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ever God pleaseth to exercife me withal in this life; for I well know that my light afflictions, which are but for a moment, fhall be attended with a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
These confiderations will feem but dry and empty, to men that do not deeply and confiderately weigh matters: Ordinarily young heads think them, at least, unfeasonable 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 beft appearances of this world, either bitter, or at least infipid, and without any pleafant relifh; and then the hopes and expectations of this city to come, will be of more value to us than the beft 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,
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 prefent or incumbent evil. But though they differ in the latitude or extent of their object, yet they both arise from the fame principle, which, if rightly qualified, gives both.
The measure and original of all paffions is love; and the object of love, is that which is really or apparently good. If our love be right, it regulates all our paffions: for discontent or impatience arifeth from the absence of fomewhat that we love or value; and according to the measure of our love to the thing we want, fuch is the measure of our discontent or impatience under the want of it.
He that fets his love upon that, which the more he loves, the more he enjoys, is fure to avoid the danger of dif content or impatience; because he cannot want that which he loves; and though he loves fomething else that may be loft, yet under that lofs he is not obnoxious to much impatience or difcontent, because he is fure to retain that which he most values and affects, which will answer and supply leffer wants with a great advantage: the greateft bent and portion of his love is laid out in what he is fure to enjoy, and it is but a fmall portion of love that is left for the thing he is deprived of, and confequently, his discontent but little, and cured with the fruition of a more valuable good.
He that fets his love upon the creature, or any refult from it, as Honour, Wealth, Reputation, Power,
Wife, Children, Friends, cannot poffibly avoid difcontent or impatience; for they are mutable, uncertain, unfatisfactory goods, fubject to cafualties; and according to the meafure of his love to them, is the measure of his difcontent and impatience in the lofs of them, or disappointment in them.
He that fets his love upon God, the more he loves him, the more he enjoys of him. In other things, the greatest danger of difappointment, and confequently, of impatience, is when he loves them beft; but the more love we bear to God, the more love he returns to us, and communicates his goodnefs the more freely to us. Therefore we are certain that we cannot be difappointed, nor confequently, have any ground of impatience or difcontent in that which is our unum magnum, the thing we chiefly value.
He that fets his entireft love on God, yet hath a li berty to iffue a fubordinate portion of love to other good things, as health, peace, opportunities to do good, wife, children, friends: and in these he may be croffed and difappointed. But the predominant love of God delivers the foul from difcontent and impatience, even under thefe loffes.
1. Because the foul is ftill affured of what it most values, the love of God returned to the foul, which compenfates and drowns the other lofs, and the difcontent that may arife upon it.
2. Because the heart is fatisfied that these loffes come from the hand of him whom he loves, of whofe truth, wifdom, love and goodnefs he hath affurance, and therefore will be delivered out in meafure, upon most just grounds, and for moft excellent ends. He fends an inftruction along with his rod, and the foul reads love as well in the rod of God, as his staff.
3. Because the love of God, taking up the prin cipal bent and ftrength of the foul, leaves but a gentle and moderate affection to the things it lofeth, and confequently, a gentle and eafy parting with them, or being without them. The great tumult and disorder that
is made in the mind upon loffes, croffes, or discontents, is not fo much from the intrinfical value of the things themselves, but from the eftimation that is put upon them were the love to them no more than they deserve, the discontent and impatience in the lofs would be very little. Our chiefeft 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 difpenfeth its love to other things regularly and orderly, and proportionably to their worth; and thereby the difcontent or trouble that arifeth upon their lofs or difappointment, is weighed out according to their true value, agreeable to the just measure of reafon and prudence: But when our love is out of its place, it becomes immoderate and diforderly; and confequently, the dif contents that arife upon disappointments in the things we immoderately love, become immoderate, exorbitant difcontents, impatience, and perturbation of mind.
4. Our love to God brings us to a free refignation of our will to his: For we therefore love him, because we conclude him most wife, moft bountiful, most merciful, most juft, moft perfect; and therefore must of neceflity conclude that his will is the beft will, and fit to be the measure and rule of ours, and not ours of his: And inafmuch as we conclude that no lofs or cross befalls us without his will, we do likewife conclude that it is moft fit to be borne: And because he never wills any thing, but upon moft wife and just reafons, we conclude, that surely there are such reasons in this difpenfation; and we ftudy and fearch, and try whe ther we can fpell out thofe reafons of his.
MODERATION OF ANGER,
THE helps against Immoderate Anger are of two kinds :
1. Previous confiderations before the occafion is of fered, to habituate the mind to gentleness and quietness. 2. Expedients that ferve to allay or divert Anger, when the occafion is offered.
Of the first fort are these :
The confideration 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 defire his patience towards me, and find it. With what face can I expect gentleness from my Creator, if every fmall provocation from my fellow-creature put me into a paffion.
2. The confideration of unreasonableness of that dif temper in respect of myself: It puts me into a perturbation, and makes me unufeful for myfelf or others, while the distemper is upon me: It breaks and difcompofeth my thoughts, and makes me unfit for bufinefs: It disorders my conftitution of body till the ftorm be over: It difcovers to others my impotency of mind, and is more perceived and obferyed by others, than it can be by myfelf: It gratifies my adverfary, when by my paffion 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 fenfual part, common to me with