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whom we may expect much comfort? IfS E RM.
XVI. our bodies are afflicted with sore disease, u have we not reason to be thankful that our mind continues vigorous and entire ; that we are in a situation to look around us for whatever can afford us ease; and that after the decay of this frailand mouldering tabernacle, we can look forward to a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens ?- In the midst of all distresses, there remains to every sincere Chriftian, that mixture of pure and genuine consolation, which springs from the promises and hopes of the gospel. Consider, I beseech you what a singularly hap py distinction this makes in your situation, beyond the state of those who, under the various troubles of life, are left without hope, and without God in the world; without any thing to look to, but a train of unknown causes and accidents, in which they see no light nor comfort. Thank the Father of mercies, that into all the evils he sends, he infuses this joyful hope, that the sufferings of the present time are
SER M. not worthy to be compared with the glory. w that shall be revealed in the end, to the
virtuous and good.
In the fifth and last place, as the evils which we suffer are thus alleviated by a mixture of good; so we have reason to believe, that the evils themselves are, in many respects, good. When borne with patience and dignity, they improve and ennoble our character. They bring into exercise several of the manly and heroic virtues; and by the constancy and fidelity with which we support our trials on varth, prepare us for the highest rewards in heaven.-It has always been found, that the present constitution of human nature cannot bear uninterrupted prosperity, without being corrupted by it. The poisonous weeds which spring up in that too luxuriant foil, require the hand of adversity to extirpate them. It is the experience of sorrow and distress that subdues the arrogance of pride, tames the violence of passion, softens the hardness of the sel
fish heart, and humanizes the temper to S ERM. feel for the woes of others. Many have
dvema had reason to say, thatit was good for them to be affli&ted*. When men take the timbrel and the harp, and rejoice at the found of the organ, they are apt to say unto God, Depart from us, for we desrenot the knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty that we should serve him? But when they are holden in cords of affiction, then he Meweth them their work, and their transgrespons that they have exceeded. He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commmandeth that they return from iniquity t. Is his case to be deplored as ** highly calamitous, who, by forfeiting some transient enjoyments of the world, purchases lasting improvement in piety and virtue, and exchanges a few of the good things of this life for the better things of another?
INFLUENCED by such considerations as these, let us look up with reverence to the
Z2 . great
„. * Psalm cxix. 71.
t Job. xxi. 12–Xxxvi. 8.
SERM. great Disposer of events; and under any XVI. i distress with which he is pleased to visit
us, let us utter no other voice but this; Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?..Men are too often ingenious in making themselves miserable, by aggravating to their own fancy, beyond bounds, all the evils which they endure. They compare themselves with none but those whom they imagine to be more happy; and complain that upon them alone has falleń the whole load of human sorrows. Would they look with a more impartial eye on the world, they would see themfelves surrợunded with sufferers; and find that they are only drinking out of that mixed cup, which Providence has prepared for all. I will restore your “ daughter again to life,” faid the eastern sage, to a prince who grieved immoderately for the loss of a beloved child, “ provided you are able to engrave “ on her tomb the names of three per« fons who have never mourned.” The prince made inquiry after such persons;
but found the enquiry vain, and was fi- s ERM, lent. To every reasonable person, who vi. retains the belief of religious principles, many, alleviating circumstances, and many arguments for patience, will occur under every distress. If we rest on this firm persuasion that there is a wise and just Providence which disposes of all events, we shall have reason to conclude, that nothing happens to us here without some good design. Trusting that a happy termination shall at last arrive to the disorders of our present state, we shall be enabled, amidst all the vaa rieties of fortune, to preserve that equanimity which befits Christians; and under every trial to say, It is the Lord; let him do what seemeth good in his hght!