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SERM. to be as he is, how can he be better? what can the XLI.
largest wealth,or highest prosperity in the world, yield more or better than satisfaction of mind ? he that hath this most essential ingredient of felicity, is he not thence in effect most fortunate? is not at least his condition as good as that of the most prosperous a ?
2. As good, do I say? yea, is it not plainly much better than can arise merely from any secular prosperity? for satisfaction springing from rational consideration and virtuous disposition of mind, is indeed far more precious, more noble and worthy, more solid and durable, more sweet and delectable,
than that which any possession, or fruition of worldly Vid. Epist. goods can afford b: the tò aplaptov TOū apaéos, kai youOlymp. xiov tveúpatos, incorruptibility, as St. Peter speaketh, Een ist..de of a meek and quiet spirit is before God of great
i price; before God, that is, according to the most Ecce par upright and certain judgment, it is the most preDeo dignum vir cious and valuable thing in the world; There is, mala for the philosopher could say, no spectacle more worthy
. of God, (or grateful to him,) than a good man galpositus. Sen. de
lantly combating with ill fortune. Not to be discomposed or distempered in mind, not to fret or
6. et ad
a Cui cum paupertate bene convenit, dives est. Sen. Ep. 2.
Nemo aliorum sensu miser est, sed suo ; et ideo non possunt cujusquam falso judicio esse miseri, qui sunt vere conscientia sua beati. Nulli beatiores sunt, quam qui hoc sunt quod volunt. Salv. de Gubern. Dei, 1.
• Ου γαρ το ποιήσαι τι χρηστών μόνον, αλλά το παθείν τι κακόν πολλάς čxer tås åpoßàs vai neyána tà étabra, &c. Chrys. ad Olymp. Ep. 3. Vid. p. 73.
Ουδέν της εν άλγηδόσιν υπομονής εις ευδοκιμήσεως λόγoν ίσον η γάρ βαomnis tūv ayaw, kai tæv otepávwv Ý koparis ac in pañuotá ¢6T6. Chrys. ad Olymp. Ep. 16.
whine, when all things flow prosperously and ac- SERM. cording to our mind, is no great praise, no sign of_ wisdom, or argument of goodness; it cannot be reckoned an effect of sound judgment or virtuous affection, but a natural consequent of such a state: but when there are evident occasions and urgent temptations to displeasure, when present sense and fancy do prompt and provoke to murmuring, then to be satisfied in our mind, then to keep our passions in order, then to maintain good humour, then to restrain our tongue from complaint, and to govern our demeanour sweetly, this is indeed honourable and handsome; to see a worthy man sustain crosses, wants, disgraces, with equanimity and cheerfulness, is a most goodly sight : such a person, to a judicious mind, appeareth in a far more honourable and invi. dious state, than any prosperous man; his virtue shining in the dark is far more bright and fair: this, 1 Pet. ii. 19. as St. Peter saith, in a like case, is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God suffereth grief; if, in our case, (we may say after him,) a man, out of conscientious deference to God's will, doth contentedly undergo adversity, this, God is ready to take for an obligation on himself, and will be disposed in a manner to thank him (or to reward him) for it: this indeed amounteth to a demonstration, that such a person is truly wise and really good : so is the satisfaction of a contented poor man more worthy c: and it is no less more sweet and comfortable, than that of any rich man, pleasing himself in
© Honesta res est læta paupertas. Epic.
Ουδέ γάρ και διά τόν Θεόν τι πάσχων μόνον ευδοκιμεί, αλλά και ο αδίκως τι πάσχων, και φέρων γενναίως, και ευχαριστών των συγχωρούντι Θεώ ουκ cátTop co buà Tàu Taữa mácxoor ; #g Ty. Chrys. 'Ave. Gr.
SERM. his enjoyments; contentedness satisfieth the mind obc_of the one, abundance doth only satiate the appetites
of the other; the former is immaterial and sprightly, the complacence of a man; the latter is gross and dull, like the sensuality of a beast; the delight of that sinketh deep into the heart, the pleasure of this doth only float in the outward senses, or in the fancy; one is a positive comfort, the other but a negative indolency in regard to the mind : the poor good man's joy is wholly his own, and home-born, a lovely child of reason and virtue; the full rich man's pleasure cometh from without, and is thrust into him by impulses of sensible objects.
