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CHA P. XX.
M I Heaven for thy Salvation; I bore the Punishment due to thee, and all the Miseries to which Human Nature is exposed. I bore them not by Constraint, but Choice, and urged by no Necessity, but that which Powerful Love imposed upon me. And One great End, for which I condescended to do so, was to teach thee Patience by this Example, and that my willing Sufferings might dispose thee to submit to the necessary Incumbrances of thy present Condition, without Reluctance and Murmuring. Sorrow became familiar to me; My constant Attendance from the Man. ger to the Cross; for every Hour produced some fresh Inítance of it. My Circumstances were low, and I contented my self with the want of even the Necessaries of Life; ,my Innocence was slandered, and daily Complaints and Reproaches were founding in my Ears; Shame and Contempt I entertain'd without Return or angry Resentment; my good Deeds were repaid with Malice and Ingratitude, my Miracles blasphemed, and my Doctrine traduced and vilely misrepresented.
Disciple,] Yes, Lord, I read the Story of thy invincible Meekness, with wonder and astonishment; and cannot but infer from thence, that, since thou wert pleased to give such amazing Proofs of an entire Obedience to thy Heavenly Father's Will ; I, who ani a wretched Sinner, and not only subject to these Miseries by the Condition of my Nature, but one who have deserved them as Chastisements for my Transgreffions, am much more obliged, with a most perfect Submislion, to receive whatever thy Providence thinks fit to inflict; and must by no means grumble at the
Malice and I ment; my good and withoutra
Weight, orthe Continuance of any Burthen thou shalt lay upon me in the present World. If any thing here seem heavy, yet it is rendred much easier and more supportable, by the Allistance of thy Grace,by the Con.templation of thy Example, and by the many Patterns of Constancy and Virtue, which thy now glorious Saints, but once amicted Servants, who travelled the same rugged Journey of Life, have in all Ages set for my Imitation and Encouragement. I plainly see under this Gospel-state, a mighty Support, which even thy own peculiar People wanted under the Old Law. For then the Way to Heaven was dark, and the Prospect at their journey's end less glorious and inviting. Few then applied themselves with Zeal to seek a Future and Spiritual Kingdom; nor could they do so with equal Encouragement, tillthy Meritorious Death had open’dan Entrance into the High and Holy Place. But, how contentedly, how thankfully, ought I to tread in thy blessed Steps, sustained by the Afsurance of Eternal Rewards, and directed in the Right Way by
the Light of thy Doctrine? For thou art John Xiv. the way, the Truth, and the Life; Thy Afflictions have taught Me and all Believers, that Tribulation is the Passage to thy Heavenly Kingdom ; and that the proper Methods of attaining thy Crown, is being inade a Partaker of thy Cross. Hadst thou not gone before us, who would have the Heart to follow? who could persevere in a Course of Sufferings. Nay, though thou hast thus shewed us the Way, yet how loth, how backward are we to follow still ? And, if neither thy Miracles, nor thy Precepts, thy wondrous Humiliation, nor thy glorious Exaltation, can warm us into greater Zeal and Resolution, than by lamentable Experience we daily fee and feel they do ; How wretchedly slothful, alas! how cold, and motionless should we have stood, had not thy Grace and marvelous Condescention vouchsafed to grant us the Advan
tage of fo clear a Light, and the powerful Motive of so bright an Example ?
