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ever God pleaseth to exercise me withal in this life; for I well know that my light afflictions, which are but for a moment, shall be attended with a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
These considerations will seem but dry and empty, to men that do not deeply and considerately weigh matters : Ordinarily young heads think them, at lealt, unseasonable for their youth; but they must know, that fickness and death will overtake the youngest in time, and that will undeceive people, and render the best appearances of this world, either bitter, or at least insipid, and without any pleasant relish ; and then the hopes and expectations of this city to come, will be of more value to us than the best conveniencies and delights this lower world can afford. Let us therefore in our health make it our business to secure our interest in it, and it will be our comfort and benefit both in life and death.
CONTENTEDNESS and Patience differ in this, That the object of the former, is any condition, whether it be good, bad or indifferent; the object of the latter, is any present or incumbent evil. But though they differ in the latitude or extent of their object, yet they both arise from the same principle, which, if rightly qualified, gives both.
The measure and original of all passions is love ; and the object of love, is that which is really or apparently good. If our love be right, it regulates all our passions: for discontent or impatience ariseth from the absence of somewhat that we love or value; and according to the measure of our love to the thing we want, such is the measure of our discontent or impatience under the want of it.
He that fets his love upon that, which the more be loves, the more he enjoys, is sure to avoid the danger of difcontent or impatience ; because he cannot want that which he loves; and though he loves something else that may be lost, yet under that loss he is not obnoxious to much impatience or discontent, because he is sure to retain that which he most values and affects, which will answer and supply lesser wants with a great advantage: the greatest bent and portion of his love is laid out in what he is sure to enjoy, and it is but a small portion of love that is left for the thing he is deprived of, and consequently, his discontent but little, and cured with the fruition of a more valuable good.
He that sets his love upon the creature, or any result from it, as Honour, Wealth, Reputation, Power, Wife, Children, Friends, cannot posibly avoid difcontent or impatience ; for they are mutable, uncertain, unsatisfactory goods, subject to casualties; and according to the meafure of his love to them, is the measure of his discontent and impatience in the loss of them, or disappointment in them.
He that sets his love upon God, the more he loves :him, the more he enjoys of him. In other things, the greatest danger of disappointment, and consequently, of impatience, is when he loves them best; but the more love we bear to God, the more love he returns to us, and communicates his goodness the more freely to us. Therefore we are certain that we cannot be disappointed, nor consequently, have any ground of impatience or discontent in that which is our u.um magnum, the thing we chiefly value.
He that sets his entireft love on God yet hath a lie berty to issue a subordináte portion of love to other good things, as health, peace, opportunities to do good, wife, children, friends : and in these he may be crossed and disappointed. But the fredominant love of God delivers the foul from discontent and impa. tience, even under these loffes.
1. Because the foul is still assured of what it most values, the love of God returned to the soul, which compensates and drowns the other lofs, and the discontent that may arife upon it.
2. Because the heart is satisfied that these losses come from the hand of him whom he loves, of whöfe truth, wisdom, love and goodness he hath assurance, and * therefore will be delivered out in measure, upon most just grounds, and for most excellent ends. He fends an instruction along with his rod, and the soul reads love as well in the rod of God, as his staff.
3. Because the love of God, taking up the principal bent and strength of the foul, leaves but a gentle and moderate affection to the things it lofeth, and confequently, a gentle and easy parting with them, or be. ing without them. The great tumult and disorder that is made in the mind upon losses, crosses, or discontents, is not so much from the intrinsical value of the things themselves, but from the estimation that is put upon them : were the love to them no more than they deserve, the discontent and impatience in the loss would be very little.
little. Our chiefest love, when it is placed upon God, is placed where it should be; and the mind is then in its right frame and temper, and dispenseth its love to other things regularly and orderly, and proportionably to their worth ; and thereby the discontent or trouble that ariseth upon their loss or disappointment, is weighed out according to their true value, agreeable to the just measure of reason and prudence: But when our love is out of its place, it becomes immoderate and disorderly ; and consequently, the discontents that arise upon disappointments in the things we immoderately love, become immoderate, exorbitant discontents, impatience, and perturbation of inind.
4. Our love to God brings us to a free resignation of our will to his : For we therefore love him, because we conclude him most wise, most bountiful, most merciful, most juft, most perfect ; and therefore must of necessity conclude that his will is the best will, and fit to be the measure and rule of ours, and not ours of his: And inasmuch as we conclude that no loss or cross befalls us without his will, we do likewise conclude that it is most fit to be borne: And because he never wills any thing, but upon most wife and just reasons, we conclude, that surely there are such reasons in this dispensation ; and we study and search, and try when ther we can spell out those rcasons of his.
MODERATION OF ANGER,
The helps against Immoderate Anger are of two kinds : 1. Previous considerations before the occasion is offered, to habituate the mind to gentleness and quietness. 2. Expedients that serve to allay or divert Anger, when the occasion is offered.
Of the first fort are these :
The consideration of our own failings, especially in reference to Almighty God, and our duty to him; which are much greater than any demerits of others towards us : I provoke my Creator daily, and yet I desire his patience towards me, and find it. With what face can I expect gentleness from my Creator, if every small provocation from
fellow-creature put me into a passion.
2. The confideration of unreasonableness of that diftempcr in repeat of myself : It puts me into a perturbation, and makes me unuseful for myself or others, while the distemper is upon me: It breaks and difcomposeth my thoughts, and makes me unfit for business: It disorders my constitution of body till the storm be over: It discovers to others my impotency, of mind, and is more perceived and obseryed by others, than it can be by myself: It gratifes my adverfary, when by my passion I improve his injury beyond the value of it; and injure, and torment, and damnify myself more by my own perturbation, than he can by the injury he doth : It evidenceth a prevalence of my more inferior and sensual part, common to me with