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day of prosperity be joyful; that is no hard lesson to learn: But in the day of adversity consider from whence it comes, and for what end, and be content with your portion; this is not so easily learnt; the apostle had however learned it: as also,-To be content both to live and to die; since he was persuaded Christ would be magnified in his body, whether by life or death; and though he knew it would be much better for him to depart and be with Christ, which was desirable by him; yet it would be more to the advantage of the interest of . Christ, and the good of the churches, to continue longer on earth; this put him into a strait; however, he left it with God, and was content to depart or stay, as he thought fit: some good men, in a fit of discontent, have wished to die, and have expressed an uneasiness at life, by reason of their troubles and afflictions; as Job, and the prophets Elijah and Jonah, which was their infirmity; but one that has learned the lesson of divine contentment, and is under the influence of that grace, he is content to live whilst God has any thing to do by him, and he is content to die, when he thinks fit to dismiss him . from service. Now such a disposition of mind, as to be content in every state of life, appears in a man's thankfulness for all he enjoys; when, as advised in every thing, in every state, and for every thing, be it what it may, he gives thanks; when he makes known his requests to God with thanksgivings, tor what he has had, and asks for what he wants in submission to his will; thus Job blessed God for what he gave him, and when he took it away from him. This grace shews itself much in a quiet resignation of the will to the will of God, in what condition soever a man is, especially in adverse dispensations of providence; instances of which we have in Aaron, in Eli, in David, and others; as also in bearing cheerfully all things which are disagreeable to flesh and blood; as in the apostles, who departed from the council rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for Christ; and in the believing Hebrews, who took joyfully the spoiling of their goods; and in the apostle Paul, who took pleasure in reproaches and distress for Christ's sake. 4. The word used by the apostle in the place under consideration for content, aurapuns, properly signifies selfsufficient, or being sufficient of one's self; which, strictly speaking, and in the highest sense, is only true of God, who is El-Shaddai, God all-sufficient, who stands in need of nothing; nor does the goodness of any extend to him, nor is it of any avail unto him; he is blessed in himself, and can have no addition to his happiness from a creature; but in a lower sense is true of some men; who, though they have not an inderivative sufficiency of themselves, yet receive a sufficiency in themselves from God; a sufficiency of spiritual things; his grace is sufficient for them, and they have a sufficiency of it to bear them up under temptations, trials, and exercises of life, and to carry them through them; the God of all grace, as he is able to make, so he does make all grace to abound towards them, that they always having all-sufficiency of grace thus received from him, may abound in the performance of every good work; a sufficiency of strength is given, so that they can do all things required of them through Christ

strengthening then; and which is the reason the apostle gives of his being able to conduct in every state of life as he did, and a sufficiency of temporal things is given to the Lord's people, at least so as to answer to their exigencies, and even to give them content; and especially when they have Agur's wish, neither riches nor poverty, but food convenient for them; or which is sufficient, as some versions have it, Prov. xxx. 8. 5. This lesson of contentment is explained by what the apostle says in the following verse; I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; both to be full and to be hungry; that is, he knew by experience what these things meant and how to behave in such circumstances. As, to be abased, or humbled, treated with contempt by men, and to be in low and mean, circumstances; as when he was obliged to work with his own hands, and these ministered to his own and to the necessities of others; and when in very distressed circumstances, in voyages and journies, shipwrecked, and in perils on various accounts, in pain and weariness, hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness; and he had learned to bear all these things patiently, and with submission to the will of God, and to be content with them. Also, he knew how to abound, or what it was to be high in the esteem of men, and to have an affluence of the things of life, an abundance, a fulness of them, at least, as he judged it; and he knew how to behave in the midst of plenty, as not to be elated with it, and carry it haughtily to others; he learned not to abuse it, but to make a good use of it, for the relief of the necessitous, and for the interest of religion. He knew also what it was both to be full and to be hungry, to have a full meal and to want one; to be at a good table, and to be almost starved and famished; and he was instructed of God, how to conduct in such different circumstances, as neither to abuse his fulness, nor repine at his wants; and for confirmation, and to shew how deeply his mind was im pressed with these things, he repeats them, both to abound and to suffer need, to have an overflow of things, and to be entirely deprived of them; and yet in all to be content. To be stripped of every thing, to have nothing, and yet be content, is wonderful! if a man has something, though but little, there is reason for contentment, but for a man to have nothing and be content, this is extraerdinary; and yet this was the case of the apostle and his brethren, who were sometimes hungry, and had nothing to cat; thirsty, and nothing to drink; naked and no clothes to put on; and had no dwelling-place to shelter them from inclemencies; and yet content: the truth of these words, and the riddle in then, the apostles knew, and knew how to solve; As having nothing, and yet possessing all things; and this made them contented.

