“Try by this whether you have grace or no.
Dost thou walk in the exercise of thy grace?
He that hath clothes, surely will wear them, and not be seen naked. Men talk of their faith, repentance, love to God; these are precious graces, but why do they not let us see these walking abroad in their daily conversation?
Surely if such guests were in thy soul, they would look out sometimes at the window, and be seen abroad in this duty and that holy action. Grace is of a stirring nature, and not such a dead thing, like an image, which you may lock up in a chest, and none shall know what God you worship.
No, grace will show itself; it will walk with you into all places and companies; it will buy with you, and sell for you; it will have a hand in all your enterprises; it will comfort you when you are sincere and faithful for God, and it will complain and chide you when you are otherwise.
Go to, stop its mouth, and Heaven will hear its voice, it will groan, mourn and strive, even as a living man when you would smother him. I will as soon believe a man to be alive, that lies peaceably as he is nailed up in his coffin, without strife or bustle, as that thou hast grace, and never exercise it in any act of spiritual life. What! man, hast thou grace, and carried as peaceably as a fool to the stocks by thy lust? Why hangest thou there nailed to thy lust?
If thou hast grace, come down and we will believe it; but if thou beest such a tame slave as to sit still inder the command of lust, thou deceivest thyself. Hast thou grace, and show none of it in the condition thou art placed in? May be thou art rich; dost thou show thy humility towards those that are beneath thee? dost thou show a heavenly mind, breathing after heaven more than earth?
It may be thy heart is puffed with thy estate, that thou lookest on the pooras creatures of some lower species than thyself, and disdainest them, and as for heaven thou thinkest not of it. Like that wicked prince that said, He would lose his part in paradise rather than in Paris. Art thou poor? why dost [thou] not exercise grace in that condition? Art thou contented, diligent? May be instead of contention thou repinest, canst not see a fair lace on thy rich brother’s cloth, but grudgest it; instead of concurring with providence by diligence to supply thy wants, thou art ready to break through the hedge into thy neighbour’s fat pasture; thus serving thy own turn by a sin, rather than waiting for God’s blessing on thy honest diligence.
If so, be not angry we call thee by thy right name, or at least question whether we may style thee Christian, whose carriage is so cross to that sacred name, which is too holy to be written on a rotten post.” William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour