Page images

time. Therefore we should meet it as David did Abigail, with Blessed be the Lord that sent thee to meet me this day. So did Job, chap. i. 21. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Faith in the promise makes it practicable. All the works of God are the mot perfect in their kind. But to come to the top of the ladder, the full fea-mark of content,

Lastly, We must rest in that condition, without the least squint look for a change of it, till God's time come.

There must be no motion for it, but as heaven moves to carry our condition about with it. And so this hinders not prayer, nor the use of means in dependence on God: but requires patience, faith, hope, and absolute resignation, 2 Sam. XV, 25. 26. In this fenfe he that believeth doth not make hafte; that is the unbclieving halte which cannot wait God's time.

Quest. Is this full contentment poffible? Ans. There is a twofold contentment: the one legal, which is full in the eye of the law; and this we can no more attain to than the perfect fulfilling of the law. It ceafes not however to be our duty, and will be humbling to gracious souls so far as they come thort of it. The other evangelical, which is full in the eye of the gospel, i. e. it is fincere : tho' it is not full in degrees, yet it is full in parts; it is in all the parts of contentment, though none of them are perfect; there is a submission to the whole will of God, tho' not perfect in degrees. And this is a neceffary part of the new man, so that without it we are not fincere.

I shall now give reasons why we should be fully content with our own condition, whatever it be.

1. Becauie he that made the world guides it, and it is highly reasonable we allow it to be fo. Let the discontented person answer that question which God proposes to finners to filence their murmurings, Is it net lawful for me to do what I will with wine coon? Matth. X. 15. The world is made by


the Lord; and shall he not govern it, and dispose. of it and all things therein as he sees best? Must the clay be allowed to say to the potter, Why hast thou made me thus ? Should it be according to thy mind? Job xxxiv. 33.' Providence guides all, the Creator fits at the helm; and will not we be content with the course that is steered ?

2. Thy condition is ordered by infinite wisdom. There is nothing that befalls us without the providence of God; and that is no blind chance, but a wise disposal of all according to the counsel of God's will. If the product of infinite wisdom content us not, we do but faew ourselves headstrong fools. He that numbers the hairs of our heads, Matth. X. 30. no doubt keeps an exact account of all the crosses in our lot, and of every ingredient in our cross, and gives them all out by weight and measure, as may most suit his infinitely-wise ends. And it is the height of folly to impeach the conduct of infinite wisdom.

3. All the good that is in our lot is undeserved, Lam. iii. 22. The bitterest lot that any has in the world is mixed with mercy; and mercy is still predominant in our çup. It is true, discontented perfons are like wasps and flies that look not near the found parts, but swarm together on the fore place. They magnify their crofles, and multiply them too; but deal with their mercies as the unjult Iteward, instead of a hundred fetting down fifty, and hardly so much. But let there be fair count and reckoning betwixt us and providence, we shall find we are in God's debt, and every mercy we enjoy we have it freely and undeservedly from God's hand, Job ii. 10.

4. All the evil that we meet with in our lot, we deserve it, we have ourselves to thank for it, Lam, iii.

39. Shall mens hearts rise against God for what they have procured to themselves? Is it not a reafonable resolve, I will bear the indignation of the. Lord, because I have jinned against him. Mic. vii, 8: VOL. III.


A discontented fpirit will always be found an unhumbled spirit, intenlible of its ill deservings at God's hand.

Use. I exhort all to labour for a full contentment with their own condition. For motives to press this, conlider,

1. The beauty of the rational world, under the conduct of divine providence, lies in every one's contentment with their own condition. One last ,fhall as soon serve every foot, as one condition shall be agreeable to all. What confusion would be in the world, if there were not variety? If time were all day and no' night, the moon and stars every one a fun, how would we be able to endure it? If the whole body were an eye, where were the useful and pleasant variety of members ? And if all men were fet under the fame smiles of providence, where were the beautiful variety and mixture in the web of pro. vidence that in wraps the world? Let us remember we are in the world as on a stage, where one must represent a king, and another a beggar, It is God's part to chuse what part we shall act; and it is our business contentedly to act the part allotted

for us.

