The Right Christian Temper In every Condition, Endeavoured (As the Lord Vouchsafed to Assist) To be Set forth and Recommended: AND The due Debt of a suitable CONTENTMENT With our outward Lot, Humbly Demanded, on the behalf of the Divine Providence; In a Lecture upon; Heb 13. 5. Be Content with such Things as you have.

By John Danforth, Pastor of the Church of CHRIST, at Dorchester in N. E.

BOSTON: Printed by B. Green, and J. Allen, for Samuel Sewall junior. 1702.


I Have perused this SERMON with great Content, and judge it seasonable, and that the Reverend Author hath given the Sense and Improvement of that Scrip­ture; and handled the Subject judiciously and profitably, for the benefit of pious Christians; in this day of Affliction felt and threatned. I cannot but give my judgement as I feet.

James Allen.
[Page 1]

THE Right Christian Temper, IN Every Condition.

Hebrews XIII.5.Be Content with such things as ye have.

THE Holy Spirit who derives no Authori­ty to the Writings given by inspiration from Himself, from the names of the holy men that He imploy'd as His A­manuenses, with held the Writer of this Epistle from Prefixing His Name thereto. Yet is not His Person conceal'd from the Conjectures of Learned men, who have found many Arguments to perswade them that 'twas the Apostle Paul. Such things are treated of, in this Epistle, As Eye hath not seen, nor Ear heard, nor have entred into the Heart of man as the Deity, Offices, Sacrifice, Mediation and Grace of Jesus Christ, the most Glorious Messiah, and Union to Him by Faith; as also the Expiration of the Time allotted by God unto the Churches O­bediance to Him in their Observance of Old Testament Rites and Ceremonies; with the Doctrine of and Pre­cept for the Introduction of a great alteration there­by [Page 2] in the outward worship of the Church: for Non Submission whereunto the Jews exposed themselves to Unchurching and Destroying Dispensations: And that which the Philosophers of Old attempted in vain is here Accomplished: The Doctrine of Christ be­ing by Divine Precepts, and Directions so handled in this Epistle as to Lead Christians in the way of Spi­ritual Blessedness, unto Eternal Life,

OUR Text Presents us with one of those Divine Precepts [Be content with such things as ye have.] Wherein the Duty and Vertue Enjoyned on Christi­ans, is Contentment and its particular Object is speci­fied, viz their outward Condition, and Enjoyments, [Such things as they have.] Whence the Doctrine to be spoken unto, as the Lord shall Help, is this,

DOCT. IT is our Great and Indispensable Duty to be Content with such things as we have.

AS to this Doctrine, I shall offer something by way of Explication, something by way of Demonstration, and something by way of Application,


1. BY way of Explication. Let me shew,

1. THAT the Contentment here commanded by the Holy Ghost is a vertue and course of vertue be­longing to our Sanctification, whereby the Minds and Hearts of Christians, have and Exercise a suitable Ac­quiescence and Rest in the outward Lot, that by the Lords Wise and Holy Providence is assigned unto them

2. TO set forth the nature of this Contentment, we use the words Acquiescence and Rest, for content­full [Page 3] things give Rest, and Delight also, Prov. 2913. Which are some what more than bare Patience in our condition, and cannot be without a Judicious Appro­bation of it; nor yet without some Degrees of Love and Joy. God hath given us Temporals to Enjoy, to some more and some less; now our Duty is to be satisfyed with them, accounting them enough for us, and best for us, for the Present time: We should therefore suck the sweet of them, and so slack our Thirst with them, as not to be Insatiably craving after more: and not be so uneasy, that we have so little, as not to be able to take the Comfort of what we have. We should Labour to Attain and Pre­serve such an even, quiet, unperplexed frame and dis­position of Spirit, as wherein we may with felicity serve, and enjoy our God, our selves, and our Neigh­bours, in our Enjoyment and improvement of that Portion of His Blessings, that God Gives us in Hand, keeping our selves in an equal Poise, in our whole course, in every Condition: This it is to be Con­tented. Thus Contented Jacob judged what he had to be enough for him for time present, Gen 33. 11. And thus Contented Paul saith, I have enough, or I am full, without any covetous uneasiness because he had no more, Act 20. 33. Phil 4 11, 18.

3. THE Primary and most proper Seat & subject of this Concentment is the Sanctified Soul, 1 Cor. 16. 18. Prov. 29.17. Yet is the whole man and whole course of Life to be Subjected to, and managed by the Imperate Acts of it. Eccl 5 18, 19, 20.& 9 8. Thus it is when we Enjoy life. As in Eccl. 9.9.Marg.

