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3. Faith cafts the soul's anchor upon the rock of ages, and stays itself on God and the faithful promises; whereby the soul is eased and disburdened of its fears and melancholy apprehensions, Psal. iv. 22. Ifa. I. 10.
4. Faith brings new strength and auxiliary supplies of grace from heaven, when the former supply is ex. hausted and spent; whereof David had the sweet experience, Psal. xxvii 13. As God doth plant and actuate grace in the soul, so he is pleased to come in with sea. sonable supplies and reinforcements to the weak and decayed graces of his people, answerable to their present exigencies and pressures; And thus he doth, from -time to time, feed the believer's lamp with fresh oil, giving more faith, more love, more hope, and more delires; and hereby he gives power to the faint, and strengthens the things which remain when ready to die.
5. Faith keeps the soul from sinking under heavy trials, by bringing in former experiences of the power, mercy, and faithfulness of God, to the afflicted soul. Hereby was the Psalmist supported in distress, Pfal. xiii. 6. Pfal. Ixxxvii. 4. O, saith faith, “ Remember what God hath done both for thy outward and inward man; he hath not only delivered thy body when in trouble, but he hath done great things for thy soul; he hath brought thee out of a state of black nature, entered into a covenant-relation with thee, made his goodness pass before thee; he hath helped thee to pray, and ma. ny times hath heard thy prayers and thy tears. Hath he not formerly brought thee out of the horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, and put a new song in thy mouth, and made thee to resolve never to give way to such unbelieving doubts and fears again? And how unbecoming is it for thee now to fink in trouble ?”:
6. Faith supports the soul, by giving it a pleasant view and prospect of a happy outgate from all trouble ; when it thall be admitted to see and dwell with Christ hereafter. Thus was Job supported in his great diftress, Job xix. 25, 26, 29. “ For I know that my Redeemer liveth ; and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. Whom I shall see for myself, and
cattle? And will you not patiently submit to your wife and abfolute Sovereign ?
3. Consider thy Gin as the meritorious cause of all thy afflictions, however heavy they be. If thou haft right thoughts of thy sins, and the aggrayations thereof, thy mind may be composed to a patient submission to God's hand : If în be heavy on thee, all thy afflictions will be light. Luther gives us this as a reason why he slighted the rage of the Pope and the Ernperor, and all his outward troubles : “ They are all little to me, because sin is so weighty on me.” Hence it was, that Paul complained not at all of his sufferings, for as great as they were ; but he cried out much of his sins, Rom. vii. 23. " O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?" Sense of fin doth swallow up the sense of affliction, as the ocean doth little brooks. For with whom shouldīt thou quarrel, but thyself, when thou bringest troubles on thyself? This confideration fhould bring thee to refolve, and say with the prophet, Mic. vij. 9. “ I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have linned against him."
4. Consider how sharp foever the pains are, you are called to bear, yet they fall infinitely short of what you have justly deserveď aé God's hands. It is of his infi. nite mercy, that death and everlasting destruction hath not been your portion long lince; and that you are not now groaning under the extremity of his indignation in the bottomless pit, together with the devil and his angels: And, consequently, whatever falls short of this, is truly a great mercy, and is so far from being ground of quarrelling, that the greatest suiferer on this lide hell, hach just cause to admire God's clemency in dealing more favourably with him than he hath deserved.
5. Compare thy case with others that have been, or presently are in distress. Do not say, there is none so hardly dealt with as thou art ; for thou knoweit not the afiliction of others. Consider duly the trials of that eminent saint, Job, in all the circumstances thereof, and see if you can say, that your forrow is near so
great as his forrow was. Again, compare your cafe
Unto these considerations, I shall subjoin some few helps, or advices, in order to the attaining of patience under fore troubles. 1. Labour to get pardon of fin, and peace with God, fecured to thy soul, and this will enable you to bear the heaviest cross with patience. Hence it was that Luther cried, “ Smite, Lord, as thou I wilt, I take all in good part, seeing my fins are pardoned : 0, pardon of sin is the crowning blessing, therefore I will bear any thing, I will swallow up quarrelling into admiring; I will welcome the pruning knife, seeing there is no fear of the bloody axe to fell me down.”
