THE SECOND PART. The Sufficiencie of it in it Selfe.
HItherto of the maine Point, to wit, that Godlinesse is great Gaine. Now because this Proposition will not either easily enter into mens mindes, or sinck so∣dainely into their hearts: The Holy Ghost by the Apostle is content to bring a double proofe of it.
The one drawne from the time present; because it is able alone to giue a man Contentment here, that which all the world else is not able to do, ex∣pressed in this verse:
The other taken from the time to come; because it will continue with and abide by a man for euer hereafter, that which no worldly wealth, or ought else in the world can doe, implied in the a next verse.
Godlinesse with Contentment, or, bwith Self-suffi∣ciencie: For so it is word for word in the Originall; and the word so properly importeth. As if he had said: Godlinesse and Contentment are two inseparable Companions, that continually harbour and keepe housePage 42togither, that go euer hand in hand the one with other: so that a man can not haue the one without the other, he cannot want the one if he haue the other. There is no true Godlinesse, where there is not Contentment of Minde; no true Contentment of Minde, where Godlinesse is not.
So that the Apostle seemeth to reason on this wise.
That which of it selfe is sufficient to content the minde of Man, that is true Gaine, and great Gaine indeed: For it is no small matter that will suffice to stay and settle Mans minde.
But Godlinesse is of it selfe sufficient to content the Minde of Man, and doth euer bring true Contentment with it to him that hath it.
Godlinesse therefore is true Gaine and great Gaine indeede.
Hence then may we deduce these three Conclu∣sions to be considered of in order:
1. That Contentment of Minde is a most pre∣tious Treasure.
2. That Godlinesse alone can produce and pro∣cure this Contentment.
3. That true Contentment is an vndoubted Ar∣gument of Godlinesse.
For the first: c Contentment of Minde is an vn∣valuable, an inestimable Treasure. For it is that in∣deed that maketh Riches to be Riches. dWho is rich, saith one well, but he that liueth content with his e∣state? who is poore, but he that neuer hath enough.e That is true wealth indeed, that freeth a man from want. But f what w•••th call we that, when a man Page 43 is alwaies in want? Or g how is not that man al∣waies in want, that is not cōtent with what he hath?
And on the other side, h how is he poore, that suffreth no want? Or i what wanteth he, that resteth content with what he hath? k Many things may he be without, and yet l wanteth he nothing; no more than m the blessed Spirits and Angels in Heauen want foode or such fare as we can in no wise liue without here vpon earth. He is no more poore or vnhappy, because he hath them not, than n God is, or the Angels are, because they haue not heaps of gold and siluer, and other such earthly trash hor∣ded vp by them in Heauen.
Againe, oRiches, as the Heathen man truly ob∣serueth, consist not so much in the possession of tem, asPage 44in the fruition of them. But it is Contentment a lone that giueth a man a comfortable vse and frui∣tion of what he hath, that procureth him profit and pleasure of what he possesseth. For p where a man resteth not content with what he hath, there is the minde so caried after that he further desireth and hath not, that he no more regardeth or joyeth in what he hath, q than if it were not at all. And where a man is discontent with his present estate, there is all that he hath, be it neuer so much, rather a burden than any way a benefit vnto him; like meat that a, greeing not with the stomacke, lieth in it vndigested, and not only proueth vnpleasant and vnprofitable, affording neither good rellish nor sound nourish∣ment, but noysome also and burdensome to the whole bodie. So that where Contentment is not, a man regardeth nothing: and where Discontent is, it infecteth and tainteth all things, and so maketh them, as if some malignant blast had blowne on them, vnsauoury and distastfull to him that so hath* them, rather sicke of them, than endowed with them. And certainely as a man diseased in bodie can haue litle ioy of his wealth, be it neuer so much; since as the Heathen man saith, A golden Crowne cannot cure the Head-ach, nor a veluet slipper giue ease*of the Gow•, nor a Purple robe fray away a burning Fe∣uer. And, tA sicke man is alike sicke, wheresoeuer yePage 45lay him, on a bed of gold, or on a pad of straw, with a silken quilt or with a sory rug on him. So no more can riches, gold and siluer, land or liuing, had a man much more than euer any man had, minister vnto him much ioy, yea or any true and sound ioy at all, where the minde is distract and discontent: without Contentment there is no ioy of ought; there is no profit, there is no pleasure in ought. uAll without it is but vanitie and vexation of Spirit.
Will we see this by an Example or two further confirmed to vs? Haman, was he not a most happy man, as the world accounteth happinesse, x if he could haue thought so himselfe? y the next man in the Kingdome to the King himselfe, the greatest one of them that then was; he tooke place by the Kings appointment of all the Princes his Peeres, and all the Kings Court, by the Kings expresse command, bowed and did obeysance to him: z he vaunteth himselfe of his glory, the multitude of his children, the abundance of his treasure, his especiall fauour and inwardnes both with the King and the Queene: enough a man would thinke to content any man a that had not an vnmeasurable minde. And yet, saith he, that is the conclusion of his discourse, ball this doth me no good: It was all as good as nothing to him; he was neuer the better for all this, so long as he wanted a cap and a courtesie of Mordecai; be∣cause Mordecai bowed not the knee vnto him, nor adored him, as other the Kings Courtiers did. It was with him, cas with litle children, (saith an Hea∣then man well of such) playing in the streets, who, Page 46 if some man as he passeth by take one of their toyes from them, are ready to cast all the rest away from them, though they haue many more left, and sit cry∣ing and whining for that one that is gone.
Passe we from a Kings fauourite to a King him∣selfe. King Ahab had land and liuing enough and enough, (much more than d his Father Omri was euer borne to,) had he not wanted this Content∣ment of minde. But e the litle Vineyard of his poore Neighbour was such an eye-sore to his gree∣dy affection, that the discontent that he conceiued, because he could not presently compasse it, f made him poorer than poore Naboth, that desired no∣thing that he had; and depriued him of his whole Kingdome that he had no profit of it, tooke no pleasure in it; but, like a man that were in extreme want and necessitie, he getteth him home to his house, & shutteth himself vp in his Chamber, like one that durst not be seen abroad for feare of arrests; he casteth himself on the bed and refuseth his meat, like a man that tooke thought for the payment of his debts: He fareth, in a word, as the former Au∣thor saith of such, glike a sullen Hen, that hauing store of barly lieng by her, getteth her aside into some corner, and forsaking her meat, scrapeth alone by her selfe, there to finde somewhat that she may be pick∣ing vp out of the dunghill.