4 THE special Object of this Contentment is the Christians Temporal Condition and the Accidents [Page 4] thereof, [Such things as he has:] which is to be the more Critically Remarked, because he has and exerciseth also a Superiour Contentment of a nobler, order respecting the most Divine, and Bearisical Ob­ject: Viz God in Christ, Psal 36 7,. 9 & 63 5 & 73. 25, 26. Now as to the special Object of his inferiour Contentment, we must carefully distinguish between a Christians Temporal Condition and Circumstances, as considered Naturally and Absolutely, and the same as considered Relatively and Conjunctly with the Will, Wisdom, Holiness, Goodness, Power, and Pro­vidence of God and Christ, Ordering, Dispensing, and Disposing them. for, and unto those Blessed Ends, His own Glory, and His Childrens Good, 2 Sam. 16 10, 12 Under the latter Consideration the most Afflictive outward Condition is an object of con­tentment to a Christian, Jam. 1. 2, 3. Tis all Joy. When it is not so, under the former, Heb 12. 11. And in the former Consideration, separate from the latter, the most flourishing Temporal Condition is so full of Emptiness and Wretchedness, as to be too di­minitive an object for the satisfying and contentful regards of an Heaven born Soul, Prov. 27.20.Eccl. 6. 11.and 5 10. Thus while under the latter Consideration we ought to be contented, tho' op­pressed with most direful obloquy. penury, thraldom, and misery, which the Hand of Heaven layes upon us, for our Good, Phil. 1. 13,—19. Yet at the same time with regard to the former consideration we are to Imploy our Patience upon our ill Circumstances, and our Prayers and Paines to make way for an Al­teration of them, for the time to come, Matth 6. 13. And that without any inconsistency at all; for thus without [Page 5] without any; kind of Inconsistency: doth a Prince engaged in War, levy mercenary Troops, they be­ing necessary to him, tho' very burthensome, while at the same time, he takes all possible care to put himself into a capacity speedily to disband them, be­cause so burthensome.

5 ALL rest in our Temporal Enjoyments is not Vertuous and Commendable, but only that Acquies­sence and Rest that is suitable. The City and Inner Temple of our Contentment are the Lords, and must be kept Sacred, and Inviolate for Him accordingly; yet the Benefits of common Providence may and must be entertained in the Suburbs. Outward things are not to have the respect of the End, but of the Means; they are not the Fountain, but Cisterns; not the living Spring, but the Conduit­pipes. Compared with God, the most substantial and immense Being and Good, they are Nothings; yet is there something valuable in those nothings, not Unworthy of a Thankful Regard and Secondary sa­tisfaction, so far as they are made capable of Inservi­ency to our Enjoying and Glorifying of God. But it a man possessed of Wit, Health, Wealth, Fame and Friends, should superlatively Rest and be Satis­fyed in them, as in things Supreamly or absolutely good, he were not a contented Christian but a con­tented Idolater; like the Contented Epicure in Luk. 12. 19. Thou hast much Goods, Soul! take thine ease, &c.

6. THERE is a Negative Contentment as well as a Positive. And so not to be Discontent, not to repine, fret, murmur, vex, storme, sink in discourage­ment or distraction, not to rise in rebellion any ways [Page 6] against God, and not to be immoderate, unjust, un­charitable, inordinate in our Desires to gain from our Neighbours, and to get up with them, or above them, is Contentment, Yet Contentment takes in more than all this, even a direct proper positive quiet­ness and composure, rest and satisfaction and com­placence of Spirit, yea even a frame, habit, disposition, and course of such satisfaction, and complacence, wherein each power and faculty of the Soul has some share; whence, it a man is satisfyed in his Judgment that his present outward condition is best for him, yet cannot for his Life, rule his Thoughts, his Will, his Affections, but that they are turbulent, tho' some what of the Soul has some Contentment, yet the man must pass for a Discontented man for tho' he be convinced of, yet is he not Converted from his Discontent:

7. THERE is in all true Repentance a vertuous Discontentment: and a mans vicious contrariety un­to God, is the Proper and Primary Object of it, and the Things which the Apostle Metonimically calls Lust, 1 Job.2. 16 as being thro' the Curse, the fewel and incentives of it; the Secondary; Ezek 36 31. Eccl.7. 26. And more bitter than Death. Yet our want of Grace, sense of inward Corruption, continual conflicts with Satan, and frequent foils by him; tho' they ought to Disquiet our Hearts from taking any rest in our Sins, and carnal selves, and should make us Humble, and vile in our own eyes; yet ought not to disquiet our Hearts so far as to pro­voke us to impatiency and murmuring at our pre­sent condition, or to any Repining against God, (who has permitted the same for a greater good [Page 7] than the Suffering of Sin to be in us is in evil:) Nor may we long for such a Change of our Present Condition, as is for the Time, Means, Manner and Circumstances of it, not warranted in the Word of God, but should rather chide our Souls for it Psal. 49 5. &42. 1. 5. Lam. [...]. 27. 29

8. THE Contentment Demanded in our Text, is a frame and course of vertue belonging to Sanctifica­tion; and is a sign to him that has it, that he is in a State of spiritual Salvation; and Christ by His holy Spirit dwelling in His Saints strengthneth them here­unto Phil 4 11, 12, 13. And contrary covetings belong not to Saints, Eph. 5. 3. Indeed there are some sorts of Contentment, that are not from Sanctification: As,

1. THAT which is only from the natural Rel­licks of some Umbrages of the Image of God in a man's Soul, which he is born with. True Content is from the New Birth.

2. THAT that results only from the good Tem­perament of the Body, and from a Sanguine or an evenly mixed complexion, helping to allay or rein in the furious Extravagancies of the Soul: This riseth not in zeal tho' God be dishonoured, but has equal Tranquillity in natural and moral good & evil.

