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come off unwounded and unshaken, and to be more confirmed in the truth of his belief, by discerning the vanity of all that is said against it.
3. The seeming Christian either hath no solid reasons at all for his religion, or else, if he have the best, he hath no sound apprehension of them: but though he be never so learned and orthodox, and can preach and defend the faith, it is not so rooted in him as to endure the trial; but if a strong temptation from subtlety or carnal interest assault him, you shall see that he was built upon the sand, and that there was in him a secret root of bitterness, and an evil heart of unbelief, which causeth him to depart from the living God.
III. 1. A Christian indeed, is not only confirmed in the essentials of Christianity, but he hath a clear delightful sight of those useful truths which are the integrals of Christianity, and are built upon the fundamentals, and are the branches of the masterpoints of faith. Though he see not all the lesser truths, (which are branched out at last into innumerable particles,) yet he seeth the main body of sacred verities delivered by Christ for man's sanctification, and seeth them methodically in their proper places, and seeth how one supports another, and in how beautiful an order and contexture they are placed ; and as he sticketh not in the bare principles, so he receiveth all these additions of knowledge, not notionally only, but practically, as the food on which his soul must live.
2. A weak Christian (in knowledge) besides the principles or essentials of religion, doth know but a few disordered scattered truths, which are also but half known, because while he hath some knowledge of those points, he is ignorant of many others which are needful to the supporting, and clearing, and improving of them: and because he knoweth them not in their places, and order, and relation, and aspect upon other truths; and, therefore, if temptations be strong, and come with advantage, the weak Christian in such points is easily drawn into many errors, and thence into great confidence and conceitedness in those errors, and thence into sinful, dangerous courses in the prosecution and practice of those errors. Such are, like 'children, tossed up and down, and carried to and fro by every wind of doctrine, through the cunning sleight and subtlety of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.'
3. The seeming Christian, having no saving practical knowledge of the essentials of Christianity themselves, doth therefore, either neglect to know the rest, or knoweth them but notionally, as common sciences, and subjecteth them all to his worldly interest; and therefore is still of that side or party in religion which upon the account of safety, honour, or preferment, his flesh commandeth him to follow: either he is still on the greater, rising side, and of the ruler's religion, be it what it will; or, if he dissent, it is in pursuit of another game which pride ui Aleshly ends have started.
IV. 1. The Christian indeed hath not only reason for his religion, but also hath an inward connatural principle, even the Spirit of Christ, which is a new nature, inclining and enlivening him to a holy life, whereby he mindeth and savoureth the things of the Spirit; not that his nature doth work blindly, as nature doth in the irrational creatures; but at least it much imitateth nature as it is found in rational creatures, where the inclination is necessary, but the operations free, and subject to reason; it is a spiritual appetite, in the rational appetite, even the will, and a spiritual visive disposition in the understanding; not a faculty in a faculty; but the right disposition of the faculties to their highest objects, to which they are by corruption made unsuitable. So that it is neither a proper power in the natural sense, nor a mere act, but nearest to the nature of a seminal disposition or habit. It is the health and rectitude of the faculties of the soul. Even as Nature hath made the understanding disposed to truth in general, and the will disposed or inclined to good in general, and to self-preservation and felicity in particular; so the Spirit of Christ doth dispose the understanding to spiritual truth, to know God, and the matters of salvation, and doth incline the will to God and holiness; not blindly, as they are unknown; but to love and serve a known God. So that whether this be properly or only analogically called a nature, or rather should be called a habit, I determine not; but certainly it is a fixed disposition and inclination, which Scripture calleth the divine nature,' and 'the seed of God abiding in us.' But most usually it is called the Spirit of God,' or of Christ in us :' 'If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his.' And again, By one Spirit we are all baptized into one body:'—therefore we are said
to be 'in the Spirit,' and 'walk after the Spirit,' and by the Spirit to mortify the deeds of the body.' And it is called, 'the Spirit of the Son,' and 'the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father ;' or are inclined to God, as children to their father; and the Spirit of grace and supplication.' From this Spirit, and the fruits of it, we are called ' creatures,' and quickened' and 'made alive to God.' It is a great controversy, whether this holy disposition and inclination was natural to Adam, or not; and, consequently, whether it be a restored nature in us, or not. It was so natural to him as health is natural to the body, but not so natural as to be a necessitating principle, nor so as to be inseparable and unlosable.
2. This same Spirit and holy inclination is in the weakest Christian also, but in a small degree, and remissly operating, so as that the fleshly inclination oft seemeth to be the stronger, when he judgeth by its passionate strugglings within him: though, indeed, the Spirit of life doth not only strive, but conquer in the main, even in the weakest Christians.
3. The seeming Christian hath only the ineffectual motions of the Spirit to a holy life, and effectual motions, and inward dispositions to some common duties of religion: and from these, with the natural principles of self-love and common honesty, with the outward persuasions of company and advantages, his religion is maintained, without the regeneration of the Spirit.
V. From hence it followeth : 1. That a Christian indeed doth not serve God for fear only, but for love; even for love both of himself and of his holy work and service : yea, the strong Christian's love to God and holiness, is not only greater than his love to creatures, but greater than his fear of wrath and punishment. The love of God constraineth him to duty: 'Love is the fulfilling of the law;' therefore the Gospel cannot be obeyed without it. He saith not, O that this were no duty! and O that this forbidden thing were lawful ! (though his flesh say so, the Spirit, which is the predominant part, doth not); but he saith, 'O how I love thy law! O that my ways were so directed that I might keep thy statutes ! For the spirit is willing' even when the flesh is weak:'-he serveth not God against his will; but his will is to serve him more and better than he doth: he longeth to be perfect, and perfectly to do the will of God, and taketh the remnant of his sinful infirmities to be a kind of bondage to him, which he groaneth to be delivered from: to will even perfection is present with him, though not perfectly, and though he do not all that he willeth: and this is the true meaning of Paul's complaints, Rom. vii. Because the flesh warreth against the Spirit, he cannot do the good that he would;' that is, he cannot be perfect, for so he would be. His love and will excel his practice.
2. The weak Christian also hath more love to God and holiness than to the world and fleshly pleasure: but yet his fear of punishment is greater than his love to God and holiness. To have no love to God is inconsistent with a state of grace, and so it is to have less love to God than to the world, and less love to holiness than to sin ;-but