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name of Jesus; and, adopting the language of David, •when driven from his throne, by his unnatural fon j ** Behold, here I am; let the Lord do unto me, as "seemeth good in his sight."
Thus I have explained the nature and extent of genuine submission to the will of God.
II. I now come, idly, To lay before you, the deformity and sinsulness of the opposite temper; and this will appear, if we consider, < I. That k is in fome measure a practical denial of the fovereignty of God. May not the potter do with his clay what he pleases? Hath not He, who made us, a right to dispose of us; to allot us our station and circumstances in the world, and to mingle our cup with what ingredients he thinks proper? Impatience, on the other hand, is calling this in question; faying, that God is unjust, and usurping a power that does not belong to him. It would be difficult, I believe, to interpret it in' any other way. And surely, in- this view,- it must be an offence highly aggravated.
i. It supposes a mean opinion- of the wisdom, or, at least, a great distrust of the goodness of God. He who believes that God does all things in persect 'wisdom, will surely acquiesce in the dispenfations of his providence, however dark and inexplicable they may, in the mean time, seem to be. And he who is persectly convinced of the goodness of God, 'whatever be his present feelings, will still hold to this conclusion, That the Father of mercies does all things well; and will therefore be ready to fay, that not on- ly just, but good, is the will of God. Whereas, he who repines under distress, discovers that he considers it as improperly inflicted', or else he considers God as a rigid and a Gruel Being who delights in punishing, though he has expressly declared, that he does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.
3. It betrays too great an attachment to fome present enjoyment, which is absolutely inconsistent with
that that supreme love which we owe to God. This attachment must be the foundation of all our complaints. For, did we not pay a greater regard to our health, riches, honours, and friends, than to God, we should more readily part with them, when He, in his providence, is pleased to call them from us. Besides, it asfords great reafon to suspect, that we have not; been duly concerned to secure an interest in the friendship of God, in the redemption of Jesus Christ, and in that covenant, of which he is Mediator. A man will not grieve much for tiie loss of a trifle, who has a great estate in reserve: nor will he be greatly disquieted about an earthly loss, who can fay, that God' is his everlasting portion, and that his treasure is inheaven, where neither moth nor rust can corrupt, nor thieves brealc through and steal. But,
4. Impatience denotes ingratitude and unthanksulness to God for all his benesits. Where is the man whose distress is fo pure and unmixed, that he cannot sind out any good thing in his lot? Or, rather, where is the man, the portion of whose happiness is not greater than that of his misery? Without entering minutely into this comparifon, may we not all prosit by the word of God? Have we not free access, if it is not our own fault, to the ordinances of religion? Are not Christ and eternal falvation in our offer? and can any temporal inconvenience be put in the balance against these? How ungratesul is it, then, to consine our attention to fome affliction in our lot, which must foon end, and which one moment's enjoyment of heaven will for ever blot from our remembrance !• Besides, do you owe to God no acknowledgement for the former possession of those very things, the loss of which you now regret? Should not your former enjoyments enter into your consideration, and the recollection of the blessings of providence, prevent your ingratitude? But,
Lastly, Impatience is chargeable with all the guilt of hypocrify. Say, have you not often consessed
yourselves yourselves to be sinners? Is not this the daily language of your prayers, that if God should mark iniquity, you could not stand; that it is folely owing to his tender mercy that you are not consumed; and. that it is, because his compassion has not failed, that your portion is not already sixed with those impure spirits, who are for ever secluded from the seats of the blesied? And is it likely that you are sincere in these consessions, while you yet murmur, on account of fome asflictions in your present lot? No; so long as you corophiin of the dispenfations of unerring Providence, your confessions, with however much humility expressed, proceed only from the lips; and theheart is tinctured with pride.
Thus, then, impatience appears to be a heinous sin; offensive in the sight of God; and,- unless repented of, and forfaken, must be severely punished.