3. THAT which is from want of occasions of Discontent, and from the efficacy of a contented Edu­cation. And Oh! how good and sweet are some while they are pleas'd! but little see what an ill fer­ment is in their Hearts. 2 King 8 13.

4. THAT which is from the gifts of the Spirit, and from common Grace, which some have in an Extraordinary degree, above others, for the common [Page 8] good: and that which is from Restraining Influences only giving check to Discontents, and inordinacies. Gen.20. 6 Exod34. 24.

5 THAT which is from Hypocrisy. The Con­tented Hypocrite, he feigns, or forceth a Content­ment, not for Gods sake, but for the sake of other things: for the sake of ease of Conscience; or that so he may pass for an extraordinary Saint among men, or that he may oblige God, (as he thinks he may) to be more favourable to him, This is but feigned Obedience Psal 66 3 Marg. and a Counterfeit,

6 THAT such is from strong Reasonings only, as the Stoick's: And that famed General's who re­pined not at the Slaughter of his Son, because he be­gat him Mortal

7. THAT which is from a Deifying of things Temporal; when men say to the works of their Hands, [...]e are our Gods. and rest in them. None of there sorts of Contentment with things Temporal, belong to Sanctification, or can assure a man of Sal­vation: for there is one fundamental Deficiency in them all; Degenerate Nature is not Regenerate. The Contentment therefore in our Text is a thing specifically differing from them all. 'Tis from the Second Adam, 'Tis of a New Creation; Its Principle is Supernatural; Its Impulsive cause syeth beyond Self and all Creatures, Yet is it not forced but free; not flitting and by fits and starts, and in some good moods only, but of a constant and uniform Tenor, which it generally keeps tho' Wind and Tide and Tempest make against it, I mean the Tide & Wind of ill temper, natural melancholy, violent temptations from Satan, and Provocations from men, and cross Providences of God Phil 4.11, 13. [Page 9] 9ly and Lastly (and so I have finished all that I shall at present hint by way of Explication) The contraries to this Contentment, are Uneasiness in our Condition and Enjoyments, Anxious Solicitude and carefulness, eager thirsting and coveteousness, envy at those that have more, immoderate Grief, Disquiet­ment, Sourness, and self Vexings and Impatience, whence we cannot take the full and Lawful and Proper Sweet and Comfort of what we do enjoy; nor can improve the same to Gods Glory, and Ser­vice, and our own [...] others Good. These and all other Branches, Acts and Fruits of Discontentment are as contrary to Contentment as Darkness to Light, and Death to Life. See for this, the immediately pre­ceeding Context, and Compare Discontented Ahabs and Israels frame with Pauls 1 King.21 4. Numb.4. Exod. Chap.15 & 17. But I proceed to the De­monstrations.

1. AND in the first place, let me say, That what­soever is charged by a Command, must be discharged as a Duty, God has called us to Contentment The same God which has bid us to Believe, hath bidden us to be Content, as in the Text. Our Passions may not keep in uproar, after that He hath said, Peace, be still, you will not please Me, if you be not pleased with My Providences. 'Till God dispenseth with his own Command, our Discontentment will be Disobedience: And to be Contented, will be our most indisputable, and indispensable Duty.

2. 'TIS doubtless our Duty to Imitate the Perfecti­ons of the Deity, as near as we can. We were made in the Divine Image and Likeness and by the Grace of God in Christ, we are yet allow'd to try to mend [Page 10] ourhand by this Fair and Glorious Copy, Gods blessed Life is a Life of Contentment: And the more Contented our Life is, 'tis the mere like His. We should aime to be and doe just as God would be and do, were He in our nature, in our Persons; and how that is, we have Learn'd from the Life of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was God in our Nature; and God requires that we take Him for our great Example, Job.13. 15. 1 Pet. 2. 21. 1 Cor. 11. 1. Eph.5 1. Now you never find Him in a pining, repining con­dition; but Enjoying Himself, and giving thanks to His Father. You never find Him discomposed with discontent, tho' He had not a house to lay His Head in, nor a Penny before hand to pay His Tax with.

