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cessity of it. There are few things in the world so totally and entirely bad, but some advantage may be made of them by a dexterous management; and it is certainly a man's wisdom to make the best of a bad condition: there being a certain kind of pious and prudential husbandry, by which a man may so improve a calamity, as to make the endurance of that the performance of a duty, and, by his behaviour under it, to procure a release from it. We should with Isaac take the wood upon our shoulders, though we ourselves are designed for the sacrifice ; and who knows but as in his case, so in ours also, a patient resignation of ourselves to the knife may be the sure and direct way to rescue us from it ? For, according to the commerce that God has established between this and the other world, momentary sorrows are improvable into everlasting joys; and we may build as high as heaven, if we lay the foundation deep and low in patience and humility. In 2 Corinth. iv. 17, Our light affliction, says the apostle, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. In which words, it is worth our while to observe the peculiar force and emphasis of the comparison, and the vast difference of the things that the apostle here confronts one against another: it is a light affliction, set against a weight of glory; a light affliction for a moment, against an exceeding and eternal weight of glory: so that it is impossible to word things to an higher disproportion. And now, when the case stands thus, if a man would not endure so much as the smart of a cut finger to gain a crown; or (as I may so speak) would not lose an hair to save his head; should we not question his

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wisdom as much as his courage ? and look upon him as one so far from living by faith, that he does not so much as live up to common sense ? For, as Naaman's servant said to him, when he refused in scorn to follow the prophet's advice, Had the prophet bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? So, where heaven is the prize, who would not endure hell itself for a while, to obtain that at last? But upon how much easier terms are we treated by God, when he says only, Suffer a few inconsiderable grievances here patiently, and that for a very short time, and then be infinitely, unchangeably happy for ever? It is wisdom, 'wisdom upon the truest and strictest estimate of things, not only to endure, but even to choose a temporal evil, which leads to an eternal good.

But admit that such a'submission to the hand of God should not rid us from the calamity he is pleased to bring upon us, yet this we may be sure of, that it will give us ease and relief under it; and if it takes off nothing of our load, yet it will certainly add to our strength. For it is really armour to the inner man, and (if you will admit the expression) it is a kind of breastplate within us; it being the nature of patience to make heavy things seem light, and of impatience to make the lightest things become really heavy. It is this that renders every affliction, according to the prophetic phrase, truly and properly, the burden of the Lord. And still the more we strive to cast off God's yoke, the more it galls us. The sum of all is this, that since there is an inevitable necessity of our suffering when God calls us to suffer, it must needs be the highest piece of Christian policy, by our submissive de meanour to make a virtue of necessity, to extract good out of evil, and to endure that with patience which we cannot remedy by power.

3. And lastly, To the necessity and prudence of such a submissive deportment under the hand of God, let us add also the decency of it, as none of the least enforcing considerations to oblige us to it: for we may trust it to the decision of any ordinary, if unprejudiced reason, whether it can be comely for a sinful, obnoxious creature to contend with him in whose hand his very life and soul is, and whose are all his ways, as Daniel expresses it to Belshazzar, Dan. v. 23; and whether it can be fit for a slave, a vassal, to quarrel and contest the will and pleasure of his absolute lord and sovereign.

Add to this, the follies and absurdities of impatience, considered simply in itself, and abstracted from those aggravations that it receives from the peculiar quality and condition of some persons : for in the very nature of it, as such, it degrades a man not only from the degree of a Christian, but also of a man, stripping him of his very understanding and consideration ; and so turning not only religion, but also reason itself out of doors. In patience possess ye your souls, says our Saviour, Luke xxi. 19. It is this that gives a man the possession of himself; for impatience dões, as it were, thrust him out of the present possession of his senses : it invades the capitol, reason is enslaved, and passion domineers; during the furies of which, he ceases for that time to be rational, and passes into the rank and order of brutes, which are wholly governed by appetite, and the present impulse of sense, in opposition to the sober conduct of reason, discourse, and deliberation.

Impatience has always these two ill ingredients in the very constitution of it, pride and anger : and can any thing possibly be more indecent, more absurd, and more to be exploded, than a proud beggar, an aspiring lump of dirt ? or can there be a greater paradox in manners, than at the same time to be saucy, and to depend; to be arrogant, and yet indi

; gent? And then for anger, it is a monstrous, irregular, unbecoming passion, even when it shews itself against an equal ; but how much more against a superior; and yet incredibly, unconceivably more when it fumes and rages against the immense power,

, and the unquestionable prerogative of the supreme Sovereign of all things, whom our anger cannot reach, but the least spark of whose anger can for ever consume us! What a discomposure does this ungoverned affection work in the whole intellectual frame, turning the mind topsyturvy, clouding its apprehensions, entangling its counsels, and confounding its reasonings, till it has turned that little light which is in it into darkness, and so quite blown out the candle of the Lord. And can this be a disposition of mind becoming a rational nature ? a nature that God has made but one pitch lower than that of the angels ?

But so much the more intolerable is such a stubborn, unsubmissive frame of spirit in men, when the whole host of the creation besides are, with the highest readiness and alacrity, continually intent upon the execution of their great Master's commands. The whole 104th Psalm, that noble and sublime piece of sacred poetry, is a full description of, and a panegyric upon the creature's readiness to

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serve their great Lord; in ver. 6, 7. The waters,

l says the Psalmist, stood upon the mountains; but at thy rebuke they fled, and at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. Nothing to be seen but absolute obedience, even in these inanimate creatures, which, it seems, can obey a command, though they cannot so much as hear it. And then for other creatures, endued with a bare principle of life and sense, they also act in a constant compliance with the divine will, and that sometimes against the most natural inclination of their own. What more ravenous than an hungry lion ? and yet he shall restrain his furious appetite when God commands him not to touch a Daniel. What more devouring than the ravens ? and yet even they shall part with their own food to an Elijah, when God bids them purvey for a servant of his in distress. And shall men, after all this; man, that has been so signally obliged by Heaven above all the rest of the creation ; shall he, I say, be the only thing that shall resist and oppose the proceedings of the Almighty, by fretting and striving against every passage of Providence that comes athwart either his desires or designs ? If this be not the highest transgression of the rules of decency, then surely there is no such thing as decency or regularity, order or proportion, in the whole frame and economy of this visible world.

And thus having farther enforced this grand duty of submission upon these three several accounts; to wit, of its absolute necessity; its high prudence and policy; and lastly, its great decency: I suppose there can need no other arguments to bind it fast upon the consciences of those who, besides their in

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