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over by them; and therefore' ought to be
But besides the Directions more peculiarly
good Measure belong to them all. One is, to think often how poflible it is, that more or fewer of these Temptations may sooner or later come to our Share, Were we indeed to imagine it more probable than it is, that
of them would, this might fink our Spirits, and weaken our Strength ; our Hearts failing us for Fear, and
for looking after those Things, which perhaps, are not coming!. But previously considering in a reasonable Manner, to what Sort of Accidents we are liable, will guard us against the vain Imagination of being exempt from Evil, prevent us from being alarmed, surprised, and cast down by it, as though some strange Thing happened unto us ", and gradually reconcile us to the Lot of Humanity : we shall be ready and prepared for whatever may fall out; recollect immediately, that no Trial hath overtaken us, but such as is common to Men and refft all Emotions of immoderate Vehemence, knowing that the same Aflictions are accomplished in our Bretbren that are in the World'. Another Direction is, that under a long Continuance of Pain, or Grief, or Fear, or Provocations to Anger, if we find that by
1 Pet. iv. 12.
I Luke xxi. 26. 1 Pet. v. 9.
i Cor. X. 13°
the mere Use of Arguments from Prudence, Virtue, or Religion, we cannot get the better of them, but are in Danger of being overcome; we should try the Effect of turning our Attention from them for the present, as well as we are able, to other Subjects : undoubtedly to the best and most valuable that we can ; but to any, that are innocent, rather than grow fretful, or despond. Only we must never take Refuge in Trifles out of Choice; but consider it as a Mark of Weakness, and Cause of Shame, that we are driven to them : and we must beware, that they never banish pious and serious Thoughts out of our Minds, or depreciate them in our Esteem.
Every one of these Rules, I trust, may affist us, more or less, to run with Patience the Race that is set before us”, as the Apostle exhorts. But the great Assistance will be what in the next Words he directs, Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith, who, for the Foy that was set before him, endured the Cross and is set down at the right Hand of the Throne of God”. His first Disciples were enabled
were enabled to bear Pain, ? Heb, xii. s.
4 Ver. 2.
Sorrow, Fear, Provocation, each of them in the highest Degree, from their cruel Perse. cutors, by considering him, that endured such Contradiction of Sinners, left they should be wearied and faint in their Minds'. Well then may we, who have so much less to undergo, polless our Souls in Patience amidst it all. Indeed without Patience we cannot, in the lowest Sense, polless our Souls ; be Masters of ourselves, and enjoy even the present Being, which God hath given us ; the best Things will be tasteless, most Things bitter ; we shall torment ourselves, and repine against him. But if we watch over our Hearts, and apply to God, He will strengthen us with all Might, according to -bis glorious Power, unto all Patience and long Suffering with Joyfulness • : Tribulation will work Patience; and Patience, Experience; and Experience, Hope ; and Hope will not make us ashamed'. For not only shall we possess our Souls in Comfort here, but if, as St. James enjoins, we let Patience have ber perfect Work“, we shall secure the Possession of endless Felicity hereafter. For God will give to them, who by patient Continuance in
r Ver. 3.
• Col. i. II.
! Rom. v. 3, 4, 5.
• Jam. i. 4.
well-doing seek for Glory, and Honour, and Immortality, eternal Life". Therefore, having beard the Word, keep it, and bring forth Fruit with Patience : and the Lord direct your Hearts into the Love of God and the patient waiting for Christy. For ye have Need of Patience, that
have done the Will of God, ye may receive the Promise".