3. THE Providence of God and of our Lord Je­sus Christ deserves this Deference and respect from us. The Dispenser & Disposer of our Temporal Con­dition is infinitely above us: Had it been an Equal, we might with some colour of mason take Discontent, in case things went not to our means; but there is no contending with, or taking offence at Him, Luk.7. 23. Shall mortal man contend with God? Job 40. 2. The Disposer of our Temporal Condition, He is one who has an absolute Right to, and Dominion over us. We must be still, and know that He is God. We have not that right to kill a Worm that He has to take away our Lives, The Omnipotent Former and Sustainer of all things is worthy of an Absolute Authority over them, and that none of His Creatures should take Distaste or Discontent at any of His Pro­vidences, Moreover, He is One against whom it is in vain to strive. His Counsels shall stand, and He will [Page 11] Have and dot all His Pleasure, all the opposing Force, Policy and Discontent of Men and Devils not with­standing, He is one, into the Hands of whose de­stroying Justice we are all forfeited by the First Sin: Can He then wrong us if He would? but such is His Infinite Righteousness, that He would as soon Cease to be God, as once begin to injure the mean­est of His Creatures. He is one that doth all things infinitely well, and there is no mending of His work. Shall the Actions of a man in reputation for Wis­dom, and Goodness be contentfull unto us, tho' we understand them not, only on account of our Con­fidence in him, that he himself understands what he doth? And shall Infinite Goodness be treated with Distrust and Discontent? Knows He not how to order all things in the Best way that can be? and is He not infinitely above the influence of all possible Temptations to do otherwise? Besides, O Christians! He is a Friend of Yours, and a Great one, that has unspeakably obliged you with His innumerable kindnesses and inexpressible: Now if a Great Friend should Palpably wrong you, and harm you, would you not say, this Man has deserv'd that we put up all injuries patiently, on account of his former bene­fits? Suppose then your Great Friend in Heaven should be Unjust to you (which yet he cannot be) His infinite Kindnesses have sufficiently obliged you to forbear all Harsh Resentments: and to treat His Providences with Content. Yet again, He who is a most Jealous God, and Saviour, gives His Presence in and with all His Providences towards us, Schollars are sure to be corrected if they continue their Confusions before their Masters face; and he [Page 12] no sooner comes in sight, but they are an Hush'd into a good decorum: O! then, how should the Lords Jealous Eye Hush and Compose all His Dis­ciples, and allay, and quash all unruly Storms in their Distempered Hearts! This Deference we surely owe to Providence, tho' Discontent denyes the debt; striving to disparage, and blaspheme the Cre­ditor; as when a man thinks and says, I am in such straits, as I shall never get out of; I shall certainly be undone; and now his Head and Heart are so disturb­ed, that he is not fit to Pray, to Read, to Hear, to Meditate; his thoughts tumultuating, like an Army in Disorder; his Affections murmuring, and making a Mutiny, at the condition that Providence has Placed him in; he then instead of Vouching for, and pro­claiming of the Divine Faithfulness and Goodness, and Doing all that he doth unto the Glory of God, the Highest and Last end of all things, he practically and treasonably calls God an hard and intollerable Master, and is so far from drawing men to a love and relish of Religion, as by him Professed, as the very sight of his carriage is enough to turn any or­dinary Stomach, even from Godliness it self. But Providence deserves better: and so ill to treat it is unworthy and base ingratitude.

4. THOUGH our goodness extends not unto God (to add unto his Essential blessedness) yet it may and ought to extend unto our Neighbours, to­wards whom if we would be good, 'tis necessary that we be Contented in our selves, forasmuch as the Discontented Person either is slack, and dull, or sot­tish, or sullen, and oftentimes as it were dead to [Page 13] himself, and lifeless and useless unto others; or other­wise he is like a distracted man, not good to others while he is not himself; or else being uneasy under his temporal circumstances is tempted to take irregular courses to mend them, and so he proves a pernicious Instrument, wronging his Neighbour very much by Exaction, and much more by the infectiousness of his Example.

BUT the Language and Carriage of a Contented Christian, is so humble, and patient, and thankful, and cheerful, and just, and usefull, and refreshing, as to render him a very active, exemplary, and universal Blessing,

5. DOTH not even nature it self, as well as Scripture Teach a man to Love, and do good unto himself. He whose Charity begins not at home, is worse than an Infidel. A Christian's regular self­love is the Rule and measure to direct his Love and Beneficence to his Neighbour, Matth.19. 19. Now the Christian that loves himself, will find that his great Concern next unto his contenting of his God, is to satisfy and content himself: for it is in and by Patience, and Contentment that a man Possesses his own Soul, and comfortably Enjoyes himself, as well as his God, and fellow Creatures. Luk.21. 19. Discontent is a monstrous Unnaturalness towards a mans self, as well as Impiety towards his God. Nor is it more impious and unnatural than absurd, and unreasonable: the Discontented Christian is continu­ally running counter to himself, his real End, and his present way being quite contrary, while he pur­sues his Satisfaction by Dissatisfaction, and his blessed­ness [Page 14] by discontent the great contradictory thereof. Those that have had any considerable Experiences of this Evil, can tell you how Discontent distracts the Heart in duty and worship, weakens the hands, so that men of might cannot find their hands, Runs a man into a world of Evil. Is the spring of hard Thoughts, sullen Silence, wretched disputings, un­thankfulness to God, envy at others, contention, and unconscionable dealing with our Neighbours, and hardness to forgive injuryes, 'tis an inlet to fury, evil wishes, execrations against ones self, and the persons, and things of others. No Passion produc­eth stronger and more fatal inconveniences, than this doth, by causing obstructions of the Spirits, pressure of Heart, wasting of Strength, and driness of Bones, and Exhausting of nature; clouding the Counte­nance, stopping the Voice, troubling the Bowels, and disordering the whole frame, as well as taking off the Chariot Wheels of man, and causing him to drive on very Heavily.

