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of Hope fill you with all Joy and Peace in believing, that you may abound in Hope through the Power of the Holy Ghost.
JAMES V. 11. Behold! we count them happy which
PERHEN we hear any thing
V advanced as a Truth, or al pressed upon us as a Dury,
which seems repugnant to our Reason, we have a natural Right to make our Inquiries and propose our Difficulties ---- The Proud and Peculant would, at first hearing, condemn the thing for a Falfhood, and evilN 3
intreat the Maintainer of it, without any Trial or Examination. ----- But every reasonable Man, every one who has been used to Doubting and Searching after Truth, will be so far from being displeased at a Proposition which seems contrary to his way of thinking, fo far from being provok’d at the Perfon who asserts it, that he will embrace the Occasion, and enter into the Debate with Pleasure and Satisfaction. If the Matter, at last, proves a Falfhood, he has an Opportunity of convincing his Brother; if a Truth, of informing himself. They only, who take up their Opinions without Reasoning, are Enemies to it. They defend themselves by Power, and Pasfion, and Clamour, Methods, which no Man that has Reason at hand, can make use of.
The Words of St. James which ! just now read to you, are plainly contrary to the common Sentiments, Experience and Practice of Mankind. Behold! says he, with an especial Emphasis, we count them happy which endure, which are in Misery; this looks like an inverting, a destroying the very Use of Words. He gives us the Instance of Job in the Verse of my Text. But, alas! who is there that would not think Job much happier, when his Substance was seven thousand Sheep, and three thousand Camels, and five thousand Yoke of Oxen, and five hundred She-Asses, and a very great Houshold, so that he was the greatest of all the Men of the East; when he was feasting with his seven Sons and three Daughters, and making them partake in his Prosperity and Grandeur; when, as he says, the Toung Men saw him, and hid themselves, and the Aged arose and stood up. The Princes refrained talking, and laid their Hand on their Mouth; the Nobles held their peace, and the Tongue cleaved to the
- Roof Roof of their Mouth; when the Ear heard him it blessed him, and when the Eye saw him it gave witness unto him; who, I say, would not think Job much happier in this State of Plenty and Prosperity, Respect and Esteem, than when he was deprived of all his Riches, and his Children were taken from him ; when he was, moreover, (more with fore Boils, from the Sole of his Foot unto his Crown, and he took him a Potsheard to scrape himself wichal, and sate down among the Ashes. When besides his Poverty and Sickness, he became the Contempt and Mockery of his Friends and Neighbours. When, as he complains, they that were younger than he, had him in Derision, whose Fathers he would have disdain’d to have set with the Dogs of his Flock. When he became the Song of Fools that were viler than the Earth; they abhorred him, they fled from him, they spared