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Main Requifites of a Christian, and turn Infidel in a Society of Believers? What an Advantage 'tis to take leave of the World we may learn from thefe Words of our Saviour, If ye lov'd me you would rejoice, because I faid, I go to the Father. From whence we may collect we should be rather glad, than much troubled, when our dear Friends are taken from us. Upon this Perfuafion the Apostle speaks Philip. i. thus to the Philippians, To me to live is Chrift, and to dye is Gain. He reckons it the Greatest Advantage to be free from the Snares of the Devil, the Preffures of Life, and the Frailties of humane Na


But fome of you it feems are troubled that the Mortality fhould spread without Diftinction, and feize the Christians: Asifa Man turn'd Christian to be privileg'd from Adverfity, and enjoy the World with Exemption: And not rather to have Hardship only in Hand, and Happiness in Profpect. What wonder is it if we are vifited with the Plague no lefs than the Heathen? Our Creed is no Prefervative againft Difeafes: Our Bodies are not fortify'd by being Baptiz'd, Religion makes no fuch Alteration in the Conftitution; our Nature is the fame with that of Infidels: And as long as we have



have the fame Flesh and Blood with
other People, we must be fubject to the
fame Misfortunes. 'Tis true, we ought
not to have a Heathen Mind, but a Hea
then Body is not to be avoided. There-
fore till this Corruptible fball have put on
Incorruption, and this Mortal fhall put on Im-
mortality, we must be contented to go on
with the reft of Mankind, and take our
fhare in the common Calamities. We
live all under one Sun and Moon, and
'tis in vain to expect a Particular In-
fluence. Thus when the Seafons are
barren, and the Earth yields no Increase,
the Famine goes through, and makes no
Difference on the Quality of Perfons:
Thus when a Town is invefted, and ta-
ken by Storm, Wealth and Liberty are
fwept away, and the Ruin is univerfal.
Drought, when it comes, burns up on
I Man's Field as well as another: And
when a Ship runs upon a Rock, a Paffen-
gers good Perfuafion will hardly protect
him from the Fate of the reft. Fevers,
Gouts, and all other Diseases, find us out
no less than other People. And as we
carry the common Nature, we must ex-
pect to be equally expos'd, and feel the
Infirmities belonging to it.

Further, if a Christian recollects the
Tenor of his Religion, he'll understand



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Fcclus. ii.

more rough Accidents are likely to attend him, than other People: For the Devil will be more vigilant to make his affault. And that we may be the better 7., upon our guard, the Son of Syrach gives excellent advice: My Son, if thou_come to ferve the Lord, prepare thy Soul for Temptation Set thy Heart aright, and conftantly endure, and be patient when thou art changed to a Low Eftate. For Gold is tryed in the Fire, and acceptable Men in the FurBace of Adverfity. Thus Abraham and Job. i. Fob went through very fevere Tryals, without Defpondence or Complaint. 'Tis the Cuftom and Character of Holy Men, and no more than their Duty too, to refign to Providence, and bear Adverfity with Refolution. The Jews frequently fail'd in this Point, and were punith'd for't. The Judgments these People brought upon themselves by their Impatience were written for our example: And therefore we are precaution'd by 1 Cor. x. the Apostle not to murmur, as fome of them murmur'd, and were deftroy'd of the Deftroyer. The Hardships the Ifraelites fuffer'd at their Coming out of Egypt were defign'd for Difcipline. This Mofes tells Deut.viii. them they are not to forget: Thou shalt remember all the Way which the Lord thy God led thee thefe Forty Years, in the Wil


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derness, to bumble thee, and to prove thee; to know what was in thine Heart; whether thou wouldeft keep His Commandments or no. And He humbled thee, and fuffer'd thee to bunger. Thou shalt alfo confider in thy Heart, that as a Man chaftens his Son, fo the Lord thy God chaftens thee. Beved, the Fear of God, and the Expectations of another Life, ought to prepare us againft whatever happens. If we lofe our Livelihood and Eftates; if we lye under the Anguifh of acute Difeafes; if our nearest Relations are fnatch'd from us; we should look on these things as Matter of Exercife: When the Ground is thus rough we fhould not stumble, but ftand the firmer. A Christian is not to faint, and give in, but fhew his Strength in the Struggle: 'Tis his part to defpife the prefent Trouble, in Hopes of the future Reward; the Battel precedes the Victory of course; and Honour must be earn'd before 'tis beftow'd: 'Tis a Storm that discovers the Master's Skill, and a Fight is the best Test of a Soldier's Valour: He that has not look'd Danger in the face can pretend to nothing without Vanity To ftand the Shock is the Proof of Courage: A Tree deep-rooted will bear the Strefs of a Tempeft, and a Ship well ribb'd may be batter'd, but


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not bor'd, by the Waves. And to quit the Illuftration, neither Watching, nor Fasting, Cold nor Nakedness, Infamy nor Scourging, Shipwrack nor Dungeon, 2 Cor. xi. Perils by Water, nor Perils by Land, could difcourage Saint Paul from executing his Miffiono, his Strength was made perfect in Weakness; in all these things he was 2 Cor.xii. more than Conqueror. When Sickness, or Rom. viii. Famine, Ravage, and Defolation, rufh in, then the Force of the Mind, the Vigour of good Principles, are throughly examin'd; then, if we continue firm and faithful, we fhall receive the Crown. In Rev. ii. fine, this is the Difference between us Christians, and the rest that know not God: They murmur, and complain loudly, when Misfortune lies upon them; whereas a Calamity has no fuch effect upon us: The Blow does not beat us off our Duty: We rather rife upon the Oppofition, and ftand the ftronger. To inftance in the prefent Cafe, When Difeafes are let loofe; when the Crafts of Blood is fpoil'd, and the Humours turn hoftile upon Life: When the Bowels are excoriated, and the Conftitution carry'd off in a Flux: When the Rage of the Malignity breaks out in burning Tumours: When the Veins are ftrain'd, and the Stomach batter'd with vomit


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