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fortunate? is not at least his condition as good as that of SERM. the most prosperous a?

XLI. 2. As good, do I say? yea, is it not plainly much better than can arise merely from any secular prosperity ? for satisfaction springing from rational consideration and virtuous disposition of mind, is indeed far more precious, more noble and worthy, more folid and durable, more sweet and delectable, than that which any poffeffion, or fruition of worldly goods can afford b: the tò apJaptoy apąéos, xai Vid. Epift. jouxio Aveúpatos, incorruptibility, as St. Peter speaketh, ofierad a meek and quiet spirit is before God of great price; before Epift. 3. (p. God, that is, according to the most upright and certain Tohde Jojudgment, it is the most precious and valuable thing in the 1 Pet. iii. world; There is, the philosopher could say, no spectacle more Ecce par worlhy of God, (or grateful to bim,) than a good man gal-Deo dig. lantly combating with ill fortune. Not to be discomposed bonus cum or distempered in mind, not to fret or whine, when all mala forthings flow prosperously and according to our mind, is no pofitus. great praise, no sign of wisdom, or argument of goodness; vid. it cannot be reckoned an effect of sound judgment or virtuous affection, but a natural consequent of such a state : but when there are evident occafions and urgent temptations to displeasure, when present sense and fancy do promp and provoke to murmuring, then to be satisfied in our mind, then to keep our passions in order, then to maintain good humour, then to restrain our tongue from complaint, and to govern our demeanour sweetly, this is indeed honourable and handsome ; to see a worthy man sustain crosses, wants, disgraces, with equanimity and cheerfulness, is a most goodly fight: such a person, to a judicious mind, appeareth in a far more honourable and invidious state, than any prosperous man; his virtue shining in the dark is far

Cui cum paupertate bene convenit, dives eft. Sen. Ep. 2. Nemo aliorum sensu miser eft, fed fuo; et ideo non poffunt cujufquam fal. so judicio effe miseri, qui funt vere conscientia sua beati. Nulli beatiores sunt, quam qui hoc sunt quod volunt. Salv. de Gubern. Dei, 1.

• Ου γαρ το ποιήσαι τι χρησόν μόνον, αλλά το παθιϊν τι κακών πολλάς έχει τας euskas nad usynce tà i atre, &c. Chryf. ad Olymp. Ep. 3. Vid. p. 73.

Ουδέν της έν άλγηδόσιν υπομονής εις ευδοκιμήσεως λόγoν ίσον ή γαρ βασιλιάς των lyubov, xai pūv superwy an xogwvis aürn pánssá isıChryf. ad Olymp. Ep. 16.


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SERM. more bright and fair: this, as St. Peter faith, in a like case

XLI. is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God sufferelh 1 Pet. ii. 19. grief; if, in our case, (we inay say after him,) a man, out

of conscientious deference to God's will, doth contentedly undergo adversity, this, God is ready to take for an obligation on himself, and will be disposed in a manner to thank him (or to reward him) for it: this indeed amounteth to a demonstration, that such a person is truly wise and really good : so is the satisfaction of a contented poor man more worthyC; and it is no less more sweet and comfortable, than that of any rich man, pleasing himself in his enjoyments; contentedness satisfieth the mind of the one, abundance doth only satiate the appetites of the other; the former is immaterial and sprightly, the complacence of a man; the latter is gross and dull, like the sensuality of a beast; the delight of that sinketh deep into the heart, the pleasure of this doth only float in the outward senses, or in the fancy; one is a positive comfort, the other but a negative indolency in regard to the mind: the poor good man's joy is wholly his own, and home-born, a lovely child of reason and virtue; the full rich man's pleafure cometh from without, and is thrust into him by impulses of fensible objects.

Hence is the satisfaction of contented adversity far more constant, solid, and durable, than that of prosperity; it being the product of immutable reason abideth in the mind, and cannot easily be driven thence by any corporeal impresfions, which immediately cannot touch the mind; whereas the other, issuing from sense, is subject to all the changes inducible from the restless commotions of outward causes affecting and altering fenfe: whence the satisfaction proceeding from reason and virtue, the longer it fiayeth the former and sweeter it groweth, turning into habit, and working nature to an agreeinent with it; whereas usually the joys of wealth and prosperity do foon degenerate into fas. very

c Honefta res eft læta paupertas. Epic,

Ουδε γαρ ο δια τον Θεόν τι πάσχων μόνον ευδοκιμεί, αλλά και ο αδίκως τι τέσχι, και φέρων γενναίως, και ευχαρισών των συγχωρέντι Θι, εκ ελάττων τί δια τον ræūra ráskórrós isiv, Chrys. 'Avde.s'.


tidiousness, and terminate in bitterness; being honey in the SERM. mouth, but soon becoming gall in the bowels. Nothing XLI. indeed can affect the mind with a truer pleasure, than the Apoc. x.10.

conscience of discharging our duty toward God in Job 3x. 20, bearing hardship, imposed by his providence, willingly and well. We have therefore much reason not only to acquiesce in our straits, but to be glad of them, seeing they do yield us an opportunity of immediately obtaining goods more excellent and more desirable, than any prosperous or wealthy man can easily have, since they furnish us with means of acquiring and exercising a virtue worth the most ample fortune; yea justly preferable to the best estate in the world; a virtue, which indeed doth not only render any condition tolerable, but sweeteneth any thing, yea sanctifieth all states, and turneth all occurrences into blessings.

