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THE CHARACTERS OF A BELIEVING CHRISTIAN, IN PARADOXES AND SEEMING
L. A CHRISTIAN is one that believes things his reason cannot comprehend; he hopes for things which neither he nor any man alive ever saw: he labours for that which he knoweth he shall never obtain; yet in the issue, his belief appears not to be false ; his hope makes him not ashamed; his labour is not in vain.
2. He believes three to be one, and one so be three; a Father not to be elder than his Son; a Son to be equal with his Father; and one proceeding from both to be equal with both; he believing three persons in one nature, and two natures in one person.
3. He believes a Virgin to be a Mother of a Son; and that very Son of hers to be her Maker. He believes him to have been shut up in a narrow room, whom heaven and earth could not contain. He believes him to have been born in time, who was and is from everlasting. He believes him to have been a weak child carried in arms, who is the Almighty; and him once to have died, who only hath life and immortality in himself.
4. He believes the God of all grace to have been angry with one that hath never offended him;
and that God, that hates sin, to be reconciled to himself, though sinning continually, and never making or being able to make him satisfaction. He believes a most just God to have punished a most just person, and to have justified himself though a most ungodly sinner. He believes himself freely pardoned, and yet a sufficient satisfaction was made for him.
5. He believes himself to be precious in God's sight, and yet loaths himself in his own. He dares not justify himself even in those things wherein he can find no fault with himself, and yet believes God accepts him in those services wherein he is able to find
faults. 6. He praises God for his justice, and yet fears him for his mercy. He is so ashamed as that he dares not open his mouth before God; and yet he comes with boldness to God, and asks him any thing he needs. He is so humble as to acknowledge himself to deserve nothing but evil; and yet believes that God means him all good. He is one that fears always, yet is as bold as a lion. He is often sorrowful, yet always rejoicing ; many times complaining, yet always giving of thanks. He is the most lowly-minded, yet the greatest aspirer ; most contented, yet ever craving.
7. He bears a lofty spirit in a mean condition ; when he is ablest he thinks meanest of himself. He
is rich in poverty, and poor in the midst of riches, He believes all the world to be his, yet he dares take nothing without special leave from God. He covenants with God for nothing, yet looks for a great reward. He loseth his life and gains by it; and whilst he loseth it, he saveth it.
8. He lives not to himself, yet of all others he is most wise for himself. He denieth himself often, yet no man loveth himself so well as he. He is most reproached, yet most honoured. He hath most afflictions, and most comforts,
9. The more injury his enemies do him, the more advantages he gains by them. The more he forsakes worldly things, the more he enjoys them.
10. He is the most temperate of all men, yet fares most deliciously; he lends and gives most freely, yet he is the greatest usurer; he is meek towards all men, yet inexorable by men. He is the best child, husband, brother, friend; yet hates father and mother, brother and sister. He loves all men as himself, yet hates some men with a perfect hatred.
11. He desires to have more grace than any man hath in the world, yet is truly sorrowful when he seeth any man have less than himself; he knoweth no man after the flesh, yet gives all men their due respects; he knoweth if he please man he cannot be the servant of Chris yet for Christ's sake he
pleaseth all men in all things. He is a peacemaker, yet is a continual fighter, and an irreconcilable
enemy. 12. He believes him to be worse than an infidel that provides not for his family, yet himself lives and dies without care. He accounts all his superiors, yet stands stiffly upon authority. He is severe to his children because he loveth them; and by being favourable unto his enemy, he revengeth himself upon him.
13. He believes the angels to be more excellent creatures than himself, and yet counts them his servants. He believes that he receives many good things by their means, and yet he neither prays for their assistance, nor offers them thanks, which he doth not disdain to do to the meanest Christian.
14. He believes himself to be a king, how mean soever he be; and how great soever he be, yet he thinks himself not too good to be a servant to the
15. He is often in prison yet always at liberty: a freeman though a servant. He loves not honour amongst men, yet highly prizeth a good name.
16. He believes that God had bidden every man that doeth him good, to do so; he yet of any man is the most thankful to them that do aught for him. He would lay down his life to save the soul of his
enemy, yet he will not adventure upon one sin to save the life of him, who saved his.
17. He swears to his own hindrance, and changeth not; yet knoweth that his oath cannot tie him to sin. 18. He believes Christ to have no need of
any thing he doth, yet maketh account that he doth relieve Christ in all his acts of charity. He knoweth he can do nothing of himself, yet labours to work out his own salvation. He professeth he can do nothing, yet as truly professeth he can do all things: he knoweth that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, yet believeth he shall go to heaven both body and soul.
19, He trembles at God's word, yet counts it sweeter to him than honey, and the honey-comb, and dearer than thousands of gold and silver.
20. He believes that God will never damn him, and yet fears God for being able to cast him into hell. He knoweth he shall not be saved by, nor for his good works, yet he doth all the good works
21. He knoweth God's providence is in all things, yet is so diligent in his calling and business, as if he were to cut out the thread of his happiness. He believes before-hand that God hath proposed what he shall be, and that nothing can