« AnteriorContinuar »
are capable of such abstracted virtue as to retain a lasting gratitude for a favour which they found troublesome or inconvenient. It is impossible for any man who is discontented with himself to be contented with his God: it is impossible that, with any other than a mere mock-worship, he should offer his thanks to the supreme Providence for his creation, his preservation, and all the blessings of a life, which his gloomy disposition made him look upon as a curse. Such was the guilt which of old attended those that murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. A guilt which in this as well as in all other cases is accompanied with misery. - III. If we regarded only the happiness of this life, we should find that the resignation which is expected from us as an act of piety, would prove the means of comfort. If there are a thousand possible accidents which no prudence can guard against, no sagacity foresee, shall we mourn what it was not in our power to obviate, and what human wisdom could not avoid P. To be over solicitous about events which we cannot command— to be dissatisfied with occurrences which answer not, the luxury of expectation, nor the predictions of sanguine hope—what is it but to involve ourselves in needless anxiety and avoidable distress | A mind accustomed to complain, eternally apprehensive of new disappointments, and the various distresses which in the wide field of possibility may come to pass, can never be at ease. Every new day will bring nearer some prospect of misery, and every hour disgust with some disagreeable circumstance, or some trivial inconvenience; till the mind, by long murmuring, acquire an habitual gloominess, and life itself become one horrid scene either of real or imaginary evils. That this terrible condition may never be ours, let us avail ourselves of every argument that reason or religion suggest against it. Let us consider, what has been already observed, that to repine at the events of life proceeds from a mistaken idea of Providence, and the want of a due confidence in its care; that only by over-rating what are called the good things of this world, we look upon ourselves as hardly used in the distribution of them ; that discontent must be no inferior degree of guilt, as it is not only a disparagement of the care of Providence, but repugnant to his express commands; and, lastly, that habitual murmuring is not the way to alleviate, but to aggravate affliction.
If these considerations had their due weight, surely little more would be necessary to persuade gloomy sorrow to seek its happiness in resignation.
To add to the force of these arguments,
let it be considered by the careful about many things, that, if future good is the object of their solicitude, to fear God, and to keep his commandments, is the way to obtain it without disappointment, perfect and eternal. That, if present afflictions are the cause of their complaint, to endure them with patience, as it is the duty of a Christian, so it is the only means of making them more supportable.
God for ever grant, that under no circumstances we may depart from our duty, that we may bear every event of life as becometh dependent creatures, and so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal.
. GEN. xlv. 4. I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into - Egypt.
THERE is no story in the sacred writings in which the heart has so much to do as that of Joseph. Pride, envy, surprise, affection, fear, hope, and joy, have their several turns, and, as we read, strike upon the attention, or excite the passions, Joseph was one of the younger children of Jacob, and indulged with those particular forbearances and endearments, which are always due to the tenderest years. These little distinctions of his father's love were, however, the source of many miseries to him; and they leave an useful lesson to all parents, to beware lest they sow the seeds of jealousy in the hearts of brothers,