Yea come we to them that were indeede Lords of the whole world, not in title onely, but in truth, hauing and injoying that by Gods free gift, that none since them were euerable to come any thing Page 47 neere, much lesse to attaine vnto. hAdam and Eve our first Parents, albeit they were in the garden of Eden, (a place abounding, as i the word importeth, with matter of pleasure and delight) amids all earth∣ly happinesse; and had the whole world in their hands, and all the Creatures at command: yet no sooner had the Diuell sowen this vnhappy seede of Discontent (the very first sinne of theirs, as I take it with some other Reuerend) in their hearts, but they began presently to deeme themselues poore & in want, because they had not what they would; they account themselues as depriued and debarred of all things, if they may not haue the fruit of that one tree that was only denied them, and k of which God had foretold them, that whensoeuer * they touched it or tasted of it, it would be their bane. As if some great rich man, or mighty Monark, hauing wealth in abundance, and the world at will, euen whatsoeuer heart could wish, yet should thinke himselfe streitned and cut short, but a miserable creature, or not so happy as he might be, because he can not, with lAlexander, get greene Iuie to grow in his Gardens at Babylon; or because he may not, with mPope Iulius, feede vpon Swines flesh, or some o∣ther dish by his Physitians forbidden him in regard of some disease hanging vpon him, likely to be his bane if he do; and so lye languishing and n longing after his owne euill, when he hath good enough at hand, as if it were miserie for a man to want that, though he haue no neede of it, that would but hurt him if he had it. Ye see, that a man may be in Pa∣radise, (I might well say, in heauen too, as the Diuell Page 48 once was,) and yet not be happy, if he haue not a contented minde.
As on the other side, where this Contentment of Minde is, there is wealth euen in want, much more cheerefulnes in wealth: There is, as a stay of the desire, so a resting and a reioycing in that a man en∣joyeth: and therefore a comfortable vsage of it, be it more or lesse, because content in it. It is that alone that seasoneth all: it is that alone that sweetneth all: It is that that is able, not onely to season those things that are sweet and pleasant in their owne nature, but euen o to sweeten also those things vnto a man, that are harsh and vnpleasant in them∣selues.
It is Contentment therefore onely that maketh a man truly wealthy, because it freeth him from want, and giueth him comfort of that he hath. And as a p peece of dry bread is more sauoury to a man when he is in health, than all the dainties in the world are when he is heart-sick: So a litle, saith Sa∣l•man, euen qa morsell of dry bread is better and more with quiet and content, than a whole house full of fat beasts with an vnquiet heart, than a whole world of wealth with a discontented minde.
Now two wayes may this point bee vsefull vnto vs.
First, to informe vs, what cause they haue to be thankfull vnto God, be they rich or poore, whom he hath vouchsafed this grace vnto, whom k he hath taught, in whatsoeuer estate they are, therewith to be content. For euen the poorest man that liueth con∣tent with his present estate, is richer than the richest Page 49 man in the world that hath not a contented minde: he is happier than Adam and Eve were sometime in Paradise, when they longed to eat of the fruit for∣bidden them: l he is a greater man than great Ale∣xander himself, and in far better plight than he, euen for the present. For m he, sor want hereof, when he had won the whole world, yet as if he had bin pin∣ched and straitned for roome, or penned vp in a cor∣ner or in a prison, as if the whole world were not able to hold him, (whereas n he could not take vp so much as ten foote of ground, as o his Father Phi∣lip saw, when he fell in the wrestling place, and viewed the print and proportion of his body there in the dust) p he sa• weeping and wailing, like a for∣lorne person, that he could not finde out a new world to be winning. Whereas, by benefit hereof many a poore Childe of God, that hath not halfe that that he had, yea that hath not a patch of land in the world, but liueth from hand to mouth by his daily labour, yet passeth his time as merrily, (as that Cynick sometime told his hoast at Athens) as if qeue∣ry day were Holyday, or a Festiuall day with him: Ac∣cording to that also which Salomon saith, that
Page 50rA merry heart, or a contented minde, (for it is not spoken directly of a good Conscience, as it is com∣monly taken; (though it be true also of that, and that be a meane to procure this;) as may appeare both by the opposition of the other member, and by the sequele of the context) is a perpetuall ban∣quet, a continuall feast.
The poore man then hath as great cause to be thankfull to God for his Contentment of minde, as* the Rich man for his riches. Conceiue it by this Comparison. Suppose two men lye sicke of the same disease, a burning Fever, or some such like hot disease, as causeth drought and desireth drinke, and call both instantly for cold water to quench their thirst with. The Physitian comming to them, bid∣deth giue the one that is more impatient, a good quantitie of cold drinke, and yet he cryeth and cal∣leth still for more. To the other he ministreth him∣selfe a litle cons•rue on the point of a knife, that sla∣keth his thirst and asswageth his drought. Whether of the twaine in this case is more beholden vnto him? So here; euery one almost cryeth to God for wealth: few pray with wisetAgur for a competent estate. Now u to one that thus prayeth, God giueth abundance of wealth, as a deale of cold water to quench his thirst, and yet he h•th gaping still * for more, as ins•ti•ble, saith Salomon,xas the graue, or the barren wombe, or the dry land, orythe f•re thatPage 51neuer haue enough. To another z he giueth a Com∣petencie, some small pitance, but Contentment withall, as a litle Physicall Confection, that stinteth and stayeth his desire. Whether of the twaine, thinke we, haue more cause to be thankfull vnto him, and to acknowledge his goodnes towards them? The latter doubtles, as he enioyeth the greater benefit, so he hath greater cause of thankfulnes to him from whom he hath it.
Againe this may serue to incite vs to labour ear∣nestly for this Contentment, and to pray instantly vnto God for it.
And it is hard here to say, whether a man had more neede to perswade the poore man to be con∣tent with his pouertie, or the rich man with his ri∣ches. For as a the Star that went before the Wise∣men, went when they went, and stayed where they stayed: So b riches flie the faster from a man, the more eagerly he followeth them, but then stay, when a mans minde is stayed. Till that be, call is put (as the Prophet speaketh in another case) into a bro∣ken bag, that will hold nothing, or dinto a bottomles barrell, as the prouerbe is, that is neuer a whit the fuller for all that is put in: And we are but like those that haue a flux, that take in much, but retaine nothing, and so thriue not with their meat, are no∣thing fuller or fatter for it, till this e spirituall loose∣nesse of ours be by Contentment stayed with vs.
