Question. If any now should ask, how they may get their hearts inflamed with this heavenly fire of love to truth? I answer,
- Answer. Labour for an inward conformity of thy heart to truth. Likeness is the ground of love. A carnal heart cannot like truth, because it is not like to truth. Such a one may love truth as one did Alexander, regem non Alexandrum—the king, not the person that was king. Truth in its honour and dignity, when it can prefer him, but not naked truth itself. How is it possible an earthly soul should love truth that is heavenly?—an unholy heart, truth that is pure? O it is sad indeed, when men’s tenets and principles in their understandings, do clash and fight with the principles of their hearts and affections —when men have orthodox judgments, and heterodox hearts! There must needs be little love to truth, because the judgment and will are so unequally yoked. Truth in the conscience reproving and threatening lust in the heart! and that again controlling truth in the conscience! Thus like a scolding couple, they may a while dwell together, but taking no content in one another, the wretch is easily persuaded to give truth a bill of divorce at last, and send her away, as Ahasuerus did Vashti, that he may espouse other principles, which will suit better with his corrupt heart, and not cross him in the way he is in. This, this I am persuaded hath parted many and truth in these licentious days. They could not sin peaceably while they kept their judgements sound. Truth ever and anon would be chiding them, and therefore to match their judgements with their hearts, they have taken up principles suitable to their lusts. But soul, if truth hath had such a power upon thee to transform thee, by the renewing of thy mind, into its own likeness, that as the scion turns the stock into its own nature, so truth hath assimilated thee, and made thee bear fruit like itself, thou art the person that will never part with truth. Before thou canst do this, thou must part with that new nature, which, by it, the Spirit of God hath begot in thee. There is now such a near union betwixt thee and truth, or rather thee and Christ, as can never be broken. We see what a mighty power there goes along with God’s ordinance of marriage—that two persons, who possibly a month before never knew one another, yet—their affections once knit by love, and their persons made one by marriage—they can now leave friends and parents for to enjoy each other. Such a mighty power, and much greater, goes along with this mystical marriage between the soul and Christ, the soul and truth;—that the same person who, before conversion, would not have ventured the loss of a penny for Christ or his truth, yet now, knit to Christ and his truth by a secret work of the Spirit, new-forming him into the likeness thereof, can bid adieu to the world, life, and all, for these. As that martyr told him that asked whether he did not love his wife and children, and was not loath to part with them, ‘Yes,’ saith he, ‘I love them so dearly, that I would not part with any of them for all that the Duke of Brunswick—whose subject he was —is worth; but for Christ’s sake and his truth, farewell to them all.’
- Answer. Labour to get thy heart more and more infired with the love of God, and this will work in thee a dear love to his truth. Love observes what is precious and dear to its beloved, and loves it for his sake. David’s love to Jonathan made him inquire for some of his race, that he might show kindness to, for his sake. Love to God will make the soul inquisitive to find out what is near and dear to God—that by showing kindness to it, he may express his love to him. Now upon a little search, we shall find that the great God sets a very high price upon the head of truth. ‘For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name,’ Ps. 138:2. That is God’s name, by which he is known. Every creature hath God’s name upon it—by it God is known—even to the least pile of grass. But to his word, and truth therein written, he hath given pre-eminence above all other things that bear his name. Take a few considerations whereby we may a little conceive of the high value God sets of truth.
(1.) God, when he vouchsafeth his word and truth to a people, makes account that he gives them one of the greatest mercies they can receive or he give; he calls them ‘the great things’ of his ‘law,’ Hosea 8:12. A people that enjoy his truth, are by Christ’s own judgment ‘lift up to heaven.’ Whatever a people have at God’s hands, without this, bears no more comparison with it than Hagar’s loaf of bread and bottle—which was Ishmael’s portion—would with Isaac’s inheritance. God, that knows how to prize and rate his own gifts, saith of his word which he showeth to Jacob, and testimonies he gives to Israel, that ‘he hath not dealt so with any nation,’ Ps. 147:20; that is, not so richly and graciously. (2.) Consider God’s especial care to preserve his truth. Whatever is lost, God looks to his truth. In shipwrecks at sea, and scare-fires at land, when men can save but little, they use to choose not lumber, and things of no worth, but what they esteem most precious. In all the great revolutions, changes, and overturning of kingdoms, and churches also, God hath still preserved his truth. Thousands of saints’ lives have been taken away, but that which the devil spites more than all the saints, yea, which alone he spites them for, is his truth. This lives and shall, to triumph over his malice. And sure, if truth were not very dear to God, he would not be at this cost to keep it with the blood of his saints; yea, which is more, the blood of his Son, whose errand into the world was by life and death ‘to bear witness to the truth,’ John 18:37. In a word, in that great and dismal conflagration of heaven and earth, when the elements shall melt for heat, and the world come to its fatal period, then truth shall not suffer the least loss, but ‘the word of the Lord endureth for ever,’ I Peter 1:24. (3.) Consider the severity of God to the enemies of truth. A dreadful curse is denounced against those that shall take away from it, or add to the least of it—that embase or clip this heavenly coin, Rev. 22:18. The one pulls upon him all the plagues that are written in the word of truth; from the other shall be taken away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things—that is, the good things of the promises —which are written in this book. All these speak at what a high rate God values truth; and no wonder, if we consider what truth is—that truth which shines forth from the written word. It is the extract of God’s thoughts and counsels which from everlasting he took up, and had in his heart to effect. Nothing comes to pass but as an accomplishment of this his word. It is the most full and perfect representation that God himself could give of his own being and nature to the sons of men, that, by it, we might know him and love him. Great princes used to send their pictures by their ambassadors to those whom they woo for marriage. God is such an infinite perfection, that no hand can draw him forth to life but his own, and this he hath done exactly in his word; from which all his saints have come to be enamoured with him. He that abandons the truth of God, renounceth the God of truth. Though men cannot come to pull God out of his throne, yet they come as near this as it is possible, when they let out their wrath against the truth. In this they do, as it were, execute God in effigy. There is reason we see why God should so highly prize his truth, and that we that love him should cleave to it.