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of all the accused; "Who can lay any thing," &c.? And then you have another challenge of faith in the close of that chapter, "Who shall separate us from the love of God? shall tribulation, or distress, or famine, or nakedness, or peril?" &c.
5. From the weapons which it wields, which no other hand but the hand of faith can manage. The "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God," that is the weapon with which faith deals. With this weapon, Christ the Captain of salvation, teaches us to fight by his own example, Matth. iv.: "Thus and thus it is written." And it is the truth and faithfulness of God in his word, that is the shield and buckler by which faith encounters its enemies.
6. From the battles it has fought, and the victories it has gained over the stoutest and strongest enemies. "This is the victory whereby we overcome the world, even our faith." It resists the devil, and makes him to flee like a coward; it presents the blood of the Lamb, and bears witness to the truth of the word, and so it defeats the old serpent, Rev. xii. 11: "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony." It treads upon death as a vanquished enemy: "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" Thus faith puts to flight the armies of the aliens.
7. From the heavy burdens it will venture to bear upon its back, without fear of sinking under the load. The cross of Christ is a burden that frightens the world to look to him, or own him; but faith takes it up, and takes it on, and cries, O the world is mistaken; for "his yoke is easy, and his burden is light" and his commandments are not grievous. Our light afflictions, which are but for a moment, work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
8. From the hard and difficult passes that faith will open. When the way seems impassable, it sees the breaker going up before it and therefore, though heaven, earth, and hell, stood in the way, it will clear the road of all difficulties. Pihahiroth and Baalzephon, impassable mountains on every hand, the Red sea before, and an enraged powerful enemy behind; can there be any door of help? Yes, says faith, only "stand still and see the salvation of God;" and thereupon the waters divide, and a lane is made through the depths of the sea for Israel. If we have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, we may say to this, and that, and the other mountain, "Be thou removed," and it shall be done.
9. The courage of faith appears from the great exploits that it has performed: for which I refer you to Heb. xi. per totum, particularly ver. 33-35. And does not this say, that it is a bold and courageous grace?
10. From the trophies of victory and triumph that it wears. It takes up the trophies of Christ's victory over sin, Satan, hell, and death; and cries, "I will be joyful in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banner." O, will faith say, there lies the head of the old serpent bruised by the seed of the woman: there lies the curse of the law, that "hand-writing that was against us," torn by the nails of his cross; "He hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us:" there stands the world, and it is good and bad things, as a mass of mere vanity, overcome by Christ; and therefore I will tread upon them as "dung and loss, that I may win Christ," who is "all in all:" there lies death and the grave, slain by the death of Jesus: and therefore I will play on the den of this lion and cockatrice, for it cannot hurt me. Thus it appears that faith is a courageous grace, which "fears no evil."
III. The third thing in the general method was, to "speak a little of that Christian fortitude and boldness which makes a believer to fear no evil." All that I shall say upon this subject shall be, to offer the few following views for clearing it:
1. The seat and subject of this Christian fortitude is the heart of a believer, renewed by sovereign grace; and there-fore it can never be found in the heart of a natural man. Indeed we find something that goes under that name, but is falsely so called, amongst natural men; a natural boldness and hardiness of spirit to encounter dangers, yea, even death itself, in the pursuance of their designs. The soldier, at the command of his general, will go forward in battle, though he should die upon the spot; the mariner and merchant will risk his life through storms and waves, without any great concern. But, alas! while a man is destitute of the grace of God, all these flow only from pride, covetousness, revenge, or some such reigning lust that must be maintained and supported, or at best from the natural temper of the mind, or some carnal ends and motives." That which is born of the flesh, is" still "flesh." The fortitude or boldness that I now speak of, is only to be found in a heart or soul changed and renewed by the power of divine grace, the faith of God's operation (as I said) being the very spring and root of it. And hence it is, that we shall find this true Christian fortitude sometimes manifesting itself in those who, as to their natural temper, are the most timorous and faint-hearted; for it makes "the feeble as David, and as the angel of God before him." God" says to them that are of a fearful spirit, Be strong, fear not ;" and then the man that quaked at the shaking of a leaf, becomes. bold as a lion.
2. Let us view the object of this Christian fortitude, or that about which it is exerted, namely, truth and error, sin and duty. As to the concerns of a present life, worldly interests and claims, or yet matters of indifference, which a mah may do or forbear, without sin on either side, the spirit of Christianity is the most yielding thing in the world. Our holy religion teaches us, as to the affairs of this life, rather than enter into litigious pleas, to quit our worldly claims; which I take to be the meaning of Christ, when he says, Matth. v. 40: "If any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also." And as to matters of indifference, we are to "become all things to all men, that we may gain some. If meat make my brother to offend," says Paul, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth." So that, I say, this Christian fortitude is not expressed about these things, but about truth or error, sin or duty. Here it is that the Christian is to make his stand; he is to be "valiant for the truth, to contend earnestly for the faith delivered to the saints, to buy the truth," at any rate, and to sell it at no rate; no, not the least hair or hoof of truth is to be parted with, though heaven and earth should mingle for his adhering to it, in opposition to those errors that have a tendency to obscure or destroy it. And the same thing takes place as to the matters of sin or duty, în which we are to "resist even unto blood, striving against sin," in regard the greatest of sufferings are to be chosen rather than the least of sins. The reason of which is obvious, because by the one we are only exposed to the displeasure of men, but by sin we expose ourselves to the displeasure of God, and dishonour him.