Page 52As f the Children of Israel therefore passing along the wildernesse, marched forward on their way when the Cloud went that conducted them, but there stood still where it stayed. So may our affecti∣ons walke on, while Gods hand goeth before them: but looke where God stayeth his hand and ceaseth to giue, there should our heart stay likewise, and we cease to desire.
To perswade our hearts the rather hereunto, vse we a double consideration, concerning others, and concerning our selues.
Concerning others, either those that go beyond vs in riches, or those that come short of vs in wealth.
For the former; * he that hath more then thou hast, can but liue and eate and drinke as thou doest. And therefore gif thou hast, as the Apostle speaketh, but food and apparell; (he saith not hcates or ideli∣cates, but kfoode, that that may feede: he saith not lornaments or abillements, but mcouerings or ngar∣ments,o so much as may couer thee and keepe thee from cold) thou hast as much as the mightiest Mo∣narke, as the wealthiest man in the world can haue.
As p the children of Israell gathered Manna, some more, some lesse, but euery man of them, hee that gathered most, had no more then his Homer. So here, though men gather wealth some more, some lesse, yet hath euery man but hisqde•ea•e,
Page 53r heape he neuer so much vp, he can for himselfe, for his owne person haue no more then one mans ordinary allowance: s Though he thresh a thou∣sand quarters of corne, though he haue thousands of fat oxen and fed beasts in his stalls and pastures, and ten thousands of sheepe in his folds and his fields, yet can his belly hold no more then an other mans may: the rest of it goeth to others, and is no∣thing to him.
tWhere there is much meate, there are many mouths; there are many eaters: saith Salomon; and where there is much wealth, there are there many Parta∣kers: And what good hath the Owner by it, but the name anduthe sight of it? Yea to speake as the truth is, x the rich man is but a Steward to prouide and y take care for those that appertaine to him and haue dependance vpon him: z as a beast or a Slaue that beareth provender and food for himselfe and his fellowes, hauing but a single share of it onely himselfe.
Page 54If he haue more then thee and vse it moderately, he hath no more himselfe then thou hast, vnlesse it be that he taketh more a care then thou takest. If he vse it immoderately, with the rich Glutton in the Gospell, b faring euery day deliciously, (to omit that c he findeth the lesse delight in it,) d he doth himselfe the more harme, e and it were better for him that he had lesse: For that is verified of him that Salomon saith, fThe poore labouring mans sleepe is sweete vnto him, whether he eate more or lesse; but the rich mans saturity will not suffer him to rest:g it breaketh him of his sleepe, it bereaueth him of his rest, it impaireth his health, it is a meanes not to lengthen, but to shorten his life.
Againe consider with thy selfe, how many an one wanteth that that thou hast, and yet deserueth as well at Gods hands as thou dost. * Thou lookest on thy rich neighbours to mislike thine own estate, Page 55 and to murmur for that thou wantest: Looke rather on thy poore brethren, h the far greater number, and compare thine estate with a many of theirs, to be thankfull for what thou hast.
Yea I may well say; Looke sometime euen on thy rich neighbour, that lieth grieued with the goute, not able to stand on his legs, or to stir him without much paine on his pallet; thou hast health and he hath wealth; i whether of the two, thinkest thou, is the greater blessing of God? Thou wouldst thinke thy selfe happy, if thou hadst his worldly wealth and abilitie; and 3 he would thinke himselfe happy, and that with much better reason too, if he had that health and abilitie of body that thou hast.
But to returne to the poorer sort, liker thy selfe. When thou seest a rich man, saith one, caried in his chaire or on mens shoulders, haue an eye withall to them that cary him, and that run through thicke and thin by him: l When thou eyest Xerxes that mighty Monarke with his endlesse army m digging* downe hills, and drying vp deepes, building bridges ouer the sea it selfe, and lincking shore to shore, Asia to Europe, making the dry land nauigable, and the Ocean passable on foote: cast thine eye withall downe on those miserable slaues, that dig downe mount Athos vnder the whip, and that are maimed and disfigured, their noses and eares cut of, because the bridge they made brake as the army passed ouer it: thou countest him happy; and 4 they count Page 56 thee happy. As if he had said, applying it to vs and our times: Thou hearest of the King of Spaine, what millions of treasure he hath euery third yeere from his Indies: and thou thinkest him an happy man. I say not to thee, though I might so say, consi∣der withall, how many mouthes he hath to feede, how many Followers, how many Fauourites, how many ships and gallies to set out, how many gari∣sons to keepe, how many Souldiers to pay, how many Intelligencers to maintaine, &c. But, thinke withall vpon those poore wretches that row in his Gallies, that tug at the oare end vnder the whip, or vnder worse then it, hauing scarce a bit of good bread to put in their mouthes, or a whole rag almost to hang on their backes, enduring all the misery there that can be imagined. Thou thinkest him happy that hath that that thou hast not: and they thinke thee happy that hast not that that they haue, and yet hast that that they haue not.
Or, (because n such excessiue great ones are not so much regarded, o the sunne sheweth not so great when hee is at his highest as he doth when hee is neerer the edge of the Horizon, and the Faulcon seemeth lesse still, the higher he soreth, when hee is once gone aboue that that our weake eie-sight can well reach. p those that come neerer vs, and are neerer at hand with vs, are more in our eye, oftner q eyed, and consequently more enuied of vs:) r A rich neighbour or two not much aboue thine owne rancke, that dwell by thee, set thy teeth on edge, Page 57 and are a shrewd eye-sore vnto thee, and make thee thinke thy selfe but in euill case, that thou art not as they are, that thou hast not so much comming in yeerely as they haue, that thou canst not fare as they fare and doe as they doe. But thou considerest not withall for those two or three rich, how many poore and needy ones are on euery side of thee, that come as far short of thee as thou doest of them. Which if thou didst, thou mightest iustly say, as the Psalmist, sThe Lord hath not dealt so with euery Na∣tion; so, The Lord hath not dealt so with euery one, no nor with many an one, as he hath done and doth with me. As the tCynick, when he found a mouse in his sachell, said, he saw well that he was not yet so poore, but that some were glad of his leauings: So many a poore hungry soule, yea many a deere childe and sincere seruant of God, would be glad of thy leauings, and yet deseruest thou no more than any of them do.
Lastly, consider thine owne vnworthines. Thou deseruest nothing at Gods hands but hunger and stripes. All that thou hast from him thou hast it of free gift. And therefore are we taught to pray, uGiue vs our bread. If we deserue not then so much as a bit of bread at Gods hands, can we not be con∣tent, when God giueth vs aboundantly both bread and meat to feede vs, and good clothing to couer vs, and conuenient housing to harbor vs, & friends & fauour and credit and countenance in the world, so much of that that so many want, and so much more than we are worthy of; vnlesse we may haue 5to waste on our6inordinate and extrauagant lusts,Page 58 and to revell and not, as we see some others do?
