Watts - Houston-Packer Collection BX5207.W3 S4x 1805 v.1

SERM. II.] INWARD WITNESS TO CHRISTIANITY. 21 wrought in truth in the soul, hath, in some measure, this effect; and where it shines in its brightness, it bath, in a great degree, this sublime grace accompanying it; or rather, ,(shall I say this piece of heavenlyglory. Pain and sickness; poverty and reproach, sorrow and death itself, have been contemned by those that have be- lieved in Christ Jesus, with muchmore honour to Chris- tianity, than ever was brought to other religions by the. same profession, and the saine practice. Other religions have, in some degree, promised a con- tempt of the world, s, contempt of sickness, and pain, and death; but then it hath been only here and there a person of a hardier mould of body; here and there one in an age, or one in a nation, who by a firmness of natural spirits, an obstinate resolution, attained by much labour of meditation, and toil of thought, hath got above the world, and above death. But our religion boasts of its hundreds and thousands, and that not only: those who had firmer natural spirits, or have been skill- ed in thoughtand meditation, and absent from sensual things by philosophy, and intellectual exercises ; but the feeblest of mankind, the weak things of this world, the foolish and the young; the infant (as it were) in years, and the feeble sex, have been made to contemn this world, and the pleasures of it, the hopes, and the sor- rows, pain, and death. They have learnt to live above all the enticing joys and affrighting terrors of this present state, that is, to live near to heaven: So that whatso- ever religion pretends to a competition with ours, it falls vastly short in this respect, in raising the affections above the world, above the joys and fears of the present life. Again, if we consider what motives have argued the minds of men to the contempt of the world, we shall find the religion of Christ Jesus is far superior to all in this respect. Other religions have taught men to despise the good things of this world, and to be unconcerned about the evils of it, in a mere romantic way: Such was the Stoical doctrine, denying health and wealth, sleep and safety, to have any goodness in them ; and prófessiog that pain, poverty, sickness, want, hunger, and shame, were no c3