תמונות בעמוד

2 Cor. xiii. 11.



frame of mind we should maintain, so continually pre- SERM. pared we should be against all contingencies, that nothing XXXVII. should happen amiss to us, so as deeply to affect us, or to unsettle us in our humour; that every thing from God's hand should be acceptable; that no fadness may seize on us, at least that we do not indulge or cherish it; that in nowise we suffer any regret to quench that spiritual comfort and joy in God, which becometh the upright, as the Pfal. xxxiii. Psalmist saith, and which we are so often enjoined perpe-Phil. iv. 4. tually to maintain, as in all cases, so particularly under iii. 1. afflictions and trials. We cannot indeed hardly be content, if we are not cheerful; for it is hard to be altogether 1 Pet. iv. on the suffering and bearing hand, without any pleasure : the mind can hardly stand in a poise, so as neither to sorrow or joy; we cannot digest adversity, if we do not relish it; we shall not submit to it as his will, if we do not take it for an argument of his love: súłoxã, I, faith St. 2 Cor. xii. Paul, have a liking or pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in neceffities, in perfecutions, in distrelles for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am sirong.

4. We should with faith and hope rely and wait on God for the removal, or easement of our allictions; or, however, we should confide in him for grace, and strength to support them well: as our Saviour did, when he prayed, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup; as they did Luke xxii. in the Prophet, who said, In the way of thy judgments, O Lord, we have waited on thee; according to that rule in xxxiii. 3. the Lamentations, It is good that a man should both hope, Lam.iii. 26. and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord; and those precepts in the Psalıns, Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently Psal. xxxvii. for him ; wait upon the Lord, be of good courage, and he was ii. 14. Mall strengthen thine heart.

We should in any case be ready with the holy Psalmist thus to interrogate and sustain ourselves : Why art thou xvi. 8. cast down, O my foul, why art thou fo disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, for the help of his countenance.

Remembering, and considering, that (as we are expressly taught in Scripture, and as all our religion doth clearly

Ifa. xxvi. 8.

xxxiji. 20. lxii. 1. xxv. 3. Ixix. 6.

Psal. xlii. s. Matt. vi. 25.


SERM. suppose) God knoweth to rescue the godly out of tribulation; XXXVII.

(he knoweth the proper season, when it is fit to do it;) that 2 Pet. ii. 3. he is faithful, and will not suffer us to be tempted above 1 Pet. V. 7. what we are able ; but will with the temptation also make 1 Cor. x.13. a way to escape, that we may be able to bear it ; reflecting,

I say, on these certain points of Christian truth, we should 1 Theff. iv. never forrow as those who are without hope; we should

never despair of a good riddance from our adverfity, when

it shall be seasonable or beneficial for us; we should always Isa xl. 31. be assured of a comfortable support under it, which is Mic, vii. 7.

usually better than deliverance from it; our minds should never sink into despondency, or disconsolateness: that this is practicable in the worst case, we have conspicuous instances to assure us; it hath been the practice of most illustrious and excellent persons, particularly of the holy Apostles; never was any condition, in outward respe&s

and appearance, more forlorn and disinal than was theirs; 2 Cor. iv. 8. yet it nowise bereaved them of hope, or courage: We, 1 Cor. iv.11. they could say, are troubled on every fide, yet not distressed;

we are perplexed, but not in despair; perfecuted, but not forsaken ; cast down, but not destroyed.

5. We should indeed not so much as faint or languish in our minds upon any such occasion; no adversity should impair the forces of our reason or our spirit; should ener

vate our courage, or Nacken our industry ; fhould render Prov. xxiv. us sick, or weak in heart ; for, If, faith the Wise Man,

thou faint in the day of adverfty, thy strength is small, (it Rev. ii. 3. is the sign of an infirm mind,) and, us éxxaxsīv, not to faller

or decay, wij éxaúeo Jes, not to be disolved, or disjointed, in Gal. vi. 9, our souls, (as the body is in scorbutic distempers,) are rules

prescribed to us in such cases : we do then indeed need a nimis opus firm and robust constitution of soul; we should then bear pećtore fir- up most resolutely and stoutly: the encouragement of

Moses to the people, entering upon battle, may well be

accommodated to us, in regard to our conflict with adverDeut. II. 3. fities; Let not your hearts faint, fear not and do not trem

lle, neither be ye terrified because of them.

6. We should not be weary of our condition, or have irksome longings for alteration; but, with a quiet indiffe

10. 2 Cor. iv.16. 2 Theff. iii. 13.

. . 3. -nunca.

eft, nunc


7, 10.

rency and willingness of mind, lie under it during God's SERM. pleasure ; according to the Wise Man's advice ; My son, XXXVII. despise not the chastening of the Lord, neither be weary of Prov. ii. 11. his correction, and that of the Apostle, enforced by our Lord's example; Conhder him, that endured such contra- Heb. xii. 3. diction of finners against himself, left ye be wearied and faint in your minds. We should not think God flow, or his time long and tedious, as if he were forgetful of us, or backward to succour us; as the Psalmist was inclined to do, when in the day of trouble he brake forth into these conceits and expresions: Will the Lord cast off for ever, and Pfal. lxxvii, will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever, doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious ? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Thus he in a fad mood was apt to think and speak; but, recollecting himself, he perceived it was his error, and confessed it was his fault thus to imagine; I said, it was mine infirmity; and it will be ours likewise, if we entertain such conceptions and resentments : we should with the same mind endure our present state, as we do pass through a hard winter, or a time of foul weather, taking it for seasonable and fit, because the wife Author of nature hath so appointed and ordered it.

