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Sam. 16. 9, 10. “Should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head.” Ilow cool and calm was David's spirit ? he felt no æstuations por tumults within, expressed no outrageous complaints, but said, “Let him cúrse, because the Lord hath said to him, curse David.” There is a twofold excess of the sorrowful affections in troubles :

First. In the degrees of them.
Secondly. In the continuance.

First; in the degrees of tiem, when they exceed their causes. Amictive things that deeply wound us, are usually represented by the reflection of sorrow, with all the heightening circumstances, the loss as invaluable, the evil as intolerable. As objects appear greater than their true proportion, when seen through a mist; so do evils, apprehended through grief: and after such a false judgment the passions take their violent course, and the spirit sinks under overwhelming heaviness. The soul is disabled from performing what belongs to it, with respect to the general and particular calling, and cannot with freedom wait upon God, but neglects its duty and felicity. It was the complaint of the afflicted poet, Hei mihi quod miseros prudentia prima relinquit. The first effect of misery is black confusion in the thoughts, that the mind doth not distinctly consider and apply such thing as would be effectual to mitigate, or remove it. Besides, as when the stream overflows the channel, it runs foul and turbid : so immoderate sorrow often causeth secret discontent and anger at the Almighty, disquieting and tormenting risings of heart against his providence. All things are disordered and turbulent in the little and marvellous monarch of the soul. And such seeds of incitation are in our corrupt nature, that in the extremity of anguish, the furious passions swell into a storm, and break the restraints of reason and grace. Job in a hot fit expostulates strangely with God, Job 10. 3. “ Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress ?” He was a holy man, and a prophet, who in the paroxysm of his passion, Jer. 20. 14. “curst the day of his birth.”

Secondly; there is an excess in the continuance.

Deep grief doth more arrest the thoughts upon its object, than the affection of joy doth. The mind is not so easily diverted from what afflicts, as from what delights. The main strain of the spul is towards the mournful object; and in the midst of comforts to support the fainting spirits, there still remains a sad remembrance of that which torments: a swarm of stinging thoughts continually wound and inflame the breast : no counsels prevail, but the soul is resolved in its grief, and always restless with a bitter desire of what is irrecoverable. Thus the prophet describes the misery of Rachel, “weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they were not.” Jer. 31. 15. As some venomous creatures turn all that they eat into poison; so obstinate sorrow takes occasion from every thing to increase itself. This consumes the strength, and the mourner lives only to feel his misery, and thinks death too slow for him, that was so precipitate for the person lamented. Thus by the fixed contemplation of its trouble, the soul is distracted from its heavenly original, and from pursuing its blessed end, and indulgeth its sorrow, as if the loss of a temporal comfort were utterly undoing to it.

This obstinate grief is inconsistent with a resigned frame of spirit. Though in great afflictions, there will be a conflict of nature, and it is wisdom to let grief breathe forth, and have a passage, yet grace will assuage the fury, and limit the time, by regarding the will of God, and by deriving from the springs of comfort above, some inward refreshings, when the streams below totally fail.

I shall now propound the arguments that will clearly convince us of this duty of resignation ; some of which are powerful to silence all rebellious arguings, and suppress all the transports of the passions ; others to raise the drooping spirits, and incline the heart to a calm yielding, and complete subjection to the divine will.

