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Heb. x. 36.
entitle them to the blessed rewards hereafter: 1 Our light SERM. affliction, saith St. Paul, which is but for a moment, work- XXXIX. eth for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory ; 2 Cor. iv. and, Ye, faith St. Peter, greatly rejoice, though now for a 17. season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold iroporns 1temptations ; that the trial of your faith, being much more Xeni xeuiar, precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with 1 Pet. i. 6, fire, may be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at7. the appearing of Jesus Christ. Such is the nature, such the use, such the fruits of adversity.
It is indeed scarce possible, that, without tasting it somewhat deeply, any man should become in good measure either wife or good m. He must be very ignorant of himself, (of his own temper and inclinations, of the strength and forces of his reason, who hath not met with some rubs and crosses to try himself and them with: the greater part of things he must little understand, who hath not experienced the worst part : he cannot skill to wield and govern his passions, who never had them stirred up, and toffed about by cross accidents: he can be no good pilot in matters of human life, who hath not for some time failed in a rough sea, in foul weather, anong sands and shelves : he could have no good opportunity of employing thoroughly, or improving his wit, his courage, his industry, who hath had no straits to extricate himself from, no difficulties to surmount, no hardships to sustainn : the virtues of humility, of patience, of contentedness necessarily must be unknown to him, to whom no disgraces, no wants, no fore pains have arrived, by well enduring which, those virtues are learnt, and planted in the soul : scarce can he become very charitable or compassionate to Non igna
mali niser fuccurrere
disco, En.2. 1 “Η γέρ των τόνων επίτασις, μισθών επίτασίς έσι, και έρεισμα ασφαλές προς το μή έχοντας έκτισιών και γαρ τύφον κατατίλλει, και ραθυμίαν αποτρίφει, και φρονιμωτήρες Sosti són abisipas igrásitas, &c. Chryf. tom. vi. Or. 9.
* Nihil infelicius co, cui nihil unquam evenit adverfi, non licuit enim illi se experiri. Sen. de Provid. 3.
Non fert ullum ictum illæsa felicitas. Ibid.
Heb. ii. 17,
SERM. others, who never himself hath felt the smart of affli&ion, XXXIX. or inconveniences of any distress; for even, as the Apostle
teacheth us, our Saviour himself was obliged to suffer 18. iv. 15, tribulation, that he thence might become merciful, and 1 Sam.xxv. disposed to succour the afflicted. (No wonder, if he that
liveth in continual prosperity be a Nabal, churlish and discourteous, insensible of other men's grievances :) and how can he express much piety or love to God, who is not in submillion to God's will, and for his fake) put to suffer any thing grievous, or want any thing desirable? When can he employ any great faith or hope in God, who never hath any visible need of succour or relief from him, who hath other present aids to confide in ? How can he purely delight in God, and place his sole felicity in him? How can he thoroughly relish spiritual things, whose affections are taken up by an affluence of other goods, whose appetites are glutted with enjoyment of other delights? What but deprivation of these things can lay open the vanity, the deceitfulness, and Nipperiness of them? What but crosses and disappointments here can withdraw our minds from a fond admiration, and eager affection toward this world P? What but the want of these joys and
satisfactions can drive us to seek our felicity otherwhere? Matt. xiii. when the deceit of riches poffefseth us, how can we judge
right of things ? when cares about them distract us, how Luke x.41. can we think about any thing that is good? when their Deut.xxxii
. snares entangle us, and their clogs encumber us, how can Prov. i. 32. we be free and expedite in doing good? when abundance
fatteneth our hearts, and ease softeneth our spirits, and Pla. xxx.6. success puffeth up our minds; when pride, sensuality,
stupidity, and noth (the alınost inseparable adherents to Amos vi. 1. large and prosperous estates) do continually infinuate them
• Cum moleftiæ in hujus vitæ fragilitate crebrefcunt, æternam requiem nos defiderare compellunt. Mundus quippe iste periculofior eft blandus, quam moleftus, et magis cavendus quum fe illicit diligi, quam cum admonch, cogitque contemni. Aug. Ep. 144.
