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The Means and Instruments to obtain Faith are,

1. A humble, willing, and docile mind, or desire to be instructed in the way of God; for persuasion enters like a sunbeam, gently and without violence and open but the window, and draw the curtain and the Sun of righteousness will enlighten your darkness.

2. Remove all prejudice and love to everything, which may be contradicted by faith. ‘How can ye believe (said Christ) that receive praise one of another?’ An unchaste man cannot easily be brought to believe that, without purity, he shall never see God. He that loves riches can hardly believe the doctrine of poverty and renunciation of the world; and alms and martyrdom, and the doctrine of the cross, is folly to him that loves his ease and pleasures. He that hath within him any principle contrary to the doctrines of faith cannot easily become a disciple.

3. Prayer, which is instrumental to everything, hath a particular promise in this thing. ‘He that lacks wisdom, let him ask it of God:’ and, ‘If you give good things to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give his Spirit to them that ask him!’

4. The consideration of the divine omnipotence and infinite wisdom, and our own ignorance, are great instruments of curing all doubting and silencing the murmurs of infidelity.196196In rebus miris summa credendi ratio est omnipotentia Creatoris.—St. Aug.

5. Avoid all curiosity of inquiry into particulars and circumstances and mysteries, for true faith is full of ingenuity and hearty simplicity, free from suspicion, wise and confident, trusting upon generals, without watching and prying into unnecessary or indiscernible particulars. No man carries his bed into his field, to watch how his corn grows, but believes upon the general order of Providence and nature; and at harvest finds himself not deceived.

6. In time of temptation be not busy to dispute, but rely upon the conclusion, and throw yourself upon God; and contend not with him but in prayer and in the presence, and with the help of a prudent untempted guide; and be sure to esteem all changes of belief which offer themselves in the time of your greatest weakness (contrary to be temptations, and reject them accordingly.

7. It is a prudent course that, in our health and best advantages, we lay up particular arguments and instruments of persuasion and confidence, to be brought forth and used in the great day of expense; and that especially in such things in which we use to be most tempted, and in which we are least confident, and which are most necessary, and which commonly the devil uses to assault us withal in the days of our visitation.

8. The wisdom of the church of God is very remarkable in appointing festivals or holy days, whose solemnity and offices have no other special business but to record the article of the day; such as Trinity Sunday, Ascension, Easter, Christmas day; and to those persons who can only believe, not prove or dispute, there is no better instrument to cause the remembrance and plain notion, and to endear the affection and hearty assent to the article than the proclaiming and recommending it by the festivity and joy of a holy day.

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