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he did not find sufficient Cause, upon second Reflection, both to repent and be ashamed of. But, on the other Hand, how calm is the Mind, how ferene the Countenance, how mild the Language, how engaging the Behaviour, how sweet the Sleep, how grateful the Repaft, how prosperous the spiritual Estate, how happy and delightful the whole Life of him, that has brought his angry Passions under Subjection ; that is at Peace with himself, and at Peace with the whole World ; that is neither devising Mischief against others, nor suspecting any to be contrived against himself! So true is the Observation of the wife Man, that be, who is now to Anger, is of great Understanding, but be, that is hasty of Spirit, exalteth Folly.
But, above all, the Folly or Wisdom of these different Tempers will then appear, when this short Scene of Things shall be shifted; when we shall be removed into an immortal World of Spirits, and have, each of us, our Souls sorted into their proper Place and Company; when the Proud and Arrogant, the Peevish and Quarrelsome, shall be consigned to the fad Abode of Spirits of their own Complexion, there to wrangle out a long Eternity in perpetual Feuds and Contentions, in perpetual vexing and tormenting one another ; while the Meek and Gentle, the Quiet and Peaceable, shall be received into the Society of heavenly Lovers, into the Regions of Peace and Tranquillity, and into the Bolom of that blessed Jesus, who, in our own Nature, fet us the Example of this moft excellent Virtue, that we might follow his Steps.
To this Purpose therefore let it finally be confidered, that, how mean and despicable a Figure foever the Man of a meek and pacifick Temper may seem to make in this World of Tumult and Confusion, yet the Time will come, when Persons, that have raised the greatest Noise and Bustle, those Sons of Thunder and restless Intrigue, that have laid the World waste, and turned it upside down, to gratify their boundless Ambition and ungoverned Appetites, shall take up the Sentiment of the wise Son of Syrach, and say, This is be, whom we had sometimes in Derision, and for a Proverb of Reproach : We Fools, then it shall be, accounted bis Life Madness, and bis End to be without Honour ; but how is be now numbered among the Children of God, and bis Lot is among the Saints !
NDER the Regulation of our Passions and
Affections, we may not improperly place the Art of Contentment, which consists in such an Acquiescence and good Pleasure in that Condition of Life, wherein the Providence of God has placed us, as will not suffer the Desire of Change to trouble our Spirit, and discompofe our Duty; as will engage us to entertain all Occurrences of Life, and even the feverest Dispensations of Heaven, not only with Patience and Submission, which was a Point insisted on before, not only with Calmness and Composedness, which may proceed sometimes from a Stupidity of Temper, but with a real Complacency and Chearfulness of Mind; counting it all Yoy, as the Apostle terms it, when we fall into divers Temptations ; because we know the trying of our Faith worketh Patience, and, if Patience bave her perfeet Work, she will make us perfeet and intire, wanting nothing.
To discover the Reasonableness then of being habicually well-pleased with our State and Condition, of what Kind foever it be, let us,
I. Look up to God, in whom we live, move, and have our Being ; and in him consider the ample Provision he has made for our Neceflities. Our
Necessities indeed, if we consult Nature, are not many; the chief Things for Life, as the Son of Syrach computes them, are Water, and Bread, and Cloathing, and an House to cover Shame ; and of these the Generality of Mankind are not deftitute : For, though they may not have them poured into their Laps by Birth-right and Inheritance, yet they have them by their daily Industry and Acquisition, which, perhaps, is as good a Tenure. The great Apostle St Paul, though he might have exacted a Maintenance of the Church, in Behalf of his Ministry, yet thought himself rich enough, while he was able to work for his Living. He rejoices, indeed, in the Love of the Philippians, who had been so kind, as to make a Contribution for him ; but he takes Care to inform them, that he did not rejoice so much, because they had made him rich, as because they had done their Duty, and were rich in good Works : Not that I speak in Respeet of Want, says he, for I have learned, in whatsoever State I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound ; every, where, and in all Things, I am instructed, both to be full, and to be hungry, both to abound, and to suffer Need : Nevertheless, ye have well done, in that ye did communicate with my Affli Etion.