Thirdly, This contentment of mind is expressed by a man's having caugh. Esau, who was a worldly man, and Jacob, who was a spiritual, upright, and plain-hearted man, both said they had enough, Gen. xxxiii. 9, 11. but in a different sense; and, indeed, they use different phrases; for though, they are the same in our version, yet not in the original; Esau at first refused the present of

lis brother Jacob, saying, I have enough, which may be rendered, have much; now a man may have much, and yet not have enough in his own account; he may have much, and yet may want more, and so not be content; but Jacob urged his brother to take his present, saying also, I have enough; or rather, as it should be rendered I have all things, or every thing; and a man that has every thing, has enough indeed, and has reason to be content; and this is the case of every gracious man, and these the circumstances of every true believer in Christ, and such therefore ought to be content.

Fourthly, This contentment is expressed by a man's being satisfied with what he has: earthly riches are not satisfying things, especially to such who are greedy of them, or have an immoderate love for them; one that knew human nature full well says, He that loveth silver, shall not be satisfied with silver, Eccles. v. 10. but riches of grace are satisfying; the unsearchable riches of Christ, all spiritual things, are of a satisfying nature to spiritual men; the Lord satisfies their mouth with good things; with the provisions, the goodness, and fatness of his house; the poor of Zion he satisfies with spiritual bread; he satiates the weary soul, and replenishes every sorrowful soul, Psalm ciii. 5. especially the love of God is exceeding satisfying to a gracious soul; O Napthali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord, even to contentment; such as are favoured after this manner, are satisfied as with marrow and fatness, Deut. xxxiii. 23. and, indeed, a little of the good things of this life, and the love of God with them, are more satisfying, and give more content ment, than all the riches of the world can without it, Prov. xv. 17. I proceed to enquire.

II. How any come by true contentment of mind.

1. It is not natural to man; man is naturally a discontented creature, especially since the fall; nay, it was discontent which was ths cause of that; our first parents not being content with the state of happiness in which they were, abode not in it, but fell from it; such was their ambition, prompted to it by the tempter, that they affected to be as God; or however, perceiving there was a class of creatures superior to them, more wise and knowing, they could not be content with their present case and circumstances; but wanted to be upon an equality with them; and being told, that by eating the forbidden fruit they would attain to it, took and eat of it, and thus by coveting an evil covetousness, lost the happiness which they had; hence it is most truly said of man, that he is, at his best estate, altogether vanity, Psalm xxxix. 5.-2. It is not to be found in a natural or unregenerate man; such a man is always uneasy and disquieted; as restless as the troubled sea, and the waves thereof; let him be in pursuit of what he may, he never arrives to it to satisfaction; is it wisdom and knowledge he seeks after, as his first parents did? he gets no content; but finds, that in much wisdoin is much grief and vexation of spirit; and that, by an increase of knowledge sorrow is increased. Is it pleasure in the gratification of the senses? these are soon palled with it, and new pleasures are wanting; and these, when

