George Downame: Full assurance is not essential to saving faith

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
It is a very erroneous opinion to think, that we are justified, or do obtain remission of sins, by being assured, and much more by being fully assured of the forgiveness of our sins: or that we are to believe, that they are forgiven, to the end that they may be forgiven.

For justification and remission of sins is promised only to those that believe by a justifying faith, (I speak of those who are adulti, and are come to the years of discretion, not of infants, who are justified sometimes, before they actually believe) therefore a man must have justifying faith before he hath remission of sins, (for by faith we obtain remission of sins and by faith we are justified: and therefore have we believed in Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ) A man’s sins must be forgiven, before he can be assured that they be forgiven & it is absurd to imagine that the assurance that our sins be forgiven goeth before the forgiveness of them.

For if a man must believe or be assured of the forgiveness of sins before they be forgiven, then he is bound to believe that which is false. And lastly a man must ascend by divers degrees of assurance growing or proceeding from faith to faith before he can attain to full assurance.

For the reference, see:



Puritan Board Freshman
not of infants, who are justified sometimes, before they actually believe)

Are there any old saints you would recommend that I could refer to on this topic? I would also be particularly interested in any prooftexts you may know of that you’ve found compelling.

Thank you brother!