FORTITUDE RECOMMEDED O THE SIDE OF TRUTH.

THE REV. C. SIMEO, M.A.
Jer. ix. 3. Middle clause. They are not valiant for the truth
tipon the earth.
IT is by no means uncommon to see men valiant
in their country's cause, or fearless in the commis-
sion of iniquity. But courage on the side of rehgion
is a quality but rarely seen. This virtue attaches
not
554.] OF FORTITUDE 0>f THE SIDE OF TRUTH. 3^
not itself to strength of nerves, nor is it a necessary
attendant on constitutional intrepidity. It is a grace
produced in the heart by the Holy Spirit ; and is
found equally to adorn the weaker as the stronger
sex. The want of natural courage is a fault in those
only who enter into professions where the exercise
of it is essential to a proper discharge of their duty :
but the want of spiritual valour is a crime, for which
we must answer before God ; yea, it is a great and
heinous crime, for which we have reason to dread
his heaviest judgments. The prophet, when enu-
merating the sins which prevailed among the Jews,
and which caused him to weep over them day and
night, mentions this as one that called for his se-
verest reprehension ; namely, that when they could
** proceed with undaunted effrontery from evil to
evil," they " were not valiant for the truth upon the
earth."
In illustrating these words, we propose to shew,
I. That valour is requisite on the side of truth —
Let " truth " be taken in the lowest sense, as
meaning nothing more than common justice and
equity, and there will still be found need of valour
for the maintenance of it in the world. Let a magi-
strate set himself vigorously to reform abuses, and
he will soon find that vice and profaneness will
maintain a violent contest against him, and that he
has need of courage to carry his plans into full effect.
But if we understand " the truth" as comprehending
the whole extent of our duty not only as men but as
Christians, our need of valour in maintaining it will
be still more apparent. We stand in need of it,
1. To profess the truth —
[Who does not know that a profession of religion subjects
us to contempt ? What was said of the Christians of the first
ages, is equally true at this day ; " We know that this sect is
everywhere spoken against." Men will " gaze strangely at us,
as soon as we cease to run with them into their excess of riot*."
As soon as we '' depart from evil, we make ourselves a preyV'
which every one feels himself at liberty to hunt. What the
Gibeonites'
• 1 Pet. iv. 4. " Isai. lix. 15.
40 JEREMIAH, IX. 3. [554.
Gibeonites experienced, when they made peace with Joshua and
with the children of Israel, is a striking emblem of what must
be expected by all who submit to Jesus, and associate themselves
with his people'^ And does it not rei|uire courage to
endure this? Verity, there are many who would find it
easier to walk up to the mouth of a cannon, than to brave the
contempt and obloquy to which a profession of religion would
expose them.]
2. To practise it —
[Let a person be solicited by his friends to unite with them
in courses which he disapproves ; let him he ridiculed as in-
dulging needless scrupulosity and preciseness, or perhaps as hypo-
critically pretending to more sanctity than his neighbours ; will
he find it easier to be stedfast in his obedience to God, dissem-
bling no truth, omitting no dutv^ c i roiming to nothing dubious
or sinful ? Will he need no coura- to stem the torrent, to dis-
regard the appearances of singularity, and to maintain a con-
science void of offence towards God and man ? ]
3. To recommend and enforce it —
[The Gospel enjoins us, not only to " have no fellowship
with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to reprove
them." ow we know what have been the conseijuences of
such faithfulness in all ages ; " I hate Micaiah, because he doth
not speak good concerning me, but evil:" " The world hateth
me, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil '^."
And is it a light matter to encounter the hatred of our friends,
and relatives, yea, and of the whole world ? When we foresee
these consequences, are we in no danger of withholding the ad-
monitions and instructions which we ought to give ? Are we in
no danger of " putting our light under a bushel," when we
know what offence will be taken at us, if we suffer it to shine
forth ? Are we under no temptation to indulge that " fear of
man which bringeth a snare ?"]
If we cannot recommend, or practise, or even pro-
fess religion, without valour, we can have no doubt
about,
II. The duty of exercising it —
It is a duty we owe,
1. To God—
[God has not told us to obey his commandments only as far
as the world would approve, but to " follow him fully," and
to love and serve him with our whole hearts. Will he then be
contented to see us "partial in the law?" Will he accept our
plea,
"^ Josh. X. 3, .4. - '' John vii. 7...
SSi."] OF FORTITUDE O THE SIDE OF TRUTH. 41
plea, if we urge our fear of man as a reason for our not fearing
and obeying him P o : he has bidden us " not to fear man,
who can only kill the body ; but to fear him, who can destroy
both body and soul in hell''."]
