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time. Therefore we fhould meet it as David did Abigail, with Bleffed be the Lord that fent thee to meet me this day. So did Job, chap. i. 21. Bleffed 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 muft reft in that condition, without the leaft fquint 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 fo this hinders not prayer, nor the ufe of means in dependence on God: but requires patience, faith, hope, and abfolute refignation, 2 Sam. XV. 25. 26. In this fenfe he that believeth doth not make hafte; that is the unbelieving hafte which cannot wait God's time.
Queft. Is this full contentment poffible? Anf. 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 fouls fo far as they come fhort of it. The other evangelical, which is full in the eye of the gofpel, 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 fubmiffion to the whole will of God, tho' not perfect in degrees. And this is a neceffary part of the new man, fo that without it we are not fincere.
I fhall now give reasons why we should be fully content with our own condition, whatever it be.
1. Because he that made the world guides it, and it is highly reafonable we allow it to be fo. Let the difcontented perfon answer that question which God propofes to finners to filence their murmurings, Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine con Matth. xx. 15. The world is made by
the Lord; and fhall he not govern it, and difpofe of it and all things therein as he fees beft? Muft the clay be allowed to fay to the potter, Why haft 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 wife difpofal of all according to the counsel of God's will. If the product of infinite wisdom content us not, we do but fhew ourselves headftrong fools. He that numbers the hairs of our heads, Matth. x. 30. no doubt keeps an exact account of all the croffes in our lot, and of every ingredient in our crofs, and gives them all out by weight and meafure, as may moft fuit his infinitely - wife ends. And it is the height of folly to impeach the conduct of infinite wifdom.
3. All the good that is in our lot is undeserved, Lam. iii. 22. The bittereft lot that any has in the world is mixed with mercy; and mercy is ftill predominant in our cup. It is true, difcontented perfons are like wafps and flies that look not near the found parts, but fwarm together on the fore place. They magnify their croffes, and multiply them too; but deal with their mercies as the unjuft fteward, instead of a hundred fetting down fifty, and hardly fo much. But let there be fair count and reckoning betwixt us and providence, we fhall find we are in God's debt, and every mercy we enjoy we have it freely and undefervedly from God's hand, Job ii. 10.
4. All the evil that we meet with in our lot, we deferve it, we have ourselves to thank for it, Lam. iii. 39. Shall mens hearts rife against God for what they have procured to themfelves? Is it not a reafonable refolve, I will bear the indignation of the. Lord, because I have finned against him? Mic. vii, g VOL. III.
A difcontented fpirit will always be found an unhumbled fpirit, infenfible of its ill defervings at
Ufe. I exhort all to labour for a full contentment with their own condition. For motives to prefs this, confider,
1. The beauty of the rational world, under the conduct of divine providence, lies in every one's contentment with their own condition. One laft fhall as foon ferve every foot, as one condition fhall be agreeable to all. What confufion would be in the world, if there were not variety? If time were all day and no night, the moon and ftars every one a fun, how would we be able to endure it? If the whole body were an eye, where were the useful and pleafant variety of members? And if all men were fet under the fame fmiles of providence, where were the beautiful variety and mixture in the web of providence that inwraps 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 chufe what part we fhall act; and it is our business contentedly to act the part allotted for us.
2. Contentment makes a man happy and eafy in every condition. It is the ftone that turns all metals into gold, and makes one to fing and rejoice in every condition. A ftrong 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 ftrength 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 eafy as the former is? All our uneafinefs proceeds from our own minds; and could we manage them to a full contentment in every condition, no condition could make us miferable.
3. Time is fhort, and ere long we will be at our journey's end. The world's fmiles 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 fmall which of them be thine, for at the journey's end both of them fhall be laid afide.
Queft. How may we attain to full contentment with our own condition, in a gospel-fenfe? There are two forts of perfons to whom we fpeak, fome in a ftate of nature, others in a state of grace. One answer will not ferve both; for though unre newed finners may have a fhadow of contentment, it is impoffible they can have true Chriftian contentment in that state. They may have a fort of contentment from a careless eafy humour, yea they may reafon themselves into a fort of contentment, as fome Heathens did do. But true contentment with their condition they cannot have.
This is clear, if ye confider, that a reftlefs heart can never be a contented heart; and feeing 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 reft, nor be truly content, till it be fo in God himself. Adam falling off from God, left us with a breaft full of unfatisfied defires, because he left us feeking our fatisfaction 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. We may fay enough to stop the mouths of the difcontented, whatever they be; but no confiderations will avail to work true contentment in a perfon out of Christ, more than a hungry child will be reafoned into quietnefs while you give him no bread. Therefore the great and
First Direction for contentment is, that ye take God for your God in Chrift, as he offers himself to you in the gospel. The great thing that ye want is
a reft to your heart, and fatisfaction to the unbounded defires thereof, to poffefs that which if you had, your defires would be stayed, and ye would covet no more. I know, your falfe hearts and your foolish tongues have said, 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 fo indeed? was there not fill a want? So it will be to the end. But here is the way to contentment: Jefus Chrift, in whom dwells the fulness of the Godhead, offers himself to be yours. Accept of him by faith, and then the fun is up with you, and ye will be content, though the candles of creature-comforts be put out. The wife merchant is content with the lofs 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 fhew 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 clearness as to his intereft in Chrift. Let that be darkened, and he fhall find himself grow more fretful and uneafy with croffes in the world. Let that be rifing clearer and clearer, and the more clearer it grows, his crofs will grow the lighter, and easier to be borne.
If any fhould fay, There is a particular thing in my condition that above all things I cannot be eafy under; there is fomething I would have, and God fees it not meet to give it me: what fhall I do to be content under it? I would fay, 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 Chrift inftead of it; and having