had, like the former, issue in bitter reflections and remorse of conscience, Is it worldly honour, fame, and applause of men? these are fickle, transitory things, not to be depended on, and seldom last long; and amidst them there is something that mars the pride and ambition of men; as Mordecai's not bowing to Haman made the latter uneasy and discontented, notwithstanding the profusion of honours conferred upon him. Or is it wealth and riches? these are very uncertain and unsatisfying things, as has been observed. There is nothing can satisfy the mind of man but God himself; and if a man lives without God in the world, let him have what he will, he lives a discontented life; none but a godly man is a contented man; there inay he content with godliness, but without it there is none. 3. Contentment is a thing that is to be learned; but not in the school of nature, and by the help of carnal reason; the philesophers among the heathens talked of it, but did not enjoy it; they neither learnt it themselves, nor could they teach it others; by all their wisdom and knowledge they knew not God truly, and therefore could have no solid satisfaction in what they did know; and even by what they knew of God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; and if not thankful, then not contented. The apostle Paul says, he learnt it; but he learnt this not at the feet of Gamaliel, where he was brought up; nor among the traditions of the elders, where it is not to be found; for though he was taught after the perfect manner of the fathers of tradition, he was left ignorant of God, and of his law, and of Carist and his righteousness, and of salvation by him; without which there can be no true contentment: but he learnt it, being taught it of God; he had it as he had the gospel; and, indeed, he learnt it by that; which he says, he neither received of men; neither was taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ; he wa> instructed in it by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge t Christ; so that he learnt it of God, Father, Son, and Spirit. - 4. This is learnt, not as a theory; but practically and experimentally; and by a train of experiences, and generally through a series of afflictive providences; so that it is learned in quite a different way than a carnal man can conceive of; for these very things which breed discontent in others, are the means of producing true co. tentment in gracious souls. The apostle Paul learned to be content, not only in, but by, the adverse providences which attended him; by his dangers at sea and by land; by his distresses, afflictions, and persecutions for Christ's sake; and so other saints have been instructed in some measure, in the same way, and have found it true, what the apostle says, Rom v. 4. Tribulation works patience, Te in such afflicted and experienced souls; and from all this flows contentment. III. The arguments moving to such a disposition of mind, and exciting, under a divine influence, to the exercise of this grace, are,

1. The consideration of what we had when we came into the world; and what we shall have when we go out of it; which is just nothing at all: this is the argument the apostle uses to promote contentment in himself and others; For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain, we can carry nothing

out; and therefore upon it reasons thus; And having food and raiment, let us be therewith content, 1 Tim. vi. 7, 8. and that is enough for the present state, and is more than we shall carry with us, or shall hereafter have any need of; and this was what made Job contented with the loss of all he had; Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither; and now, as if he should say, I am stripped of all, I am but as I was when I was born, and shall be again when I die; and therefore I am content; the Lord gave all that I have had from my birth, and the Lord has taken away, and he has taken only what he gave, and to which he had a right; blessed be the name of the Lord, Job i. 21. and the like argument the wise man makes use of to shew how fruitless and unprofitable it is for a man to be anxious to get perishing riches, and which his son, begotten by him, may not enjoy; but come into the world naked, and go out in like manner, Eccles. v. 14-16. and this is a reason unged by the Psalmist, why it should give no pain and uneasiness to persons at the increase of the riches of others; since, when he dies he shall carry nothing away; so that as it will be no longer his, it will remain to be enjoyed by others, Psalm xlix. 16, 17.

11. The unalterable will of God is an argument exciting contentment; who does according to his will, as in the armies of the heavens, so among the inhabitants of the earth; he gives to every one their portion in this life as he thinks fit. What they have, is not to be attributed to their wisdom and sagacity, and to their diligence and industry, however commendable these may be; but is to be ascribed to the sovereign will and pleasure of God, who does all things after the counsel of his will, in the wisest and best manner; and therefore men should be content; and after all, they cannot make things otherwise than they are; for for who can make that straight which he hath made crooked? Eccles. ix. 11. nor can any man, with all his care and thought, add one cubit to his staturc» or make any change in his condition and circumstances, than what is according to the will of God.

III. Unworthiness to enjoy the least favour and mercy at the hand of God, should engage us to be content with what we have: we have reason to say, as Jacob did, I am not worthy of the least of all thy mercies, not of the bread we eat, nor of the clothes we wear; yea if God was to deal with us according to our deserts, we should be stripped of all; and, indeed, it is of the Lord's mercies we are not consumed; and therefore have great reason to be content; since we merit nothing, have forfeited all, and cannot claim any thing as our due; what is enjoyed is pure favour.

IV. A consideration of the great things which God has done for us; a dwelling in our thoughts, and meditation on what may excite thankfulness in us; a recollection of the benefits of every kind which God has conferred upon us, may tend very much to make us contented with what we have, giving thanks unto his name; where there is a proper sense of favours, there will be thankfulness; and where there is thankfulness there will be content.

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