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his God: “ Though the fig tree shall not “ blossom, neither shall fruit be in the “ vine ; though the labour of the olive 66 shall fail, and the fields shall yield no. “ meat; though the flock shall be cut « off from the fold, and there shall be no 6 herd in the stalls; yet does he trust in “ the Lord, and place his confidence in " the God of his salvation;" assuring himself that no affliction can befall him without the permission of the divine Being, on whose paternal care and affection towards him he relies in all the troubles and disappointments of life.
3dly. Another recommendation of this divine temper of mind is, that it tends to the improvement of our virtue. Afflictions and disappointments are the great methods, which God takes, to call us back to our duty and to fix us in our dependence upon him. The silent instruction of reason and true wisdom, or the still voice of conscience, are little attended to in the tumult and hurry of our passions. If therefore the judgments of God did not now and then rouse us to re
flection, flection, the inhabitants of the world would entirely neglect the ways of righteousness. The Amighty therefore, mercifully severe, in pity to mankind finds it necessary to call them to a state of suffering: And if we then make the best use of the cvils and afflictions which befall us, and bear them as we ought, we ourselves may do a great deal to turn them to our benefit and ad-: vantage, to the healing the disorders of the mind, and the improvement of our virtue. Why therefore should we repine and murmur at those things, which may prove so beneficial to us, if it be not our', own fault, which tend to our good and; the increase of our happiness, which put us in possession of the invaluable treasure of a virtuous mind, that good part, which cannot be taken from us, and, which so long as we possess, we are sure of the favour of God and the countenance of hea. ven, which alone are sufficient to make the most afflicted condițion happy?
Cover 2004.! Lastly, As patience and submission to the divine will tend to the inprovement of our virtųe in this world, so they exalt, ; Vol. IV.
us to a higher degree of happiness in another. The Psalmist said of old, that this was one of the comforts of God which refreshed his soul : “ I should utterly have fainted, but that I believe verily to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." And surely it is no small alleviation of affliction to reflect, that let the multitude of our sorrows be as great and as heavy as they can, they cannot always last; that there is a time coming, when pain and sorrow shall be no more ; when we shall be far removed out of the reach of the strife of tongues and the treachery of false friends; that how troublesome soever our passage through this world has been, heaven will be at last a sure sanctúary and retreat' from all our sorrows. But when we consider, that the same God, who for wise ends and purposes has made our condition in this world subject to a variety of changes and chances, has at the same time promised an endless happiness to those who bear them with patience and a hearty submission to his will, and has expressly declared, that these light afflictions which are but for a monrent, '. will purchase a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; how does the mind of man feel itself raised above the concerns of this lower world, prepared to, receive the strokes of our heavenly Father with a filial reverence and dutiful submission, fully persuaded that he who made the world is best able to govern it, that the next life will make up all the rubs and inequalities of this, and that the more grievous have been our afflictions, or the more remarkable our patience and resignation, the brighter will be our crown in that kingdom, where every tear of sorrow shall be wiped away, and peace and joy shall reign for evermore.