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wisdom shall absolutely sway and reign over his wisdom; that his reason shall be puzzled, shall be baffled in many cases; that his mind shall be rifled of all its prejudices, its fond curiosities, its presumptuous confidences, of every thought and device' advancing itself against divine truth.
He must abandon all good opinion of himself, all conceitedness of his own worth, merit, excellency, felicity in any kind; slighting his wealth, his power, his dignity, his wit, his wisdom, and the like advantages natural or secular, which are so much prized in vulgar and worldly esteem; as things in themselves of no consideration, nor otherwise valuable than as talents entrusted by God, or instruments of his service; disowning them from himself, as things freely dispensed by God, and absolutely depending on his disposal : saying with St. Paul, • Yea doubtless, I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowlege of Christ Jesus my Lord : for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ.'
He also that. cordially doth embrace the Christian doctrine, with resolution of conforming his practice thereto, must look for it to sustain much disgrace; to be hated, to be censured and taxed, to be slighted and scorned, to be reproached, to be spurned as a fool, an idiot, a humorist, a silly, superstitious, fantastical, morose body, by the world, and the adherents to its corrupt principles, its vicious fashions, its depraved sentiments and practices; 'who will wonder (with indignation and scorn) at those who do not run into the same excess of riot, speaking evil and railing at them :' especially in times when wickedness · doth lift up its horn,' when profaneness doth not only much prevail, but doth insult, and vapor over piety.
Every Christian as such immediately doth admit notions quite debasing high conceit, which ascribe all our good things purely to divine bounty, which allow us to own nothing but evils springing from our defects, infirmities, and corruptions, from our guilty naughtiness and folly; which display our great imperfection, indigency, impotency, ignorance, error, unworthiness, and forlorn wretchedness; which assure that we do sub
sist in total dependence on God, continually needing his protection, succor, and mercy.
He must undertake the practice of duties extremely cross to proud humor; to comport with injuries and affronts, without revenge, without resentment of them ; to place himself beneath others; to be. content with his state, how mean and poor soever; to bear patiently all events incident to him, however sad and grievous; with the like, contrary to the gust of a proud heart.
He that doth thus demean himself, embracing such notions, and complying with such duties, how can he otherwise than be a very humble, sober, and modest person?
5. To faith much fortitude, much resolution, and courage must conspire ; for he that firmly persuadeth himself to be a Christian, doth embark in a most difficult and dreadful warfare, doth undertake most high and hazardous enterprises, doth engage in the boldest adventures that a man can set on; he intendeth to encounter most puissant, stout, and fierce enemies ; to fight many a bloody battle; to attack many a stronghold, to sustain many a sharp brunt, to endure many sore hardships, to run into many terrible dangers, to break through many tough difficulties, to surmount many great discouragements, impediments, and oppositions.
He doth set himself in array against the world, the flesh, and the devil, that strong confederacy banded against him with their utmost force of strength and subtilty.
He must combat the world, by its fair looks, flatteries, and caresses, enticing to sin; by its frowns, menaces, aud rough treatments, deterring from duty; ensnaring us by its profits, its glories, its pleasures; seducing us by its bad customs and examples ; distracting us with its cares and amusements of busi
He must cope with the flesh, that intestine and treacherous foe; which with its corrupt prejudices and imaginations, with its stubborn proclivities, with its impetuous appetites, with its boisterous passions, doth 'war against our soul, striving to bring our minds into captivity under the law of sin which is in our members.'
He must grapple with the devil, that strong one, that
greedy lion, that wily snake, that rueful dragon always waiting to surprise us, always gaping to devour us, always laying close trains to entrap us, always throwing fiery darts of temptation, to consume or scorch us ; Our wrestling,' as the Apostle doth express it, is against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickednesses in high places.'
In these conflicts he must expect to meet with many a grievous repulse, to bear many a hard knock, to feel many a sore wound; to be often beat back, often knocked down, often thrust through, often trampled on, and insulted over.
To set on these things is surely, the highest gallantry that can be; he that hath the heart to attempt and undergo such things, is a daring and brave man indeed; he that successfully can achieve such exploits is truly a hero; most deserving notable trophies, and everlasting monuments of re
The undertakings of Alexander, of Hannibal, of Cæsar, did not signify valor like to this; their achievements were but toys in comparison to these : those famous gallants would have found it infinitely harder to conquer the world in this way ; to have subdued their lusts, and mastered their passions, would have proved far more difficult, than to get advantage in scuffles with armed men ; to discomfit legions of devils would have been to them another kind of work , than was the vanquishing squa. drons of Persians, of Gauls, of Romans : to have set on their own ambition and vanity, their intemperance, their revenge ; to have quelled those inward enemies ; to have sustained affronts, disgraces, afflictions, with a calm and contented mind, would have more tried their courage, than all which they at-, tempted; making a great show, but signifying little of true fortitude.
