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Scottish Puritanism, 1590-1638$
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David George Mullan

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198269977

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198269978.001.0001

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Conversion and Assurance

Conversion and Assurance

Chapter:
(p.85) 3 Conversion and Assurance
Source:
Scottish Puritanism, 1590-1638
Author(s):

David George Mullan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198269978.003.0004

If conversion was the task of the preacher, God himself was at work in the world chastising men and women through war, sickness, and other hardships to drive them from self‐centredness and unto him. Conscience also had its role to play, not as an independent entity, but as an internalization of the teaching of the Bible. This chapter relates the conversion stories of three different women who wrestle with the darkness of sin. Puritanism might call people to a sense of assurance of salvation but it also cautioned against ‘security,’ which might actually be a sense of false confidence, and so it encouraged an internal agitation that might drive some people toward suicide. Divines did, however, offer some signs of election, notably good works and love of true piety, by which the psychological distress might be quietened.

Keywords:   conscience, election, good works, security

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