3. Even the sensible smart of adversity is by contentedness somewhat tempered and eased; the stiller and quieter we lie under it, the less we feel its violence and pungency: it is tumbling and tossing that stirreth the ill humours, and driveth them to the parts most weak, and apt to be affected with them; the rubbing of our fores is that which inflameth and exasperateth them: where the mind is calm, and the passions settled, the pain of any grievance is in comparison less acute, less sensible.

4. Whence, if others in our distress are uncharitable to us, refusing the help they might or should afford toward the rescuing us from it, or relieving us in it, we hereby may be charitable and great benefactors to ourselves; we should need no anodyne to be ministered from without, no succour to come from any creature, if we would not be wanting to ourselves, in hearkening to our own reason, and enjoying the consolation which it affordeth. In not doing this, we are more uncharitable and cruel to ourselves, than any spiteful enemy or treacherous friend can be; no man can fo wrong or moleft us, as we do ourselves, by admitting or fostering discontent.

5. The contented bearing of our condition is also the most hopeful and ready means of bettering it, and of removing the pressures we lie under.

SERM. It is partly so in a natural way, as difposing us to emXLI. brace and employ the advantages which occur conducible

thereto: for as discontent blindeth men, so that they cannot defcry the ways of escape from evil, it dispiriteth and discourageth them from endeavouring to help themselves, it depriveth them of many succours and expedients, which occasion would afford for their relief; so he that being undisturbed in his spirit hath his eyes open and his courage up, and all his natural powers in order, will be always ready and able to do his best, to act vigorously, to snatch any opportunity, and employ any means toward the freeing himself from what appeareth grievous to him.

Upon a supernatural account, content is yet more efficacious to the same purpose: for cheerful submiffion to God's will doth please him much, doth strongly move him to withdraw his afflicting hand, doth effe&tually induce him to advance us into a most comfortable ftate: of all virtues, there is none niore acceptable to God than patience. God will take it well at our hands if we do contentedly receive from his hand the worst things: it is a monstrous thing not to receive prosperity with grateful sense, but it is he

roical with the same mind to receive things unpleasant: he Chryf. that doth fo ζημιέται μεν ως άνθρωπος, σεφανάται δε ως φιλόθεος, tom.vi. Or. he suffereth lofs as a man, but is crowned as a lover of God, Vid. Chryf. Besides that, it is an unreasonable thing to think of enjoying ad. Stag. 1.

both rest and pleasure here, and the rewards hereafter; our (p. 106.) consolation here with Dives, and our refreshment hereafter

with Lazarus. 1 Pet. V. 6. Be humbled, faith St. Peter, under the mighty hand of

God, that he may exalt you in due time, (év xaipã, when it is Jam, iv. 10. opportune and seasonable ;) and, Be humbled, faith St. Job xxii. James, before the Lord, and he will exalt you; and, When,

faith Job's friends, men are cast down, then thou shalt say (Luke xiv.

there is lifting up, and he will save the humble perfor. 14.)

God with favourable pity hearkeneth to the groans of them Ifa. lxvi. 2. who are humbly contrite under his hand, and reverently

tremble at his word; he reviveth the spirit of the humble; 18. li. 17. he is nigh to the broken of heart, and saveth such as are of a

contrite Spirit; he healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth

ot 2.


11. xviii.

lvii. 15. Psal. xxxiv.

cxlvii. 3.

Jer. ii. 30.
V. 3.

i. 5. Ixvi. 10.

up their wounds; he proclaimeth blessedness to the poor in SERM. Spirit, and to those that mourn, because they shall find com- XLI. fort and mercy: all which declarations and promises are Matt. v. 3, made concerning those who bear adversity with a submiss 4. and contented mind; and we see them effectually performed in the cases of Ahab, of the Ninivites, of Nebuchadnezzar, of Manaffes, of Hezekiah, of David; of all persons mentioned in holy Scripture, upon whom adversities had such kindly operations. But discontent and impatience do offend God, and provoke him to continue his judgments, yea to increase the load of them : to be fullen and stubborn, is the sure way to render our condition worse and more intolerable : for, who hath hardened himself against God and Job ix. a. profpered? The Pharaohs and Sauls, and such like persons, who rather would break than bend, who, being dissatisfied Ifa. ix. 13. with their condition, chose rather to lay hold on other imaginary succours, than to have recourse to God's mercy and help; those, who like the refractory Ifraelites) have been smitten in vain as to any quiet submission or conversion unto God, what have they but plunged themselves deeper into wretchedness?

It is indeed to quell our haughty stomach, to check our froward humour, to curb our impetuous desires, to calm our disorderly passions, to suppress our fond admiration and eager affection toward these worldly things, in short, to work a contented mind in us, that God ever doth inflict any hardships on us, that he crosseth us in our projects, that he detaineth us in any troublesome state; until this be achieved, as it is not expedient that we should be eased, as relief would really be no blessing to us; so God (except in anger and judgment) will nowile grant or dispense it; it would be a cruel mercy for him to do it. If therefore we do with ever to be in a good cafe as to this world, let us learn to be contented in a bad one: having got this disposition firmly rooted in our hearts, we are qualified for deliverance and preferment; nor will God fail in that due season to perform for us what he so often hath declared and promised; his nature disposeth him, his word hath engaged him to help and comfort us.

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