But how may a soul get to be thus girt with truth in the profession of it? I answer, First. Labour to get a heart inflamed with a sincere love to the truth. Second. To a heart inflamed with the love of truth, labour to add a heart with the fear of that wrath which God hath in store for all that apostatize from the truth.
Direction First. Labour to get an heart inflamed with a sincere love to the truth. This only is able to match the enemies of truth. The worst they can do is bonds or death; and ‘love is stronger than death.’ It kills the very heart of death itself. It makes all easy. Commandments are grievous to love, nor doth it complain of sufferings. With what a light heart did Jacob, for the love of Rachel, endure the heat of the day and cold of the night! It is venturous. Jonathan threw a kingdom at his heels, and conflicted with the anger of an enraged father, for David’s sake. Love never thinks itself a loser so long as it keeps its beloved; yea, it is ambitious of any hazardous enterprise, whereby it may sacrifice itself in the service of its beloved, as we see in David, who put his life in his hands for Michal. How much more so when our love is pitched upon so transcendent an object as Christ and his truth! Alas, they are but faint spirits which are breathed from a creature! weak beams that are shot from such sorry beauties! If these lay their loves under such a law that they cannot but obey, though with the greatest peril and hazard; what constraint then must a soul ravished with the love of Christ be under! This has made the saints leap out of their estates, relations, yea out of their bodies with joy, counting it not their loss to part with them, but to keep them with the least prejudice to the truth, Rev. 12:11. It is said there, ‘they loved not their lives unto the death.’ Mark, not to the loss of some of the comforts of their lives, but ‘unto the death.’ Life itself they counted an enemy when it would part them and truth. As a man doth not love his arm, or leg, when it hazards the rest, but bids cut it off; ‘cannot we live,’ say these noble spirits, ‘but to the clouding of truth, and calling our love to it and Christ into question?—welcome then the worst of deaths.’ This kept up David’s courage when his life was laid for: ‘The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies,’ Ps. 119:95. A carnal heart would have considered his estate, wife, and children, or at least his life, now in danger. But David’s heart was on a better subject; he considered the testimonies of God, and so much sweetness pours in upon his soul while he is rowling them in his meditation, that he cannot hold. ‘O how I love thy law!’ ver. 97. This made him set light by all the troubles he met with for his cleaving to the truth. It is a great mystery to the world, that men for an opinion, as they call it, should run such desperate hazard. Therefore Paul was thought by his judge to be out of his wits. And that question which Pilate asked Christ, seems rather to be slightingly, rather than seriously spoken, John 18. Our Saviour had told him, ver. 37, that the end why he was born, and came into the world, was, that he should ‘bear witness to the truth.’ Then Pilate, ver. 38, asks Christ, ‘What is truth?’ and presently flings away, as if he had said, Is this now a time to think of truth, when thy life is in danger? What is truth, that thou shouldst venture so much for it? But a gracious should may better ask in a holy scorn, What are riches and honours, what the fading pleasures of this cheating world, yea, what is life itself, that any or all these should be set in opposition to truth? O sirs, look what has your love that will command purse, credit, life and all. Amor meus pondus meum—every man goes where his love carries him. If the world has your love, on it you will spend your lives; if truth has your hearts, you will catch the blow that is made at it in your own breasts, rather than let it fall on it. Only be careful that your love to truth be sincere, or else it will leave you at the prison door, and make you part with truth when you should most appear for it. There are three sorts of pretenders to truth, whose love is not like to endure the fiery trial.