John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Sunday 21st August 1966


Good gospel service.
I am having doubts.
Whatever it was that was “great” about the Saturday meeting must have encouraged me, for no “” is recorded for Sunday; indeed, the diary entry says: “Good Gospel Service.” The next day I was back to “” again, though, and so things continued.

The following note is attached to a photocopied, magnified version of the diary:

Sunday 21st August 1966
Good gospel service.
I am having doubts.

“I am having doubts,”
I wrote here
—not doubts, e.g., as to
whether God exists,
or whether the Bible
message is true—but
doubts as to whether
I was actually saved,
whether I’d actually
availed myself of the
grace of God.

The problem was: I
believed the Bible,
what it said about
salvation by the grace of
God through faith, but
I also saw what
manner of life those
who believed should
have—and it seemed
to me that I didn’t
have it, so I wondered
whether I’d missed
something, hadn’t got
that saving faith.

“Good gospel service”
would imply straight
heaven-or-hell gospel
preaching, which would
tend to heighten such
      (April 1988)
   Compare CW88.148

Compare CW88.148: In the place cited, we find written:
147.…I’m a bag of conflicts, and it depresses me. If I really made you my Lord, obeyed you completely, then I would have more assurance 148.within that you really had saved me. If my devotion to you was completely undiluted, then I would open my mouth for you and not especially fear what people thought.

I don’t want to end up in the Lake of Fire burning with fire and sulphur for ever and ever. I look to you again, and especially your sacrifice, Jesus, for me. The only reason I doubt, is my continuing sinfulness which suggests that the work of salvation in me is not done, not started even. How do I get out of this situation? I notice that it has been happening, on and off, since at least the 21st August 1966. “I am having doubts”—not doubts about you or your word or your provision on the cross, but whether I’ve in fact made it across to you, fulfilled the conditions on my side.

Why can’t I promise myself that I will give myself to you completely? Why can’t I just say: “Here I am. I am yours. Do with me what you will. I will obey you whatever it takes”? What are you going to ask me to do which is so irksome? Nothing, as far as I can see!
In the NOTES section is written:

NB Are my feelings…
N.B. Are my feelings…: The pen ran out of ink at this point. The final word of the sentence cannot be read in the Ms., and I conjecture: “…genuine?” This note may have to do with this evening’s “I am having doubts” or Wednesday’s “queer feeling—worried”.

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