2. Labour to see God's hand in thy affliction. Do not, like the dog, snarl at the stone, but look up to the hand that throws it. And, surely, a view of the hand of a holy God, may serve to calm all the boisterous waves of thy corruption; so did it with David, Psal. xxxix. y. "I was dumb, I opened not my mouth, because thou didft it.” When he looked to the instruments and fecond causes of his afflictions, his heart waxed hot, and the fire of his inward passion began to burn and break out; but, when he once espied God's hand and seal to, the warrant for his correction, he became filent, and patiently submitted to the Divine will.
3. Get a humble and self denied frame of spirit, that you may have low thoughts of yourself, and of all your VOL. I.
attainments whatsoever. A proud man cannot think of submitting to the Divine will, but will break before he bow. Hence we see a vaft difference between a proud Pharaoh, and an' humble Eli, under the rod; the one says, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him ?" But the other faith, « It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good."
4. Get love to Jesus Christ. Love is an enduring principle, i Cor. xiii. 7. It endureth all things. It makes the foul, like the kindly child, draw nearer to Christ the more it is beaten.
5. Interpret God's ways and dealings with you always in the best sense. And, lastly, be earneft in pray. er, that God may conquer your rebellious will, and subdue those mutinous zisings of heart within you ao gainst himself.
Direct. VI. Beware of envying wicked men, when
you see them in health, and prosperity.
· THE Psalmist, when he was chastened every morning, and in great adversity, was liable to this evil, Pfal. Ixxiii. 3. “ I was envious at the foolish, when I faw the prosperity of the wicked.” Corrupt nature doth strongly incline us to this sinsul disposition, especially in the day of fore affli&tion': “ For the Spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy," James iv. s. But, did we rightly consider the state of wicked men, we would see greater ground to pity than envy them, in the most prosperous condition : Why? “ T'he prosperity of fools fhall destroy them,” Prov. i. 32. It makes them forget God, and turn hardened and secure in fin, which haftens their ruin. Who would envy a malefactor's going up a high ladder, and being mounted above the rest of the people, when it is only for a little, and in order to his being turned over and hanged? This is just the case of the wicked men, who are mounted up high in prosperity; for it is so only that they may be cast down deeper into destruction. Observe that word, Pl. xxxvii, 1, 2: “ Fret not thyself because of evil-doers, neither be thou envious
against the workers of iniquity : for they shall foon be cut down like grass,” &c. and that word, Pl. xcii. . . " When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish, it is that they shall be destroyed for ever." It would be a brutish thing to envy an ox of his high and sweet pasture, when he is only thereby fitted for the day of slaughter. Who would have envied the beasts of old, the garlands and ribbons with which the heathens adorned them, when they went to be facrificed? These external orniments of health, wealth, pleasures, and preferments, wherewith wicked men are endowed, cannot make their state happy, nor change their natures to the better. Whatever appearance those things make in the eyes of the world, they are but like a nauseous dunghill covered with fcarlet, as vile and loathsome in God's fight as ever. How quickly is the beauty of earthly things blasted ! " The triumphing of the wicked is short,” Job xx. 5. They live in pleasures on the earth for a while; bui God fets them in slippery places, from whence they soon slide into perpetual pain and anguish. They have a short time of inirth, but they shall have an eternity of mourning. The longer their prosperity is, their sins are the greater, and theirfùfferings will be more grievous. But, O believer, it is in mercy to thee that God doth hedge up thy way with thorns, that thou mayest not find thy paths; whilft he turns the wicked loose, and suffers them to stray and wander whither they will, to their eternal ruin. God takes this method with thee to make thee meet for an inheritance, and prepare you for a crown of glory'; but he takes à contrary way with the wicked, to fit them for destruction: Therefore you ought not to be fretful under his hand, but thankful. We read of queen Elizabeth, when she was in prison, how she envied the poor milk-maid she saw passing by, and would have thought herself happy to have been in her condition : But had that afflicted princess known the glorious reign of forty-four years she was soon to enter upon, she would not have repined at the happie'. ness of so mean a person. Bur, afflited believer, it is not a glorious reign for a set number of years, that