MOREOVER, it provokes and drives away the Holy Spirit of God: Two great men Saul and Ahab found it so: And sets open the Gates and Doors to the Devil. Judas found it so. And is a notorious inlet to the most execrable Self Murther, yea [...] also unto the most damnable Blasphemy, and most impardonable Sin against the Holy Ghost. Had many of the Pharisees been (as John the Baptist was) Contented that Christ should increase and them­selves should decrease, They had never Committed that Great Transgression Most certain it is, no ex­ternal hardships and calamities can [...] a Christian so much harm, as his internal discontent. Now [Page 15] when God wishes him all beatifical & Saving good, why should he so wickedly Harm himself? He that is Content with what he has, tho' he meets with many Crosses, is like a man that when it is cold, dark, and stormy abroad, has Fire and Light within doors, He may be a beggar without, but has a Kingdom within. A Poor, and a Sick and a Bereav­ed man, is like one who is stung only through the skin, but he that is Discontent is like one stung through the Heart. Stop we the leak of Discontent in our Souls, and no Ocean-waters of trouble can mortally hurt us. Prov.18. 14. Phil.4 9—12.

6. WHAT shall I say more? If it be attainable we ought to Labour to obtain it. Indeed Perfecti­on in Degrees of Grace and Holiness is not attaina­ble by us in this Life, yet who dare say that God has lost His Right to enjoyn, what man has lost his Power to perform, or that 'tis not our indisputable and indispensible Duty to Labour after and strive for even perfection of Obedience? Mat.5 48. 2 Cor.7 1. Yet when a commanded Duty and Vertue is in a great Degree attainable, our neglect thereof is signally criminal and atrocious, as [...] without all colour of Excuse; and thus it is in regard of the Contentment now set before us, for most certain it is, that some Christians have At­tained, even in this Life, (and in the midist of very changeable and very terrible dispensations of Provi­dence as to their outward condition,) very great measures, and most eminent degrees of Contentment. Phil4. 11. Psal16 5, 6.

MOREOVER, Our blessed and dearest Lord [Page 16] Redeemer having dearly purchased it for Believers, even by His own Blood, Offer'd and Engaged it in His glorious Gospel, and His Eternal Spirit being Officially concerned, and daily Waiting and Ready to Work it in Us; whence it becomes Attainable union us; Therefore that we may not Incur the hor­rid Guilt of vilely Trampling upon the Mediator of the Covenant, the Grace of the Covenant, the Blood of the Covenant, and the Holy Spirit of the Covenant, in is, and cannot but be our Indispensa­ble Duty to Be and Labour to be Content with such Things as we have.

BUT I proceed to the APPLICATION:


1. THIS Doctrine may be improved for Con­viction of the Sinfulness of the Sin of Discontent­ment, which is so directly contrary to Gods Com­mand.

2. FOR the Reproof of such Christians, as give way to it, who have reason to be deeply humbled for it before the Lord: foresmuch as they could ne­ver wallow in the mire of this iniquity, but for some of these criminal Causes; as namely,

1. THAT they want due Consideration: they consider nor, as they ought to doe, the weight of the Command to be Content; the worth of the Grace of Contentment, nor the woe of those that want it; they consider not how much their Discontent disables them from Heavenly Devotion to God, Exemplary Use­fulness to men, and from the Exercise and Increase of Holiness and Comfort in themselves; they con­sider not the High dishonour they doe to God, the [Page 17] terrible Stabs they give to their own Consciencer, and the perniciousness of their Examples unto their Neighbours; they consider not that God Hears all their murmurings, nor how causeless and unreaso­nable they are, nor what a bitter Repentance they will cost them, er'e they have their Pardon Sealed for the same.

2. PRIDE runs too high. Where Affliction sits too Heavy, there Sin sits too light. The Lan­guage of this disdainful Sin is, Where am I a Dog, to be put off with such Crumbs? But the Humble man will be contented with a Little; accounting him­self less than the least Mercy. Gen. 32, 10 And he that is in his own sense the Chief of Sinners, will be far from fretting, when punished far less then his Iniquities have deserved. 1 Tim.1. 15 Phil.4. 11. Ezra 9.

3. HOPES are too carnal; Anchoring on the Sandy Ground of Temporals; where meeting with nothing but disappointments, they are Horsed down into the Tempestuous Sea of Discontent. Even hope deferred doth make the Heart Sick. Prov.13. 12. Much more hope destroyed. Act.16. 19.

4. FAITH runs Low, both Faith of Depen­dance and Faith of Assurance; and Divine Hope failes also. No man can Quiet himself duely without Faith and Hope Psal.131. 2, 3. Perpetual Doubt­fulness and Uncertainry about a mans main con­cernments is very Discontentful: No perfect Peace, till our minds are stayed on the Lord. Isa. 26 3, 4.

5. MEN are too Covetous, Now Covetous­ness [Page 18] Eats out all Contentment. He that could say, I have coveted no mans Silver, was the man that had Learned, in every Estate to be content. Act 20 33. Phil 4. 11. He that has not his Conversation without coveteousness, can never be contented with such things as he has. But Poor men say, They are not cove­tous, for alas! they have nothing to be covetous office but yet they desire and cover when they have nothing, Prov 13. 3 and oftentimes more than the Rich. Rich [...] also, They are not covetous, for every body knows, they have no need to be coveteous; they have enough, Gen.23. 6 Yet oyl and fuel will put out fire, as soon as Riches will Ex­tinguish covetousness. The Covetous Man is Grieved and Discontented, when he giveth or Part­eth with Temporal things; which is forbidden in Deut. 15 9, 10.

