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thank thee for thy deserved Correction, even in the midst of my Trouble ? Or, if thou spare the Rod, and make my Darkness to be Light, I will then thankfully receive the Blessing, and magnify the Favour which I cannot deserve.
Chrift.] This is indeed, my Son, the Disposition and Deportment befitting the Character of my Faithful Children. And all, who profess to walk with me in Piety and Virtue, must bring themselves to a Soul so even, fo resign'd, that Suffering and Joy, Poverty or Riches, may be entertain'd alike. The One, without Murmuring or Complaint ; the Other, without the least Pride or Change of Temper. For both are equally the Appointment of My Providence, and, as such, fhould be met with Chearfulness and perfect Content.
Disciple.] Lord, I am willing to endure whatever thou art pleased to lay upon me. I do desire to receive Good and Evil, the Sweet and Bitter, the Comforts and the Crosses of this Life, with the very fame Resentments of Mind. Nay, not only to receive, but to be thankful for both, since both come from thy own Hand, which cannot err in ordaining all my E
This only I implore, that, in all Changes of Condition, thou would'st in thy Mercy preserve me from Sin : For, while I keep my Innocence, and continue in thy Love, not Calamity, nor Death, nor Hell it felf, shall make me afraid. However thou may'st exercise my Patience, or frown upon me at present ; yet so long as thou dost not cast me off for ever, nor blot my Name out of thy Book of Life, I am above all Danger ; and the utmost Powers, and Malice of Fortune, and Enemies, and Devils combined together, can never hurt me.
Сн A P. XX. . Christ our Pattern of Patience in Afliction. Ĉbrifi.] Y Son; remember I came down from
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 Murinuring. Sorrow became familiar to me; My constant Attendant from the Manger to the Cross ; for every Hour produced some fresh Instance 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 blafphemed, 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 am a wretched Sinner, and not only subject to these Miferies 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 Submillion, to receive whatever thy Providence thinks fic to inflict ; and must by no means grumble at the
Weight, or the Continuance of any Burthen thou shalt lay upon me in the present World. If any Thing here seem heavy, yet it is rendred much ealier and more fupportable, by the
Affiftance of thy Grace, by the Contemplation of thy Example, and by the many Patterns of Constancy and Virtue, which thy now glorious Saints, but once afflicted Servants, who travelled the fame 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 Profpect at their Journey's End lefs glorious and inviting. Few then applied themselves with Zeal to seek a Future and Spiritual Kingdom ; nor could they do so with equal Encouragement, till thy Meritorious Death had opened an Entrance into the High and Holy Place. But how contentedly, how thankfully, ought I to tread in thy blessed Steps, fustained by the Assurance of Eternal Rewards, and directed in the right Way by the
Light of thy Doctrine? For thou art the Fohn xiv.
Way, the Truth, and the Life ; Thy AMictions have taught Me, and all Believers, that Tribulation is the Passage to thy Heavenly Kingdom ; and that the proper Method of attaining thy Crown, is being made a Partaker of thy Cross. Had'st 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 fhewed us the Way, yet how loth, how backward are we to follow stilí? 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 motionlefs
, should we have stood; had not thy Grace and marvellous Condescension 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
Cbrift. YEase thy Complaints, my Son, and, when
Amictions 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 courageously endured for mine. Alas! thy Tryals yet are small, nor hast 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 finking under aWeight, which they wou'd 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 These corrupt Men's Judgments, and make them fee their own and other Peoples Circumstances with very different Eyes. But be thy Ideas true or mistaken, yet still the greater and the less Calamities call equally for Submission and Constancy. And it is not the Degree of Measure, but the Author and the Consequence
of suffering, which is the proper Motive to Patience.
Now the better thou art composed under any Trou: ble, the more commendable is thy Wisdom, and the larger will be thy Recompence. Nay, not only so, 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 Ene
my or a Stranger, I could have born it ; but from a Friend, a Relation, one whom I have highly
obliged, and have a Right to expect better Usage " from, what Flesh can brook fuch Baseness and In“ gratitude ? Had I given any just Occasion for that “ disparaging Report, it would never have vex'd me; " but to be slander'd and abufed, without any ground, 66 without the least Fault or Provocation of Mine, “ 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 way 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 hath 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 goodnaturld and conscientious, or a wicked, perverse, vexarious Man, are of no confideration at all. But, let