Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. 47 temptation came, it seemed at first to answer and enervate all the former reasons of my feeble faith, which made me to take the Scriptures for the word of God; and it set before me such moun- tainsof difficulty in the incarnation, theperson ofChrist, his under- taking and performance, with the Scripture chronology, histories and style, etc., which had stalled and overwhelmed me, ifGod had not been my strength. And here I saw much of the mercy of God, that he let not out these terrible temptations upon me, while I was weak and in the infancy of my faith ; for then I had never been able to withstand them. But faith is like a tree, whose top is small while the root is young and shallow; and therefore, as then it hath but small rooting, so is it not liable to the shaking winds and tempests, as the big and high-grown trees are ; but as the top groweth higher, so the root at once grows greater, and deeper fixed, to cause it to endure its greater assault. "Though formerly I was wont, when any such temptation came, to cast it aside, as fitter to be abhorred than considered of, yet now this would not give me satisfaction ; but I was fain to dig to the very foundations,and seriously to examine the reasons ofChristian- ity, and to give a hearing to all that couldbe said against it, that so my faith might be indeed my own. And at last I found that Nil tam cerium gum quod ex dubio cerium'; nothing is so firmly be- lieved as that which bath been some time doubted of. " In the storm of this temptation, I questioned a while whether Iwere indeed a Christian or an infidel, and whether faith could consist with such doubts as I was conscious of; for I had read in many Papists andProtestants, that faith had certainty, and was more than an opinion ; and that if aman should live a godly life, from the bare apprehensions of theprobability of the truth of Scripture, and the life to come, it would not save him, as being no true godliness or faith. But my judgment closed with the reason of Dr. Jack- son's determination of this case, which supported me much, that as in the very assenting act of faith there may be such weakness as may makeus cry, ' Lord, increase our faith ; we believe, Lord ; help our unbelief;' so when faith and unbelief are in their conflict, it is the effects which must show us whichof them is victorious. And that he that bath so much faith as will cause him to deny himself, take up his cross, and forsake all the profits, honors and pleasures of this world, for the sake of Christ, the love of God, and the hope ofglory, bath a saving faith, how weak soever; for God cannot condemn the soul that truly loveth and seeketh him ; and those that Christ bringeth to persevere in the love of God, he bringeth to salvation. And there were diverse things, that in this assault proved great assistance to my faith. "1. That the being and attributes of God were so clear to me, that he was to my intellect what the sun is to my eye, by which 1