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choice and use of all the means. Whilst the Gospel and the reasons of our religion are strange to people, like a lesson but half learned, who can expect that they should be settled against all temptations which assault their faith, and be able to confute the tempter ? We lay together the proofs of our religion, and you read them twice or thrice, and then think that if after that you have any doubting, the fault is in the want of evidence, and not in your want of understanding : but the life of faith must cost you more labour than so ; study it till you clearly understand it, and remember the whole method of the evidence together, and have it all at your finger's ends, and then you may have a confirmed faith to live by.

Direct. 5. • When you know what are the sorest temptations to unbelief, get all those special arguments and provisions into your minds, which are necessary against those particular temptations. And do not strengthen your own temptations by your imprudent entertaining them.'

Here are three things which I would especially advise you to against temptations to unbelief. 1. Enter not into the debate of so great a business when you are incapable of it. Especially, 1. When your minds are taken up with worldly business, or other thoughts have carried them away, let not Satan then surprise you, and say, 'Come now and question thy religion.' You could not resolve a question in philosophy, nor cast up any long account, on such a sudden, with an unprepared mind. When the evidences of your faith are out of mind, stay till you can have leisure to set yourselves to the business with that studiousness, and those helps which so great a matter doth require. 2. When sickness or melancholy doth weaken your understandings, you are then unfit for such a work. You would not in such a case dispute for your lives with a cunning sophister upon any difficult question whatsoever : and will you in such a case dispute with the devil, when your salvation may lie

upon it ?

2. When your faith is once settled suffer not the devil to call you to dispute it over again at his command. Do it not when his suggestions urge you at his pleasure ; but when God maketh it your duty, and at his pleasure: else your very disputing with Satan, will be some degree of yielding to him, and gratifying him. And he will one time or

ether take you at the advantage, and assault you when you are without your arms.

3. Mark what it is that atheists and infidels most object against Christianity ; but especially mark what it is which Satan maketh most use of against yourselves, to shake your faith: and there let your studies be principally bent, that you may have particular armour to defend you against particular assaults : and get such light by communication with wiser and more experienced men, as may furnish you for that use ; that no objection may be made against your faith, which you are not always ready to answer. This is the true sense of 1 Pet. ii. 15.

Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear."

Direct. 6. · Mark well those works of God in the world, which are the plain fulfilling of his word.'

God doth not make such notable difference by his judgments, as shall prevent the great discoveries at the last, and make his assize and final judgment to be unnecessary, by doing the same work before the time. But yet his providences do own and bear witness to his word ; and he leaveth not the world without some present sensible testimomies of his sovereign government, to convince them, and restrain them.

1. Mark how the state of the sinful world agreeth to God's description of it, and how maliciously godliness is every where opposed by them, and how notably God still casteth shame upon sinners; so that even in their prosperity and rage they are pitied and contemned in the eyes of all that are wise and sober, and in the next generation their names do rot's Psal. xv. 3, 4. Prov. X. 7 And it is wonderful to observe, that sin in the general and abstract is still spoken of by all as an odious thing, even by them that will be damned rather than they will leave it: and that virtue and godliness, charity and justice, are still praised in the world, even by them that abhor and persecute it.

2. And it is very observable, how most of the great changes of the world are made ; by how small, contemptible and unthought of means! Especially where the interest of the Gospel is most concerned! The instance of the reformation in Luther's time, and many others nearer to our days, would shew us much of the conjunction of God's works with his word, if they were particularly and wisely opened.

3. The many prodigies or extraordinary events which have fallen out at several times, would be found to be of use this way, if wisely considered. A great number have fallen out among us of late years, of real certainty, and of a considerable usefulness; but the crafty enemy (who useth most to wrong Christ and his cause, by his most passionate, injudicious followers) prevailed with some over-forward minister of this strain, to publish them in many volumes, with the mixture of so many falsehoods and mistaken circumstances, as turned them to the advantage of the devil and ungodliness, and made the very mention of prodigies to be

come a scorn.

4. The strange deliverances of many of God's servants in the greatest dangers, by the most unlikely means, is a great encouragement to faith: and there are a great number of Christians that have experience of such. The very manner of our preservations is often such as forceth us to say, • It is the hand of God.'

5. The notable answer, and grant of prayers, (of which many Christians have convincing experience,) is also a great confirmation to our faith, (of which I have before spoken).