P Ardua nam res eft opibus non tradere mores. Mart.
felves into us, what wisdom, what virtue are we like to SERM. have?
XXXIX. Seeing then adversity is so wholesome and useful, the remedy of so great mischiefs, the cause of so great benefits to us, why should we be displeased therewith 9? To be displeased with it, is to be displeased with that which is most needful or most convenient for us, to be displeased with the health and welfare of our souls; that we are rescued from errors and vices, with all their black train of miseries and mischiefs ; to be displeased that we are not detained under the reign of folly and wickedness, that we are not inevitably made fools and beasts. To be disgusted with Providence for affliction or poverty, is no other than as if we should be angry with our physician for adminiftering a purge, or for prescribing abstinence to us"; as if we should fret at our chirurgeon for searching our wounds, or applying needful corrosives; as if we should complain of the hand which draweth us from a precipice, or pulleth Jude 23. us out of the fire. Many benefits, faith Seneca, have a fad and rough countenance, as to burn and cut in order to healings: such a benefit of God is adversity to us; and as such with a gladsome and thankful mind should we receive it.
If with a diligent observation we consult experience, we shall find, that, as many have great cause to bewail that they have been rich, that they have been blinded and Luke vi. 24. corrupted with prosperity, that they have received their Amos vi. 1, confolation here; so many have great reason to be glad &c. that they have been poor, that they have been disappointed, that they have tasted the bitter cup; it having instructed and corrected them; it having rendered them sober and confiderate, industrious and frugal, mindful of
9 Gratulari et gaudere nos decet dignatione divinæ caftigationis fervum illum beatum, cujus emendationi Dominus inftat; cui dignatur irasci, quem admonendi diffimulatione non decipit. Tert, de Par. 11.
Ο αμαρτάνων κάν μή κολάζηται, πάντων εσίν αθλιώτερG, &c. Chry/. 'Ανδρ. 5. η "Η νοσύντων ιατρείαι, και υγιεινόντων γυμνασίαι. Simpl. Κρειτών ευημερίας άχαλινώσο νόσω ócoco. Nax. Ep. 66.
s Beneficia multa triftem et afperam frontem habent, quemadmodum urere, et secare, ut fanes. Sen, de Benef. v. 20.
SERM. God, and devout toward him : and what we may rejoice XXXIX. in when past, why should we not bear contentedly when
present? why should not the expectation of such good fruits satisfy use?
Why should not such a condition, being so plainly better in itself, feem also better unto us? We cannot, if we are reasonable, but approve it in our judgment; why then are we not fully reconciled unto it in our affection?
· Horrorem operis fructus excusat. Tert. Scorp. 5.
Let our condition be what it will, we are the same. It doth not change us in our intrinfic worth or ftate. It is but a garment about us, or as weather.
5. BUT farther : Let our state be, as to quality, what it SERM.
XL. will, good or bad, joyful or unpleasant, we may yet confider, that it cannot be desperate, it may not be lasting; for there is not any necessary connection between the present and the future: wherefore, as the present, being momentary and tranfient, can little trouble us, so the future, being unknown and uncertain, should not dismay us. As no man reasonably can be elevated with confidence in a good state, presuming on its duration, (Boas Prov. xxvii. not thyself of to-morrow, for thou knouest not what a day". may bring forth;) so no man should be dejected for a bad one, in suspicion that it will abide longa; seeing neither (considering the frequent vicissitudes that occur, and the flux nature of all things here) is each of them in itself stable; and the continuance of each absolutely dependeth on God's arbitrary disposal; and as God often doth overturn prosperity, to human judgment most firmly grounded, so he most easily can redress the to appearance most forlorn adversity; and he, being especially the helper of the Pfal. Ixxii. helpless, doth frequently perform it: as he poureth contempt 12. cvii: %;
A. 4. C. 9.
P1. cvii. 40. • Multa intervenient quibus vicinum periculum vel prope admotum aut subfiftat aut definat, aut in alienum caput transeat. Sen.