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Serm. with, it behoves them to bear all, not only V. with Calmness and Resignation, but with
Chearfulness and Joy; knowinig this, that worldly Calamities are the fure Marks of God's paternal Regard, ---that whom the Lord loveth be chasteneth, and scourgeth every son, whom he receiveth (6). · He correEteth him, as a Father the Son in whom be delightetb (c). But that if any one is without Chaftisement, whereof all are Partakers, then is be a Bastard, ---treated as one, and not a Son (d).
THE Reason, which the wise Man urges, why a prudent Father should chasten his Son. betimes, holds good in Application to the oldest of God's Children; Foolishness is bound in the Heart of every one of us, but the Rod and Reproof give Wisdom (e). We have all of us Faults to be amended, Virtues to be improved ; and it is in the Furnace of Adversity, that we are refined and purified, ---it is in the School of Discipline that we must be taught our Duty.
God afficteth not willingly, nor grieveth his Children among Men, but for some
(6) Heb. xii. 6. (d) Heb. xii. 8.
(c) Prov. ii. 12. le) Prov. xxix. 15.
: substantial Cause: Natural Evils are inflicted SERM.
in order to produce moral Good. If then V. we have bad Fathers of our Flesh, who correated us, and we gave them Reverence ; fall we not much rather be in Subjection to the Father of Spirits and live ? For they verily for a few Days chastened us, as seemed good unto them ; but be for our Profit, that we might be Partakers of his Holiness (f )---our natural Parents have chastised us according to their Humours and Passions, and with a View, for the most Part, to our civil Conduct, and for the Furtherance of our Welfare in this Life. Whereas our Divine Parent lays his correcting Hand on us foley for our fpiritual and eternal Benefit; that he may restore his facred Image within us, defaced by Ungodliness,---may make us to resemble him in Purity, and thereby qualify us to : participate with him in Blessedness.
And shall we, as too many do (such is their Impatience !) murmur and repine at God's fatherly Severities? Shall we fly in the Face of Providence, if every thing goes not on easy and smooth with us ? Shall we both receive Good at God's Hand unthankfully, and Evil discontentedly? Or shall we pre
sently (f) Feb. xii. 9, 10.
SERM. sently be upon the Fret, and complain of
V. injurious Treatment on meeting with a seam sonable Check in our 'wild and perhaps
otherwise ruinous Career ? .
Though no Chastening seemeth to be in the Hour of Suffering, joyous, but grievous : Nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable Fruit of Rigbteousness unto them whicb are exercised thereby (f). The Sons of God know it their Duty and their Interest to bear all Things with a pious Submission ;--they are persuaded to think, that God's Judgments are right, and that in very Faithfulness, in pure Compassion, be bath afflicted them (8), to wean them from the dangerous Pleasures of Sense, with which they are too, much inclined to be captivated, and to raise their Affections to heavenly Objects, which they are as prone to overlook in a Crowd of earthly Enjoyments.
As long as every Thing goes well with ús, and all our Projects succeed to the Height of our Expectations, and we feel the full Satisfa£tion of a most prosperous Life, we fancy it is good for us to be here, and concern ourselves but little, too little, in mak
(f) Heb' xii, 11.
(8) Pf. cxix. 75.
ing Provision for a comfortable Futurity. Serm.
God is the best Judge, what Corrections are necessary for Man ; and, as we are sure, he will load us with no Burdens, but for our Advantage, it is our Part to bear, what he puts upon us, with a serene and cheerful Mind, ---to behave under Chastifement with that Resignation, which a Sense of our ill Desert should inspire ---to let no Sufferings abate our Love to God, which are Proofs of his Love to us,---nor to be dejected in Spirit for the Sake of any bodily
SERM. Evils ; but to sooth our troubled Hearts with
we are chastened of the Lord, that we should
PATIENCE and even Thankfulness being then the Expression of a right Temper in God's Children under his Discipline, Contentment and Satisfaction certainly suits them best under his Indulgence. There is no one, who does not find fome Blessings in Life amidst the Troubles of it, and with these, be they many or few, ought every Christian to be easy; as they are not strictly his Portion, but Accommodations only on the Road to an endless Poffeffion: To secure which is his chief Business, and should be his main Care.
Let them be over fond of, and intent about, worldly Enjoyments, whose Taftes and Aims, Hopes and Expectations rise no higher. But let the Sons of God regard this Earth, as a Wilderness to be travelled through, before they can reach the Confines of their
promised (b) 1 Cor. xi. 32.
(i) Acts xiv. 22.