Second.—The Christian is to walk singularly, not after the world’s guise, Rom. 12:2. We are com­manded not to be conformed to this world, that is, not to accommodate ourselves to the corrupt customs of the world. The Christian must not be of such a complying nature as to cut the coat of his profession according to the fashion of the times, or the humor of the company he falls into; like that courtier, who being asked how he could keep his preferment in such changing times, which one while had a prince for Popery, another while against Popery, answered, he was e salice, non ex quercu ortus—he was not a stubborn oak, but bending osier, that could yield to the wind. No, the Christian must stand fixed to his principles, and not change his habit; but freely show what countryman he is by his holy constancy in the truth. Now what an odium, what snares, what dan­gers doth this singularity expose the Christian to? Some will hoot and mock him, as one in a Spanish fashion would be laughed at in your streets. Thus Michal flouted David. Indeed, the world counts the Christian for his singularity of life the only fool; which I have thought gave the first occasion to that nick-name, whereby men commonly express a silly man or a fool. Such a one, say they, is a mere Abraham; that is, in the world’s account, a fool. But why an Abraham? Because Abraham did that which car­nal reason, the world’s idol, laugh’s at as mere folly; he left a present estate in his father’s house to go he knew not whither, to receive an inheritance he knew not when. And truly such fools all the saints are branded for by the wise world. ‘You know the man and his communication,’ said Jehu to his companions, asking what that mad fellow came for, who was no other than a prophet, II Kings 9:11. Now it requires courage to despise the shame which the Christian must expect to meet withal for his singularity. Shame is that which proud nature most disdains, to avoid which many durst not ‘confess Christ openly,’ John 7:13. Many lose heaven because they are ashamed to go in a fool’s coat thither. Again, as some will mock, so others will persecute to death, merely for this nonconformity in the Christian’s principles and prac­tices to them. This was the trap laid for the three children; they must dance before Nebuchadnezzar’s pipe, or burn. This was the plot laid to ensnare Daniel, who walked so unblameably, that his very enemies gave him this testimony, that he had no fault but his singularity in his religion, Dan. 6:5. It is a great honour to a Christian, yea, to religion itself, when all their enemies can say is, They are precise, and will not do as we do. Now in such a case as this, when the Christian must turn or burn, leave praying, or become a prey to the cruel teeth of bloody men; how many politic retreats and self-preserving distinctions would a cowardly unresolved heart invent? The Christian that hath so great opposition had need be well locked into the saddle of his profession, or else he will soon be dismounted.

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