We would thinke that begger intolerably impu∣dent and insolent, that comming to our dores to aske an almes, when we haue bestowed on him some broken bread and meat, or some sory (cast coate, yet, like those importunate persons the Psal∣mist speaketh of, that xgrudge and grumble if they be not satisfied, if they haue not their owne fill, and their owne will, he should not be quiet and hold himself contented therewith, vnlesse he might haue one of the best dishes of meat from our bord, or one of▪ our owne ordinarie wearing suites giuen him. And yet is this the case of the greatest number of vs. y We come all as Beggars to Gods mercy gate▪ and God giueth vs out z aboundance of many good things, life, libertie, health of bodie, strength and a∣bilitie of limmes, foode and rayment, &c. a courte∣sie and competencie of each, as he seeth to be fittest for vs: and * yet, forsooth, can we not be quiet, nor thinke our selues well, vnlesse we may sare as delici∣ously as Dives did, or go in silks and •attins as such and such do.
••Iaco• as good a man as any of vs, was far other∣wise minded: he prayeth to God but for abread to eat, and rayment to cloth him: that if he might haue onely, he thought himselfe well apa••. And what made him so sparing 〈◊〉 his petition, but the sight and consideration of his owne vnworthinesse: bI am lesse,•aith he, than the least of all thy mercies. He knew he deserued nothing, and was therefore con∣tent with any thing: he would aske no great mat∣ter, but would hold himselfe satisfied▪ with whatso∣euer Page 59 it should please God in mercy and goodnes to allot and allow him. In a word; Beggers, as I said before, we are; no better then beggers the very best of vs: And Beggers, we vse to say, must be no choosers, they must not be their owne caruers. Rest we must therefore contented with what God shall see good to assigne vs, be it more or lesse, being more by much than euer we either do or can de∣serue any of vs.
But is Contentment so necessarie, and so pretious a Iewell? let vs in the next place then consider by what meanes may we compasse it: And so passe we the second point before propounded, to wit, that Godlinesse onely can procure and produce true Con∣tentment.
c A man would thinke that as meat asswageth hunger, and drinke allayeth thirst; so riches should satisfie, and by satisfying slake and quench the im∣moderate and inordinate desire of wealth. But it d is herein far otherwise, as Salomon himselfe, and it may well be, vpon his owne experience inform∣eth vs: eHe that loueth money, saith Salomon, shall neuer haue enough of it.fThe desire of more grow∣eth, as a mans riches arise.g As the Dropsie-man, the Page 58〈1 page duplicate〉Page 59〈1 page duplicate〉Page 60 more he drinketh, the dryer he is, and h those that are sicke of the greedy disease, canina appetentia, the doggish desire, as they terme it, the more they de∣uoure, the more hungry they are▪ so the richer men grow, the more commonly they desire, more greedy do they wax ordinarily of the world, then they were when they had lesse of it. As i when the fruits of their ground come in aboundantly on them, they make their barnes bigger, and their store∣houses larger to hold more: so withall they beate out the walls of their hearts to couer more, and kinl•rge their desire as the Grave, or as Hell; that neuer cryeth, Ho, because it never hath e∣nough;m is neuer the fuller for all the soules that descend downe into it, no more than the se••is for all the riuers that empty themselues into it.
n As those diseased persons therefore before mentioned, haue neede rather to be emptied, to haue somewhat purged out, than to haue more powred in• the one must be •id of the watry humor that possesseth his bodie, ere his drought can be slaked, the other of the salt and slimie substance that pestereth his stomack, ere his raue∣nous appetitie can be stayed: So the Couetous person, that is so greedy of the world, and so immoderate and insatiable in his desires, hath Page 61o not neede of more to be heaped vpon him, but hath neede rather of some thing to be taken away from him: he must haue that discontent humor of his purged out of his head, that couetous affection of his wrought out of his heart, that is the cause of this his greedy and insatiable desire, ere he can at∣taine to any true Contentment of minde, ere he can come to haue his fill. Till then all this worlds wealth will be but as p wine and strong drinke to the drunkard, that further inflameth him, and in∣creaseth his drought; q as oyle or fewell to the fire, that doth not quench or smother it, but feede it, and make it burne fiercer than at the first.
If no wealth then can stay, or satisfie the minde of man, what must? or what may? The Apostle pointeth vs to it, as here, so els where. rIt is good, saith he, to haue the heart stayed, or ballaced as it were, with grace, and not with meats, nor with mo∣ney neither. That that must keepe the ship stiffe and steedy on the Sea, must not be leauers & shores without it, but s weight and ballast within it. So Page 62 that that must stay a mans raging and ranging de∣sires, must not be the outward supporting of his worldly estate, but the inward ballacing and setling of the heart and minde; that which Gods grace a∣lone can do, as the Apostle speaketh there, which is the same in effect with Godlinesse, of which he in∣treateth here. And in regard hereof it is that the Psalmist saith, that tA small matter to the godly, the man that feareth God, is much better than the greatest wealth and riches, that the vngodly and the mighty hath or can haue. And Salomon, that “a litle with the feare of God is much better than great treasures and trouble or vexation therewith.
In which words also Salomon closely and couert∣ly rendreth a reason of that which his Father Dauid had before him said, why A litle to the godly man should be of more worth, euen the same in effect that the Apostle here hath, because there is no trouble or vexation of minde, but quietnesse and sweet con∣tentment withall. According to that which the same Salomon els-where saith; uIt is Gods blessing that maketh a man truly rich, and he addeth no sor∣row with it.x Without Gods permission and pro∣uidence no man can haue riches: For y it is God that giueth euery man power to get wealth. But z God giueth a man money many times in his wrath: as in the wildernes he gaue the Israelites meat in his anger: And so the curse of God many times maketh a man rich: But those riches are but accursed riches; * there is a curse and car•ing care, euer accompanying such wealth. But where Gods blessing maketh a man rich, there he giueth euer Page 63 withall contentment, that causeth comfort and quiet of minde, and maketh a man rest satis∣fied and well apaid with that portion of wealth, be it more or lesse, that God hath assigned him.