6. CHRISTIANS are full of Mistakes: And hence,

1. NECESSITIES are mistakenly multiplyed; Good Rachel grievously mistook, when she cry'd to Jacob, Give me Children or else I dy, Gen 30 1. And Jonah when his Heart murmur'd, Let me have my Gourd, or let me dy, Jonah 4 3—9 God can make His Children Spiritually happy on Earth, and Eter­nally happy in Heaven, with a very small allowance of temporal things Luk.12. 15. Poor in the world, Rich in Faith, Jam. 2. 5.

2 TEMPORALS are mistakenly magnified; The Flesh, too much Unmortified, ever consults for Ease and Plenty, and like an Horseleech, crys Give, [Page 19] Give; and men fancy if they could get such and such Things, that they see others have, they should then be happy, and thence grow discontented it they have them not. The Creature looks big; Riches and Honours, and Gay Cloaths, and Delicious Daintys are huge things in their Eyes; They repose that trust in them and expect that good from them, that they ought not; forgetting that they nourish and benefit men not by bulk, but by blessing. Mistaken discontent saith, had we more Breed, we should live better: But the four Princes, Dan.1. 12.—16. found it otherwise: Man lives not so much by Bread, as by the Word of God. The Creature can convey no more to us, than God puts into it and inables it to give: Yet if the Vehicle be but a Spoonful of Cold Water, God can put in so many Drops of the Precious, and Spirituous Elixir of His Divine Blessing, as may render that little greatly profitable, comfortable and valuable to us. Psal.37. 16. A little that a Righteous man hath is better than the Revenues of many Wicked.

3. MENS Conditions are mistakenly Considered. Afflictions are numbred by Thousands, and Millions, but Mercies by Unites, and Tens; Though the former be Inconsiderable, and the later Innumerable. A paltry Gourd weighs better with Jonah, than Life it self. Discontentments would Disband, and Flee away before the formidable Armies of the Divine Mercies, had not men (by poring only up­on their petty Crosses,) put them from their fight. Moreover mens Temporal Conditions are mistaken­ly Compared: As namely,

[Page 20] 1. WITH their Stations in this World: God hath placed me in an high Station (saith one) but I have not Means according to my Rank, and this discontents me: But is not a Christians Station here the Station of a Souldier in the Field? 2 Tim 2. 3, 4. and his Life a Warfare? What though he doth hunger, and thirst, and hath no dwelling Place? Has he not all at home? And is not his Station also that of a Stranger and Traveller? Psal.39 12. If he have enough to bear his Charges to his own Country, and Inheritance, he is well enough: Yea 'tis that of a Beggar, and such may be glad of Crumbs and Scraps.

2. WITH their Labours which are more than others. But what is Labour without Merit? The least Bit of Bread is more than God owes you. Such as have born the burden and heat of the day, have no reason to murmur, when they have more than they deserve, tho' others that have done less, should receive of free Gift as much as they.

3. WITH their Rich Neighbours, who live at Ease and Swim in Abundance, while they themselves work hard, and fare hard, and pine in misery: not considering the Thorns that grow under their Roses; and that such as have less, have less to answer for; and that the best Saints have been glad of Desarts for their Lodging, and Goat-skins for their Cloathing, and Water for their Drink, and Locusts for their food in this World: and that the most in the World are far worse of it than the Complainers.

[Page 21] 4. WITH Themselves. I was Naomi, said One, but am now Marah; I was full of Wealth and Health, and Friends, but now Empty, I live just from hand to mouth, by my day-labour; now I am Strong, but when Aged and Infirm, I shall Starve, saith Another: I do well to be discontent, and angry even unto Death: But they should rather say, We were Naked once, and brought nothing into this World with us; and 'tis certain we can carry nothing out: having therefore Food and Rai­ment we ought to be Content. Thus the Holy Ghost teacheth them to Argue, and Reason with them­selves, 1 Tim 6 6, 7, 8. And thus Job Contents himself, Job 1. 21. Sirs! The God who has fed you all your lives long, is not Dead yet, nor likely to die, or to grow Poor, or to grow Coveteous, or Unkind, or Careless, that you should Distrust His Providences for the future. [Mal.3. 6. I am the Lord, I Change not:] He that has Delivered, will Deliver you still, 2 Tim.4. 17, 18. Whenever He shall discern that the things which you now have will not be enough for you; He will moreover add such and such things, as He knows you will further have need of, 2 Sam, 12. 8. Matt. 6. 32. Psal.84. 11.

THUS we have shewed that the Mistakes of Christians do not seldom cause their Discontent. But what doth this Arguing reprove? Why, it Reproves Discontent, as an Inconsiderate, Proud, Carnal, Unbelieving, Coveteous, and Mistaking Humour and Distemper; Yea did not the time [Page 22] fail us, we might easily demonstrate that 'tis a filthy Phlegrean Lake, into which all Corruptions have a Current, and in which their Streams do Pond and Stagnate, sending forth most loathsome and deadly Vapours, Steams and Fumes, and Vomi­ting out whole Rivers of Nauseous, and Noxious matter that is set on Fire of Hell, greatly to the Nusance of Heaven, and as Portentous to all Coun­trys, that are under it's malign Influences, as the most Draconick Comet that ever shone in the AEther, and gave the greatest horrour unto Man­kind.