2. To our neighbours —
[What will they think of religion, if they see us who profess
it violating its most sacred obligations through fear of offending
man ? Will they not imagine that it is not worth contending
for ? Will they not be emboldened to shew the same preference to
the world that we do ; and to regard the opinions of men more
then the commands of God ? On the contrary, Would not a
firm, bold, decided conduct tend to convince them, that God is
worthy to be served, and that " his loving-kindness is better
than life itself?"]
3. To ourselves —
[Our own everlasting welfare depends upon our stedfaatness
in the ways of God. " If we are ashamed of him, he will be
ashamed of us :" "if we deny him, he will deny us :" "if we draw
back, it v»rill be unto perdition ; for his soul can have no pleasure
in us :" " he only that overcometh, shall inherit all things ;" and
" he only that endureth unto the end, shall ever be saved." If
then we have any regard for our own souls, we must be valiant,
and " quit ourselves like men :" for if even life itself be suffered
to stand in competition with his will, our souls will be forfeited
and lost for ever^]
It is not however sufficient to possess valour : we
should also understand,
III. In what way it should be exercised —
Here we are very liable to err: true Christian va-
lour should be shewn,
J . In meek and patient suflferings —
[Passive valour is bv far the most valuable. Would we see
it illustrated ? let us see how it operated in the Apostle Paul :
" being defamed, says he, we intreat ; being persecuted, we
isuffer." Would we behold the most striking exemplification of
it that ever existed ? let us behold Jesus, who had just before
evinced his power over his enemies by striking them all to the
ground with a word, yielding up himself to them, and led as a
sheep to the slaughter ; behold him " dumb before them, even
as a sheep before her shearers ; giving his back to the smiters,
and his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair, and not hiding his
face from shame and spitting:" " when he was reviled, he reviled
not again ; when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed
himself
' Luke xii. 4, 5. ' Matt. x. 3g. ,
42 JEREMIAH, IX. 3. [554.
himself unto him that judgeth righteously :" yes, here was pre-
cisely the valour which we are called to exercise. We must " pos-
sess our souls in patience, " and " let patience have its perfect
work." If once we recede from this ground, we are vanquished.
If we would " not be overcome of evil, we must overcome evil
with good."]
2. In firm and steady perseverance —
[Obedience to God is the great point ; to that we must ad-
here at all events. We must resemble Daniel and the Hebrew
youths, and determine to suffer the most cruel death, rather than
violate the dictates of our conscience s, or neglect any known
duty whatsoever *". ext to our blessed Lord, St. Paul perhaps
endured more for the truth's sake than any of the children of men :
in every place, bonds and afflictions abode him: but "none of
those things could move him, neither counted he his life dear
unto him, so that he might but fulfil the ministry" committed to
him: he was "willing not only to be bound, but also to die," at
any place, at any time, and in any manner, for his Master's sake :
when he had been stoned and left for dead, at Lystra, he returned
again speedily to that very city, regardless of his own life, and
intent only on executing the commission which he had received of
the Lord Jesus' ? Thus must we go on, "stedfast, immoveable,
and always abounding in the work of the Lord :" and in such a
course we shall approve ourselves "good soldiers of Jesus Christ."]
We would add to what has been said, a word,
1. Of caution —
[Let not any imagine that Christian fortitude at all militates
against the duties which we owe to our parents, or to any that
are placed in authority over us. Many are apt to mistake pert-
ness and forwardness as marks of valour : but "they know not
what spirit they are of;" they are, in fact, displeasing God as
much as man, while they indulge a petulant, forward disposition.
We need look well to ourselves in this particular, and see that we
are not gratifying our own self-will, under a pretended regard for
the commands of God. We should never forget the respect due
to our superiors : and when we are forced to act contrary to their
commands, we should strive as much as possible to conciliate them
in our manner of doing it ; and shew them, that our opposition
fO their will is not a matter of choice, but of necessity.]
2. Of encouragement —
[one need to fear, as though they should not be able to act
valiantly in the hour of trial : for God has promised, that we shall
not be tempted above our ability to withstand, or without a way
for us to escape ^. We are told of women, who, under the most
grievous
« Dan. iii. 16—18. ^ Dan. vi. 10. ' Acts xiv. 8, 19,2U
>" 1 Cor. X. 13.
grievous sufferings for conscience sake, would not accept delive-
rance when it was offered as an inducement to recede from their
principles'. We need not fear therefore but that ''our strength also
shall be according to our day™." God will " strengthen us by
his Spirit in our inward man, unto all patience and long-suffering
with joyfulness;" and "his strength shall be perfected in our
weakness." In the weakest amongst us shall that promise be
exemplified, " They that do know their God, shall be strong, and
do exploits"."]
' Heb. xi. 35. " Deut. xxxiii. 25. " Dan.xi. 32.
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