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1 Pet. ii. 20,
be conformable to his image; to this they are ap- SERM. pointed. (Let no man, saith St. Paul, be moved by these afflictions, for ye know, that we are appointed i Thess. iii. thereunto :) to this they are called, (if when ye do Phil. iii. 10. well, saith St. Peter, and suffer for it, ye take it 21. patiently, this is acceptable with God; for even hereunto were ye called, this is propounded to them as a condition to be undertaken and undergone by them as such ; they are by profession crucigeri, bearers of the cross; (if any one will come after Matt. xvi. me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and 2 Tim. iii. follow me; every one that will live godly in Christ 12; John Jesus, must suffer persecution :) by this are they E a más
ozitiv admitted into the state of Christians; (by many af-Pers. flictions we must enter into the kingdom of heaven;) partem an
gustiarum this doth qualify them for enjoying the glorious re- pery wards, which their religion propoundeth ; (we are crncimi coheirs with Christ; so that, if we suffer together, lito Hier. we shall also together be glorified with him ; if we Ep. 99. endure, we shall also reign with him?:) and shall Vid. Greg. we then pretend to be Christians, shall we claim any 2011 (ad benefit from thence, if we are unwilling to submit to Theclam;) the law, to attend the call, to comply with the terms (Phil. iii. thereof? Will we enjoy its privileges, can we hope for its rewards, if we will not contentedly undergo what it requireth? Shall we arrive to the end it propoundeth, without going
going in the way it prescribeth, the way which our Lord himself doth lead us in, and himself hath trod before us ?
? It is a privilege of Christians, in favour bestowed on them; υμίν έχαρίσθη. Phil. i. 29.
Our glory. Eph. iii. 13.
SERM. In fine, seeing adversity is, as hath been declared, XL.
a thing so natural to all men, so common to most men, so incident to great men, so proper to good
men, so peculiar to Christians, we have great reason 1 Pet. iv.12. to observe the apostle's advice, Beloved, wonder not
concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as if some strange thing happened to you; we should not wonder at it as a strange or uncouth thing, that we are engaged in any trouble or inconvenience here; we are consequently not to be affected with it as a thing very grievous.
de . ,
I have learned in whatsoever state I am, &c. MOREOVER, considering the nature of this duty SERM. itself may be a great inducement and aid to the XLI. practice of it. 1. It is itself a sovereign remedy for all poverty 1 Tim.vi.6.
"Εστι δε μίand all sufferance; removing them, or allaying all
γας πορισμός the mischief they can do us.
It is well and truly mestà avrassaid by St. Austin, Interest non qualia, sed qualis nius: Aug quis patiatur ; It is no matter what, but how dis-1.8. posed a man suffereth: the chief mischief
adversity can do us is to render us discontent; in that consisteth all the sting and all the venom thereof; which thereby being voided, adversity can signify nothing prejudicial or noxious to us; all distraction, all distemper, all disturbance from it is by the antidote of contentedness prevented or corrected. He that hath his desires moderated to a temper suitable with his condition, that hath his passions composed and settled agreeably to his circumstances, what can make any grievous impression on him, or render him anywise miserable ? he that taketh himself to have enough, what doth he need ? he that is well pleased
SERM. to be as he is, how can he be better? what can the XLI.
largest wealth, or highest prosperity in the world, yield more or better than satisfaction of mind ? he that hath this most essential ingredient of felicity, is he not thence in effect most fortunate? is not at least his condition as good as that of the most prosperous a?
2. As good, do I say? yea, is it not plainly much better than can arise merely from any secular prosperity? for satisfaction springing from rational consideration and virtuous disposition of mind, is indeed far more precious, more noble and worthy, more solid and durable, more sweet and delectable,
than that which any possession, or fruition of worldly Vid. Epist. goods can afford b: the rò õpdaptov TOŨ apąéos, kai youOlymp. xiov tveópatos, incorruptibility, as St. Peter speaketh, (p. 75.5.de of a meek and quiet spirit is before God of great Josepho.
price; before God, that is, according to the most Ecce par upright and certain judgment, it is the most pre
cious and valuable thing in the world; There is, mala for the philosopher could say, no spectacle more worthy positus." of God, (or grateful to him,) than a good man gal
lantly combating with ill fortune. Not to be discomposed or distempered in mind, not to fret or
1 Pet. iii. 4.
a Cui cum paupertate bene conv
nvenit, dives est. Sen. Ep. 2. Nemo aliorum sensu miser est, sed suo ; et ideo non possunt cujusquam falso judicio esse miseri, qui sunt vere conscientia sua beati. Nulli beatiores sunt, quam qui hoc sunt quod volunt. Salv. de Gubern. Dei, 1.
• Ου γαρ το ποιήσαι τι χρηστών μόνον, αλλά το παθείν τι κακόν πολλάς exei tàs duoßas kai peyaha Tà étabha, &c. Chrys. ad Olymp. Ep. 3.
. Ουδέν της εν άλγηδόσιν υπομονής εις ευδοκιμήσεως λόγoν ίσον η γάρ βασιλής των αγαθών, και των στεφάνων η κορωνίς αύτη μάλιστα έστι. Chrys. ad Olymp. Ep. 16.
Vid. p. 73
whine, when all things flow prosperously and ac- SERM.
XLI. cording to our mind, is no great praise, no sign of wisdom, or argument of goodness; it cannot be reckoned an effect of sound judgment or virtuous affection, but a natural consequent of such a state: but when there are evident occasions and urgent temptations to displeasure, when present sense and fancy do prompt and provoke to murmuring, then to be satisfied in our mind, then to keep our passions in order, then to maintain good humour, then to restrain our tongue from complaint, and to govern our demeanour sweetly, this is indeed honourable and handsome; to see a worthy man sustain crosses, wants, disgraces, with equanimity and cheerfulness, is a most goodly sight: such a person, to a judicious mind, appeareth in a far more honourable and invi. dious state, than any prosperous man; his virtue shining in the dark is far more bright and fair: this, 1 Pet. ii. 19. as St. Peter saith, in a like case, is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God suffereth grief; if, in our case, (we may say after him,) a man, out of conscientious deference to God's will, doth contentedly undergo adversity, this, God is ready to take for an obligation on himself, and will be disposed in a manner to thank him (or to reward him) for it: this indeed amounteth to a demonstration, that such a person is truly wise and really good : so is the satisfaction of a contented poor man more worthyo: and it is no less more sweet and comfortable, than that of any rich man, pleasing himself in
c Honesta res est læta paupertas. Epic.
Ουδέ γάρ ο διά τον Θεόν τι πάσχων μόνον ευδοκιμεί, αλλά και ο αδίκως τι πάσχων, και φέρων γενναίως, και ευχαριστών τώ συγχωρούντι Θεώ ουκ ελάττων του διά τόν Θεόν ταύτα πάσχοντός εστιν. Chrys. 'Ανδρ. στ'.