Neither is this a common courtesie that God ca∣steth on all sorts indifferently; but a peculiar bles∣sing that he bestoweth on those onely that loue and feare him, and that are his beloued ones. bBlessed is euery one, saith the Psalmist, that feareth God, and that walketh in his wayes: For thou, that so doest, shalt eat of the*labours of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall go well with thee. But, c Vnlesse the Lord build the house, they labour but in vaine that build it: It is vaine for you, as worldly men are wont to do, to rise vp early in the morning, and sit vp late at euen∣ing, and toile and moile, like an horse, all the day long, and to eat the bread of sorrow and care; for, it is God that giueth his beloued rest: It is he alone that can giue sweet comfort, and quietnes, and content∣ment of minde, and this grace he vouchsafeth to none but his beloued, to the Godly that loue him, and are beloued of him.
It is Godlinesse then alone, that can cause true Contentment; and that can cause true Content∣ment alone.
Godlinesse alone is able to cause true Content∣ment: because Godlinesse alone bringeth man home vnto God, out of whom true Content∣ment can not be had. For the soule of man, as a it beareth the image of God; so b nothing can satisfie it, but he whose image it beareth. Page 64cOur Soule, saith Augustine well, was created as by God, so for God, and is therefore neuer quiet till it rest in God. As d man fell at first into this restlesnes by falling away from God; so * he can not be reco∣uered of it, but by returning to him againe. It is with mans soule in this regard, as it was with Noahs Dove in the Deluge. As e the Dove, after she left the Arke, found no rest for the soale of her foote in the wide world, being then all a-floate, till shee be∣tooke her againe thither, from whence before shee came forth: So neither can man, fallen from God, finde any sure rest for the foote of his soule in the whole world beside, till he come backe to him a∣gaine f from whom it came at the first. But it is Godlinesse alone, that bringeth man home vnto God; that tyeth and knitteth the soule fast vnto God; whereof gReligion, say some, hath its name; that findeth rest and repose for the whole man in God, which can no where else be found. That which Salomon, out of his owne experience, confir∣meth vnto vs, who h hauing ranged abroad through all those creatures and courses, vnder the cope of heauen, wherein any hope of contentment seemed to shew forth it selfe, is in conclusion inforced to retire backe againe to God, i directing them all to him that desire to finde true contentment, and pointing them the way to him k by the feare of Page 65 him; that is, by Godlinesse leading them vnto God, that they may with him and in him finde true Con∣tentment, as being no where else to be had.
Godlinesse then, you see, is alone able to cause true Contentment. But is Godlinesse, may some say, able to cause true Contentment alone, without helpe and aide of these outward things? Can it make a man content as well in want as in wealth? whither he haue worldly wealth or no?
Yea vndoubtedly. That that is sufficient of it selfe alone to make a man truly happy, is of it selfe alone sufficient to giue true contentment, though a man haue nothing else but it. For l Happinesse is euery mans vtmost ayme: and he that hath attained to it, can not but rest content with it: m he were not happy, if he found no content in his happinesse. Whatsoeuer thing therefore is able to bring vs vn∣to happines, can not but bring to vs Contentment togither with it. But Godlinesse is of it selfe alone able to make a man happy. That which n the Hea∣then men said of their morall Virtue, a meere sha∣dow of it, is indeed true of true Godlinesse, it is sufficient of it selfe to make him that hath it truly hap∣py, though he haue nothing else but it. For o holi∣nesse and happinesse, Godlinesse and blessednes are inseparably lincked togither, and can not be seue∣red the one from the other. p Euery holy man is an happy man, euery godly man is in a blessed e∣state, be he rich or poore, be he in wealth or in want, Page 66 whatsoeuer his worldly estate outwardly be. So that of true Godlines, we may well say, as he some∣time of diuine knowledge, the ground of it, it is not earthly gaine, nor worldly wealth, nor gold, nor sil∣uer, nor corruptible treasures, but qit is that that that can make a man happy without all these. And the Godly man, though he haue not these or the like, yet hath he that that can make him truly happy without them, and so consequently that can giue him contentment in the want of them. And cer∣tainely if God be rEl-shaddai, All-sufficient; then sGods grace and Godlinesse that bringeth a man home vnto God, and giueth him interest in God, can not but be likewise of it selfe sufficient to make a man truly happy, and to procure vnto him true Contentment.
But will we see yet more particularly by what meanes Godlinesse worketh this Contentment in those that are truly▪ possessed of it?
First, d it purgeth the heart of him that hath it:* and so bringeth with it a sanctified vse of the crea∣ture. For vnlesse the vessell be seasoned, it tainteth all that commeth into it; and how can ought taste well then, that commeth out of it? So f vnlesse a mans heart be seasoned with grace, it pollu•eth and de•ileth all that a man dealeth with. gVnto the pure, saith the Apostle, all things are pure, but vnto the impure and the vnbelee•ing all things are impure, be∣cause their mindes and consciences are defiled. Since the worldly man then doth but moile and soile and defile himselfe with his wealth, doth but taint and pollute it, and himselfe in the vse of it, no mer∣uaile, Page 67 if he finde no comfort or contentment at all in it.
Nothing is pure to them, saith the Apostle, because their heart is impure.h As a foule stomacke, stuffed with Choler, turneth all into Choler, euen the finest and daintiest meats soonest of any, by meanes whereof no good nourishment can accrew to the bodie by them, nor it grow to any good plight and health: So a foule heart turneth all into spirituall Choler, a bitter humor and vnsauoury, that impai∣reth and hindreth the health and welfare of the soule as much, yea much more than that materiall choler doth the health and welfare of the bodie.
Whereas Godlinesse sanctifying and cleansing the heart, and purging out that corruption that be∣fore tainted and polluted it, and so made all vn∣comfortable, because noysome and hurtfull, vnto vs, restoreth vnto vs i a pure and sanctified vse of the creature, and enableth vs to suck spirituall nou∣rishment and wholesome iuyce euen out of tempo∣rall blessings; which the soule beginneth now to finde sweet comfort and true contentment in, be∣cause it vseth them as it ought.