3. View this Christian courage and fortitude as to the nature of it. It takes in, I think, these things following:
1st, A clear and distinct knowledge and uptaking of the truth as it is in Jesus, accompanied with a firm persuasion and assent of the soul to it, and experience of the power of it upon one's own soul. Without this, a man, instead of being valiant for the truth, will, like the weather-cock, be turned aside with every wind of error or temptation.
2dly, It has in it a making the truth of God in his word the proper boundary both of his faith and practice. He will not embrace" for doctrines the commandments of men;" no, but he will bring matters "to the law and testimony," to be tried at that bar; for, "if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them:" and whatever will not abide the trial there, he throws it away as the spawn of hell, with whatever human authority it may be supported God only is Lord of the conscience, and that he will subject to no authority but God only.
3dly, It has in it a tenacious adherence to truth and duty revealed or enjoined in the word of God, and a refusing to quit it upon any consideration whatever, or whatever be the event. This is called a "keeping the word of God's patience," Rev. iii. 10; and a "holding of the testimony," Rev. vi. 9: "I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:" a "holding fast the profession of our faith without wavering," Heb. x. 23. This I take to be imported in that advice that Barnabas gave unto the disciples at Antioch, "that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord," Acts xi. 23.
4thly, This Christian fortitude has in it a holy contempt of all that the man can suffer in a present world, in adhering to truth and duty. The man is easy about all the world, and its frowns or flatteries, if he can have God's testimony, and the testimony of a good conscience. "If God be for us," says the man, "who can be against us?" Let devils and men rage and roar, their wrath is bounded, it shall "praise the Lord, and the remainder of their wrath will he restrain." He "endures, as seeing him that is invisible." He has his eye fixed upon another world than this; and therefore he is ready to say, "The sufferings of this present life are not worthy to be compared with the exceeding glory that is to be revealed: Our light afflictions, which are but for a moment, work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen, are temporal; but the things which are not seen, are eternal."
5thly, It has in it also a cheerfulness, alacrity, and equality of spirit, under all the turns of a man's lot in the world in following the Lord, and adhering to his cause and interest: Phil. iv. 11, 12: "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."
4. This Christian fortitude or courage has the following properties:
1st, It is distinct as to the ground it goes upon; and so it is quite different from a blind zeal, which does more harm than good to religion. "I bear you witness," says Paul of his countrymen the Jews, "that ye have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge."
2dly, It is a holy boldness; for it stands in opposition to sin or error. The wicked world are bold to sin; but the Christian is bold to withstand it, and bold to lift up a banner for truth, when others are so bold as to pull it down.
3dly, It is an humble and self-denied boldness. The man is not bold or confident in himself, or in created grace, as Peter, when he said, "Though all men should forsake thee, yet will not I:" no, but he is "strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." And when he has helped to make a stand for the Lord, or for his cause, he will not be ready to sacrifice to his own net, like Jehu, "Come and see my zeal for the Lord of hosts:" no, but, with Paul, he will be ready to say, "Not I, but the grace of God in me: Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name be the glory." And therefore,
4thly, It is a very meek boldness. Moses was the meekest man upon earth, and yet his meekness was consistent with such boldness of spirit, as to go at God's command to Pharaoh, and require him to let Israel go, under very awful certifications: and when Pharaoh was brought so far down from his former altitudes, as to allow them to go, only to leave some little thing behind; he boldly tells him, "not a hoof was to be left behind," Exod. x. 26. And yet in all this Moses retained his meekness of spirit; for "the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."
5. The proper season for exerting this Christian courage and boldness, is, when duty is attended with danger, or when the profession of our faith is fair to expose us to the rage and persecution of men. A coward will appear courageous when there is no enemy to withstand him; but true courage discovers itself in standing the shock and attack of the enemy: so true Christian courage discovers itself in a time of danger, when "truth is falling in the street," to take it up then; or when the following of the Lord in the way of duty exposes a man to hazard and danger, for a man to set his face to the storm like a flint; that is, I say, the proper time for Christian courage to exert itself. This you see in the case of the three children, when threatened with a burning fiery furnace, if they would not worship the golden image, "We are not careful to answer thee in this matter, O king: we will not worship the image thou hast set up: the God whom we serve is able to deliver us." And we see the same in Daniel, when a proclamation was issued out, forbidding any petition to be asked either of God or man, but only of the king, for thirty days, he goes into his house, and casts open his windows, so as all might take knowledge of him, and praises and gives thanks to his God three times a day, though he knew the upshot of it would be his being cast into the lions' den. The proper season for this Christian courage is a time of hazard attending duty. Alas! it is to be feared, that, among the many crowds that seem to follow Christ, and profess his name, in a day of prosperity, he would have but a thin backing of them, if Providence were calling them to fol