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1 Pet. ii. 20,
2 Tim. iii.
be conformable to his image; to this they are ap- SERM. pointed. (Let no man, saith St. Paul, be moved by these afflictions, for ye know, that we are appointed 1Thess. iii. thereunto :) to this they are called, (if when ye do Phil. iii. 10. well, saith St. Peter, and suffer for it, ye take it 21. patiently, this is acceptable with God; for even hereunto were ye called,) this is propounded to them as a condition to be undertaken and undergone by them as such; they are by profession crucigeri, bearers of the cross; (if any one will come after Matt. xvi. me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and 243 38: follow me; every one that will live godly in Christ 12. John Jesus, must suffer persecution :) by this are they admitted into the state of Christians; (by many af-. flictions we must enter into the kingdom of heaven;) partem anthis doth qualify them for enjoying the glorious re- perpessus wards, which their religion propoundeth; (we are sum qui coheirs with Christ; so that, if we suffer together, lito. Hier. we shall also together be glorified with him; if we Ep. 99. endure, we shall also reign with him1:) and shall Vid. Greg. we then pretend to be Christians, shall we claim any 201. (ad benefit from thence, if we are unwilling to submit to Theclam.) the law, to attend the call, to comply with the terms (Phil. iii. 10.) thereof? Will we enjoy its privileges, can we hope for its rewards, if we will not contentedly undergo what it requireth? Shall we arrive to the end it propoundeth, without going in the way it prescribeth, the way which our Lord himself doth lead us in, and himself hath trod before us?
Acts xiv. 22.
It is a privilege of Christians, in favour bestowed on them; ὑμῖν ἐχαρίσθη. Phil. i. 29.
Our glory. Eph. iii. 13.
Ὑπομονῆς ἔχετε χρείαν. Heb. x. 36.
Faith and patience are consorts. Heb. vi. 12. Apoc. xiii. 10.
In fine, seeing adversity is, as hath been declared, XL. a thing so natural to all men, so common to most
men, so incident to great men, so proper to good men, so peculiar to Christians, we have great reason 1Pet. iv.12. to observe the apostle's advice, Beloved, wonder not concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as if some strange thing happened to you; we should not wonder at it as a strange or uncouth thing, that we are engaged in any trouble or inconvenience here; we are consequently not to be affected with it as a thing very grievous.
PHIL. iv. 11.
I have learned in whatsoever state I am, &c.
MOREOVER, considering the nature of this duty SERM. itself may be a great inducement and aid to the XLI. practice of it.
1. It is itself a sovereign remedy for all poverty 1 Tim. vi. 6. Ἔστι δὲ μέand all sufferance; removing them, or allaying all γας πορισμὸς the mischief they can do us. ἡ εὐσέβεια It is well and truly μετὰ αὐταρsaid by St. Austin, Interest non qualia, sed qualis xas. Aug. quis patiatur; It is no matter what, but how dis-i. 8. posed a man suffereth: the chief mischief any adversity can do us is to render us discontent; in that consisteth all the sting and all the venom thereof; which thereby being voided, adversity can signify nothing prejudicial or noxious to us; all distraction, all distemper, all disturbance from it is by the antidote of contentedness prevented or corrected. He that hath his desires moderated to a temper suitable with his condition, that hath his passions composed and settled agreeably to his circumstances, what can make any grievous impression on him, or render him anywise miserable? he that taketh himself to have enough, what doth he need? he that is well pleased
SERM. to be as he is, how can he be better? what can the XLI. largest wealth, or highest prosperity in the world, yield more or better than satisfaction of mind? he that hath this most essential ingredient of felicity, is he not thence in effect most fortunate? is not at least his condition as good as that of the most prosperous a ?
2. As good, do I say? yea, is it not plainly much better than can arise merely from any secular prosperity? for satisfaction springing from rational consideration and virtuous disposition of mind, is indeed far more precious, more noble and worthy, more solid and durable, more sweet and delectable, than that which any possession, or fruition of worldly
6. et ad
Vid. Epist. goods can affordb: the τὸ ἄφθαρτον τοῦ πρᾳέος, καὶ ἡσυXíov πveúμatos, incorruptibility, as St. Peter speaketh, (p.3de of a meek and quiet spirit is before God of great price; before God, that is, according to the most upright and certain judgment, it is the most precious and valuable thing in the world; There is,
1 Pet. iii. 4.
Deo dignum vir bonus cum
mala for the philosopher could say, no spectacle more worthy
tuna compositus. Sen. de Provid.
of God, (or grateful to him,) than a good man gallantly combating with ill fortune. Not to be discomposed or distempered in mind, not to fret or
a Cui cum paupertate bene conve nvenit, dives est. Sen. Ep. 2. Nemo aliorum sensu miser est, sed suo; et ideo non possunt cujusquam falso judicio esse miseri, qui sunt vere conscientia sua beati. Nulli beatiores sunt, quam qui hoc sunt quod volunt. Salv. de Gubern. Dei, 1.
· Οὐ γὰρ τὸ ποιῆσαί τι χρηστὸν μόνον, ἀλλὰ τὸ παθεῖν τι κακὸν πολλὰς ἔχει τὰς ἀμοιβὰς καὶ μεγάλα τὰ ἔπαθλα, &c. Chrys. ad Olymp. Ep. 3. Vid. p. 73.
Οὐδὲν τῆς ἐν ἀλγηδόσιν ὑπομονῆς εἰς εὐδοκιμήσεως λόγον ἴσον· ἡ γὰρ βασιλὶς τῶν ἀγαθῶν, καὶ τῶν στεφάνων ἡ κορωνὶς αὕτη μάλιστά ἐστι. Chrys. ad Olymp. Ep. 16.
whine, when all things flow prosperously and ac- SERM. cording to our mind, is no great praise, no sign of wisdom, or argument of goodness; it cannot be reckoned an effect of sound judgment or virtuous affection, but a natural consequent of such a state: but when there are evident occasions and urgent temptations to displeasure, when present sense and fancy do prompt and provoke to murmuring, then to be satisfied in our mind, then to keep our passions in order, then to maintain good humour, then to restrain our tongue from complaint, and to govern our demeanour sweetly, this is indeed honourable and handsome; to see a worthy man sustain crosses, wants, disgraces, with equanimity and cheerfulness, is a most goodly sight: such a person, to a judicious mind, appeareth in a far more honourable and invidious state, than any prosperous man; his virtue shining in the dark is far more bright and fair: this, 1 Pet.ii. 19. as St. Peter saith, in a like case, is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God suffereth grief; if, in our case, (we may say after him,) a man, out of conscientious deference to God's will, doth contentedly undergo adversity, this, God is ready to take for an obligation on himself, and will be disposed in a manner to thank him (or to reward him) for it: this indeed amounteth to a demonstration, that such a person is truly wise and really good : so is the satisfaction of a contented poor man more worthy and it is no less more sweet and comfortable, than that of any rich man, pleasing himself in
c Honesta res est læta paupertas. Epic.
Οὐδὲ γὰρ ὁ διὰ τὸν Θεόν τι πάσχων μόνον εὐδοκιμεῖ, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὁ ἀδίκως τι πάσχων, καὶ φέρων γενναίως, καὶ εὐχαριστῶν τῷ συγχωροῦντι Θεῷ οὐκ ἐλάττων τοῦ διὰ τὸν Θεὸν ταῦτα πάσχοντός ἐστιν. Chrys. ̓Ανδρ. στ'.