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to increase our future blessedness, that the abundant grace may, through the thanksgiving of many, redound to the glory of God. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory*. Therefore let us, like him, as well as we can, rejoice in tribulations : knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamedt.

Still we are by no means to run, either wilfully or carelessly, into unnecessary troubles; or expose ourselves by indolence and neglect to unnecessary losses, failures, and disappointments: for under such we have no promise that Heaven will support us, or make us the least compensation for them. But when the hand of Providence brings them on, God is faithful, who will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able : and since he will also reward us for bearing what he strengthens us to bear, well may we count it all joy, when led by him, we fall into divers temptations ş.

Joy of this kind indeed, will unavoidably be mixed, in our weak natures, with an allay of uneasiness, and probably no small one. But be it ever so great, were it enough to extinguish for the present all feeling of pleasure and thankfulness intirely ; yet we may certainly reflect, that we have cause to be pleased and thankful, if we could. And this alone will make our

, worst sufferings much more tolerable, than if we were to consider them as so much evil without any thing to counterbalance it. Besides, by looking on every thing in so animating a view, appearances will gradually change for the better, the vigour of our * 2 Cor. iv. 15. 17.

+ Rom. v. 2-5. I 1 Cor. x. 13.

James i, 2.

minds will augment, and we shall come to smile at events, that formerly would have terrified and overwhelmed us. But this is wholly on supposition, that, with our heartiest efforts, we join our most earnest prayers for grace to help in time of need*. The attacks upon us are often sudden, violent, and long: our own abilities, we have had but too much proof, are inconsiderable; and apt to fail us the most, when we depend on them with the fullest confidence. But the divine assistance can enable us to do every thing: and, though our beginnings be feeble, yet, if we sincerely trust in God, and faithfully exert the powers he will give us, out of weakness we shall be made strong t, and not only run with patience the race that is set before us I, but greatly rejoice that now for a season, if need be, we are in heaviness through manifold temptations, well knowing the gracious intention of our heavenly Father to be this, that the trial of our faith may be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christs.

Let us therefore seriously and often recollect not only the monstrous ingratitude of repining, and the very blameable unreasonableness of despondency, but the strong obligation of being as thankful for all things, as the infirmity of our nature will permit. Indeed merely using pious words of thankfulness for afflictions, insincerely, without any correspondent sense of what we utter, would be an affectation, disgustful to men, and provoking to God. But forming our hearts, in the degree that we are able, to the real spirit of it, is one of the noblest exercises of inward devotion. As we are imperfect in every duty, we shall in all likelihood be more peculiarly imperfect in so exalted and difficult a one: and we should not be dejected on finding that we are. But neither should we ever cease either praying or endeavouring to attain, what is in truth a valuable part of the temper of Heaven. When we come thither, we shall clearly perceive the usefulness of our most exquisite sufferings here, and praise God for them to eternity; therefore let us be persuaded of their usefulness in the mean time, and begin to praise him for them

+ Heb. xi. 34. | Heb. xii. 1.

$ 1 Pet. i. 6, 7.

* Heb. iv. 16.


But these and all our praises the Apostle directs us,

III. To offer up in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

By him, as the Scripture expressly teaches, God made the worlds * : by him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible : all things were created by him and for him, and by him all things consistt. Therefore in every act of worship, his name is to be joined with that of the Father Almighty. By him have the various

. dispensations of Providence been administered from the beginning : and particularly that most important one of the restoration of fallen and corrupted man, through the tender mercy of our Godf, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son; in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of our sins g. Therefore, all our thanksgivings ought to commemorate the source of all our blessings. Honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God through thy blood, out of every * Heb. i. 2.

+ Col. i. 16, 17. Luke i. 78.

Col. i. 13, 14. §

kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation*. By him also, was the knowledge of their duty and hopes revealed to mankind: by him the day-spring from on high visited us to give light to them that sat in darkness, and in the shadow of death, and guide our feet into the way of peacet. Through the spirit of Christ, which was in them f, the prophets of the Old Testament directed and cheered the earlier ages : his own personal instructions much more abundantly enlightened the Apostles : and the succession of teachers, which he appointed, hath conveyed the glad tidings of his Gospel down to us, and will to the world's end. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gifts.

Reasoning hath bewildered men in multitudes of errors, and led them into very little truth. It could not lead them into any certainty of those truths, which were of the greatest importance to sinners : pardon, grace, and eternal happiness. It could not assure us of that comfortable doctrine of the text, that we have cause to thank God for every thing which befalls us. For how should the wisest of men attain, by the mere exercise of his own faculties, to know, whether it be possible in the nature of things, and fit upon the whole, for the Supreme Being to order all events in such a manner, as that every one of them shall be for the benefit of every good person? we may wish this indeed; we may hope it; and it is the most glorious hope, that we are capable of: but a ground of firm reliance can be only from the gracious declarations of our blessed Lord, or his authorised servants : and we are strictly bound to ask and receive this and every bounty from above, as believers in him. Justly then

+ Luke i. 78, 79. : 1 Pet. 10, 11,

§ 2 Cor. ix. 15.

Rev. v. 13. 19.

doth St. Paul direct us: whatsoever ye do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him*. And again: in every thing give thanks : for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ concerning you t. Suitably to which precepts, St. Peter represents it as the great end of our whole behaviour that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ I. By him therefore, as the Epistle to the Hebrews exhorts, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, giving thanks to his name ş. His merciful purpose in what he hath done for us, and what he hath taught us, is that we may be happy, not only hereafter but even here. These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation but be of good cheer ; I have overcome the world ||. He underwent on our account the most dreadful of all afflictions, for this reason amongst others, to leave us an example that we should follow his steps [, and look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, that we may not be wearied and faint in our minds **; but rejoice in as much as we are partakers of Christ's sufferings, that when his glory shall be revealed, we may be glad with exceeding joy tt.

And now, were but all, who profess Christianity, careful to qualify themselves for looking on the various occurrences of life, whether prosperous or adverse, as tokens of God's kind purposes towards them for the sake of his dear Son, and conscientious in paying him sincerely suitable acknowledgments : how void would they be of resentment to each other; how full of pity to such as would injure them, Col. iii. 17.

# 1 Pet. iv. 11. Heb. xiii. 15. || John xvi. 33. q 1 Pet. ii. 21. ** Heb. xii. 2, 3.

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tt i Pet. iv, 13.

+ Thess. v. 18.

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