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taken him so, believe that ye have him instead of it. Say, Lord, there is an empty room in this heart of mine, such a comfort would I have to fill it, but thou seeft meet to refuse it; therefore I give ụp with it; thy will be done ; but I take thyself instead thereof to fill up that room. And now I have made the exchange, and Christ is to me instead of that which I want. So shalt thou find thy heart fatisfied. And if God see the comfort meet for thee, thou art then in the faireft way to get it too, Psal. xxxvii. 4.
This is the way of the gospel to full contentment, viz. the way of believing, by which all Christian duties are done, and gospel-graces are nourished in the heart. And to let you see the efficacy of these means for contentment, consider,
1. The heart of man is an 'empty hungry thing, that must be filled with something, and cannot abide want. Therefore it is, that when people miss their desired fatisfaction in one thing, they go to make it up by another: Mordecai's not bowing to Haman discontented him, and he went to make it up by a revenge on all the Jews. But the misery is, there is a want in that thing too. It is like the putting of an empty spoon in the child's mouth, that may stop it for a moment; but as soon as it finds it is disappointed, and there is nothing in it, it falls a.crying again. Now, this directs you to that which infallibly makes up the want, and in which there is no want. And it is a fad matter, that those who tiave tried so many ways to make up their wants, will not try this too.
2. God is the Fountain of all perfection, and whatever is desirable in the creature is in an eminent way in God, Matth. xix. 17. If the fun shine in at your windows, ye do not complain for want of candle-light. 'If all the vessels in your house were emptied of water, and the fountain were bruught into it, ye are at no loss, but in better case than before. Even so, if all created streams should dry up, if ye have God for your God, ye may lay indeed, that ye want these created things, but ye have all the good that was in them, in another, to wit, in God. Ye want the vessels, but ye want not the. water of comfort that was in them, for ye have it in God.
3. Having God for your God, ye have all in the promise, Rev. xxi. 7. He is unreasonably diffatiffied that has a good stock in bills and bonds from a sure hand, though he has little in his pocket, espe. cially when all that is needful will be upon them answered on demand. He that has the lively faith of his inheriting all things at length, will find it none of the most difficult talks to be served with very little for the present.
4. Lastly, Having God for your God, the nature of your afflictions is altered. Your crosses are changed from curses into blessings; and however heavy they be, they run in the channel of the covenant to the common end of all covenant-bleflings, your good, Rom. viii. 28.
This way of believing in order to contentment is,
1. A sure way, which will infallibly produce it, as surely as the laying of a hungry babe to a full breast will stay it. How many ways do men try for this which all misgive? but this cannot misgive, seeing God in Christ is a full contenting object. And if our faith were perfect, our contentment would be fo too. When faith is perfected in light in heaven, the faints will be warm without cioaths, full without meat, and rich without money, for God will be all to them.
2. A short way, by which we may come quickly at it. What a far way about do men go for contentment, while they compass the creation for it, and when all is done mifs it? But here we may fily, Be not afraid, only believe, 'Mark v. 36.
3. The only way; there is no other way to come
at it. Fulness in the world will not do it; for as the estate enlarges, the desire enlarges too, and knows no bounds till it comes to that which is infinite, and thither it cannot come till it comes to God. A kingdom could not content Ahab, discontent crept in under a crown on his head, 1 Kings xxi. 4. If ye do not take up your souls reit in God as your God in Chrift, no considerations will prevail to content you. But if ye do, there are several considerations that may be of good use to you. As,
1. Consider, that the heaviest thing in thy lot comes out of a friend's hand. It is good news to Zion in the worst of times, How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of bin that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisbeth salvation, that faith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! If. lii. 7. Whoever be the instruments of our amiction, and whose hand foever be heavy on us, we meet with nothing but what comes throngh our Lord's fingers, John v. 22. The Father hatb committed all judgement unto the Son, And will we not venture our outward condition in his hand, on which we venture ourselves for eternity ? A tongue, far less a hand, cannot move against us but by him, 2 Sam. xvi. 10.
