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SER M. intended by Providence fome way or other XII. for our advantage; I have already shown.. in a foregoing Difcourfe. I have alfo propofed in particular fome of the many Confiderations, which ought to teach us Acquiefcence and cheerful Submiffion to the divine Good-pleafure, and the feveral kinds and forts of Afflictions, which we are perpetually fubject to in the prefent Life; Namely, that fome of thofe things which we ufually reckon among the Troubles of life, are not properly Judgments inflicted upon us, but merely the Effects of God's varioufly exercifing his Infinite Power and Wifdom, his abfolute Sovereignty and Dominion over his Creatures, in placing men originally in fuch different States and Conditions as he himself thought fit; whereof no man has reason to complain; because what every man enjoys, in whatever proportion it be, is ftill all only of free Goodness and mere Bounty: That fome others of the Troubles: we are apt to complain of are nothing but the natural Confequences of our own Sins; and therefore not at all chargeable upon God: That others of them, are the, effects

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effects of God's publick Judgments upon a SER M.
finful World; from partaking of which XII.
Calamities if particular good and pious
perfons are not exempted at present, is it
not abundantly fufficient that God has
hereafter appointed for them a day of
exacter retribution? Thefe are fufficient
grounds of Contentment and Acquiefcence,
of willing Submiffion and Refignation to
the Divine Will. But there are other
confiderations ftill behind, (which I am
now to proceed to fpeak to,) which will
appear to be Arguments, not of Content-
ment only and patient Refignation, but
éven of Thankfulness alfo ; Confiderati-
ons, which will fhow, that most of the
Afflictions we are apt to be uneafy under,
far from being Arguments of God's ne-
glecting and difregarding us, are fome of
the greatest instances of his paternal Care
and Affection towards us, and defigned to
tend very much to our particular benefit
and advantage. The Ends of this kind,
which we have reafon to believe God ge-
nerally intends in the Afflictions he is
pleased to fend upon us, may be reduced
to thefe four.

T 2

1. To



1. To teach us Humility, and a just
Senfe of our own Unworthiness.
2. To lead us to Repentance for our past


3. To wean us from an over-fond Love of the prefent World. And

4. To try, improve, and perfect our Virtues; and make fome particular perfons eminent Examples of Faith and Patience to the World.

1. To teach us Humility and a just fense of our own Unworthiness. Though Pride evidently was not made for man, nor a haughty Spirit for him that is born of a Woman; Though nothing is more abfurd and unnatural, than for Duft and Afkes to be lift up against its Maker; and for the thing formed, to exalt itself against him that formed it; Though nothing can be more unreasonable and ridiculous, than for Man, whofe breath is in his noftrils, to defpife his Brother, and to behave himself infolently towards him who is of the Jame Nature and Dignity, as well as of like Paffions, with himself; Yet in Fact fo it is, that often Man being in Honour, hath


no understanding; Pf. xlix. 20; and, being SER M. puffed up with Profperity, confidereth not XII. whereof he is made, and remembreth not that he is but duft. Such is the Weakness of our Nature, that when one is made rich, and when the glory of his houfe is increased, he is very apt to forget, that when he dieth, he fhall carry nothing away with him, and that his glory fhall not defcend after bim. When Power is put into our hands, and a great Superiority of worldly Advantages gives us opportunity to judge in our own cafes; we are extremely apt, to make Will fucceed in the place of Reafon, and Humour or Passion instead of Right. And this, not only in Perfons openly prcfane, and difpifers of Religion; But fuch is the deceitfulness of mens Hearts, that in a long courfe of uninterrupted Profperity, this fecret Pride is apt to grow infenfibly, even upon those who do not af fect to practice Iniquity. The almost only certain and effectual remedy of which Evil, and the proper Prefervative against it, is that mixture of Afflictions and Dif appointments in the World, which, by the wife order and appointment of Providence, puts men in mind of their own T 3 Weakness

SERM. Weakness and Infirmity, brings them to XII. a right Sense of themselves and of their dependance upon God, puts them upon ferious confideration of the true State and Circumftances of things, and is therefore in Scripture called the Difcipline and Inftruction of the Lord; Job xxxiii. 16; Then he openeth the ears of men, and fealeth their inftruction; That he may withdraw man from his purpofe, and hide pride from man ; He is chaftened alfo with pain upon bis bed, and the multitude of his bones with Atrong pain: &c. St Paul himself, though fo eminent an Example of Piety, though fo conftant and indefatigable a Labourer in the work of his Miniftry, though fo fingular an inftance of Mortification and Contempt of the World; yet declares concerning himself; 2 Cor. xii. 75 that leaft he fhould be exalted above measure through the abundance of the Revelations, there was fent upon him an Affliction, which he calls the messenger of Satan to buffet him, least he should be exalted above measure. Which if fo great a Man as St Paul, thought to be his own cafe; Who is there in these later and corrupter Ages, that, in Profperity

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