Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

BAXTER'S DYING TROUGIIT3. murmurers who believed not a better life, than to tell them, that if this life had more evil than good, and they thought God did them wrong, they might remedy themselves by ending it when they would. But that would not cure the repinings of a nature which found itself necessarily weary of the miseries of life, and yet afraid of dying. And it is no great wonder that many thought that pre- existent souls were put into these bodies as a punishment of some- thing done in a former life, while they foresaw not the hoped' end of all our fears and sorrows. ` O, how contemptible a thing is man !' saith the same 'Seneca; unless he lift up himself above human things.' Therefore, saith Solomon, when he had glutted himself with all temporal pleasures, "I. hated life, because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous to me; for all is vanity and vexation of spirit;" Eccles. ii. 17. H. I have often thought whether an, implicit belief of a future happiness, without any search into its nature,, and thinking of any thing that can be said against it, or the searching, trying way, be better. On the one side, 'I have known many godly women that never disputed the matter, but served God, comfortably, to a very old age, (between eighty and one hundred,) to have lived many years in a cheerful readiness and desire of death, and such as few learned, studious men do ever attain to in that degree, who, no doubt, had this as a divine reward of their long and faithful service of God, and trusting in him. 'On the other side, a studious man can hardly keep off all objections, or secure his mind against the suggestions of difficulties and doubts; and if they come in, they must be answered, seeing we give them half a victory if we cast them off before we can answer them. And a faith that is not up- held by such evidence of truth as reason can discern and justify, is oft joined with much secret doubting, which men dare not open, but donot, therefore, overcome ; and its weakness may have aweak- ening deficiency, as to all the graces and duties which should be strengthened by it. And who knoweth how soon a temptation from Satan, or infidels, or our own dark hearts, may assault us, which will not, without such evidence and resolving light, be over- come? And yet many, that try, and reason, and dispute most, have not the strongest or most powerful faith. And my thoughts of this have had this issue. 1. There is a great difference between that light which showeth us the thing it- self, and that artificial skill by which we have right notions, names, definitions,; and formed arguments, and answers to objections. This artificial, logical, organical kind of knowledge is good and use- ful in its kind, if right; like speech itself: but he that bath much of this, may have little of the former ; and unlearned persons that have little of this, may have moreof the former, and may have