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Of Christian Prudence.

Of Christian Prudence.

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Published by glennpease


Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as
doves. Matt, x. latter part of verse 16.


Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as
doves. Matt, x. latter part of verse 16.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 31, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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OF CHRISTIA PRUDECE. BY REV. JEREMY TAYLOR, D. D., PART I. Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matt, x. latter part of verse 16. Whef our blessed Saviour entailed a law WBLd a condition of sufferings, and promised a state of persecution to his servants; and withal had charmed them with the bands and unactive chains of so many passive graces, that they should not be able to stir against the violence of tyrants, or abate the edge of axes, by any instrument but their own blood; being "sent forth as sheep among wolves," innocent and silent, harm- less and defenceless, certainly exposed to sorrow, and uncertainly guarded in their per- sons; their condition seemed nothing else but a designation to slaughter : and when they were drawn into the folds of the church, they were betrayed into the hands of evil men, infinitely and unavoidably : and when an apostle invited a proselyte to come to Christ, it was in effect a snare laid for his life ; and he could neither conceal his reli- gion, nor hide his person, nor avoid a cap- tious question, nor deny his accusation, nor elude the bloody arts of orators and inform- ers, nor break prisons, nor any thing but die. If the case stood just thus, it was well eternity stood at the outer days of our life, ready to receive such harmless people : but
surely there could be no art in the design, no pitying of human weaknesses, no com- plying with the condition of man, no allow- ances made for customs and prejudices of the world, no inviting men by the things of men, no turning nature into religion : but it was all the way a direct violence, and an open prostitution of our lives, and a throw- ing away our fortune into a sea of rashness and credulity. But, therefore, God ordered the affairs and necessities of religion in other ways, and to other purposes. Although God bound our hands behind us, yet he did not tie our understandings up: although we might nbt use our swords, yet we might use our reason : we were not suffered to be violent, but we might avoid violence by all the arts of prudence and innocence : if wa did take heed of sin, we might also take heed of men. And because in all conten- tions between wit and violence, prudence and rudeness, learning and the sword, the strong hand took it first, and the strong head possessed it last; the strong man first governed, and the witty man succeeded him, and lasted longer ; it came to pass, that the wisdom of the Father hath so ordered it, that all his disciples should overcome the power of the Roman legions by a wise religion ; and prudence and innocence should become the mightiest guards ; and the Chris- tian, although exposed to persecution, yet is so secured that he shall never need to 384
CHRISTIA PRUDECE, Sekm. XLV. die, but when the circumstances are so or-i dered, that his reason is convinced that then i it is fit he should ; fit, I say, in order to God's purposes and his own. For he that is innocent, is safe against all the rods and the axes of all the consuls of the world, if they rule by justice ; and he that is prudent, will also escape from many rudenesses and irregular violences that can come by injustice : and no wit of man, no government, no armies, can do more. For Cesar perished in the midst of all his legions and all his honours; and against chance and irregularities there is no provision less than infinite that can give security. And although prudence alone cannot do this, yet innocence gives the greatest title to that Providence which only can, if he pleases, and will, if it be fitting. Here, then, are the two arms defensive of a Christian : pru- dence against the evils of men, innocence against the evils of devils and all that relates to his kingdom. Prudence fences against persecution and the evil snares, against the opportunities and occasions of sin ; it prevents surprises, it fortifies all its proper weaknesses, it im- proves our talents, it does advantage to the kingdom of Christ and the interests of the gospel, it secures our condition, and in-

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