I. The first argument ariseth from God's original supreme right in our persons, and all things we enjoy. He is the fountain of being, and produced us out of the depth of our native nothing, and made us little lower than the angels. He is the author of all our good, the just and true proprietor of all his benefits. From hence results his sovereignty and dominion over us, which is declared in his law, and the dispensations of his providence. His law is the rule of our lives and actions, his governing providence the rule of our sufferings and passions. There is indispensably due, a free and full obedience to his commands, and an entire universal resignation to the orders of his providence. The enjoyment of all our blessings is from his pure goodness, and rich bounty, which requires our humble and affectionate thankfulness; and his resumption of them should be entertained with a holy and patient submission. He gives them freely, and may recal them at his pleasure. In whatsoever instance his will is declared, we must with humility and meekness submit; for he hath an equal empire in disposing all things that are equally his own, and we are bound by an equal obedience to acknowledge his dominion. When Eli received the terrible message of the ruin of his family; the final excision of it from the dignity of the priesthood, he patiently submits : “ It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good.” The mere desire of exemption from his overruling will, is a heinous sin ; and a stubborn uncompliance with it in the issues of things, is direct rebellion, mixed with ingratitude, obstructive to our present peace, and future happiness. If the afflicted would for a while suspend their tears and sighs, and with free reason consider, that what relation soever they had in their dearest loss, whether of a father, a son, of a husband or wife, or any other amiable and passionate terms, yet God hath a nearer right and juster claim in those persons, being his by his best titles of creation and redemption, it would silence murmurings and impatience, and stop the scope of inordinate sorrow. Our property in them was derived from his favour, and our possession was depending on his will, for his right in all his creatures is unalienable. This consideration was the foundation of Job's patience; when he was stripped of all his outward comforts, how composed was he in his mind! how considerate in his words! he reflects upon his native poverty, “Naked came I into the world, and naked shall I return thither;" and adores God's dominion, “ The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken, blessed be his name.” Add farther, that which by immediate connexion follows, the consideration of the glorious majesty of God, and our natural meanness and unworthiness. The distance and disproportion is so vast between him and us, that we are not able to conceive the full and just idea of his excellent greatness : we are fain to assist our minds in the thoughts of God by sensible representations; and to express our: conceptions by borrowed terms; his immensity by the ocean ; his eternity by the returning of a circle into itself; his power, by thunder; his majesty by the sun in its meridian splendors. As the flying fishes, (shoals of which are met in sailing to the Indies,) can fly no longer than their wings remain moist; when those membranes are dry, they cannot move, and are forced to dip themselves again in the sea, that by softening them, they may renew their Alight: thus when we ascend in our minds to God, we form no conceptions but what take their rise from sensible things, which infinitely fall short of his perfections. Who can fully understand the transcendent excellencies of his nature? Who can describe what is ineffable, and most worthy to be adored with silent admiration and ecstacy of mind ? * “ He dwells in that light which is inaccessible;' the angels, the most comprehensive spirits, “ veil their faces in the presence of his glory.” He is his own original, but without beginning: alone, but not solitary; one ever blessed God, yet communicates his entire Deity to the Son and Spirit; he is not divided in number, nor confused in unity. He is not compelled by necessity, nor changed by liberty, nor measured by time: if we ascend to the first fountains of all ages, then his infinite understanding comprehended in one clear view, the whole compass, extent and duration of all things. His powerful word made the visible and invisible world, and upholds them. That which was spoken with Aattery, of a Roman emperor, by + Seneca, (who as much degenerated from the dignity of a Stoical philosopher, in licking Nero, as in biting Alexander) is absolutely true of the sovereign Lord of the world: his providence is the band that unites the parts of the universal commonwealth, the vital spirit and virtue that sustains all : without his eye and hand, his dispositive wisdom and power, the whole frame would disband and fall into confusion and ruin. He is seated upon the throne of the universe. “Thousand thousands of glorious spirits minister unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stand before him," in the quality and humility of his servants, ready to execute his commands. He is the Judge of the living and the dead, that disposeth of heaven and hell for ever. And what is man? a little breathing dust. He is infinitely above us, and so strangely condescends, in having a tender care of us, that the psalmist was swallowed up in ecstacy and amazement at the thoughts of it: “Lord, what is man that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou regardest him?” Nay, we are beneath his anger, as a worm is not worthy of the indignation of an angel. Now the more we magnify God, and exalt his authority in our judgments, the more our wills are prepared to yield to him: “His excellency will make us afraid to oppose his providence.” When the Son of God appeared to Saul in his glory, and commanded in person, he presently iets fall his arms of defiance, and says, “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” His resignation was absolute; nothing was so hard to do, nothing so formidable to suffer ; but he was ready to accomplish and endure in obedience to Christ. The more we debase and vilify ourselves, the more easy it will be to bear what God inflicts; humility disposeth to submission. Our passions are not excited at the breaking of an ordinary glass; but if a vessel of crystal be broken, it moves us: the lower esteem we have of ourselves, the less we shall be transported for any breach that is made upon us. We read in the history of Job, many heavy complaints uttered by him of his sufferings, all the sad figures of passionate eloquence made use of to represent them, and the fruitless essays of his friends, that did rather exasperate than appease his spirit: and it is very observable, that when the Lord interposed himself to justify the ways of his providence, he did not charge upon him the guilt of his sins that deserved the severest judgments, but appears in his glory, and reminds him of his original nothing. “ Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth ? declare, if thou hast understanding." He opens to him some of the excellencies of the Deity in the works of creation and providence, and the present effect was, Job adored with humble reverence the divine majesty, and acknowledged his own unworthiness : “ Behold, I am vile, what shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth ; now mine eyes see thee, I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashies.” The thickest smoke by ascending, dissipates and vanishes. If the troubled soul did ascend to heaven, and consider that even the worst evils are either from the operation or permission of the divine providence, the cloudy disturbing thoughts and passions would be pre

* St. Hilary declares of himself, Non sibi relictum quicquam aliud a natura sua intelligere, in quo majus officium præstare conditori suo posset quam ut tantum eum esse intellig ret, quantus & intelligi non potest & potest credi, De Trin. lib. I.

+ Ille est vinculum per quod res publica coheret ; Ille spiritus vitalis, quem tot millia trahunt; nihil ipsa futura nisi onus & præda si mens illa im perii eubtrahatur, Lib. de Clem.

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