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such a strong Habit and firm Constitution of Mind. And
indeed so much St. Paul here intimates, as Theophylact well observes, that it is a Matter of some Labour and Discipline to bring a Man's self into a Conformity with his Condition, and to continue the same contented Person when that alters and changes from better to worse. For he faith, duc fov, I have learned; which is as much as to say, that gunevadías deiros is uehetns, there is Need of Exercise, and Study is required to attain it. The greatest Apostle could not otherwise come by it. He had it not by Inspiration, as he had the Gift of Tongues, and Prophecies, and such like, odbegins aegro πραγμα και ασκήσεως ; and therefore it is a Business of Learning and Meditation, ( as Oecumenius speaks) to which we must use and exercise our selves, that by perpetual Practice we may come to this happy Temper; and after much Consideration prevail with our selves, in every State to be content.
It will be necessary then, for your better learning of it, that I thow you,
I. What this Contentment is.
III. How we may attain it. Though indeed by understanding the Reason why we should be contented, we shall learn, in great part, how to possess our felves of this Virtue,
I. For the First; To be contented with present Things, I shall thus describe.
It is to feel such a Plenitude and Fulness in our Souls, that makes us so well pleas’d in the Condition wherein we are, as not to suffer the Desire of a Change to trouble our Spirit, or discompose our Duty.
It will be profitable, I think, to take this Description in Pieces; and by Parts to teach you this Lesson, which you are to learn. Which cannot be well done, without giving you some Notice also, how the Apostles and all good Christians came to learn it.
ift, Then, I say, it consists in a Fulness of the Soul; for by a better Word than that, I know not how to express it : All that is necessary to be faid concerning the Nature of Contentment, is contain'd in it, and flows from it. Then we are well, when we find a Kind of Self-Sufficiency, as the Word európraia fignifies; such a Repletion (if I may use that Phrase) within our own Breasts, that we feel no Pain, nor Trouble of Emptiness there; nor require any thing more for our Satisfaction, than we have already. And so the Word, which otherwhere is rendred Contentment, is in one place rendred Sufficiency. 2 Cor. ix. 8, And God is able to make all Grace abound toward
always having all Sufficiency in all things, may abound in every good Work. "Oog oopiar, faith Oecumenius ; behold the Wisdom of the Apostle, who wishes them only a Sufficiency of Carnal Things, but of Spiritual an Abundance. Yet this Sufficiency is so great a Blessing, that they who have it, cannot be said to want: And it depends, as
you shall hear, upon the Abundance of God's Grace towards us; which, when we consider, will make us think a little of this World sufficient to our Satisfaction. But be it little or much that we enjoy, when any Soul is full, and hath enough, and faith, that it sufficeth, then it is contented.' And so that very Word, which the Apostle uses in my Text, is translated by our Interpreters, 7oh. xiv. 8. Shore us the Father, and åpxei, it sufficeth: There needs no more; we shall be full enough. From which Place you may both learn what Contentment is, and where this Fulness or Sufficiency is to be found; even in God himself, in the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God alone can fill the Soul of Man, who calls himself All-fulficient : And there is no such satisfying Sight of him, as that which we have in his Son our Saviour, who hath revealed his Blessed Nature and Will to our great Contentment. To him therefore we must go; for he that hath the Son, hath the Father allo; and he that hath him, hath all things.
But that we may not deceive our selves by a slight Pleasure in Words, Sounds, and Phrases ; I shall briefly show you, what this Fulness is, which a Christian Soul hath from God the Father of our Lord Jesus ; and by that Means, wherein our true Contentment consists.
1. And in the first place you must understand, that there is a great Store and Plenty, no less than a Fulness of Divine Wisdom and Knowledge, which God hath bestowed on us; in which the Mind of Man, when he entertains it, and fully
believes it, cannot but find exceeding great Contentment of Spirit.
It is certain, there is nothing that it more naturally desires, than to know and understand. Our Souls have a peculiar Inclination and Affection to Truth ; and are likewise big with Designs and Contrivances of several Sorts. Their Thoughts are ever restless and unquiet : They are too active and vigorous, to stand still, and do nothing ; insomuch that if they can find no other Employment, they will trouble themselves, and perplex and disquiet all at home. For no Man is discontented, but he is crucified by himself, and his own Thoughts are his Tormentors. That we might never therefore be so idle as to vex our selves, nor roll and tumble about perpetually in our own unquiet Imaginations ; God hath propounded the most Glorious Objects, on which to fix our busy Thoughts ; and imparted to us the Knowledge of a vast Number of Things, some of which were never known in the World before ; and the rest but imperfectly understood, and uncertainly believed ; and those of the greatest Concernment to our Souls, and most highly importing to our Happiness ; whereby that natural Appetite after Wisdom and Understanding is abundantly filled and replenished, and all other Appetites are Itrangely gratified and pleased too.
For there is nothing can yield greater Satisfaction to the Heart of Man, than this Revelation which God hath made of his Mind and Will by the Gospel of Christ, in such
a large and ample manner, as it self witnelses. I am persuaded, Brethren, faith St. Paul, Rom. xv. 14. that ye are filled with all Knowledge ; able to admonish one another. This was the End for which God gave such Gifts unto Men, as upon this Day, and made some Apofiles, Some Prophets, Some Evangelifs, &c. till we all come in the Unity of the Faith, and the Knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfe& Man ; unto the Measure of the Stature of the Fulness of Christ, Ephef. iv. 10, 13. There is, you see, a great Fulness of Divine Knowledge communicated to us ; the nearer unto which we arrive, the more contented and well pleased we shall be in every State. And therefore the Apostle prays for the Colossians, Col. i. 9. that they might be filled with the Knowledge of God's Wil, in at Wisdom and Spiritual Understanding ; as the first Blessing he could wish to those, whose Happiness he exceedingly desired. And to such Persons as these it is, that this Divine Writer speaks, when he exhorts them to be contented with such Things as they had.
They were Men that knew the fuperabundant Love of God to Mankind ; being persuaded that he had spoken to us by bis own Son, (as you read Chap. i. 1.) a Person higher than all Angels ; who, at God's Command, worshipped him when he came into the World, and acknowledg’d themselves to be but Ministring Spirits to the Servants of this Glorious Prince, the Heir of all Things.