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that they may carry the reputation of holy and undaunted men, and seem to be far better and constanter than others. When pride maketh men suffer they are partly the devil's martyrs, though the cause be never so good; though it is much more ordinary for pride to make men suffer rejoicingly in an ill cause than in a good, the devil having more power on his own ground than on Christ's. But it is the love of Christ, and the belief of the reward, and the humble neglect of the mortified flesh, and the contempt of the conquered world, that maketh the Christian suffer with so much joy. For he seeth that the judge is at the door, and what torments the wicked are preparing for themselves; and that as certainly as there is a God that governeth the world, and that in righteousness, so certainly are his eyes upon the righteous, and his face is set against them that do evil. And though sinners do evil a hundred times, and scape unpunished, whilst their days are prolonged, yet vengeance will overtake them in due time. It shall be well with them that fear the Lord; he keepeth all the tears of his servants till the reckoning day. If then judgment begin at the house of God, and the righteous be saved through much suffering and labour, what shall be their end that obey not the Gospel, and where shall the ungodly and sinner appear?'

2. And the weak Christian is one that will forsake all for the sake of Christ, and suffer with him that he may be glorified with him, and will take his treasure in heaven for all. But he doth it not with the same easiness, and alacrity, and joy, as the

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confirmed Christian doth. He hearkens more to the flesh which saith,' Favour thyself:' suffering is much more grievous to him; and sometimes he is wavering, before he can bring himself fully to resolve and let go all.

3. But the seeming Christian looketh not for much suffering: he reads of it in the gospel, but he saw no probability of it, and never believed that he should be called to it in any notable degree: he thought it probable that he might well escape it; and therefore, though he agreed verbally to take Christ for better and worse, and to follow him through sufferings, he thought he should never be put to it. And indeed his heart is secretly resolved, that he will never be undone in the world for Christ: some reparable loss he may undergo; but he will not let go life and all. He will still be religious, and hope for heaven; but he will make himself believe (and others if he can) that the truth lieth on the safer side, and not on the suffering side; and that it is but for their own conceits and scrupulosity that other men suffer who go beyond them. Many good men, he says, are of his opinion, and therefore he may be good also in the same opinion, though he would never have been of that opinion if it had not been necessary to his escaping of sufferings. And thus, what flourish soever he maketh for a time, when persecution ariseth he is offended and withereth; unless he be so deeply engaged among the suffering party, that he cannot come off without perpetual reproach, and then perhaps pride will make him suffer more than the belief of heaven or the love of Christ could do. And all this is because his very belief is unrooted and unsound, and he hath secretly at the heart a fear that if he should suffer death for Christ, he should be a loser by him, and he would not reward him, according to his promise, with everlasting life.

XXIX. 1. A Christian indeed is one that followeth not Christ for company, nor holdeth his belief in trust upon the credit of any in the world; and therefore he would stick to Christ, if all that he knoweth or converseth with should forsake him. If the rulers of the earth should change their religion, and turn against Christ, he would not forsake him : if the multitude of the people turn against him ; nay, if the professors of godliness should fall off, yet would he stand his ground and be still the same: if the learnedest men, and the pastors of the church, should turn from Christ, he would not forsake him; yea, if his nearest relations and friends, or even that minister that was the means of his conversion, should change their minds, and forsake the truth, and turn from Christ or a holy life, he would yet be constant and be still the same; and what Peter resolved on he would truly practise,· Though all men should be offended because of thee, yet would not I be offended : though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.' And if he thought himself, as Elias did, left alone, yet would he not bow the knee to Baal. If he hear that this eminent minister falleth off one day, and the other another day, till all be gone, yet still the foundation of God standeth sure; he falleth not,

because he is built upon the rock. His heart saith, Alas! whither shall I go, if I go from Christ? Is there any other that hath the word and spirit of eternal life? Can I be a gainer if I lose my soul? He useth his teachers to bring him that light and evidence of truth, which dwelleth in him when they are gone ; and therefore, though they fall away, he falleth not with them.

2. And the weakest Christian believeth with a divine faith of his own, and dependeth more on God than man. But yet if he should be put to so great a trial, as to see all the pastors and Christians that he knoweth change their minds, I know not what he would do: for though God will uphold all his own whom he will save, yet he doth it by means and outward helps, together with his internal grace, and keepeth them from temptations when he will deliver them from evil: and therefore it is a doubt, whether there be not degrees of grace so weak, as would fail, in case the strongest temptations were permitted to assault them. A strong man can stand and go of himself, but an infant must be carried ; and the lame and sick must have others to support them. The weak Christian falleth, if his teacher or most esteemed company fall: if they run into an error, sect, or schism, he keeps them company. He groweth cold, if he have not warming company: he forgetteth himself, and letteth loose his sense and passion, if he have not some to watch over him and warn him. No man should refuse the help of others, that can have it; and the best have need of all God's means : but the weak Christian needeth them

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much more than the strong, and is much less able to stand without them.

3. But the seeming Christian is built upon the sand, and therefore cannot stand a storm. He is a Christian more for company, or the credit of man, or the interest that others have in him, or the encouragement of the times, than from a firm belief and love of Christ; and therefore falleth when his props are gone.

XXX. 1. A strong Christian can digest the hardest truths, and the hardest works of Provi. dence. He seeth more of the reason and evidence of truths than others; and he hath usually a more comprehensive knowledge, and can reconcile those truths which short-sighted persons suspect to be inconsistent and contradictory: and when he cannot reconcile them, he knoweth. they are reconcileable, for he hath laid his foundation well, and then he reduceth other truths to that, and buildeth them on it; and so he doth by the hardest providences. Whoever is high or low, whoever prospereth or is afflicted, however human affairs are carried, and all things seem to go against the church and cause of Christ, he knoweth yet that God is good to Israel, and that he is the righteous Judge of all the earth, and that the righteous shall have dominion in the morning, and it shall go well with them that fear the Lord: for he goeth into the sanctuary, and foreseeth the end.

2. But the weak Christian is very hard put to it, when he meeteth with difficult passages of Scripture, and when he seeth it go with the righteous according

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