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ON IX. more tolerable. Fear is a strange Magnifier, People fay, they are positive, they are certain, that they shall never be able to go through what is approaching. They are not certain, they cannot be certain before-hand. Human Nature will endure much more, than we imagine. At least, surely God can strengthen us, if he will. And his Word declares, God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able ; but will, with the Temptation also, make a Way to escape, that ye may be able to bear itd. Most Men have found, and the timorous will own it, that they have frequently suffered a great deal more by the Apprehension of heavy Strokes, than by the Infliction. Why should we not learn then to moderate our Apprehensions ? Look steadily at the Thing feared : examine the worst of it: but observe also the Mitigations and Remedies, and apply them. They are various in themselves, and useful in various Degrees, according to the Difference of Circumstances : and the Particulars cannot be reckoned up here. Only, do nothing wicked by Way of Prevention ; for Sin is worse than any temporal Suffering. Set not your Thoughts wholly on guarding against
1 Cor. X. 13:
one Danger ; for there are many: nor against them all;
your Attention ought to be divided amongst the several Duties of Life, that none may be neglected. Want not to be securer, than the State, in which we live, will allow: but let it suffice you, that the World is governed by the Providence of God. Pray to him, and cheerfully put your Interests into his Hands, and all will end well. Be not afraid of sudden Fear--when it cometh : for the Lord shall be thy Confidence, and Mall keep thy Foot from being taken e, The Fear of the wicked mall come upon him ; but the Defire of the righteous shall be granted'. The Fear of Man bringeth a Snare ; but whoso putteth his Truft in the Lord shall be safe e.
These Assurances hold good more especially with Respect to one Fear, that of Death, which deferves to be mentioned feparately. We should always live in the Thought of it: but many live in the Dread also ; and dread it on Occasions where there is not even the smallest Hazard of it. And sometimes their very Alarms, sometimes the useless and hurtful Precautions, which they take in Consequence of them, haften it. These Things are evident• Prov. iii. 25, 26. Prov. X. 24.
8 Prov. xxix. 25.
ly in a high Degree unwise: and a moderate Use of Reafon, one should think, might check them. But be we ever so prudent, it will
And Numbers are terrified with the great Pain, which they fancy it must bring with it. But this, as far as ever we have room to judge from Appearances, is quite a groundless Imagination: and there are very few who have not undergone, perhaps many
Times over, more bodily Sufferings already, than they will in the Hour of their Diffolution. Still, were Death to end our Being, the View of it to good Persons would be a melancholy one indeed. But, God be thanked, our Saviour Jesus Christ bath abolished Death, and brought Life and Immortality to Light through the Gofpel". Impenitent Sinners, I own, instead of Comfort, have only Cause from hence for unspeakably worse Terror. And strong Warnings of it are kindly given them in holy Writ. Be not afraid of them, that kill the Body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom you mall fear : Fear him, who, after he hath killed, hath Power to çast into Hell : yea, I say unto you, Fear him. Nor is there, in the whole Creation, any Cure
i Luke xii. 4, s.
2 Tim. i. 10.
for this Fear, but Repentance and Faith, and Christian Obedience to God's Laws: and these are a perfect Cure. For our blessed Redeemer hath condescended to die, that they who believe in him and keep his Commandments
live in Happiness for ever : or, to express it in the Words of Scripture, that, through Death, he might destroy him, that had the Power of Death, that is, the Devil; and deliver them, who, through Fear of Death, were all their Life-time subject to Bondagek.
4. The last Trial of our Patience, of which I proposed to speak, is Anger. With ourselves we are seldom angry enough, when we do amiss : and yet we may be too angry at our own Faults, as well as too much grieved for them. Of this latter Excess I treated under the second Head: and the Observations and Directions, there laid down, may without Difficulty be applied here. I shall now, therefore, discourse only of Anger against others : and that more briefly, because I have lately treated that Subject at large. Take Notice then of the following Motives for moderating this Passion. Impatience of Pain, Excess of Sorrow and Fear, hurt only or chiefly ourseļves, * Heb. ii. 14, 15;
with whom we have the best Right to make free and seldom provoke any one else to do us Harm : but Excess of Anger injures others, which is a great Sin ; and excites them to Revenge, which is a great Folly in us. We have surely Failings and Sufferings enough besides; and need not add to them thus. But indeed, without looking so far, Anger in its very Nature is tormenting : and, when immoderate or frequent, fours our Tempers, imbitters our Lives, wears , out our Frame, lowers our Character, lessens our Influence, thwarts our Interests, multiplies our Difficulties, hurries us into Dangers, even of our Lives, in more Ways than one. Plainly therefore we are concerned, on many Accounts, to restrain it within the Limits of Reason and Religion, by every Method in our Power : by serious Considerations of Duty to him, who requires it of us, and of Gratitude to him, who is so patient and long-suffering towards us; by cultivating Good-will to our Fellowcreatures, by reflecting on the Frailty of human Nature, on our own innumerable Frailties and Errors, in Behaviour to others; which we doubtless must with to have gently passed