2. Consider how unmeet you are to carve sor yourselves; and should it be according to thy mind? Job xxxiv. 33. How weak are ye to discern your true intereft? Could ye venture to pilot yourselves through the rocks and shelves in the world ? No, ye dare not, if ye know yourselves. Why will ye not then relign yourselves to wise providence? But, fay ye, it is only in some things we would have it fo or so. Ay, but Christ will be steersman for thee through the whole, or not at all. He will not share the government with thee; and there is no reason he should, for thou art weak, and fecft not far off, There is many a pleasant green path in the world that leads into the lion's den, and maay a rugged way
that leads into a paradise : thou feeft the hithermost end of the way, but not the far end; he sees it.
3. Have ye not already lived to see your hopes and fears both baffled by the conduct of wise providence? As for the hopes ye have conceived of the choice of your own wilful will, have ye not been sometimes made to let the knife drop with shame, after ye have cut your fingers -in carving for yourself; like Lot, not daring to stay in all the plain, though some time before he built his own nest in the heart of it? And for your fears of the conduct of providence, have ye not seen how God has drawn you to your good against your will, and that it was good ye were crossed in such a matter, and that such a project of yours was baffled? Seeing then we are such bunglers at the carving of our lot, it is reasonable we quit the knife, and give it over, as Jacob did in Joseph's case.
4. Consider, that there is much about the ordering of thy lot, infinitely more than thou art mafter of thyself. Believe it,
(1.) That the seven eyes of infinite wisdom are about it, Zech, iii. 9. Now in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. There is no chance. work in the world, no random work in thy condition; it is not a work huddled up in a haste. The scheme of it was drawn from eternity, and lay before the Lord, without any need of alteration. Every thing in thy condition, however late brought forth, was from eternity in the womb of the wife decree, Zech. vi. 1.
(2.) That there is a foft hand of grace and good. will about it, Rom. viii. 28. A gracious providence brings it forth out of the womb of the decree : why should we not then embrace it, and welcome it in. to the world? There is a stream of grace that goes through all the dispensations of providence to the Lord's people. Now, when infinite wisdom, tempered with grace and good-will, orders our lot, is
it not reasonable, that we be fully content with it? Hence I infer,
1. Thy condition, whatever it is, is for God's honour; for it is ordered by him who does all for that end, and cannot fail of his design. Though thou dost pot see how it is so, thou mayst believe that it is fo, upon this ground. Providence runs much under ground, so as weak man cannot see how the means answer the end; but God sees it, and that is enough. This is a contenting consideration to a gracious soul, that will be pleased with that which may glorify God, Phil. i. 20.
2. Thy condition is good for thee, Rom. vii 28. That may be good that is not pleasant; it may bring profit that brings no pleasure. God loves to work by contraries, to bring health to the soul out of dickness of the body, to enrich his people by poverty, to do them good by crossing of them, and blow them to their harbour by teeth-winds.
3. Nay it is best for thee. If thou be a child of God, thy present lot in the world is the best thou couldst have for the present. Infinite wisdom fees it is so. And grace and good will makes it so. All God's works are perfect in their kind, Deut.xxxii. 4. Will vain man come after God, and tell him how to mend his work? If it were not fittest for his own holy ends, it were not perfect. Nay, if thou be not in Christ, those things in thy lot which thou art discontented with, thy crosses and afflictions, are belt for thee ; for if any thing in thy lot bring thee to God, it will be this. Which brings me to a fifth thing.
5. Consider, that those things in thy lot which thou art so ready to be discontented with, are truly necessary for thee, Lam. iii. 33. If thou couldst want them, thou would not get them ; for God takes no pleasure merely in making his creatures miserable. If thay lot be afflicted, know that strong diseases must have strong remedies : blame not the physician Vol. III.