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SERM. our present evils, and peace of mind doth spring up XLI. within us.

It inflameth our love unto God, in sense of his gracious illapses, thence rendering us willing to endure any want or pain for his sake, or at his appointment.

It, in fine, doth minister a ravishing delight, abundantly able to supply the defect of any other pleasures, and to allay the smart of any pains whatever; rendering thereby the meanest estate more acceptable and pleasant than any prosperity without it can be. So that if we be truly devout, we can hardly be discontent; it is discosting from God, by a neglect of devotion or by a negligence therein, that doth expose us to the incursions of worldly regret and sorrow.

Psal. lxxiii. 26. lxix. 16.

xxiii. 4.

lxxi 20.

These are general remedies and duties both in this and all other regards necessary, the which yet we may be induced to perform in contemplation of this happy fruit (contentedness) arising from them. Further,

4. It serveth toward production of contentedness to reflect much upon our imperfection, unworthiness, and guilt; so as thereby to work in our hearts a lively sense of them, and a hearty sorrow for them: this will divert our sadness into its right channel, this will drown our lesser grief by the influx of a greater. It is the nature of a greater apprehension or pain incumbent to extinguish in a manner, and swallow up the sense of a lesser, although in itself grievous; as he that is under a fit of the stone doth scarce feel a pang of the gout; he that is assaulted by a wolf will not regard the biting of a flea. Whereas then, of all evils and mischiefs, moral evils



Vid. ad

13. ad

are incomparably far the greatest, in nature the most SERM. ugly and abominable, in consequence the most hurtful and horrible; seeing, in St. Chrysostom's language, excepting sin, there is nothing grievous or ovdiv duvèr terrible among human things; not poverty, not τῶν ἀνθρω πίνων, ἀλλ' sickness, not disgrace, not that which seemeth the ri μόνῃ· οὐ πε most extreme of all evils, death itself; those being via, où voros, οὐχ ὕβρις, names only among such as philosophate, names of oxigua, calamity, void of reality; but the real calamity this, &c. Chrys. to be at variance with God, and to do that which ̓Ανδρ. ε.τ'.6. displeaseth him; seeing evidently, according to just Olymp. Ep. estimation, no evil beareth any proportion to the Theod. 1. evil of sin, if we have a due sense thereof we can hardly be affected with any other accident; if we can keep our minds intent upon the heinous nature and the lamentable consequences of sin, all other evils cannot but seem exceedingly light and inconsiderable; we cannot but apprehend it a very silly and unhandsome thing to resent or regard them: what, shall we then judge, is poverty, in comparison to the want of a good conscience? what is sickness, compared to distemper of mind and decay of spiritual strength? what is any disappointment, to the being defeated and overthrown by temptation? what any loss, to the being deprived of God's love and favour? what any disgrace, to the being out of esteem and respect with God? what any unfaithfulness or inconstancy of friends, to having deserted or betrayed our own soul? what can any danger signify to that of eternal misery, incurred by offending God? what pressure can weigh against the load of guilt, or what pain equal that of stinging remorse? in fine, what condition can be so bad as that of a wretched sinner? any case surely is tolerable, is desirable, is

SERM. lovely and sweet, in comparison to this: would to XLI. God, may a man in this case reasonably say, that I

were poor and forlorn as any beggar; that I were covered all over with botches and blains as any lazar; that I were bound to pass my days in an hospital or a dungeon; might I be chained to an oar, might I lie upon the rack, so I were clear and innocent: such thoughts and affections, if reflecting on our sinful doings and state do suggest and impress, what place can there be for resentment of other petty crosses?

2 Cor. vii.


Contrition also upon this score is productive of a certain sweetness and joy, apt to quash or to allay all worldly grief: as it worketh a salutary repentletch. tom. ance not to be repented of, so it therewith breedeth

Vid. Chrys. ad Demet.

et ad Ste


a satisfactory comfort, which doth ever attend repentance: he that is very sensible of his guilt, cannot but consequently much value the remedy thereof, mercy; and thence earnestly be moved to seek it; then, in contemplation of divine goodness, and considering God's gracious promises, will be apt to conceive faith and hope, upon his imploring mercy, and resolution to amend; thence will spring up a cheerful satisfaction, so possessing the heart, as to expel or to exclude other displeasures: a holy and a worldly sadness cannot well consist together.

5. Another good instrument of contentedness is sedulous application of our minds to honest employment. Honest studies and cares divert our minds, and drive sad thoughts from them: they cheer our spirits with wholesome food and pleasant entertainments; they yield good fruits, and a success accompanied with satisfaction, which will extinguish or temper discontent: while we are studious or active,

discontent cannot easily creep in, and soon will be SERM. stifled.


Idleness is the great mother and the nurse of discontent: it layeth the mind open for melancholy conceits to enter; it yieldeth harbour to them, and entertainment there; it depriveth of all the remedies and allays which business affordeth.


Reciprocally, discontent also begetteth idleness, Mater me and by it groweth; they are like ice and water, arising each out of the other: we should therefore not suffer any sadness so to encroach upon us, as to hinder us from attending to our business, (the honest works and studies of our calling,) for it thereby will grow stronger and more hardly vincible.

6. A like expediment to remove discontent is 'Ayan dè παραίφασίς good company. It not only sometimes ministereth v. ἐστινἑταίρου. advices and arguments for content, but raiseth the drooping spirit, erecting it to a loving complaisance, drawing it out towards others in expressions of kindness, and yielding delight in those which we receive from others, infecting us by a kind of contagion with good humour, and instilling pleasant ideas into our fancy, agreeably diverting us from sad and irksome thoughts: discontent affecteth retirement and solitude, as its element and food; good company partly starveth it by smothering sad thoughts, partly cureth it by exhilarating discourse. No man hardly can feel displeasure, while friendly conversation entertaineth him; no man returneth from it without some refreshment and ease of mind.

7. Having right and lowly conceits of ourselves is a most sure guardian and procurer of content: for answerable to a man's judgment of himself are his resentments of the dealing he meeteth with from God


SERM. or man. He that thinks meanly, as he ought, of himself, will not easily be offended at any thing: any thing, will he think, is good enough for me; I deserve nothing from God, I cannot deserve much of man; if I have any competence of provision for my life, any tolerable usage, any respect, it is more than my due, I am bound to be thankful. But he that conceiteth highly (that is, vainly) of himself, nothing will satisfy him; nothing, thinks he, is good enough for him, or answerable to his deserts; nobody can yield him sufficient respect; any small neglect disturbeth and enrageth him he cannot endure that any man should thwart his interest, should cross his humour, should dissent from his opinion; hence, seeing the world will not easily be induced to conceit of him as he doth of himself, nor to comply with his humours and pretences, it is impossible that he should be content.

8. It conduceth to this purpose to contemplate and resent the public state of things, the interest of the world, of our country, of God's church. The sense of public calamities will drown that of private, as unworthy to be considered or compared with them; the sense of public prosperity will allay that of particular misfortune. How (will a wise and good man say) can I desire to prosper and flourish, while the state is in danger or distress? how can I grieve, seeing my country is in good condition? is it just, is it handsome, that I should be a nonconformist either in the public sorrow or joy? Indeed,

9. All hearty charity doth greatly alleviate discontent. If we bear such a good-will to our neighbour, as to have a sincere compassion of his evils and complacence in his good, our case will not much afflict us. If we can appropriate and enjoy the pro

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