2. Contentment makes a man happy and easy in every condition. It is the stone that turns all 'metals into gold, and makes one to sing and rejoice in every condition. A strong man will walk as cleverly under a heavy burden, as a weak man under a far lighter one, because of the proportion that is betwixt the strength and the burden in each. One man has his lot brought up to his mind, another has his mind brought down to his lot; is not the latter then as easy as the former is? All our uneasiness proceeds from our own minds; and could we manage them to a full contentment in every condition, no condition could make us miserable.

3. Time is short, and ere long we will be at our journey's end, The world's smiles will no more follow us, neither will the frowns of it reach us. Eternity is before us, and we have greater things to mind than our condition here. One traveller walks with a rough stick in his hand, and another with a cane: the matter is small which of them be thine, for at the journey's end both of them fhall be laid a side.

Quest. How may we attain to full contentment with our own condition, in a gospel-fense? There are two sorts of persons to whom we speak, fome in a state of nature, others in a state of grace. One answer will not serve both; for though unres newed sinners may have a shadow of contentment, it is impossible they can have true Christian contentment in that state. They may have a sort of contentment from a careless easy humour, yea they may teafon themselves into a fort of contentment, as some Heathens did do. But true contentment with their condition they cannot have.

This is clear, if ye consider, that a restless heart can never be a contented heart; and seeing the heart of man is capable of enjoying an infinite good, and the whole creation is not capable to fill it, it follows, that the heart can never rest, nor be truly content, till it be so in God himself. Adam falling off from God, left us with a breast full of unsatisfied desires, because he left us seeking our satisfaction among the creatures, which are dry breasts, and cannot fill the heart ; .fo till the foul return to God, it can have no true reft nor contentment. fay enough to stop the mouths of the discontented, whatever they be; but no considerations will avail to work true concentment in a person out of Christ, more than a hungry child will be reasoned into quietness while you give him no bread. Therefore the great and

Fir;& Direction for contentment is, that ye take God for your God in Christ, as he offers himself to you in the gospel. The great thing that ye want is

We may put out.

a rest to your heart, and satisfaction to the unbounded desires thereof, to possess that which if you had, your desires would be stayed, and ye would covet no more. I know, your false hearts and your foolih tongues have faid, o, if I had such and such a created thing, I would be content, I would defire no more! But when ye got it, was it so indeed? was there not still a want? So it will be to the end. But here is the way to contentment: Jesus Chrift, in whom dwells the fulness of the Godhead, offers himself to be yours. Accept of him by faith, and then the sun is up with you, and ye will be content, though the candles of creature-comforts be

The wife merchant is content with the loss of all when he finds the one pearl, but not till then, Matth. xiii. 45. 46. Thus the foundation of full contentment is laid. And so I may go on to thew you further how to attain it. Therefore,

2. Believe that God is your God in Chrift ; apprehend him by faith as your portion; and contentment with your condition will follow of course, though your condition be very gloomy, Heb. iii. 17. Full contentment with one's condition goes in equal pace

with a man's clearnefs as to his interest in Chrift. Let that be darkened, and he shall find himselfgrow more fretful and uneasy with croffes in the world. Let that be rising clearer and clearer, and the more clearer it grows, his cross will grow

the lighter, and easier to be borne.

If any should say, There is a particular thing in my condition that above all things I cannot be easy under; there is something I would have, and God fees it not meet to give it me: what shall I do to be content under it? I would say, Be what it will, go to God, and make a folemn exchange of that thing. If he has kept that from you, he offers you as good and better, that is to fay, himself, instead of it. And do you renounce that thing, and give up with it, and take Christ instead of it; and having

« PreviousContinue »