7. We should by adverse accidents be rendered lowly in our own eyes, and sober in our conceits of ourselves; meek and gentle, tender and pliable in our temper and frame of spirit; sensible of our unworthiness and meanness, of our natural frailty, penury, and misery, of our actual offences and miscarriages; deeply affected in regard to the awful majesty and power, to the perfect holiness and strict justice of God; they should quell our haughty stomach, they should supple our stiff wilfulness, they should foften our hard hearts, they should mitigate our peevish humours : to effect these things is usually the design of such accidents, and it is ever the best fruit of them : this is that which St. Peter adviseth to, when he faith, Be humbled under the 1 Pet. v. 6. mighty hand of God; which God approveth, and encourageth with a gracious promise, when he faith, To this lfa. lxvi. 2. man will I look, even to him, that is of a poor and contrite

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SERM. trite spirit, and trembleth at my word: this difpofition is XXXVII. an inseparable adherent to contentedness; he that hath

not his spirit thus broken, or mollified, will hardly be content in any state; he that is haughty in conceit, and surdy in humour, will every where find that which will cross and disturb him.

8. It is required that we should, notwithstanding any meanness, any hardness of our condition, be meekly and kindly affected toward others, being satisfied and pleased with their more prosperous state 8. We should not be angry with the world, because we do not thrive or flourish in it; we should not be sullen or peevish toward any man, because his fortune is better than ours; we should

not repine or grudge at the good success of any of our Rom. xii. brethren, because we want the like ourselves; we should

rather rejoice with those that rejoice ; innocently filching some pleasure from them, or borrowing some satisfaction from their enjoyments. It is human thus to do, because of the natural cognation and friendship of men; it is more especially Christian, because of our spiritual consanguinity;

by virtue whereof we are so knit together, and made Rom. xii. members each to other, that if, as St. Paul telleth us, one

member suffer, all the members suffer with it ; and if one member be honoured, all the members should rejoice with it: we can hardly be content without thus appropriating the goods, and sharing in the delights of others; he can never be content, who looketh with an evil eye upon other men's prosperity; he cannot do well himself who loveth not to see his neighbour do well; numberless occasions will happen to discompose and vex him.

Adversity impatiently borne is apt to four our spirits, and render us froward toward men; especially when it proceedeth from the unkindness, ingratitude, or treachery of friends, or of persons obliged to us for our good-will, or for benefits done to them : but nothing should render us

15. i Cor. xii, 26.

& Ita plerumque contingit, ut dum aliquos fratres noftros in quantulacunque requie conftitutos in mediis noftris anxietatibus cogitamus, non parva ex parte recreemur, tanquam et nos ideo ipfi quietius tranquilliusque vivamus. Aug. Ep. 144.

unkindly disposed toward the world, nothing should ex- SERM. tinguish charity in us toward any man; fo plain reason XXXVII. teacheth us, so great examples enforce: Mofes did not lose his affection towards his countrymen, because he was by one of them threatened away into banislıment and vagrarcy; the Apostles became not disaffected to the world, because it misused and persecuted them ; our Lord did continue most earnestly to desire, and laboriously to endeavour the good of those who most despitefully used him : like theirs, in all cases, should our disposition be; we should ever observe the Pfalmift's advice; Ceafe from Psal.xxxvii. anger, forsake wrath, fret not thyself in anywise to do 8. evil.


9. Contentedness doth imply a freedom from all solicitude and anxiety of mind, in reference to provision for our needs, and conveniences of life; according to those rules and precepts of casting our burthen and care upon the 1 Pet. V. 7.

Psal.xxxvii. Lord, of being careful for nothing, but commending our affairs to God's ordering ; according to that most com- Phil. iv. 6. fortable precept of our Lord, Take no care, saying, What Matt. vi.31. Jhall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, How shall we be clothed? for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye want all these things. If we do not thus, it is hardly possible that we should be content; if we do not depend upon Providence, we cannot scape being often distracted with care, and perplexed with fear; we cannot cheerfully hope for any thing we need, nor be quietly secure of any thing we possess.

10. It requireth also that we should curb our defires, and confine them in the narrowest bounds we can; so as not to affect more in quantity, or better in quality, than our nature and state do require h: if we must have superfluities, if we can only relish dainties, we shall never be pleased; for as nature hath limits, and is content with little; as there is no state in this world, the exigencies

5. ly. 2.

Η “Ηδισα πολυτελείας απολαύεσιν οι ήκισα ταύτης δεόμενοι, Epic. ad Menec.
Ventre nihil novi frugalius. Jur. Sat. v.

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