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Am I a Christian? (Pocket Puritans) Paperback – June 1, 2009
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'To read the work of a Puritan doctor of the soul is to enter a rich world of spiritual theology to feed the mind, heart-searching analysis to probe the conscience, Christ-centred grace to transform the heart, and wise counsel to direct the life. This series of Pocket Puritans provides all this in miniature, but also in abundance.' --Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson
About the Author
JAMES FRASER was born on July 29, 1639. After briefly considering the principles of the Quakers, he began to teach Scripture and was ordained in 1670 or 1672 by some ejected ministers. He preached frequently until July 1674 when he was summoned to appear before the Privy Council. When he refused, he was denounced as a rebel, arrested in 1677 and imprisoned on the notorious Bass Rock. Regarding this imprisoned Fraser, Alexander Smellie wrote, 'no persecution could make his heart bankrupt or could lessen his fruit-bearing. Every day, Fraser records, 'I read the Scriptures, exhorted and taught therefrom, did sing psalms, and prayed with such of our society as our masters did permit to worship God together, and this two times a day.'
James Fraser is chiefly remembered for his 'Memoirs,' which were first published in Edinburgh in 1738, and which have been reprinted by the Banner of Truth Trust in 'Scottish Puritans - Select Biographies, vol. 2.' The 'Memoirs' are a record of the Lord's dealings with him in the course of his 'pilgrimage'. Speaking about Fraser's 'Memoirs' Alexander Whyte said that Fraser 'will live as long as a scholarly religion, and an evangelical religion, and a spiritual religion, and a profoundly experimental religion lives in his native land'.
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The author gives twenty reasons why he doubted he was truly converted and then gives answers as to why these doubts did not prove that he was deceived as to his real spiritual state.
In ground two he feared that he was double minded and wondered if he really saw how evil his sin was.One response he gives to this:p.11"...my sins have in a manner done me more good than my graces." He came to realize that the Lord even used his sin for his good(to sanctify him further- 'all things work together for them that love God').The Lord Jesus used his sin to make him more humble,watchful and caused him to realize increasingly how much he needed to depend on Christ to overcome sin and temptation.
In Ground fifteen his argument was(that he was not converted)because he still found such an evil heart in himself,there was much hardness of heart,carnality,pride... and in such a high degree. To this I would say that this is actually a sign of spiritual growth(when we come to see to a greater degree the depravity of our hearts). To this ground Pastor Fraser gives this response p.47 "so do I find a new man,that knows,delights in the Lord and his ways,and continually hates and opposes the body of death." This is the struggle with remaining sin and corruption that all believers experience(at various levels).The old man and the new man in believers that is seen throughout the Scriptures in the lives of God's people and that brother Paul clearly lays out in Romans chapter 7.
My own conversion was such 'that I was converted from raw paganism'(that is how one Pastor described it upon hearing how the Lord brought me to Himself).As a result of the radical transformation in my thoughts and the way I once lived,I have rarely struggled with assurance(perhaps unlike some do who are brought up in Christian homes who may not have that clear ,before and after conversion distinction,in their experience).Fraser's 'AmI A Christian' is the most helpful thing I've ever read on Assurance and I'm confident that it would be very helpful to any who have or are having doubts in this area.