Hence is the satisfaction of contented adversity far more constant, solid, and durable, than that of prosperity; it being the product of immutable reason abideth in the mind, and cannot easily be driven thence by any corporeal impressions, which immediately cannot touch the mind; whereas the other, issuing from sense, is subject to all the changes inducible from the restless commotions of outward causes affecting and altering sense: whence the satisfaction proceeding from reason and virtue, the longer it stayeth the firmer and sweeter it groweth, turning into habit, and working nature to an agreement with it; whereas usually the joys of wealth
and prosperity do soon degenerate into fastidiousApoc. X. 10. Dess, and terminate in bitterness; being honey in
" the mouth, but soon becoming gall in the bowels. Nothing indeed can affect the mind with a truer pleasure, than the very conscience of discharging our duty toward God in bearing hardship, imposed by his providence, willingly and well. We have therefore much reason not only to acquiesce in our
Job xx. 2 22.
straits, but to be glad of them, seeing they do yield SERM.
XLI. us an opportunity of immediately obtaining goods_ more excellent and more desirable, than any prosperous or wealthy man can easily have, since they furnish us with means of acquiring and exercising a virtue worth the most ample fortune ; yea justly preferable to the best estate in the world; a virtue, which indeed doth not only render any condition tolerable, but sweeteneth any thing, yea sanctifieth all states, and turneth all occurrences into blessings.
3. Even the sensible smart of adversity is by contentedness somewhat tempered and eased; the stiller and quieter we lie under it, the less we feel its violence and pungency: it is tumbling and tossing that stirreth the ill humours, and driveth them to the parts most weak, and apt to be affected with them; the rubbing of our sores is that which inflameth and exasperateth them: where the mind is calm, and the passions settled, the pain of any grievance is in comparison less acute, less sensible.
4. Whence, if others in our distress are uncharitable to us, refusing the help they might or should afford toward the rescuing us from it, or relieving us in it, we hereby may be charitable and great benefactors to ourselves; we should need no anodyne to be ministered from without, no succour to come from any creature, if we would not be wanting to ourselves, in hearkening to our own reason, and enjoying the consolation which it affordeth. In not doing this, we are more uncharitable and cruel to ourselves, than any spiteful enemy or treacherous friend can be; no man can so wrong or molest us, as we do ourselves, by admitting or fostering discontent.
5. The contented bearing of our condition is also
SERM. the most hopeful and ready means of bettering it, XII. and of removing the pressures we lie under.
It is partly so in a natural way, as disposing us to embrace and employ the advantages which occur conducible thereto: for as discontent blindeth men, so that they cannot descry the ways of escape from evil, it dispiriteth and discourageth them from endeavouring to help themselves, it depriveth them of many succours and expedients, which occasion would afford for their relief; so he that being undisturbed in his spirit hath his eyes open and his courage up, and all his natural powers in order, will be always ready and able to do his best, to act vigorously, to snatch any opportunity, and employ any means toward the freeing himself from what appeareth grievous to him.
Upon a supernatural account, content is yet more efficacious to the same purpose: for cheerful submission to God's will doth please him much, doth strongly move him to withdraw his afflicting hand, doth effectually induce him to advance us into a most comfortable state: of all virtues, there is none more acceptable to God than patience. God will take it well at our hands if we do contentedly receive from his hand the worst things : it is a monstrous thing not to receive prosperity with grateful
sense, but it is heroical with the same mind to reChrys. tom. ceive things unpleasant: he that doth so SuccŪTA! Vid. Chrys. uè us ävOPWTOS, OtepavoĒTAL D'è cis pinóleos, he suffereth ad. Stag. 1. loss as a man, but is crowned as a lover of God. (p. 106.) Besides that, it is an unreasonable thing to think of
enjoying both rest and pleasure here, and the rewards hereafter; our consolation here with Dives, and our refreshment hereafter with Lazarus.
vi. Or. 89.