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fob, he faith, Shall we receive Good from the Hands of the Lord, and shall we not receive Evil ? The Lord gave, and the Lord bath taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord. This is a truly grateful Mind to give Thanks even in Adversity. This is a noble Spirit, there is soinething excellent and beyond the ordinary Rate in this, to acknowledge God, not only for Benefits, but for Chastisements. When thou givest Thanks in Prosperity, thou dost but pay a Debt, but when thou givest Thanks in Adversity, thou makeft God thy Debtor. For he that receives a Benefit and is thankful for it, doth but return what he owes; but he that receives an evil Thing and is notwithstanding thankful, hath something, we may think, oweing to himn. God takes it very kindly at his Hand, and thinks himself obliged by it, And is it not a great Satisfaction to have such an one indebted to us? a Pay-master so able, so liberal, fo wise both to know what is the best Recompençe for us, and when is the best time to bestow it? Let us not then be fo much our own Eneinies as not to practise this Duty at all times, in every Thing. For (as a Spanish Writer thinks it ought often to be inculcated) one
Thanksgiving in Adversity, is worth more than many Thousands in a more prosperous Condition. It is more obliging, and endears
li Hearts' strangely, and fills 'us with heavenly Joy and Satisfaction. When it is well with us
therefore, (as St. Angustine, expresses it,) let us - thank God and bless his Mercy; and when it is ill, let us praise and bless his Justice too. And that not only because we fțill have much to praise him før; but because there may be much Good even in the present Affliction; and it may likewise turn to our greiter Good, esper cially if we thank God for it. : It is said of Phidias, that he was such an excellent Artist, that he was able to make a Statue, nay, a Figure of one of their Gods out of any Materials : Not only of Gold or Silver, of Marble or Ivory, of Brass or Iron; no, nor only of Wax or Wood; but of tlie moft unhewn and ill shapen Log, and of the poorest Dirt or Clay. This made his Skill admired by all. : And Christianity professes to make us no less ingenious Artificers; teaching us to draw something of God, of his Wisdom, Juftice, Holyness, yea, and of his Love and Goodness toc, out of the worst of Things, and those which else would seem ill favoured. Nothing can befal us, but the Gospel learns us fuch Dexterity and Understanding, that we máy turn it to a Blessing, if we will; and no way better than by perpetual Thanksgivings to God, howsoever it fares with us,
This no doubt is a piece of excellent Learning, and it seems to be proper to Christianity to teach us in every thing to give thanks. For Benefits, faith St. Hierome, even Idolaters themselves can be thankful; but for Calamities and Miserieş, only good Christians, and
they who had a Christian Spirit in them. Such an one was holy Fob; whole gracious Deportment one cannot fufficiently admire. For when he was struck with a four-fold Message of grievous Disasters fäll’n upon his Children and all his Substance, and when these came one on the Neck of another, giving him no Space to breathe; yet he omitted not to do any Thing, as I told you before, that became either a loveing Father to his Children, or a dutiful Child to his heavenly Father. For, first, he arose and rent liis Mantle, and shaved his Head, (has the Custom of Mourners in the eastern Countries was,) whereby he thewed himself fènsible of his Loss, and that he was a Lover of his Children. But then he fell to the ground and worshipped, saying, Naked I came, &c. and naked I shall return, &c. The Lord gave, and the Lord bath taken away, blessed be is Name : which showed he was a greater Lover of God, and one that had considered beforehand his Providence, and tooked upon all Things as comeing to pass thereby. For he doth not fay the Chaldeans, or the Sabdans, or the Devil had robbed and spoiled him, but that the Lord had taken away what he gave. Knowing that nothing comes to pass without his wise Providence, who disposes even of the evil Affections of Men, and makes them ferve his holy Will. : This made him ftill bless God, and not utter 'one unhandsome Word, when he was provoked to it, by so many and fo' great Afflictions.
And thus the Apostles of our Lord, were as men Sorrowfril
, yet always rejoyceing ; as poor, yet making many rich; as haveing nothing, yet posselling all Things, 2. Cor, vi. To. Yea, fome report of St. James, that when he was put to Death by Degrees, first one Member then another being flasht off from the rest, he ftill faid, Thanks be to God, and bid thein proceed. If they cut off a Joynt of a Finger, Thanks be to God, was all they could get from him. If they cut off another Joynt, ftill he seconded the Execution with another, Thanks he to God, And fo to every Joynt or Limb that was severed from his Body, he added so many Deo gratias, Thanks be to God, for all his Benefits, Let us go and do likewise; and we shall find the fame Peace and Contentment of Spirit, in the Midst even of our Sufferings, which the found under such long and sharp Torments. This will not only relieve us, but exceedingly raise us; for it is, as I have told you heretofore, to begin Heaven upon Earth, and to joyn 'our seļves with the happy Society of those who feel no Pain at all, but praise God in eternal Joys,
What shall I add more, but that, as a Help to all this, we must get our Minds as well furnished, as we are able, with Store of good Thoughts. The Soul of Man is a busy Thing, and will be
working working within it self.: "Let it have- therefore always at hand Abundance of pleasing and comfortable Thoughts, to entertain and employ it. If there be not Plenty of these still ready to pre sent themselves, and press in upon all Occafions, it will be turning towards its own Milchief, and working upon fome Matter or other of its Discontent : But if these be so numerous, that it cannot iniss of some of them, but find them still next to the. Mind; and forward to offer their Service, there will no Place be found for the other, or if they thrust in themselves, they will be presently discharged, a And is there any want of them? Need our Minds he unfurnished with a large Provision of them? Though other Things are not in our Power; yet our Thoughts are: And you see by these Discourses that our Minds are fruitful, and will yield uş great Plenty of them.
Let us settle as great a Senfe therefore, as we can, in our Souls, of God and of all his Ats tributes. Let us remember continually, that we live and move and have our Being in him; that all Things are guided by him that he hath inanifested himself in his Sons who hath Powa er and Authority over Angels and Men, and all Creatures. In short, let us remember, actually such Things as I mentioned in the Reasons why we should be contented Gs be otherwise than well-pleased. The Things that'molest and trouble us are near, and press hard upon us; Now if those Things that should