that Jesus Christ is a liar, and that you cannot trust Him.”
“Oh!” she cried, “I would be torn in pieces before I would say such a thing as that. Why, He cannot lie! Every word He says is true.”
“Then,” I asked, “why do you not believe it?”
She replied, “I do believe it; but, somehow, I do not believe it for myself; I am afraid whether it is for me.”
“Have you not any hope at all?” I asked.
“No,” she answered; so I pulled out my purse, and I said to her, “Now, I have got £5 here, it is all the money I have; but I will give you that £5 for your hope if you will sell it.”
She looked at me, wondering what I meant. “Why!” she exclaimed, “I would not sell it for a thousand worlds.” She had just told me that she had not any hope of salvation, yet she would not sell it for a thousand worlds!
I fully expect to see that good old soul when I get to Heaven, and I am certain she will say to me, “Oh, dear sir, how foolish I was when I lived down there at Waterbeach! I went groaning all the way to glory when I might just as well have gone there singing. I was always troubled and afraid; but my dear Lord kept me by His grace, and brought me safely here .”
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GBC - "Nothing But Hypocrites": A Response From the Prince of Preachers
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