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To proceed, We should confider humane Life is flenderly fenc'd, Rugged Impreffions are unavoidable, and we lye terribly expos'd to the Incurfions of Pain. After Adam's Tranfgreffion the Privilege of Immortality went off, and our Bodies were no longer impregnable: The Sentence of Death brought Weaknefs and Paffive Nature upon us; and there's no recovering the firft Conftitution till after the Refurrection: While our Bodies are thus unfortify'd, there will be no living without Struggle and Conteft: And which way can the Shock be born, and the Ground maintain'd, without Patience to fupport us? Sometimes Afflictions come thick and heavy, and beat hard upon the Mind: They are fent to examine our Temper, and prove our Refignation. Amongst these may be reckon❜d unexpected Poverty, the Rage of Fevers, and the Racking of the Stone; the Anguifh and Naufeoufness of Ulcers, and the Lofs of those we lov'd beft. And here the Difference between Good and Bad People is clearly difcover'd: The Latter fly out into loud Complaints, and fometimes expoftulate to Blafphemy; whereas the other receive the Stroke with Submiffion, and bring no charge of Rigour against Providence.
vidence. Thus the Metal is tryed by the Ecclus. ii, melting, and when right twill fhine from the Furnace. Thus Job's Virtue was put to the proof, and came off brighten'd, and burnifh'd. What Engines did the Devil play at this holy Man? What various Calamities were pour'd in? And with what Force was he batter'd ? His Wealth is fnatch'd and destroy'd; a Tempeft blows down the Houfe, and buries his Children under the Ruins: And, which is harder, thefe Misfortunes come together; there's no Interval between the Blows; no Time for Breath and Recovery: To which we may add how deeply he fuffer'd in his Perfon: His Body was all Sores and Pu trefaction: The Pain and the Spectacle was Frightful; and he feem'd only kept alive to be Tortur'd. And to fet a fharper edge upon the Affliction, the Devil prompts his Wife to provoke him to Blafpheme. However, Job's Patience continued unbroken: Heftemm'd the Tide, and rid out the Storm, and gave Glory to God when the worst lay upon
And to illuftrate the Advantage of Patience the better, let us confider the Mischief of a Contrary Temper. And under this Head we fhall find 'tis part
of the Devil's business to disconcert our Mind, to ruffle our Humour, and blow us up to Rage and Paffion. Let us take our rife a little from the Original of things: Thus the Devil's Pride made him impatient: He could not bear the feeing Man in the Image of God: Thus he destroy'd himself in the first place, and then endeavour'd to drag others after him. Adam too loft his Patience before his Paradife: He grew intemperately eager to taste the Forbidden Fruit: By this Heat of Defire, this Failure in Forbearance, he difobeys the Orders from Above, forfeits. the Divine Favour, and draws Death upon him. Cain was difturb'd to find Abel's Sacrifice beft receiv'd; he could not endure a Preference against himself: This Thought made Juftice give way, broke the Tyes of Nature, and work'd him to murther his Brother. Had Efau commanded his Appetite, and born the Cravings of his Stomach, his Dignity had not been funk, nor his Birthright barter'd away for a few Lentils. What's the cause the Ifraelites forget the Miracles which fubfifted them, caft the Golden Calf, and revolt to Idolatry? Is it not their Impatience at Mofes's Abfence? The fame Disorder feiz'd their Pofterity,
and ruin'd their Nation afterwards. The Meffages fent by God Almighty difpleas'd them: They could not bear the Prophets Reproofs. Thus they overlook'd their Commiffion, and kill'd those who endeavour'd to preferve them: 'Twas the fame Spirit which brought them to the last Ex= cefs, and imbrued their Hands in the Blood of our Saviour. 'Tis Impatience which brings Herefy into the Church, contemns Authority, and rebels upon Difcipline, which difturbs the Harmony amongft Christians, and comes ( forward to Hatred and Hoftility. In fine, Patience is not more glorious and beneficial, than the Contrary Quality is deftructive. Having therefore weigh'd the Advantage and Mischief of both thefe, let us chufe the Right Side of the Alternative, exert in the Vertue, and poffefs our Souls in Patience, as Christ has commanded us.
And here we may obferve the Duty fpreads a great way, and runs out far and wide in Practice. Patience is feldom long without Exercise. No good Quality comes oftner up with In ftance and Opportunity. It fprings from one Root, but divides into many Branches: The Fountain is fingle,
but the Streams very numerous.