CH A P. XXI. Of bearing Injuries ; and how we may judge of true
Chrift.] Ease thy Complaints, my Son, and, when
U Alictions threaten or attack thee, call to remembrance what I endured for thy Sake: Nay, not what I endured for thine only, but what so many brave and generous Saints have since couragiously endured for mine. Alas! thy Trials yet are small, nor haft thou resisted unto Blood, as I and They have done. Their Difficulties were greater their Temptations sharper, their Sorrows more piercing, their Exercises more severe, and yet in all these they were more than Conquerors. It will therefore be of great Service to the confirming thy Hope and Patience, if thou diligently compare thy very light, with their much heavier, Burthen; and reproach thy self for sinking under a Weight, which they would scarce have felt. But, if thy own Load seem so unsupportable, and thou canst hardly be brought to think the Case of others so much more deplorable ; consider, whether this false Estimate do not proceed from Partial Affection, Tenderness to thy self, and a fretful Impatience , rather than from the true Nature and Reason of the Thing. For Thele corrupt Mens Judgments, and make them see their own and other Peoples Circumstances with very different Eyes. But be thy Ideas true or miltaken, yet still the greater and the less Calamities call equally for Submission and Constancy. And it is not the Degree or Measure, but the Author and the Consequence
of of Suffering, which is the proper Motive to Patience.
Now the better thou art composed under any Trouble, the more commendable is thy Wisdom, and the larger will be thy Recompence. Nay, not only fo, but the easier will be thy Lot too. For Consideration will reconcile thee to it, and Time and Experience make the thing familiar. Nor matters it much who are the immediate Instruments, or from what next Hand thy Afflictions come. For those are very idle Pretences, which Men usually labour to cover their want of Temper withal: “Had this been done by an “ Enemy or a Stranger, I could have born it ; but “ from a Friend, a Relation, one whom I have high“ly obliged, and have a Right to expect better Ulage ♡ from, what Flesh can brook such Baseness and In“ gratitude? Had I given any just Occasion for that “ disparaging Report, it would never have vex'd me, “but to be slandered and abused, without any ground, “ without the least Fault or Provocation of Mine, çc methinks 'tis very hard; The thing it self I could “ away with, but the Person, or the particular Cir“cumstances, put me out of all Patience.” Alas! these are nice and frivolous Distinctions ; Such as are altogether foreign and impertinent to the Matter in Hand; and what the Virtue of Patience is no wayr concern'd in. For this takes Injuries and Affronts by the great, without entring into any particular Examination of their Nature and Quality, and peculiar Aggravations; nor does it at all regard the Person, by whom it is exercised, but considers that person only, by whom it is to be crowned.
No Man bath yet arrived to a due Perfection in this Grace, who is not content with any kind of Tryal, from any Hand whatsoever. The Differences of Friend or Foe, of Superior, Inferior, or Equal; of a goodnatured and consciencious,or a wicked, perverse, vexarious Man , are of no confideration at all; But, let
the Provocation be what it will and come from whom it will, let it be offered but once, or repeated never so often, 'tis all alike; because in All the over-ruling Hand of God is attended to; and every thing received, as ordained and originally inflicted by him: and what proceeds from him is always good, and sure to turn to account. And, as nothing he appoints, tho' seemingly never so grievous, shall be to good Mens disadvantage; so nothing, tho' never so slight and despicable in it self, when dutifully and decently entertained, shall be passed over unrewarded. Arm thy self therefore for Combat, and decline no occasion of Engaging that offers, if thou desire the Glory of the Conquest. Without Fighting thy way through, there is no coming at the Crown. And they who refuse to Suffer with Chrift, do in effect, and by necessary consequence refuse to Reign with him. Stand up then bravely to AMictions, and quit thy self like a Man; Repose and Happiness is what thou Covetest, but these are only to be obtained by Labour : Victory and Triumph are the things thou aimest at; But who was ever yer so absurd, as to think of Triumphs without Enemies and Hardships, or Conquering without a Battel ?
Disciple. 1. I acquiesce, dear Lord, in all thou say'st; nor will I indulge such vain Imaginations. But since, even where the Spirit is most willing, the Flesh is miserable weak, affist me, I beseech thee, that by thy Power and Strength I may be able to do, what by my own I cannot accomplish, and Nature is averse from so muchas attempting. Thou knoweft full well, how little I can bear; how every Shock makes my feeble Heart give ground; Lord, do thou support and confirm me, that Tribulation may appear, not only tolerable, but even desirable, in compliance with thy Will and my Duty. For, what regret foever Humanity may betray in these Cases, when Danger