Secondly, it quieteth the Conscience; which in the wicked, in the worldly man is euer vnquiet; and no true Contentment can be till it be quieted.
kThe wicked man is continually like a woman in trauaile, saith Eliphaz.l His guilty Conscience is Page 68 euer and anon inwardly griping him, and with priuy pangs and throwes pinching and twiching him there, m where paines are most vnsupportable, and where n none feeleth or o seeth saue himselfe. And pthe wicked mans soule, as the Prophet compareth it, is as a raging Sea, full of soile and filth, that is ne∣uer at rest, whose waters cast vp mire and dirt.qVnto the wicked therefore, saith the Spirit of God, there is no peace.rA seeming truce they may haue, true tran∣quillitie they cannot haue:*Secure they may seeme; but they can neuer be safe. If at some time they seem to haue rest, and to be at ease; it is but as with the Sea, that seemeth still sometime, but indeede neuer standeth still, but is euer rising or falling, ebbing or flowing, incessantly rolling to and fro from shore to shore: It is as with the Sea, s that seemeth calme and smooth sometime, but vpon euery breath of ayre or blast of winde, is ready to rise and to rage, yea vpon some sodaine gust sometime swelleth so, that ships are there swallowed vp sodainely, where they lay becalmed but a litle before. Their seeming tranquillitie is but as the health of a feverous per∣son when he is out of his fit, or the lightsomnes of a Lunatick that hath his lucida intervalla, and talk∣eth by times as a man well in his wits.
Now what Contentment can there be in ought, while the minde is thus affected, while the Consci∣ence is vnquieted? t So long as a man is heart-sick, he can haue no joy of ought, finde no rellish in Page 69 ought, be it neuer so pleasant and delightfull other∣wise, be it neuer so acceptable to him at other times; his wonted companie is then but tedious & trou∣blesome to him, his bed hard and vneasie, his cham∣ber too close, his vsuall fare, yea or fare more dainty than vsuall, is distastfull, he findeth no good taste in ought that he taketh: but u come health once, and that sweetneth all againe; and then liketh he his company well againe, and can endure his bed well, and can feede sauourly on a dry peece of course bread, that loathed his panada of fine manchet be∣fore. x In like manner here: So long as a man is soule-sick, he can haue no ioy of ought; be his out∣ward estate what it will, it can no more minister sound comfort vnto him, y then hot cloths or blanckets can giue inward warmth to a dead corps, where naturall heate is vtterly extinct: He may force himselfe sometime to some seeming mirth; but, zEuen in laughter, saith Salomon, the heart is hea∣uy.* He may set a good face on it in outward shew to others, when his heart is full of heauinesse and bitternes within him, and “ wringeth and pincheth him priuily there a where none is aware of it but himselfe onely that sustaineth and endureth it.
Page 70And vndoubtedly, let a man striue to smother it and smooth it ouer all that euer he can, let him straine himselfe to lightsomnes by all meanes that may be, let him want no outward matter of world∣ly either support or delight, yet so long as he hath his guilty Conscience racking and griping him with∣in; though b he may geere and grin outwardly, while he is nipped and galled inwardly, he can take no more true ioy and delight, can finde no more sound comfort and contentment in all his wealth and his treasures, or in his delights & his pleasures, than c a prisoner or condemned person, that sitteth drinking and swilling, or playing at cards and tables in the laile, while the halter that he is to be hanged withall, hangeth ouer his head.
But on the other side, to a quiet minde, to a good Conscience, any thing is acceptable, yea and com∣fortable, as to him that is now in health. Let the minde be truly setled, let the Conscience be once quieted; and the same man that before tooke no ioy at all in a large estate, found no rellish at all in great varietie of dainties, walked melancholike to and fro in his gardens of pleasure, had no comfort of friends and acquaintance, or of wife & children, can now finde much sweetnesse in a farre poorer pitance, giue God hearty thanks for an homely re∣past, walke cheerefully abroad, liue comfortably at home, rejoyce with his wife, be merry with his friends, be comforted in his children. And this quietnes of minde and Conscience can nothing pro∣cure but sincere Godlinesse. Which therefore, as it giueth true ease, and worketh sound cure of those Page 71 inward gripes and galls, not by benumming of a guilty Conseience, nor d searing it, and making it stupid and senseles, as for a time it is sometime in the wicked; but by remouing the ground of them, e by giuing a man assurance of the remission of his sinne, and of reconcilement vnto God, and so freeth a man from that inward disquiet of minde, that banished and kept out all true comfort and con∣tentment before; so it bringeth with it a sweet and comfortable vse of all Gods good creatures; which a man now enioyeth f as fruits of Gods loue, as effects of Gods fauour, and g in that regard more delightful than the things themselues in themselues are, as a present sent a man from his Prince.
Thirdly, it bringeth with it assurance of a greater benefit than all the world is able to counteruaile; to wit, of Gods fauour, and of his fatherly loue to∣ward a man in Christ.
It is the most heauy and the most vncomfortable thing that can be for a man to be forth of Gods fa∣uour. hThe wrath of a King, saith Salomon, is as the roaring of a Lion;ias the messengers of the Death. And what is the wrath of him then, k whose angry looke alone is able to shake heauen and earth? And if lHaman had litle ioy of all his wealth and his treasures, when Assuerus frowned on him, when he was fall'n forth of his fauour; no maruaile if a man haue no ioy of ought, finde no comfort or content∣ment in ought, so long as God frowneth on him, so long as he is displeased with him, while the blacke clouds of Gods heauy m wrath hang ouer his head?
Page 72And on the other side, by m the law of Contra∣ries, as Gods wrath is most hideous, so his loue and fauour is most gracious. As there is nothing more discomfortable than the one; so there is nothing more comfortable than the other. nIn thy fauour, saith Dauid, there is life. Yea, oThy louing kindnesse, it is better than life.pThe bodie is better than rayment, and life of more worth than meat that maintaineth life, saith our Sauiour. And, qAll that a man hath, as the Deuill sometime said, will a man giue for his life. But Gods fauour and the assurance of it is a greater blessing than life it selfe, and much more then greater then any worldly wealth, that is not at all truly desirable, but as an help and prop to this present life: Able therefore alone of it selfe to stay and support a man, to comfort and cheere vp a man, to giue him true contentment, * to make him an happy man, in the want of all worldly wealth, though he haue nothing else but it.
The old Gracians that had r fed altogither on acornes before, s after that bread-corne came in among them, t made no reckning of their mast any more, but kept it onely for their Swine: and u lea∣thren and x iron coyne began to grow out of re∣quest, after that gold and siluer once came in vse. Page 73 So when a man hath once found the fauour & loue of God in Christ, hath lighted once on it, and got assurance of it, he ceaseth then to be greedy of this worldly trash, that is in regard of it but as drosse or peble stones to Gold and Diamonds, as maste to the best bread-corne, yea rather of far lesse worth and value to that, than either of these are to it.