THE Third and Last USE is of EXHOR­TATION to all, to Labour and Learn to be Contented with such things as they have.

IF you were Regenerate before you were born, (as some do suppose the Prophet Jeremy and John the Baptist to have been,) yet you might have oc­casion for such an Exhortation as this, as having some Corruption remaining, notwithstanding your Regeneration. And let me tell you, that such as are of Serene, Calm, and Placid natural Tempers, and live among Kind and Peaceable Neighbours, and have Health of Body, and Vigour of Mind, and are afore-hand in the World, are so far from being out of the Gun shot of Discontentment, as that they are fatally in danger thereby, for want of timous Discovery of their Danger. Let such therefore and all others be awakened.

[Page 23] AND by way of DIRECTION!

I beseech you, in the Name of the Lord JE­SUS CHRIST, to Observe these few Rules.

1. LABOUR to Impress your Souls with a Solemn sense of its Necessity: for so long as it bears the Aspect of a matter of Indifferency unto you, whether you be Contented or no, you will pine a­way in the Iniquity of Discontent, without due use of Means, for your Deliverance: But if you see you Must be Content, then 'tis to be hop'd you will; For necessity is the Parent of Industry. And know, It is of Necessity to Please, Obey, and Glorify God, and to Obtain His favour through the Lord Jesus Christ. Yea 'tis of necessity to be Content, for 'tis His Commandment, (as in the Text:) And if it be not Obeyed, He will be greatly Provoked; and the Divine Providence will first or last carry it to you, just as you carry it to­wards Providence. O! then let that Dreadful Text sink down into your Hearts, in Psal. 18. 26. With the Froward thou wilt show thy self Froward. Remem­ber the First and Rebellious Eating of the forbidden Fruit sprang from Cursed Discontent, and Millions of Millions of Sins and Woes ever since; nor is it yet blessed with a Miscarrying Womb, and Dry Breasts.

2. JUDGE your selves severely for all your Ha­bitual and Actual Discontents of the Time past: and for all your Moral Impotency to Recover and Deliver your selves therefrom for the Time to come; [Page 24] seeking Pardon for the same, from the LORD JESUS CHRIST For if you Judge not your selves, the Lord will Judge you, 1 Cor.11 30, 31. And what is Sinfully committed by you, may be Penally confirmed upon you. He that is not deeply Humbled for his past Discontents, will fall into them again: And 'till a man be sensible that he can by no Means help himself, (he is so Proud) he will not go cut for Help to another.

3. SEEK Contentment from Heaven by the Prayer of Faith. Those that utterly want this Grace of Contentment, (I am Confident) do forget to ask it, every Day, at the Hands of the Lord, who giveth most liberally and upbraideth not. But in vain is it sought for from the Creature; while the World is so full of Discontentful Objects, as to render a genuine Contentment with them, naturally (tho' not Supernaturally) Impossible; for an abundance of the World is an increase of Vanity, Eccl 5. 10, 11. Contentment with Temporals is therefore not to be sought for from Temporals, but from GOD. And as to a due SIGHT and SENSE of the Infinite Wisdom. Goodness and Faithfulness of GOD through CHRIST, disposing and dispensing all Temporals unto us; The Holy Ghost Himself gives the same to His Saints, and Contentment together there with, as their great Comforter.

4. GIVE all Diligence to make sure of the Love of God and of Christ unto your Souls. For as a Condemned Capital Malefactor can take little Con­tent in any thing, so long as he is in Danger of his [Page 25] Life; so Peril of Eternal Ruine, by the Wrath of Almighty God, will Eat our the Comfort of Tem­poral Enjoyments; But the Love of God will sweet­en every thing, to an Hundred sold advantage, Matt.19 29. And if the Lord be YOUR Portion in the Land of the Living, (who will never fail you, nor forsake you, tho' Friends, Lands, and Life it self do leave you) you will Subsist well enough, and so will have Reason enough to be satisfyed, in every Condition.Psal.73. 26.

5. LOVE the Lord your God, and Christ your Saviour, with all your Hears; for Supream Love to and Contentment in God will Sanctify and Sub­limate your Content with the Creature, and it you Love Him, you will take all things well at His Hands; for Love thinketh, and suspecteth no Evil, 1 Cor.13. 5. And you will not then be hard to be­lieve that He is Better and Wiser than you, as in contriving His Worship and Ordinances, so in Dispensing His Providences, and that 'tis better that He have His will, than that you have your Humor; and better that you deny your selves, than that God deny Himself; and accordingly far better that your Minds be level'd and squared to your out­ward Condition, then that God should Crook your Condition to your weak and wanton Minds.

MOREOVER, if you Love Him, 'twill be your Aime, your Care, your daily Work to give Con­tentment to the Heart of God in Christ; to be God­pleasers and not men pleasers, and flesh pleasers, Gal 1. 10. and then' will be the Lords Design and Delight in all His Dispensations to give Content­ment [Page 26] to your Hearts Psal 37 4. And if He will give it you, 'tis not in the Power of the whole Cre­ation to take in from you.

