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inftant Affliction extinguisheth the Remembrance of former Mercies; and all the Good we have ever received from the Hand of God is quite forgotten, and passes for nothing: By all means we will prescribe to Providence, or correct its Dispensations, if they fall cross to our Faucies, our Expectations, or our Wishes. Why did such an accident, or such a Loss befall me Might not such 'an Event have been prevented; or did not

such a Person, who is more wicked, deserve it rather ? Surely Providence Sometimes sleeps, or it is confined to the Regions above, and Chance governs all Things here below. In such Language, and such Reflexions as these, Humane Nature is too prone to vent it self when God is pleased to visit us with AfAlictions.

It must be confessed, that there is much of Nature in these. The Affections of Love and Hatred; the Transports of Joy, and the Depressions of Grief, are as natural to us, as the Appetites of Hunger and Thirst : These have been Incident to the best of Men ; and therefore all that we have to do, is to prevent the Excess and Sinfulness of them to keep them within the Laws, and under the Discipline of Religion. This Exemplar of Patience, Job himself, more than once (tho' with Modesty and Submission) expoftulated with God, concerning the Reason of his Punishment. And

we find David uttering his Complaint, In the Plalm 77. Day of my Trouble, says he, my. Spre ran, and

ceafed not; and in the Night niy Soul refused

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to be comforted. I remembred God, and was ( troubled; I complained, and my Spirit was

overwhelmed. Is bis Mercy clean gone? Doth his Promise fail for evermore ? Hath God forgotten to be gracious ? Hath be in Anger fout up bis tender Mercies ? But in the roth Verse he retrads his Passion, and blames himself for his Rashness. I said, this is my Infirmity; but I will remember the years of the Right Hand of the most High. Now to cure this Diftemper of Human Nature; and if it may be to prevent it from breaking out into immoderate and lipful Passion I will offer these following Advices to your Consideration.

1. Let us always keep a strict Watch over, and endeavour to repress the Hastiness, the Precipitation, and the Violence of our Natures. For the present Smart of an Affliction, falling directly upon our Senses, easily moves, and provokes our Passions; we do not admit our calmer Thoughts to come into the Debate only our Grief, and our Resentments are heard

j all on a sudden, Nature is in a Combustion, and like a violent Flood bears down all before it. Till these have spent their Force, we are under a perfect Lunacy, and Distraction we speak unadvisedly, and, it may be, impiously ; we act Follies, we commit Indecencies, we contract Guilts, which when we return to our felves, bring us under Shame, Vexation, and Repentance. Now, tho' 'tis true, the Natures of some Men are more rash and O 2

hasty,

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hasty, more passionate and fretful, and their Pallons more violent and furious than others

j yet, I suppose there are none, but are more or less sensible and conscious of this. Upon this Reason, we should do well, pften to itudy our Natures, to consider what Tempers God has given us ; to consult what Means are most proper to resist that Frailty which doth so easily befet.us. And what Means can be more proper for this End, than humbly to be feech God, that he would vouchsafe us his assisting and restraining Grace, that he would moderate our Passions, and fan&tifie his Afflictions to us? Often to set before our Eyes the Example of the Meek, the Patient, and the Conțented Jefus, who was made Perfect through Suffering, and to consider the Force and Tendency of the Precepts of our most holy Religion ; the principal Design of which is.to compose our Spirits, and to reform our Tempers.

It is reported of Julius Cafar, that when any unfortunate Occurrence. crossed his De signs, and tempted him to betray the Weakness of a Passion, h. was wont to say, Cogita te elle Cafarem. Remember that thou art Cæfar: Thinking it below the Gallantry of a Roman General to be guilty of such Pulilanimity, and Meanels of Spirit. If Sense of Honour, could so far 'fway the Mind of an Heathen Soldier : Surely the more generous Encourageinents, the inore sacred Engagements of our Religion, Ihould do it much more in a Christian. But

2dly,

2dly, To put a Stop to these unreasonable Discontents and Murmurings; consider we farther, that they carry in them a tacit Reflection upon the Providence of God. Tho' perhaps we do not, with Job's Wifé; openly blaspheme and curse God; yet the secret Discontents of our Minds, implicitly accuse his Providence, and take him at the Rebound: Tho' our Troubles proceed from Second, or Natural Causes, immediately; yet they are but the instruments of his invisible Hand who governs all Things by his Councel and Pleasure. Afli&ti- job. s.6. ons coine not out of the Dust. They are not casual and accidental Things, but are directed, difposed, and managed by him, who doth nothing but upon wife Reasons, and for the most excellent Ends. The Intemperarice of the Weather; the Violence of the Elements : the Cruelty of Men; the Rage and Malice of the Devils : All these are but the Ministers of his permiffive Providence, and to put it in Execution. When the Air is Heathful or Infectious z when the Seasons are Fruitful or Unkindly, when the Wind wracks the Ship abroad, or when it brings it safe into the Harbonír where it would be ; when we suffer by the Malice and Passions of Men ; or when they are taken in their own Net and we efcape: In these, and the like Events, we are to look further than the immediate Causes of the Good, or the Evil; we are to'acknowledge the over-ruling Providence of God in all.

To

To keep to the Case of Job before us : They were the Sabeans and the Chaldeans, that flew his Servants, and carried away his Cattle; it was the Lightning of Heaven that destroyed his Sheep, and it was a Tempest from the Wilderness, that blew down the House upon his Children ; yet he does not fall into a Rage and inveigh against these; he does not so much as mention the Instrumentality of them: He knew they did but discharge their Offices, and act in Obedience to their proper Master : He applied himfelf wholly to the Considerat

tion of that Providence, which had reduced ob. 1. 20. him to that Calamitous State. He fell down

expor the Ground, and worshipped, and said, V.21. The Lord gave, and the Lard bath taken

away: For which the Spirit of God hath given him his Commendation. In all this Job. finned not, por charged God foolishly. Why then murmur we at the Injuries, the Reproaches, the Sickneffes, or the Loffes we sustain? It is God that inflics ; why do we repine? Why blame we the Persons, or the Instruments; it may be, they have wrought a good Work upon us? They have executed the Divine Will; they have delivered their Errand ; and let us acquiesce in this, that they could not have come, nor have had any Power over us, except they had been sent. But

V.22.

3dly, As a farther Cure of this Diftemper of our Natures ; let us consider, that this Life, by the wise appointment of God, is a Mix

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