John Flavel on saving faith and assurance

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
There be three acts of faith, assent, acceptance, and assurance: The Papists generally give the essence of saving faith to the first, viz. assent. The Lutherans, and some of our own, give it to the last, viz. assurance: but it can be neither way so. Assent does not agree only to true believers, or justified persons. Assurance agrees to justified persons, and them only, but not to all justified persons, and that at all times.

Assent is too low to contains the essence of saving faith, it is found in the unregenerate as well as the regenerate: yea, in devils as well as men, James ii. 19. it is supposed and included in justifying faith, but it is not the justifying or saving act. Assurance is as much too high, being found only in some eminent believers: and in them too but at some times. There is many a true believer to whom the joy and comfort of assurance is denied; they may say of their union with Christ, as Paul said of his vision; whether in the body or out of the body, I cannot tell; so they, whether in Christ or out of Christ, they cannot tell. ...

For more, see John Flavel on saving faith and assurance.

N.B. I think that Flavel goes too far in stating that assurance belongs "only in some eminent believers".