III. We proceed, T,d!y, To explain the grounds,, and reafons of resignation under r.ffliction. And,
I. We may take notice of the usesulness of affliction in general.. In this world, we are bat as pilgrims and fojourners, and yet, by reafon os the corruption of our nature, and our strong attachment to the objects os sense, we are too apt to make it our: resting-place. We therefore stand in need of fome friendly monitor to induce us to pursue cur journey and, when every other mean fails, God, in mercy, visits us with trouble, in order- effectually- to convince us, that this earth cannot be our home; and to' raise our desires to our Father's house,- where there is sulness of.joy, and pleasures for evermore. It "is a' dangerous error, to mistake earth for heaven : .and, yet, . how 6ommon is the mistake! Tell a man who enjoys abundance of the good thing* of this lise.; tell him, that this- earth is not his home, that he has more important concerns to which he fliou'd attend; .and though he be ashamed, in express words, to contradict ycu, yet his. practice shews how little he regards
your admonition. Present ease and pleasure have powersul charms; and if God did not sometimes put thorns into our beds, we would be in danger of ilteping out our time. But, when affliction comes, it speaks convincingly, and it will be heard. Should we then murmur at afflictions which are sent for so kind a purpose? Surely it becomes us rather to submit to them with cheersulness, and improve them for the purposes for which they were designed.
2. It ought to be observed, that, for the most part, it is the body only which suffers in affliction, unless we, by our impatience, open a passage fo.r it into the soul. And, surely, we need not grieve so deeply for the sufferings of that part of our nature, which is both the instrument and the inlet of all that sin which brings our misery upon us. In most of the diseases incident to human nature, the foul is free, if we do not willingly afflict it. Why, then, should this mouldering tabernacle, be so precious in our sight? Is it not our prison? Should we grieve, because our prison-walls are coming down? The body, indeed, is subservient to the great interests of the foul; and, in that point of view, must not be neglected. But, if God sees proper to chastise it, on account of its rebellion against himself, and our own souls; shall we take the part of the flesh, against our great Creator, and provoke him to deliver them both up to more severe affiiction?
3- You should consider, that these very afflictions that give you the greatest uneasiness, may possibly be font by God, in answer to your own prayers. And lurely, in this case, we ought to receive them, not only with submission, but gratitude. Say, have you not often made this your request to God, that he would k«P you from sin; that he might discover to you the vanity of this world, and all its enjoyments; that he would subdue your inward corruptions, and take sull possession of your heart? And is not affliction as likely to be the means which God will employ to accomPhsli these ends, as any other? You wish to be kept
from from sin; and what mean is so proper, as to hedge in your way with afflictions? Do you wish to see the vanity of this world? Affliction not only makes you see, but seel, its vanity, in that vexation of spirit which attends it. What so proper to subdue your evil afsections, as to take away the suel that maintains them? Can any thing be better calculated than afflictions> to dispossess those idols that kept your hearts from God, and which nothing less than their destruction could prevail with you to forsake? And will you, notwithstanding, murmur and repine? Can any thing be more disingenuous than such a conduct? If God delays to answer your prayers, you complain as as if he did not regard your cry; and when he does answer them in the way he sees most proper, you mistake his meaning, and pervert that into poison which was intended for your goodLet me ask you, Are you willing to have your whole portion upon earth, and to renounce all hopes of suture selicity for present ease? If you are not, why are you dissatissied with the means which God employs, for sulsilling the very thing which your heart desires? But perhaps you may say, 1 could have borne any affliction better than that under which I labour. If this be your language, give me leave to •tell you, that this affliction you complain of, was the one you stood most in need of, and is therefore the sittest for your improvement. It appears that God has aimed at that idol, which was his chief competitor, and had the greatest influence in keeping him out of your heart. Let this then prevent your murmurings, and turn your complaints into a song of thanksulness. But, surther,
4. What pretence have you to be exempt fronv trouble? If you live in sin, you can meet with nothing too bad. And be assured, if you die in fin, the afflictions you now complain of are but the beginning of sorrows, and not to be compared with thole endless torments which you must asterwards endure. Or, if you have happily been brought into friendship with