6. GET and KEEP a good Conscience Sprink­led with the Blood, and Sanctified and kept by the Spirit of Christ. A Ship-wreck of a good Con­science is a Ship-wreck of Contentment; for as the best food relisheth ill, to a Feaverish Palate, so the best Temporal Condition, to the man whose Con­science is full of Guilt, and Guile, and inward An­guish. An unpurified, and unpacified, Conscience must needs make an unsatisfyed and a discontented Creature.

7. LOVE your Neighbours as your selves; and be not selfish and private Spirited; so neither will their Prosperity discontent you; nor yet the Injuries that they do unto you; while you do as much take to Heart, and Lament the Provocation, they have therein given to Almighty God, and the Guilt and Pollution they have brought upon their own Con­sciences, (whereby they have greatly hurt them­selves,) as you do Resent and Lament the mischief done to your selves

MOREOVER, If you dearly Love them, you will not easily offend, or be offended, nor be hard to be reconciled, which will redound to your Con­tentment; forasmuch as such Spirit and Practice is highly passing to Christ, and is wont to be re­warded with much of the Grace of Contentment; even as the contrary is wont to be Punished by Ju­dicially giving men over to Discontent: so woful is [Page 27] is to offend any of Christs little ones; Matth.18. 6. And as woful not to forgive them, for Christs sake, when we cant find cause to forgive them for their own; For if we forgive not men their Trespasses, neither will our Heavenly Father forgive us our Trespas­ses, Matt. 6. 15. But will commit us to the Tor­mentors, Matt.18. 34. And Unforgiven, Fearing, Disturbed, Unsatisfyed, Discontented Consciences, are no despicable Self-Tormenters.

8 VISIT, and Associate with the most Con­tented Christians, and Observe and Imitate their Ex­ample as much as you can; for, as he that walks with the Wise shall be Wise, Prov.13. 20. So he that walks with the Contented, shall be Contented; so great is the Efficacy of Sanctified Examples.

9. KEEP a Low Saile; Don't live above your Meanes; Aime not at Things too High for you, Psal 131.1, 2, Endeavour to Cut your Coat, ac­cording to your Cloath. The Pride that Prompts you, to the contrary hereunto, if it shall prevail, will inevitably run you into Undoing Discon­tentments.

10. FORBEAR Harping and Grating continu­ally upon your Crosses and Afflictions. If you rub and fret sore Places, they will be very Painful. Let not your everlasting thoughts be, Ah! what must I always be Crossed in my Designs and Hopes! always blasted in my Labours, and Enterprizes! always depress'd with Penury, and want! always Scorn'd and Reproach'd! always kept under by [Page 28] Pain, and Sickness, and Scarce ever have a Well Day for many years together! and yet must I be Contented? Ah, this is impossible and intollerable! Nay, rather make Room for such Thoughts as These: I have deserved infinitely worse, than I have Endured; and far better men than I am, have Endured much more.

"MOREOVER, God has never laid more upon me, than He has graciously enabled me to bear; I am Visited with Merciful Succours, and Mitigati­ons; I suffer nothing but what I need, and what is Best for me; and I know my most Grasious Fa­ther Knows all this; and what I Suffer for a very Short Time, is in order unto an Everlasting and Transcendent Reward; so ineffably Great towards me, is the Infinite Grace of Heaven! Yea also the Present Temporal, and Spiritual, Privative, and Posative, Personal and Relative Mercies! Enjoy, are far more in Number, and Value, than all my Afflictions are, or are ever like to be in this World; I were therefore the most Ungrateful Wretch under Heaven, If I should Indulge my self in this Unjust and Accursed Discontentment.

THUS Entertain the Loving Kindnesses of GOD and CHRIST JESUS in your Thoughts, and you will find them, by the Divine Benediction, very Fruitful of Heavenly, and Beatifical CONTENT­MENT to your Souls. AMEN.


A few Lines to fill up a Vacant PAGE.

Wo worth the Days! The Days I spent
I' th' Regions of Discontent;
Where I nought rightly understood,
But thought Good, Evil; Evil, Good;
Friends I deem'd Foes; Wrong I conceiv'd was done me;
I Swell'd & Rege'd; whole Heaven could not Atone me:
My Soul (tis known) was not my Own, so far it had undone me;
Health, Fame, and Wealth were full of Stings;
Children, and Friends were no such Things;
My wholesome food was Poison'd all,
And Hony did but Swell my Gall;
God was no God, Christ was no Christ to me,
While thus I Drave in Discontentments Sea:
Thank this first Vice, that Adam e're lost Paradice, and me,
Thus being Lost, wrong Course I Steerd,
While neither Sun, nor Stars appear'd;
Instead of Heav'n's Land, I made Hell,
I knew't by its Sulphureous Smell:
Coming on Waters, strait my LORD spy'd I;
Avaunt, Fonl Fiend! Avoid, fell Foe! Cry'd I;
So vilely I mistook, and therefore spake foul Blasphemy;
'Tis I, quoth He, Be not Afraid.
Which Words He had no sooner said,
But all my Discontents resil'd;
The R'uffling Winds, and Waves were still'd;
By what Time, Faith and Hope my Sailes could hoise,
I got safe and firm Anch'rage in a trice,
Within the very inmost Bays of blissfull Paradise.

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