To which purpose Dauid saith, that whereas the worldly mans song is, ywho will shew vs any good, who will tell vs of any matter of profit? his wish or request rather was, (with other the Godly) Lord lift thou the light of thy face, or thy fauour, on vs. For that z he had found more true ioy and content∣ment in the assurance of Gods loue, in the view of his louing countenance towards him, then they had or could reape comfort by their worldly commo∣dities, their corne and their wine, wherein their wealth chiefly consisted, though they came in ne∣uer so plentifully vpon them. 2 There was sound rest and assurance of safetie by the one, no securitie in, or surety at all of the other.
Lastly; In that 3 it fitteth a mans minde to his meanes, while it assureth him both for the time pre∣sent, that that estate, whatsoeuer it be, that he is then in, is the best and fittest for him; and for the time to come, that God will continually prouide for him, and neuer see or suffer him to want ought that he shall stand in neede of.
aLet your conversation, saith the Apostle, be with∣out couetousnes; and be Content with what you haue. For God hath promised thatbhe will neuer leaue nor forsake you. So that you may boldly say, as the Psalmist, Page 74cThe Lord is my protector, I neede feare nothing; so, dThe Lord is my Shepherd, I am sure to lacke nothing. For e who so seeketh Gods Kingdome and the righte∣ousnes thereof, shall be sure to haue all other things cast vpon him, that may be for his good, he shall haue the one as an ouer-plus in to the other.
It is a great stay of minde to a man for himselfe or his sonne, if the King shall say to him, as Dauidf to Mephibosheth, or g to Barzillai the Gileadite, I will see that thou, or he shall neuer want, or, you shall neither of you euer want, if I may helpe it: What a stay of minde must it needs be to the Godly man then, when the King of heauen and earth shall say as much vnto him, h he that is able to make his word good at will, and i liueth for euer to performe what∣soeuer he hath promised?
Againe, the Godly may say it, and assure himselfe of it, that whatsoeuer estate he is in, that estate for the present God seeth to be best and fittest for him. k If he be poore, pouertie is best for him, or else he should not so be: if he be sick, sicknes is best for him then, otherwise God would not suffer him to keepe his sick-bed: if in prison, restraint of liberty is then fittest for him, otherwise the prison should no more be able to hold him, then l it was to hold •eter, when the dores were fast locked on him, and a guard of souldiers set to keepe him sure. If riches were good for him, he should be sure to haue them: if health were good for him, he should be sure not to want it: if liberty, m God without delay would enlarge him and restore it. nFor there shall nothing be wanting to those that feare God: The Lions shallPage 75lacke and suffer hunger; but those that seeke the Lord, shall want nothing that is good.oGod their Sunne and Sheild will giue them grace and glory: and no good thing will he,pwho is God all-sufficient, denie vnto them, that walke vprightly before him.
Marke the Apostles argument, that he vseth for the proofe of this point: qHe that spared not his Sonne, but bestowed him vpon vs, how can he but giue vs all things togither with him. And conceiue we the force of it by this comparison: Suppose a man haue a frend, who hauing but one pretious Iewell of great price, that he maketh speciall reckoning of, is content to part with it, and bestow it on him for the ransoming and redeeming of him out of capti∣uitie: he is content againe, when he is sicke, to be at any charge with him for Physitian and Physick; and yet when he is in the fit of a burning Feuer, he will not by any meanes suffer him to haue a cup of cold water. May not such a one in this case reason thus with himselfe? Surely, if it were good and safe for me, yea were it not certainly dangerous and preiu∣diciall vnto me to drinke such cold and raw drinke, this my friend that thinketh nothing too good or to deere for me that may do me good, that is content to be at all this cost and charge with me for Physick, would neuer denie me a cup of cold water that standeth him in no∣thing. And consequently, if he be wise, he will striue against his owne desire of it, and bend himselfe pa∣tiently to endure the want and deniall of it, as done in wisdome by his friend, and out of a tender regard of his good. And in like manner doth the Apostle teach the Godly man to reason: God, that hauing Page 76 but r one pretious Iewell, to speake of, s his owne Sonne and his onely Sonne, was content to bestow him vpon me, to shed his heart-bloud for the sauing* of my soule, if he saw health or wealth to be good for me, he would neuer denie it me, t being no more than as a crum of bread or a drop of water with him. So that so long as he with ▪holdeth it, I know well that it is better for me to want it than to haue it; and therefore * I will endeuor to keep my selfe quiet, and rest content with the want of that, which I want for my good.
This Godlinesse perswadeth euery Christian vn∣to; and this Godlinesse enabled the same Apostle to do: uI haue learned, saith he, xto abound: and I haue learned to be in want. (Taught it a man must be, ere he can attaine to it; and it is a lesson, that is not easily learned.) yI haue learned to be hungry; and I haue learned to be full. (The one had neede to be learned as well as the other: and till a man haue learned it, he shall neuer be filled.) I haue learned in whatsoeuer estate I am, therwith to be contēt. I am able to do all things, yet z not of mine owne strength, but through the power of Christ enabling me. And so passe we to the third Point, that at first we propounded, to wit hat true Contentment is an vndoubted argument of Godlines.
A Contented minde argueth a religious heart; Page 77 and a discontented minde argueth an irreligious spirit. It is a signe that a man seeth not Gods good∣nes, considereth not his owne vnworthinesse, when he is euer murmuring and repining, misliking and finding fault with his owne estate, and enuying those that be aboue him. So that where discontent, ment is lodged in the heart, there is Godlinesse ex∣cluded and shut out of dores. And hereby may a man know himselfe to be truly religious, if he haue a minde contented euer with his present estate: not a barely because he can not mend the matter, or ease himselfe by being discontent at it; (that is a kinde bof doggish stupiditie, rather than Christian aequanimitie, as one well saith:) but because c God hath placed him in it, and seeth it fittest and best for him, whose d holy will he desireth to conforme his owne to, and e not to writh and wrest Gods to his; and therefore f is willing to receiue as well euill as good from God, and g to rest content with what∣soeuer he doth; whom he knoweth h to do nothing but good, and i to do all things for his good: that which is true piety, and a good note of sinceritie wheresoeuer it is found.
Page 78But here euery man will be ready to say, that he may seeme religious, that he is well content with his estate, and thanketh God for it with kIob, whatso∣euer it be. Well; if it be so, as Saint Iames saith, lShew me thy faith by thy works: so let vs m shew our Contentment by the effects, by the fruits of it.
Of a Note or two of Contentment then a word or two, and so an end.
