Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

22 Ehe LIFE of the LIB. I: Difficulty in the Incarnation, the Perfon of Chrift, hisUndertakingand Perform- ance with the Scripture Chronology, Hiftories and Stile, which had flailed and overwhelmedme, if God had not been my lrength. And here I faw much of the Mercy of God, that he let not outthefe terrible and dangerous Temptations upon me, while I was weak and in the infancy of my Faith ; for then I had ne- ver been able to withftand them. But Faith is like a Tree , whofe Top is fmall while the Root is young and (hallow : and therefore as then it bath but finalroot- ing, fo is it not liable to the fhaking Winds and Tempels as the big and high- grown Trees are: But as the top groweth higher, fo the root at once grows great- er, and deeper fixed, to caufe it to endure its greater Affaults. Though formerly 1 was wont when any fuch Temptation came, toaft it afide, as fitter to be abhorred than confideredo; yet now this would not give me Gtií faction ; but I was fain to dig to the very Foundations, and ferioufly to Examine the Reafons of Chrilianity, and to give a hearingto all that could be faid againft it, that fomy Faith might be indeed my own. And at (aft I found that Nil ram canon quamquod ex dubio cerium ; Nothing is fo firmly believed, as that which hath been fometinae doubted of. 4 34. In thelorm of thisTemptation, I queftioned a while whether I were indeed a Chriftian or an Infidel, and whether Faith could confift with fuch Doubts as I was confcious of: For I had read in many Papils and Proteltants, that Faith hadCertainty, and was more than anOpinion ; and that if a Man fhould live a godly Life, from the bare apprehenfions of the Probability of the Truth of Scrip- ture, and the Life to come, it would not fave him, as being no true Godlinefs or Faith'. But my Judgment doted with the Reafon of Dr. fackfon's Determination of this Cafe, which fupported me much, that as in the very AffentingAd ofFaith there may be fuch weaknefs, as may make us cry, Lord increafe our Faith ::Webelieve, Lord help our belief ; fo when Faith and Unbelief are in their Confli&, it is the Ef fehle which muff (hew us whichof them is vietorious. And that he that bath fo much Faith as willcaufe him to denyhimfelf, take uphis Crofs, and forfake all the Profits, Honours, and Pleafuresof this World, for the fake of Chril, the Love of God, and the hope of Glory, bath a laving Faith, how weak (never : For God cannot condemn the Soul that truly loveth and feeketh him : And thole that Chrilt bringeth to perfevere in the Love of God, he bringeth to Salvation. And there were divers Things that in this Affault proved great Alìlances to my Faith. r. That the Being and Attributes of God were 16 clear to me, that he was to my Intelle& what theSun is tomy Eye, by which I fee it le1Î and all Things: And he feemed mad tome that queftioned whether there were a God : that. any Man fhould dream that the World wasmade by a Conflux of Irrational Atoms, and Reafoncarne from that which had no Realm, or that Man, or any Inferiour Be- ing was independent ; or that all the being, Power, Wifdom, and Goodnefi which we convened with, had not a Caufe which inBeing, Power, Wifdom and Good- nefi, did excel all that which it had caulèd in the World, and had not all that for_ raaliter veleminenrer in itfell which it communicated to all the Creatures. Thefe, and all the Suppoltions ofthe Atheil, have ever lince been fo vifibly foolish and 'harmful tomy Apprehenfion, that I fcarcefind a Capacity in my fellofdoubting of them ; and whenever the Tempter hath joyned any thing again( their, with the ruff of his Temptations, the refthave been thecaber overcome, becau(e of the overwhelming cogent Evidences of a Deity,which are always before the Eyes ofmy Soul. 2. And it helped me much to difcern that this God muff needs be related tous as our.Owner, ourGovernour, and our Benefabtor, in that he is related to its as our Creator; and that therefore we are related to him as his own, his Subjeílu , and his Benefiviariee; which as they all proceed by undeniable reloltancy from our Creation and Nature, fo thence doour Duties arife which belong to us in chofe Relations, by as undeniable refultancy; and that no thew of Reafon can be brought by any Infi- del in the World toexcufe the Rational Creature fromLovinghis Maker, with all his heart and foul and might, and devoting himfelf and all his Faculties to him from whom he did receive them, and making him his ultimate End who is his fir( Efficient Caufe. So that Godlineß is a Duty foundeniably required in the Law ofNatut e, and fo difcernable by Reafon it fell, that nothing but unreafonablencfs can contradict it. 3. And then it feemed utterly improbable to me that this God fhould fee us to be Lofers by our Loveand Duty to him, and that our Duty fhould be made to be our Snare, or makeus the more miferableby how much the more faithfully we perform