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grace, and strength to support them well as our SERM. Saviour did, when he prayed, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup; as they did in the pro- Luke xxii. phet, who said, In the way of thy judgments, Isa. xxvi.8. Lord, we have waited on thee; according to that rule in the Lamentations, It is good that a man Lam.iii.26. should both hope, and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord; and those precepts in the Psalms, Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him; upon the Lord, be of good courage, and he strengthen thine heart.
wait Psal. shall xxvii. 14.
xl. 1. xxxiii. 20.
3. lxix. 6.
We should in any case be ready with the holy lxii. 1. xxv. Psalmist thus to interrogate and sustain ourselves : xvi. 8. Why art thou cast down, O my soul, why art thou Psal, xlii. 5. so disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, for the help of his countenance.
1 Pet. v. 7.
Remembering and considering, (that as we are expressly taught in scripture, and as all our reli- 2 Pet. ii. 3. gion doth clearly suppose) God knoweth to rescue Matt. vi.25. the godly out of tribulation; (he knoweth the proper season, when it is fit to do it ;) that he is faithful, 1 Cor. x.13. and will not suffer us to be tempted above what we are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that we may be able to bear it; reflecting, I say, on these certain points of Christian
Mic. vii. 7.
truth, we should never sorrow as those who are 1 Thess. iv. without hope; we should never despair of a good riddance from our adversity, when it shall be seasonable or beneficial for us; we should always be assured Isa. xl. 31. of a comfortable support under it, which is 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
SERM. practice of most illustrious and excellent persons, XXXVII. particularly of the holy apostles; never was any con
dition, in outward respects and appearance, more for
lorn and dismal than was theirs; yet it nowise be2 Cor. iv. 8. reaved them of hope or courage: We, they could I Cor.iv.II. say, are troubled on every side, yet not distressed;
we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, 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 enervate our courage, or slacken our industry; should render us sick, or weak in heart; Prov. xxiv. for, If, saith the Wise Man, thou faint in the day
Rev. ii. 3.
2 Cor.iv.16. of adversity, thy strength is small, (it is the sign of 2 Thess. ii, an infirm mind,) and, un ekкake, not to falter or de13. cay, μǹ ékλúeolai, not to be dissolved, or disjointed, in Heb. xii. 3. our souls, (as the body is in scorbutic distempers,) are
Gal. vi. 9.
nimis opus rules prescribed to us in such cases: we do then in
pectore fir- deed need a firm and robust constitution of soul; we should then bear up most resolutely and stoutly: the encouragement of Moses to the people, entering upon battle, may well be accommodated to us, in reDeut. xx. 3. gard to our conflict with adversities; Let not your hearts faint, fear not and do not tremble, 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 indifferency and willingness of mind, lie under it during God's pleasure; according to the Wise Prov.iii.11. Man's advice; My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, neither be weary of his correction ; and that of the apostle, enforced by our Lord's exHeb. xii. 3. ample; Consider him that endured such contra
diction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wea- SERM. ried and faint in your minds. We should not think God slow, 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 expressions: Will the Lord cast off for ever, and Ps. lxxvii. will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean, 10. 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 sad 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 wise 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 soften our hard hearts, they should mitigate our peevish humours: to effect these things is usually the design of such accidents, and it is BARROW, VOL. II.
SERM. ever the best fruit of them: this is that which St. XXXVII. Peter adviseth to, when he saith, Be humbled 1 Pet. v. 6. under the mighty hand of God; which God approveth, and encourageth with a gracious promise, Isa. Ixvi. 2. when he saith, To this man will I look, even to him, that is of a poor and contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word: this disposition is 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 sturdy 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 states. 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 brethren, Rom. xii. 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 members each to other, that if, as St. Paul telleth us, one
8 Ita plerumque contingit, ut dum aliquos fratres nostros in quantulacunque requie constitutos in mediis nostris anxietatibus cogitamus, non parva ex parte recreemur, tanquam et nos ideo ipsi quietius, tranquilliusque vivamus. Aug. Ep. 144.
member suffer, all the members suffer with it; and SERM. if one member be honoured, all the members should XXXVII. 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 sour 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 unkindly disposed toward the world, nothing should extinguish charity in us toward any man; so plain reason teacheth us, so great examples enforce: Moses did not lose his affection towards his countrymen, because he was by one of them threatened away into banishment and vagrancy; 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 Psalmist's advice; Cease from anger, forsake wrath, fret Ps. xxxvii. not thyself in anywise to do evil.
9. Again; 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 1 Pet. v. 7. burden and care upon the Lord, of being careful 5. Iv. 23. for nothing, but commending our affairs to God's Phil. iv. 6.