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To deny our selves is to part with any thing that belongs to us, even Life it self, rather than not follow Chrift, and do as he hath commanded
Now he that hath already stilled and quiet. ed all his Desires, fu that they are not inordinately and passionately set upon any thing, will soon perform this Duty. His Desires when they ask any thing will easily take a Denial, because he hath something else to satisfy them: For (1st,) he only denies to himself thofe things that he hath no absolute need of, such as he may spare, and yet have enough. And (2dly,) such as many others have, and yet have not Content, ment. And (3dly,) such as many others havę
yet have no Christianity neither; he is no worfe than they, who are nothing so good and happy as he. And (4thly,) such as perhaps he himself once had not, and yet was not mise, rable." And (5thly,) he only denies himself, that he may be God's, and at his finding. Or (Lastly,) if he inust in the most
Sense deny himself, that is, his Life, yet then he can do it, because by parting with that one thing, he shall stand in need of nothing any more, but have all that Heart can desire.
And the Truth is, during our Stay in this Life, when we submit our Wills wholly to God's, all Things go better with us, than if we keep them in our own Hands: So the Story of the old Hermit, intended to teach us, who used to pray very earnestly now for Rain to fall on his Garden, and then for fair Weather to follow that Rain, and yet it did not profper ; where
as the Gardens of his Neighbours were in a thriving Condition; the Reason of which whilft he was wondring at, one of his Brethren faid thus to him, Thou Fool, dost thou think that thuu art wifer than God? If we can be quiet and do his Will, he will always give us that which is best for us.
It was a very foolish Słying of one, who being ask'd, who were the inost happy Men in this World, made Answer, either Kings or Fools, who live, both of them, without Anxiety ; for the former, said lie, (adding his Reasons) can have what they will, and the other are not fenfible of any Danger or Misery, but all things are álike to them. There are far happier Men than either of these, who tho' they be no Fools, utterly insensible of Want, Disgrace, or the like; nor no Kings neither, unless it be in their Cominand over their own Affections; yet for all that, are as well pleased, as if they had their Wills in every thing, because they are content to submit to God, and resolved to satisfy themfelves in his Pleasure. He is in a good Condition, who doth not believe he is miserable, as well as he that doth not feel, nor hath any Sense of Misery; for every Man is just as he thinks himself to be; and he hath what he will, as well as Kings, who layeth down his Will at the Feet of God, and desires him to please himself, and dispose of him as seemeth best to his unerring Wisdom.
And if it be easy, nay satisfactory, to deny our felves upon this Account, even in our lawful
Enjoyments, much more easy must it be to reject any Desires after unlawful and forbidden Things. He that to please our Saviour can part with things otherwise good, will not grudge, one would think, to forbear to displease him, by doing any thing that is always bad': What great Difficulty can there be in abstaining from lying, cozening, and unjust Dealing? When Men can keep themselves from coveting, (as you shall hear another Time) why should it be thought so hard to keep from Fraud and Guile? What should tempt a Man to fall into Riot, Gluttony, Drunkenness and Excess, when he sees one may be contented with a Morsel and Quietness therewith? Or what should move a Man to be proud and haughty, to be full of Wrath, Anger and Fury, when he sees that an humble Condition is most peaceable ?
Some of you, I believe, have read or heard, how Mabomet the first Turkish Emperor, fmote off the Head of the fair Irene his Concubine with his own Hands, tho? he loved her dearly, and had taken no distaste at her, merely that he might show to his Baffi's and Captains, how able he was to conquer himself, and subdue his own Affections, which they thought too much engaged to her, even to the Prejudice of his Affairs. And you all know how a greater and better Person than he (as the holy Story tells us, 2 Sam. 23. 15, 16.) having a passionate Longing after the Waters by the Gate of Bethlehem, which it is like he knew excelled all other in Pleasantness and Goodness (for in that Town he
was bred and there he had kept his Father's Sheep) yet when they were brought to him by the Valour of some of his Worthies, bethought himself better and would not drink them, but poured them out as an Offering to the Lord, who had preserved such brave Men that had hazarded their Lives for his Sake. And this Abstinence it is like he exercised, partly to condemn the Irregularity of his Desires in putting the Lives of three such Men in Danger, and partly that it might teach his Army Patience and Constancy in Thirst and Hunger, to wlrich their Warfare would often expose them.' A Fact like to which is recorded by Q: Curtius, concerning Alexander the Great, who in a great Thirst, by which his Army suffered much, having a Cup full of Water presented to him, refused to taste of it, saying, that there was too much for him, and not enough for every body else, for which Cause he would have none at all, but endure as much as the rest. What a World of Mischief had David prevented, if he had bur in another Instance repressed his Appetite, as he did now, when he saw Bathsheba and sent for her, and he thought of killing Uriah in so base a manner? And what vile and dirty Adtions had Alexander avoided, if he had exercised the faine Temperance which he did in the Field, within the Walls of his Palace, at his Feafts and Entertainments ? At one of which he flew his particular Friend, and at another of which he caused the beautiful City of Persepolis to be set on Fire and consumed. It was a thing pedible for them sure
at one Time as well as another. And it is pofsible likewise for every one of us both to gainlay and overcome our Inordinate Desires in all Cases; for if the Law of Moses had that Power over David, and the mere Law of Nature, or perhaps but political Reason and military Discipline, could lay such Restraints upon others; of what Force do you think the Law of Ckrist and his heavenly Promises to be, if they were laid to Heart and diligently kept in Mind by us? It will enable us, you have seen, to be content ever without Things lawful to be enjoyed, and therefore will much more fortify us against the Defire of things unlawful; by refusing of which you
likewise see, in the foregoing Examples, we shall deliver our selves froin a great deal of Sin and Misery
The Counsel which the Heathen Writers were wonit to give in this case was, to habituate our
selves in Patience and Contentedness á no meio querepov, By beginning with
Small Things. As the Oyl or the Wine, faith Epičietus, is spilt upon the Ground ; then say to thy self on that little Occasion, Tooáty a6 natoy di Tad etc, Sa much I must pay for Tranquility; at this Rate Contentment is sold, I must buy my Patience at this Price; wenixa de ser Waegyveray, For there is nothing to be had gratis, but it will cost something. And if we find that we have a good Bargain, and that the Thing we have got is of far
is of far greater Value than that we lost, we Mall not stick to purchase it at a dearer Rate, but be content tho' we must pay more for it. Be
Enchir. cap. 17