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Art thou forsaken by thy friends, and deeply afflicted by the ingratitude of those, whom thou hast endeavoured to oblige by every act of kindness and generosity? Thy case indeed is afflicting and strikes home to the heart; when he that is as dear to thee as thy own soul becomes thy enemy and thy oppressor. But what canst thou suffer in this respect in the least degree answerable to what the blessed Jesus suffered; who came into the world upon a design of the greatest love and compassion to all mankind, and whose whole life was one continued scene of charity and affection to the bodies and souls of men, and yet was always exposed to the malice and ill-nature of those whom he had most obliged, betrayed by one of his own disciples, and in his last extremity deserted by all ?
Art thou called to the severest trials, to suffer in the cause of virtue, to undergo the greatest miseries and afflictions of life, and at last to submit to a painful and ignominious death ? Hard indeed is thy case, and great the tempta
tion to murmur and complain at thy lot. But consider, what are all thy sufferings and afflictions, when compared to those which the blessed Jesus underwent, when he bare our griefs and carried all our sorrows, when he was stricken, smitten of God and afflicted, and cried out in the anguish of his soul, 6 My God, my God,
why hast thou forsaken me?" Let this example therefore of the most perfect patience and submission be sufficient to silence all thy murmuring and impatience, to calm and compose thy spirit, and to teach thee the great duty of resignation, even under the severest of God's judgments, which thou art called to suffer in this world ; when thou considerest that he, who knew no sin, the captain of our salvation, was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, the greatest instance of suffering, and at the same time the most perfect example of patience and submission.
But to proceed. The duty of resignation and submission to Providence amidst a multitude of sorrows, is not only thus
enforced by the example of our blessed Saviour, but likewise recommends itself to us by the several advantages arising from this divine temper of mind. It was the great design of philosophy, and indeed very worthy it was of the study of the wisest men in the heathen world, to find out a suitable support and comfort to the mind of men under the various evils and afflictions of life. They felt that man was exposed to troubles and distresses of many kinds, and wanted all the arguments of consolation they could possibly think of, to keep him from sinking under them. And what then was the great remedy they applied ? Why, some of them told him, that pain and affliction were not real evils, and therefore he ought not to be troubled with them. But what language was this to a man smarting under pain and affliction, who felt them to be real evils, and çould not therefore help sinking under the load of them? A man at ease might please himself with such airy notions, and boast of having found out a certain remedy against the evils and miseries of life.: But change the scene, and see him
in a fit of sickness, or under any great affiction, and you will probably hear him uttering the common groan of afflicted humanity, and the boasted philosopher lost in the suffering man.
Others tell you, that you are born to misery, and that affliction is natural and necessary to you, and therefore why should you complain of what you cannot help, of what always was and always must be the condition of your nature.
Great comfort indeed to a man in acute pain to be told, that his case is helpless, and that he is fatally doomed to suffer! Can
you say any thing more grievous to him, or which can be a surer cause of depression under great and stinging afflictions ?
What method then shall the afflicted soul take, to procure to itself suitable relief and consolation ? None so effectual, as trust and reliance upon God, a firm belief that we are under the guidance and direction of a powerful and just, a wise and good Being, without whose permission no power can hurt us, without whose direction no evil can befall us, and who in all his dispensations to the sons of men most effectually provides for the happiness of his creatures. This is the temper of mind, this the only consideration, which can alleviate the multitude of sorrows : The man who is under the influence of such a persuasion as this, will patiently receive evil at the hand of God as well as good, will resign himself entirely to his will, who he is assured loves us as well as we do ourselves, and better knows what is good for us than we ourselves do.
2dly. This temper of mind is not only a relief for the present, but also calms our fears and apprehensions for the future. For what can he fear, who has committed all his concerns to the care of a wise and good God, who resigns himself up entirely to his disposal, and in all events supports himself with this reflection, " is the Lord, let him do what seemeth “ him good ?” Whatsoever is brought upon him he takes chearfully, and he is patient in his low estate : Though distressed, he encourages himself in the Lord