It is the Christian’s duty to labour for an ESTABLISHED JUDGMENT in the truth

           Since Satan comes as a serpent in the persons of false teachers, and by them labours to put a cheat on us and cozen us with error for truth; to defend us against this design, it is necessary that we be girt with truth in our understanding—that we have an estab­lished judgment in the truths of Christ.  It should be the care of every Christian to get an established judg­ment in the truth.  The Bereans are highly com­mended for the inquiry they made into the Scripture, to satisfy their judgements concerning the doctrine Paul preached.  They did not believe hand over head, but their faith was the result of a judgement, upon diligent search, convinced by the scripture evidence, Acts 17:11.  It is said there that ‘they searched the Scriptures daily whether these things were so.’  They carried the preacher’s doctrine to the written word, and compared it with that; and mark, ‘therefore many of them believed,’ ver. 12.  As they did not believe be­fore, so they durst not but believe now.  I remember Tertullian, speaking of some heretics as to their manner of preaching, saith persuadendo docent, non docendo persuadent—they teach by persuading, and do not by teaching persuade, that is, they woo and en­tice the affections of their hearers, without convincing their judgement about what they preach.  Indeed, it were a hard work for the adulterer to convince her he would prostitute, that the fact is lawful; no, he goes another way to work.  First by some amorous insinu­ations he inveigles her affections, and they, once bewitched, the other is not much questioned—it being easy for the affections to make the judgment of their party.  Well, though error, like a thief, comes thus in at the window; yet truth, like the true owner of the house, delights to enter at the right door of the understanding, from thence into the conscience, and so passeth into the will and affections.  Indeed, he that hits upon truth, and takes up the profession of it, before he is brought into the acquaintance of its excellency and heavenly beauty by his understanding, cannot entertain it becoming to its heavenly birth and descent.  It is as a prince that travels in a disguise, not known, therefore not honoured.  Truth is loved and prized only of those that know it.  And not to desire to know it, is to despise it, as much as knowing it, to reject it.  It were not hard, sure, to cheat that man of truth, who knows not what he hath.  Truth and error are all one to the ignorant man, so it hath but the name of truth.  Leah and Rachel were both alike to Jacob in the dark.  Indeed it is said, ‘In the morning behold it was Leah,’ Gen. 29:25.  So in the morning, when it is day in the understanding, then the deceived person will see he hath had a false bride in his bosom; will cry out, Behold, it is an error which I took for a truth.  You have, may be, heard of the covetous man, that hugged himself in the many bags of gold he had, but never opened them or used them.  When the thief took away his gold, and left him his bags full of peb­bles in the room, he was as happy as when he had his gold, for he looked not on the one or other.  And verily an ignorant person is in a manner no better with truth than error on his side.  Both are alike to him, day and night all one to a blind man.  But to proceed, and give some more particular account.

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