The most disconfolate State is that of Sickness or Old-Age, in conjunction with Poverty, but even here God has made a competent Provision, by assigning all such, as have this double Load upon them, to the Care and Relief of the Rich. These he has made his Proxies and Representatives upon such Occasions; and, though many of them scandalously falsify their Trust in this Regard, yet, in all Parts, there are some scattered here and there, like Cities of Refuge in the Land, whereunto those, that are in Want and Distress, may seasonably fly for Succour ; insomuch, that, what with the legal Provisions that are made in this Cafe, and what with the voluntary Contributions of the Charitable, few, very few, I hope, want the Things that are absolutely necessary ; which the Apostle comprises in the small Compass of Food and Raiment, and proposes them as Materials sufficient for Content : For as it is an easier Thing to satisfy the Cravings of an hungry, than to cure the Squeamishness of a surfeited Stoinach ; fo certainly the Discontents of the Poor are much easier allayed, than those of the Rich. The Indigence of the one has contracted his Desires, and taught him to look no farther, than a little beyond bare Necessaries ; so that a moderate Alms satisfies, and a liberal one transports him : But he, who, by perpetual Repletion, has his Desires stretched and extended, is capable of no such Satisfaction. In short, he, who can put an End to his Wishes, (as the contented Man always does) with the same Labour puts an End to his Uneasiness too ; for Uneasiness is the natural Motive of Desire, and, reciprocally, he, whose Desires are satisfied, has all the Happiness, that is attainable in this Life. It is to be observed farther of the Blessings of God, that the greater and more substantial they are, the more they are in Number, and of common Use. The four Elements, of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth, are appointed to supply every Man's Occasions and Needs. The whole Host of Heaven, the Sun, Moon, and Stars, are by God divided to all Nations. The Sun shines as bright on the poor Cottage, as on the most magnificent Palace, and the Stars have their benign Aspects, as well for him, that is behind the Mill, as for him, that fitteth on the Throne. All our Senses, all the Members of our Bodies, all the Powers and Faculties of our Souls, which, by the Blessing of God, most of us enjoy perfect and intire, are not only more in Num
ber, but of far greater Value, than what we fancy we want, in order to our Happiness. For, is not the Life more than Meat, says our Saviour, and the Body ihan Raiment ? Take no Heed, therefore, for your Life, what ye shall eat, or what ye Mall drink ; nor yet for your Body, what ye shall put on : “ Hath “ not God bestowed upon you that which is infi“ nitely better than all those Things, about which " you are wont to be so sollicitous ? And will he ss. deny you the less, who has granted you the “ greater Boon? Doth not your Heavenly Father “ know that ye have Need of these Things ? And “ would he have made you with these Needs of “ Meat, Drink, and Raiment, had he not like56 wise taken Care to supply them? What is “ House or Cloathing, if you look upon the cu" rious Fabrick of your Body, which he hath “ reared ? Or, what is Food, in Comparison of 66 that noble Life, which you feel yourselves in« spired with ? Without all Controversy, he will
never suffer you to want such small Things, $6 who already has been so liberal in bestowing şs greater Benefits ; especially since these greater s. Benefits cannot be supported without the other. ** Consider, as he adds, the Fowls of the Air : Be
cause God has given them a Body, therefore he « gives them Food, though they neither fow, nor
reap, nor gather into Barns, to lay up Provision
for themselves : Are ye not much better than so they? Despair not then of his Providence: He ss will be so much the more careful of you, as you “ are better than Birds, and other such-like Crea“ tures, who, without any Thought of their own, “ find every. Thing, that is needful for them, * ready at Hand."
Let us look up to God again, as the Ruler, as well as Benefactor, the great Disposer, as well as Provider, for Mankind, and, under this View, we