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Direct. XIX. Above all pray and labour for a truly humble mind, that is well acquainted with its own defects; and fear and fly from a proud, overvaluing of your own understanding. Be thankful for any knowledge that you have, but take heed of thinking it greater than it is. The devil's sin, and the imitation of Adam, are not the way to have the illumination of God's Spirit. It is not more usual with God to bring low those that are proud of greatness, than to leave to folly, deceit and error, those that are proud of wisdom; and to leave to sin and wickedness, those that are proud of goodness. A proud understanding cannot be brought to suspect itself, but is confident of its first undigested apprehensions it either feeleth no need of the Spirit's light, but despiseth it as a fancy; or else it groweth conceited, that all its conceptions are of the Spirit, and is proud of that Spirit which he hath not. Nothing maketh this peremptory confidence in false conceits so common, as pride of a knowledge which men have not. Would the Lord but humble these persons thoroughly, they would think, alas! What a dark, deceitful mind have I! how unfit to despise the judg ment of them that have laboured for knowledge far more than I have done, and how unfit to be confident against such as know much more than I?'

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But so deep and common is this pride, that they that go in rags, and they that think themselves unworthy to live, and are ready to despair in the sense of sin, do yet ordinarily so overvalue their own apprehensions, that even these will stiffly hold their vain and unpeaceable opinions, and stiffly reject the judgment and arguments of the wisest and best that will not be as envious as they.

Direct. XX. Lastly, Keep in a childlike, teachable, learning resolution, with a sober and suspended judgment, where you have not sure evidence to turn the scales. When Christ saith," Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven:" (Matt. xviii. 3) as he hath respect to the humility of children in general (and their inception of a new life), so in special he seemeth to respect them as disciples: Set children to school and their business is to hear and learn all day; they set not their wits against their masters, and do not wrangle and strive against him, and say, it is not so; we know better than you. But so abominably is human na

ture corrupted by this intellectual pride, that when once lads are big enough to be from under a tutor, commonly, instead of learning of others, they are of a teaching humour, and had rather speak two hours than hear one; and set their wits to contradict what they should learn, and to conquer those that would instruct them; and to shew themselves wiser than to learn to be more wise; and we can scarcely talk with man or woman, but is the wisest in the company, and most hardly convinced of an error.

But two things here I earnestly advise you: 1. That you spend more time in learning than in disputing: not but that disputing in its season is necessary to defend the truth; but usually it engageth men's wits in an eager opposition against others, and so against the truth which they should receive; and it goeth more according to the ability of the disputants, than the merits of the cause. And he that is worsted is so galled at the disgrace, that he hateth the truth the more for his sake that hath dishonoured him: and therefore Paul speaketh so often against such disputing, and saith that the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle, and apt to teach, and in meekness instruct opposers.

I would ordinarily, if any man have a mind to wrangle with me, tell him; If you know more of these things than I, if you will be my teacher, I shall thankfully hear and learn,' and desire him to open his judgment to me in its fullest evidence and I would weigh it as the time and case required; and if I were fully satisfied against it, I would crave leave to tell him the reasons of my dissent, and crave his patient audience to the end. And when we well understood each other's mind and reasons, I would crave leave then to end in peace; unless the safety of others required a dispute to defend the truth.

2. And my special repeated counsel is, that you suspend your judgment till you have cogent evidence to determine it. Be no further of either side than you know they are in the right; cast not yourself into other men's opinions hastily, upon slight reasons at a blind adventure. If you see not a certainty, judge it not certain. If you see but a probability, judge it but probable. "Prove all things, and hold fast that which is good." (1 Thess. v.) The Bereans are commended for searching the Scripture, and seeing whether the things were so which Paul had spoken. (Acts xvii.) Truth


feareth not the light. It is like gold, that loseth nothing by the fire. Darkness is its greatest enemy and dishonour. Therefore look before you leap: you are bid, "Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God." (1 John ii.) Stand still till you know that the ground is safe which you are to tread on. When poisoners are as common as physicians, you will take heed what you take. It is safer when once you have the essentials of Christianity, to take too little than too much for you are sure to be saved if you are mere true Christians; but how far Popery, Antinomianism, &c., may corrupt your Christianity is a controversy. Wish them that urge you, to forbear their haste in a matter of everlasting consequence: these are not matters to be rashly done. And as long as you are uncertain, profess yourselves uncertain; and if they will condemn you for ignorance when you are willing to know the truth, so will not God. But when you are certain, resolve in the strength of God, and hold fast whatever it cost you, even to the death, and never fear being losers by God, by his truth, or by fidelity in your duty.






1 CORINTHIANS viii. 3.

But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

CHAP. 1.

Knowledge is to be estimated more by the End it tendeth to, than by itself.

HAVING done with that epidemical, mortal disease, SELFCONCEITEDNESS, or PREFIDENCE, or over-hasty judging, and pretending to know that which we know not, which I more desire than hope to cure; I have left but little room for the nobler part of my subject, True Saving Knowledge, because the handling of it was not my principal design.

The meaning of the text I gave you before. The true paraphrase of it is as followeth: As if Paul had said: 'You overvalue your barren notions, and think that by them you are wise; whereas knowledge is a means to a higher end; and is to be esteemed of as it attaineth that end; and that end is to make us lovers of God, that so we may be known with love by him; for to love God and be beloved by him is man's felicity and ultimate end; and therefore that which we must seek after and live for in the world; and he is to be accounted the wisest man that loveth God most; when unsanctified notions and speculations will prove but folly.'

This being the true meaning of the text, I shall briefly speak of it by parts, as it containeth these several doctrines or propositions.

Doct. I. Knowledge is a means to a higher end, according to which it is to be estimated.

Doct. II. The end of knowledge is to make us lovers of God, and so to be known with love by him.

Doct. III. Therefore knowledge is to be valued, sought and used, as it tendeth to this holy blessed end.

Doct. IV. And therefore those are to be accounted the wisest or best-knowing men, that love God most; and not those that are stored with unholy knowledge.

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For the first of these, that Knowledge is a means to a higher end,' I shall first open it, and then prove it.

I. Aquinas and some other schoolmen make the vision or knowledge of God, to be the highest part of man's felicity: and I deny not but that the three faculties of man's soul, vital activity, intellect and will, as the image of the Divine Trinity, have a kind of inseparability and co-equality. And therefore each of their perfections and perfect receptions from God, and operations on God, is the ultimate end of man: but yet they are distinguishable, though not divisible; and there is such an order among them, as that one may in some respects be called the incepter and another the perfecter of human operations; and so the acts of one be called a means to the acts of the other. And thus though the vision or knowledge of God be one inadequate conception, if not a part of our ultimate end; yet the love of God, and living to God, are also other conceptions or parts of it: yea, and the more completive, perfect parts, which we call 'finis ultimatè ultimus.'

II. The proof shall be fetched, 1. From the order and use of the faculties of the soul. 2. From the objects. 3. From the constitution of the acts. 4. From express Scrip


I. It is evident to our internal perception; 1. That the understanding is but the guide of the will, and its acts but mediate to determine the will: as the eye is to lead the appetitive and executive faculties, by presenting to them their proper objects. To know is but an initial introductory act.

Yea, 2. It is evident that the soul is not satisfied with bare knowing, if no delight or complacency follow: for what is that which we call satisfaction, but the complacency of the will? Suppose a man to have no effect upon his will, no pleasure, no contentation in his knowledge, and what felicity or desirable good to him would there be, in all the knowledge in the world? Yea, when I name either good or

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