6. The three sensible evidences formerly mentioned, compared with the Scriptures, may much persuade us of its truth. I mean, 1. Apparitions. 2. Witches. 3. Satanical possessions or diseases, which plainly declare the operation of Satan in them; of all which I could give you manifold and proved instances. These, and many other instances of God's providence, are great means to help us to believe his word (though we must not, with fanatical persons, put first our interpretation upon God's works, and then expound his word by them; but use his works as the fulfilling of his word, and expound his providences by his precepts, and his promises and threats).

Direct. 7. .Mark well God's inward work of government upon the soul; and you shall find it very agreeable to the Gospel.'

There is a very great evidence of a certain kingdom of God within us. And as he is himself a Spirit, so it is with

the Spirit that he doth most apparently converse, in the work of his moral government in the world.

ul. There you shall find a law of duty, or an inward conviction of much of that obedience which you owe to God.

2. There you shall find an inward mover, striving with you to draw you to perform this duty.

3. There you shall find the inward suggestions of an enemy, labouring to draw, you away from this duty, and to make a godly life seem grievous to you; and also to draw you to all the sins which Christ forbiddeth.

4. There you shall find an inward conviction, that God is your Judge, and that he will call you to account for your wilful violations of the laws of Christ.

5. There you shall find an inward sentence passed upon you, according as you do good or evil.

6. And there you may find the sorest judgments of God inflicted, which any short of hell endure. You may there find how God for sin doth first afflict the soul that is not quite forsaken, with troubles and affrightments, and some feeling of his displeasure. And where that is long despised, and men sin on still, he useth to withhold his gracious motions, and leave the sinner dull and senseless, so that he can sin with sinful remorse, having no heart or life to any thing that is spiritually good. And if yet the sinner think not of his condition, to repent, he is usually so far forsaken as to be given up to the power of his most brutish lust; and to glory impudently in his shame, and to hate and persecute the servants of Christ who would recover him ; till he hath filled

up the measure of his sin, and wrath be come upon him to the uttermost; (Ephes. iv. 18, 19. 1 Thess. ii. 15, 16.) being abominable, and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate; Titus i. 15, 16. Besides the lesser penal withdrawings of the Spirit, which God's own servants find in themselves, after some sins or neglects of grace.

7. And there also you may find the rewards of love and faithful duty; by many tastes of God's acceptance, and many comforts of his Spirit, and by his owning the soul, and giving out larger assistances of his Spirit, and

peace of conscience, and entertainment in prayer, and in all approaches of the soul to God, and sweeter foretastes of life eternal. In a word, if we did but note God's dreadful judgments on the


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souls of the ungodly in this age, as well as we have noted our plagues and flames; and if God's servants kept as exact observations of their inward rewards and punishments, and that in particulars, as suited to their particular sins and duties; you would see that Christ is King indeed, and that there is a real government according to his Gospel, kept up in the consciences or souls of men (though not so observable as the rewards and punishments at the last day).

Direct. 8. 'Dwell not too much on sensual objects, and let them not come too near your

hearts.' Three things I here persuade you carefully to avoid : 1. That you keep your hearts at a meet distance from all things in this world ; that they grow not too sweet to you, nor too great in your esteem. 2. That you gratify not sense itself too much; and live not in the pleasing of your taste or lust, 3. That you suffer not your imaginations to run out greedily after things sensible, nor make them the too frequent objects of your thoughts.

You may ask perhaps, what is all this to our faith? Why, the life of faith is exercised upon things that are not seen; and if you live upon the things that are seen, and imprison your soul in the fetters of your concupiscence, and fill your fancies with things of another nature, how can you be acquainted with the life of faith? Can a bird fly that hath a stone tied to her foot? Can you have a mind full of lust, and of God at once ? Or can that mind that is used to these inordinate sensualities, be fit to relish the things that are spiritual? And can it be a lover of earth and fleshly pleasures, and also a believer and lover of heaven?

Direct. 9. • Use yourselves much to think and speak of heaven, and the invisible things of faith.'

Speaking of heaven is needful both to express your thoughts, and to actuate and preserve them. And the often thoughts of heaven, will make the mind familiar there : and familiarity will assist and encourage faith : for it will much acquaint us with those reasons and inducements of faith, which a few strange and distant thoughts will never reach to. As hự that converseth much with a learned, wise or godly man, will more easily believe that he is learned, wise or godly, than he that is a stranger to him, and only now and then seeth him afar off. So he that thinketh so fre. quently of God and heaven, till his mind hath contracted a

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