Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

BAITER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 55 What man that once saw the things which we hear of, even heaven and hell, would not afterwards (at least in deep regard and serious- ness) exceed the most resolved believer that you know. One would think, in reason, it should be so thought : I confess a wicked heart is very senseless. I do confess, that there is much weakness of the belief of things unseen, where yet there is sincerity ; but surely therewill be some proportion between our belief and its effects. And where there is little regard; or fear, or hopes, or sorrow, or joy, or resolved dili- gence for theworld to come, I must think that there is (in act at least) but little belief of it, and that such persons little know them- selves, howmuch they secretly doubt, whether it be true. I know that most complain, almost altogether, of the uncertainty of their title to salvation, and little of their uncertainty of a heaven and hell ; but were they more certain of this, and truly persuaded of it at the heart, it would do more to bring them to that serious, resolved faithfulness in religion, which would help themmore easily to be sure of their sincerity, than long examinations, and many marks talked of, without this, will do. And I confess, that the great wisdomof God hath not thought meet, that in the body we should have as clear, and sensible, and lively apprehensions of heaven and hell, as sight would cause. For that would be to have too much of heaven or hell on earth ; for the gust would follow the perception, and so full a sense would be some sort of a possession, which we are'not fit for' in this world. And, therefore, it must be a darker revelation than sight would be, that it maybe a lower perception, lestthis world and the next should be confounded; and faith and reason should be put out of office, and not duly tried, exercised, and fitted for reward; but yet faith is faith, and knowledge is knowledge; and he that verily believeth such great, transcendent things, though he see them not, will have some proportionable affections and endeavors. I confess also, that man's soul, in flesh, is notfit to bear so deep a sense of heaven and hell as sight would cause; because it here operateth on and with the body, and according to its capacity, which cannot bear so deep a sense without distraction, byscrewing up the organs too high, till theybreak, and sooverdoing, wouldundo all; but yet there is an overruling seriousness, which a certain be- lief of future things must needs bring the soul to, that truly bath it: and he that is careful and serious for this world, and looketh after a better, but with a slight, unwilling, half-regard, and, in the second place, must give me leave to think, that he believeth but as he liveth, and that his doubting, or unbelief, of the reality of a heaven and hell, is greater than his belief. O, then, for what should my soul more pray than for a clearer