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selves 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 difpleased, 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 administering 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 13. us out of the fire. Many benefits, saith Seneca, have a sad and rough countenance, as to burn and cut in order to healings: fuch 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 considerate, industrious and frugal, mindful of
9 Gratulari et gaudere nos decet dignatione divinæ caftigationis fervum illum beatum, cujus emendationi Dominus inftat ; cui dignatur irafci, quem admonendi diffimulatione non decipit. Tert. de Pat. 11.
“Ο αμαρτάνων κάν μή κολάζηται, πάντων έσιν άθλιώσερG, &c. Chry/. Ανδρ. 5. 1 "Η νοσύντων ιατρείαι, ή υγιαινόντων γυμνασίαι. Simφί. Κριίτίων ευημερίας αχαλινώτε νόσ© φιλόσοφG. Νaz. Ep. 66.
s Beneficia multa tristem et afperam frontem habent, quemadmodum urere, et secare, ut fanes. Sex. 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 ust?
Why should not such a condition, being fo plainly better in itself, seem 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 intrinsic worth or state. It is but a garment about us, or as weather.
5. BUT farther : Let our state be, as to quality, what it SERM. will, good or bad, joyful or unpleasant, we may yet con
XL, sider, that it cannot be desperate, it may not be lastings for there is not any necessary connection between the present and the future: wherefore, as the present, being momentary and transient, 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, (Boasi Prov. xxvii. not thyself of to-morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth;) so no man should be dejected for a bad one, in fufpicion 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 Psal. Ixxii.
12. cvii. 9. helpless, doth frequently perform it: as he poureth contempt
x. 4. coi. 9. Job xii. 21.
PS, cvii, 40. • Multa intervenient quibus vicinum periculum vel prope admotum aut fubfiftat aus definat, aut in alienum caput transeat. Sen.,
Isa. ii. 11.
27. Pla.cxiii.7. cvii. 41. Job v. 18. i Sam. ii. 7.
SERM. upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty; so XL.
he raiseth the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out Ifa. xxv. 5. of the dunghill : he casteth down the mighty from their seat, Jab v. 11. and exalteth the humble and meek: he sendeth the rich Pfal. xviii. empty away, and filleth the hungry with good things. He
maketh fore, and bindeth up; he woundeth, and his hands make whole.
Considering therefore the reason of things, and the nature of God, if our state be at present bad or sorrowful, we have more reason to hope for its amnendment, than to fear its continuance b. If indeed things went on in a fatal track, merely according to a blind and heedless chance, or a stiff and unalterable necessity; if there were no remedy from God's providence, or support by his grace to be expected, (although even then there would be no reason to grieve or complain; grief would be unreasonable, because unprofitable, complaint would be vain, because fortune
and fate are deaf,) yet our infirmity might somewhat exMatt. I. 29. cuse that idle proceeding; but since not a Sparrow falleth Luke xxi. to the ground, not a hair of our head perisheth; nothing at
all pafseth otherwise, than by the voluntary disposition of a most wife and gracious God; since he doth always ftri&tly view, and is very sensible of our griefs, yea doth
in a manner sympathize with them, (according to those Hof. xi. 8. pathetical expressions in the prophets: His bowels found, Jer. xasi. and are troubled; his heart is turned within him ; In all Ila. Ixiii. 9, their afflictions he was afflicted :) since he farther hath by Luke xii. promise obliged himself to care for us, to support and fuc
cour us; we have all reason to hope, yea firmly to believe, Matt. vi.33: (if at least we can find in our hearts to hope and to bePhil. iv. 6. lieve,) that we shall, as soon as it is good and expedient for Plal. Iv. 23. us, find relief and ease; we shall have that eŰxcipov Bontear, xxxvii. 5. that seasonable succour, of which the Apostle to the He
Heb. xiji. 5.
• Τύς γι νύν έχεσι και σώφρονο λογισμό κεχρημένους αδέν των ανθρωπίνων αδόκητου, gðiy yàg touran satspor ó Bílasor, &c. Theod. Ep. 14.
Sperat adversis, metuit secundis,
Heb. vi, 19.
Hope lieth at the bottom of the worst condition that SERM. can be: The poor, faith Job's friend, hath hope; and the XL. rich can have no more; the future being equally close to Job v. 16. both, the one can have no greater assurance to keep what he hath, than the other hath to get what he needeth; yea clearly the poor hath the advantage in the case ; for God hath more declared, that he will relieve the poor man's want, than that he will preserve the rich man's store: if then we have in every condition a hope present to us, why do we grieve as those who have no hope ? having 1 Theff. iv. ever ready the best anchor that can be to rest upon, (for in 1. this rolling sea of human affairs, there is no firmer anchor than hope,) why do we let our minds be tossed with difcontentful folicitudes and fears ? why do we not rather, as the Apostle enjoineth, rejoice in hope, than grieve out Rom. xii. of despair? why do we not, as the Prophet adviseth, hope Lam.iii.96. and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord ? The effect of so repofing ourselves for the future on God's providence would be perfect content and peace, according to that of the Prophet, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose Isa. xxvi. 3. mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee; and that of the Wise Man, A patient man will bear for a time, and Eccl. i. 18. afterwards joy Mall spring up unto him.
The truth is, and it seemeth very observable, in order to our purpose, that most discontent ariseth, not from the sense of incumbent evil, but from suspicion, or fear of fomewhat to come; although God at present dispenseth a competency of food and rainsent, although we are in a tolerable condition, and feel no extremity of want or pain, yet, not descrying the way of a future provision for us, answerable to our desires, we do trouble ourselves; which demeanour implieth great ignorance and infidelity c: we think God obliged in kindness, not only to bestow upon us what is needful in its season, but to furnish us with stores, and allow us fecurities; we must have somewhat in hand, or we cannot trust him for the future: this is that which our
• Πολλής μικροψυχίας εσίν υπέρ των ύσερον συμβησομένων, ή μηδε όλως σημζηromáywa cha a Supím, ñdr
, xaprodao se xirksoda.. Chryf. ad Stagir. 2.