I have returned to in many times over the decades, always with new blessing and insight. Gardiner Spring was a close friend and classmate of Adoniram Judson, the latter of whom would become America's first foreign missionary, who along with his wife Ann Hasseltine Judson departed for Burma in 1812. Gardiner Spring's father, Dr. Samuel Spring, was one of New England's prominent conservative ministers and a vigorous champion of foreign missions. Gardiner Spring became the distinguished pastor of Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City where he ministered for over fifty-five years.
Judging from Dr. Gardiner Spring's little book, there were many more professing Christians than possessing Christians even one hundred-eighty-five years ago, and the problem is much more evident today. Many people profess salvation and believe they are on their way to heaven, yet they show few if any distinguishing marks of a biblical, born-again Christian. The chapter titles from Spring's book challenge professing believers: Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5)
Here is the table of contents organized in outline form. I highly recommend this little book, which is available from Amazon.
I. TRAITS THAT NEITHER PROVE NOR DISPROVE THE PRESENCE OF GRACE IN THE SOUL
- Visible Morality
- Speculative Knowledge
- Form of Religion
- Eminent Gifts
- Conviction for Sin
- Strong Assurance
- Time of Your Supposed Conversion
II. TRAITS THAT PROVE THE EXISTENCE OF GRACE IN THE SOUL
- Love to God
- Repentance for Sin
- Faith in Christ
- Evangelical Humility
- Devotion to Divine Honor and Glory of God
- The Spirit of Prayer
- Brotherly Love
- Separation from the World
- Growth in Grace
- Practical Obedience
These chapters are richly supported by Scripture in Spring's book. Oh, how this dark world needs genuine Christians! And churches need to be purified! May God send revival!