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the Anger of Kings, and triumphed over the bitterest Torments and Afflictions; by faith that they wrought righteousneß,obtained promifes, stopped the mouth of Lions, quenched the violence of fire, efcaped the edge of the Sword, and out of weaknes were made ftrong. Nay, fo great a fhare hath Faith in the Succeffes of our Chriftian Warfare, that it is called by the Apostle, the good fight of faith, 1 Tim. vi. 13. and S. John allures us, that this is the victory that overcometh the world,even our faith, 1 Joh. v. 4.

For if we firmly believe the Gofpel, that will furnish us with undeniable Anfwers to return to all Temptations, and enable us infinitely to outbid the World whatsoever it fhould proffer us for our Innocence. For our Belief of the Gofpel carries in the one hand infinitely greater Goods, and in the other infinitely greater Evils to allure and bind us faft to our Duty, than any the World can propofe to entice, or terrifie us from it. For on the one hand it discovers to us thofe immortal Regions of the Bleffed, which are the proper Seat and pure Element of Happiness; where the bleffed Inhabitants live in a continued Fruition of their utmost Wishes, being every moment entertained with fresh and inravishing Scenes of Pleafure; where all their Happiness is eternal, and all their Eternity nothing elfe but one continued Act of Love, and Praife, and Joy, and Triumph; where there are no Sighs or Tears; no intermixtures of Sorrow or Mifery, but every Heart is full of Joy, and every Joy is a Quinteffence, and every happy Moment is crowned with fome fresh and new Enjoyment. On the other hand it fets before


our eyes a moft frightful and amazing Prospect of thofe difmal Shades of Horrour, where mighty Numbers of condemned Ghofts perpetually wander to and fro, tormented with endless Rage and Despair; where they always burn without confuming, always faint, but never die, being forced to languish out a long Eternity in unpitied Sighs and Groans. And after fuch a Profpeft as this, what poor, inconfiderable Trifles will all the Goods and Evils of this world appear to us? But yet unlefs we believe the Reality of them, how great foever they may be in themselves, they will fignifie no more to our Hope and Fear (which are the Ma→ fter Springs of our Action) than if they were fo many golden Dreams or livelefs Scarecrows. For all Propofals of good and evil do work upon the Minds of men proportionably as they are believed and affented to; and as that which is not true, is not, lo that which we do not believe, is to us as if it were not. How then is it poffible we should be moved by that Good or Evil which we do not believe, and in which by confequence we cannot apprehend our felves concerned.

Wherefore in our Entrance into the Chriftian Warfare, it is highly neceffary that we do not take up our Faith at a venture, and believe winking, without knowing why or wherefore, but that we hould, fo far as we are able, impartially examine the Evidences of our Religion, and fearch into the Grounds of its Credibility, that fo we may be able to give fome Reafon to our felves and others of the Hope that is in us. For which End it will be needful that we fhould read, and impartially confider, fome of the Apologies for the Chriftian Religion;

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*Dr. Stilling fleets Origi

nes. Dr. P4trick's Tran

Religion, of which we have fundry excellent ones in our own Language; and if we will but take the pains to inftruct our felves in the plain and eafie Evidences of Chriftianity,we fhall quickly fee abundant caufe to affent to it; and then our Faith, being founded on a firm Bafis of Reafon, will be able to bid defiance to the World, and to out-ftand the most furious Storms of Temptation.

flation of Gro tius.

Sir Charles Wolfely.

II. To our good Beginning of this our Chriftian Warfare, it is alfo neceffary that we should duly confider the Motives of our Religion, and balance them with the Hardships and Difficulties we are to undergo. For thus our Saviour makes Confideration a neceffary Introduction to our Chriftian Warfare, Luke xiv. 28. where he compares mens rufhing headlong into the Difficulties of the Chriftian Life without Confideration, to a mans refolving to build a Tower without computing the Charge of it, or a Kings going to War without ever confidering before-hand whether with his Army of Ten Thoufand he be able to encounter his Enemy with Twenty. By both which Comparisons he intimates to us the unprofperous Iffue of mens lifting themfelves under his Banner to combate the Devil, the World, and their own Lufts without ever confidering before-hand either their own ftrength or their Enemies, the Arguments with which they must fight, or the Difficul ties that will croß and oppose them. So that when they come to execute their rafh Refolutions, there start up fo many Difficulties in their way which

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they never thought of, and against which they took no care to fore-arm themselves, that they have not the Heart and Courage to stand before them, but after a few faint Attempts are prefently founding a cowardly Retreat.

For indeed Confideration is the Life and Soul of Faith, that animates and actuates its Principles, and elicites and draws forth all their natural Power and Energy. And let the Truths we believe be 'never fo weighty and momentous in themselves, never fo apt to fpirit and invigorate us, yet unless we ferioully confider and apply them to our Wills and Affections, and take the pains to extract out of them their native Vigour and Efficacy, and to infufe it into our Faculties and Powers, they will lie like fo many dead Notions in our Minds, and never impart to us the least Degree of fpiritual Courage and Activity. And accordingly our Saviour attributes the ill Succefs of Gods Word in the Hearts of men (which he compares to the high-way, the ftony and thorny Ground) either to their not confidering it at all, or to their not confidering it deeply enough, or to their not confidering it long enough. Either the divine Truths which they heard went no farther than their Ears, and fo lay openly expofed like fo many loofe corns upon the high-way to be picked up by the Fowls of the Air; or if it entred into their Mind and Confideration, it was fo fightly and superficially, that like Corn fown in a rocky ground it had not Depth enough to take root, to faften and grow into their minds, and digeft into Principles of Action; or if they at prefent received it into their deeper and more ferious Confideration, it


was but for a little while, for by and by they permit their worldly Cares and Pleafures, like Thorns, to fpring up in their Thoughts and choak it, before it was arrived to any Maturity. But that which rendred it fo profperous and fruitful in good and honeft Hearts, was, that having heard the Word they kept it, i. e. retained it in their Thoughts and Confideration, and so brought forth fruit with patience, Luke viii. 12, 13, 14,15. So that to the making of a good Beginning in Religion, it is not only neceffary that we fhould ponder the Motives and Arguments of Religion, and balance them with the Difficulties of it, but that we fhould revolve and repeat them on our minds till we have reprefented to our felves with the utmost Life and Reality, whatsoever makes for and against our Entrance into the Chriftian Warfare; and upon our having weighed them over and over in the Scales of an even and impartial Judgment, we have brought the Debate to this Refult and Conclufion, that there is infinitely more Weight in the Arguments of Religion to perfuade us to it, than in all the Difficulties of it to dif hearten us from it. For unless we enter into Religion fore-armed with the Motives, and forewarned of the difficulties of it, we fhall never be able to stand our Ground; but finding more Oppofition than we expected, and having not a fufficient Strength of Argument to bear up against it, we fhall quickly repent of our rafh Undertaking, and be forced to retreat from it with Shame and Dishonour. For this is ufually the Iffue of thofe rash and anfetled purposes which men make in the heats of their Pallion; when they have been

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