6. The noble virtue of patience is likewise accessary to faith ; thereto all kinds of patience must concur; patience of labor in God's service, and obedience to all his commands; ' patience of hope,' in waiting for the accomplishment of God's pleasure ; patience of persecution for God's sake, and in conscience of our duty to him ; patience of crosses and afflictions by God's disposal allotted to us for our instruction, our exercise,
our probation, our correction, and improvement in goodness. For,
Christianity is the great school and special academy of patience, wherein we are informed, are inured, are trained up and tried to bear all things: the cross is the badge of our profession, without willingly carrying which, we cannot be the children of God or disciples of Christ; whereby we are 'conformed to the image of our Lord,' the 'man of sorrow, and acquainted with grief ;' tribulation is our lot, to which we are. appointed, and to which we are called; persecution is the condition proposed to us; it being told us, that every one who will live godlily in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution:' affliction is the way toward happiness, ‘for by many afflictions we must enter into the kingdom of heaven;' it is represented as a favor granted to us to suffer ; for üniv éxapioon, 'to you,' saith St. Paul, 'it hath been indulged, not only to believe in Christ, but to suffer for him:' it is our glory, our joy, our beatitude. Our work is 'to run with patience the race that is set before us :' in fine, faith and patience are the pair, which being coupled together draw us to the “ inheritance of the promises ;' patience being needful to introduce and support faith.
7. With faith also must concur the virtue of prudence in all its parts and instances : therein is exerted a sagacity, discerning things as they really are in themselves, not as they appear through the masks and disguises of fallacious semblance, whereby they would delude us; not suffering us to be abused by the gaudy shows, the false glosses, the tempting allurements of things; therein we must use discretion in prizing things rightly, according to their true nature and intrinsic worth; in choosing things really good, and rejecting things truly evil, however each kind may seem to our erroneous sense ; therein we must have a good prospect, extending itself to the final consequences of things, so that looking over present contingencies we descry what certainly will befal us through the course of eternal ages.
In faith is exercised that prudence, which guideth and prompteth us to walk by the best rules, to act in the best manner, to apply the best means toward attainment of the best ends.
The prudence of faith is indeed the only prudence considerable; all other prudence regarding objects very low and ignoble, tending to designs very mean or base, having fruits very poor or vain. To be wise about affairs of this life (these fleeting, these empty, these deceitful shadows) is a sorry wisdom; to be wise in ‘purveying for the flesh,' is the wisdom of a beast, which is wise enough to prog for its sustenance; to be wise in gratifying fancy is the wisdom of a child, who can easily entertain and please himself with trifles; to be wise in contriving mischief, or embroiling things, is the wisdom of a fiend, in whieh the old serpent, or grand politician of hell, doth exceed all the Machiavels in the world : this, as St. James saith, is ' earthly, sensual, devilish wisdom ;' but the wisdom of faith, or that wisdom which is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good works.'
8. In fine, the embracing Christian doctrine doth suppose a mind imbued with all kinds of virtuous disposition in some good degree ; for seeing that doctrine doth highly commend and strictly prescribe all virtue, he must needs be a friend to all virtue, and a devoted servant thereto, who can heartily approve and like it: his eye must be sound, and clear from mists of bad prejudice, who can ken the beauty, and bear the lustre of it; his palate must be pure from vicious tinctures, who can relish its sweetness; his heart must be void of corrupt affections and desires, who sincerely doth affect it, and firmly doth cleave thereto ; his conscience must be good, who can hope for the excellent rewards which it proposeth, who can stand proof against the terrible menaces it denounceth; his intentions must be upright, who dareth offer them to be scanned by so exact rules ; his life must in good measure be blameless, who can present it before the bar of so rigorous judgment; he must be a man of much goodness, ingenuity, and integrity, who can think it expedient, who can be content and willing that such a doctrine be accounted true, which so plainly discountenanceth, which so peremptorily condemneth, which so severely punisheth all kinds of wickedness; for · He,' as our Saviour saith, and he alone,' who doeth the truth, doth come to the light, that his deeds may be manifested.'
Faith therefore, and good con