Page:Great duty of confessing Christ before men, stated and recommended.pdf/16

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comfort of his friends, and the conviction of his enemies, must be pure and unfeigned. Such a cause demands integrity and resolution of mind to carry it into effect: We should confess Christ boldly and without fear or shame. This courage in confessing Christ, is not animal hardiness, or fortitude taught in the schools, but it flows from faith in God, as our shield and buckler: It is being strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Conscious of a good cause, and of the approbation of God, we may look the wrath of men and terrors of devils out of countenance. None of these things move me, saith Paul, neither count I my life dear to myself, (though dear to the church,) so that I might finish my course with joy, &c. I am ready, says he in another place, not to be bound only, but to die at Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord Jesus, Acts xx. 21. and xxi 13. We are in nothing to be terrified by our adversaries. At the same time we are to confess Christ patiently, with a disposition and resolution to suffer for our testimony, if God call us to it in his providence. John was in the isle called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ: if he had denied Christ, and worshipped idols, he had not been there. We should always prefer suffering to sin: When we are called to suffer for Christ, the suffering virtues or graces should conspicuously appear in meekness, mildness, and forgiveness of enemies. Resignation to the will of God, and silence as to men, will have their perfect work, and these may recommend religion more than graces of a more active nature: The sufferings and blood of the martyrs have extended the church. Above all, we should always render the reason of the hope that is in us, with meekness and fear. Our conduct in confessing Christ, should discover humility of spirit, a fear of God, and reverence of men, before whom we confess his name; that we contend for truth