One signe of Contentment then is, the vse of lawfull meanes onely; When a man desireth not, nor endeuoureth to better his estate by indirect and vnwarrantable courses: when a man doth nnot fret to see wicked men rise by bad meanes, nor is sorry that he may not do as they do: much lesse is mo∣ued to do wickedly, and to take such courses as he seeth wicked ones thriue withall, while himself and other godly, as himselfe seemeth to obserue, either decay, or else stand at a stay.
oAbraham, when the King of Sodome offred him some part of his spoiles, refused to take so much as a shoe-latchet of him, that the King of Sodome might not say that he had made Abraham rich; that men might not say, that Abraham had bin made rich, not by Gods blessing, but by the Kings meanes; he might thanke the King of Sodome for his wealth. So a Godly man will not gaine, nor de∣sire to gaine so much as a shoe-string or shoe-thred by prophaning Gods Sabbaths with p the Zidonian Merchants, by fraud or deceit, by oppression and extortion, by biting vsury, the Deuils brokery, or by any other vnlawfull and indirect course; that the Deuill may not say, that, he hath made him rich; as Page 79 he said sometime to our Sauiour, qAll this will I giue thee, if thou wilt fall downe and worship me. For * it is of the Deuils gift all that is gotten by such meanes, that is compassed by such courses: and he hath neither a contented minde, nor a religious heart, that will seeke or take ought at the Diuels hand.
As the rIsraelites therefore trauailing through the wildernes towards the land of promise, (which, to haue gone the next way, had not bin a iourney of many dayes, yet were they many yeeres about) they were to go as God led them, as they saw the Cloud go before them, and not to take that way that seemed best or most compendious in their owne eyes. So must we s obserue Gods wayes in our tra∣ding & trafficking, in our walking towards wealth: we must keepe the way that God leadeth vs; go no other way than we can see him going in before vs, follow the line of his law, though it seeme to lead vs in and out, backward and forward, as if we were treading of a maze; and not take those wayes, lea∣uing the guidance of it, that seeme gainer and nee∣rer in our owne eyes, and much more compendious than the other. Though we might compasse wealth with a word or two, with the bowe of a knee only the one way, whereas we must trauaile, and toile and moile much ere we come by it the other way: tho we might attaine to it within a day, or a weeke, the one way, whereas we are like to stay long, many yeeres, it may be, ere we come at it, the other way: yet this way must we keepe, and t refuse all the world with our Sauiour, if it be offred vs to intice vs out of it.
Page 80Otherwise as the uIsraelites, when they went out of Gods precincts, they went withall out of Gods protection, and so fell before their foes, into whose hands they fell, forsaking Gods shelter and saue∣gard. So xthose that make more haste then good speede to be rich, that balke Gods paths, and step a∣side out of Gods way, to compasse wealth, shall vn∣doubtedly come to euill. For ythose that will be rich, saith the Apostle, that set this downe, z rich they will be, howsoeuer they come by it, per fas & nefas, by hooke or crook, as we say, by right or by wrong, they pierce their hearts through with many sorrowes, pester their mindes with many fond and noysome lusts and desires, and plunge themselues into many dange∣rous snares, that at length drowne their soules in de∣struction.
Yea the very desire of bettring a mans estate by such meanes, is an euident argument of discontent: when it grieueth a man at the heart, that his con∣science will not giue him leaue, or that Gods law will notsuffer him to vse those meanes that he seeth worldly men grow wealthy withall. a He is out of Gods way, though he seem to be yet in it, though he stride not outwardly out of it, that misliketh it, that liketh any other way better than it, that walketh in it with an euill will. And b as Adam and Eve sinned and were euill euen in desiring to eat, before euer Page 81 they tasted of the forbidden fruit: So the very de∣sire of libertie for such courses argueth euidently so far forth a minde irreligious, though the heart neuer consent to put them in practise.
A second Signe of a Contented minde is the vse of such lawfull meanes without Care and Couetise, without distrustfull care, without greedy desire.
It is the saying of some of the Ancients, and it is a true saying, that cA man may commit adulterie with his owne wife: So a man may commit spiritu∣all fornication with the lawfull meanes, that he vseth and lawfully may vse, if he vse them in vn∣lawfull manner. For the preuenting and auoyding whereof our Sauiour Christ biddeth vs, dTake no care, (or, no thought rather, if you will) what we shall eat or drinke, or wherewith we shall be clad. In which precept, or prohibition rather, he forbiddeth not the vse of lawfull meanes, but the distrustfull affection in the vse of those meanes. Which appea∣reth both by some of the instances that there he ma∣keth vse of, as that e of the fowles, that yet f labour and flie about for their foode and their liuing, but without couetousnes and care; as also by g the word that he there vseth, signifying properly such ha carking care, as euen diuideth the minde in twaine, and cutteth the very soule as it were asunder.
For the better and fuller conceiuing hereof, we must know, that there is a twofold Care: there is ia studious care, and there is ka carking care, which we call commonly a taking of thought: there is cura de opere, and cura de operis successu; a care for ourPage 82worke it selfe, and a care for the successe of it, for the issue and euent of it. And it is not the former, but the latter of the two, that is there inhibited.
There is a Care for the worke it selfe, when a man is carefull to do his dutie, and to do well that he doth, and accordingly doth painfully and faith∣fully endeuor to effect it the best he can. And thus there is no man more carefull than the childe of God, than the Christian man; because l he doth of Conscience all he doth. There is another Care about the issue and successe of the worke, which our Sauiour Christ calleth els-where, man hanging in suspence, and doubt for the euent of it, as the meteors do in the ayre, vncertaine whither to stay there, or to fall downe to the ground. This is then, when a man is not content to do his best endeuor, but he casteth doubts, and taketh thought for what the issue of it will be; he fore thinketh with himselfe, that if he gaine not by such a bargaine, he shall be vndone; if such a debtor breake or keep not touch with him, he shall be vtterly ouerthrowne; if his grounds take not, or his cattle stand not, he shall not haue bread to put in his belly; if he can not get the fauour of such a Iudge, or such a great man, he shall neuer haue any good successe in his Law suites, or, if he be toward the Law, his Counsell will grow out of request. &c.
Conceiue it yet further by these two Examples. n Our Sauiour forbiddeth his Apostles both oto take care, and pto take thought before hand, when they are to appeare before great persons; both to fore-cast with themselues what to speake when they Page 83 come before them, and to fore-thinke how that they shall speake will be taken when they haue spoken it. Yet the Ministers of the word now a daies are qto studie before hand what to speake either in Church or Court, if they be there to appeare, because they haue it not now ordinarily by immediate instinct at an instant, as r they then had: But they are not sto take thought how their speeches will speede, but leaue the issue of it to Gods good will.
Againe, t the Priests bid the Souldiers say, that CHRISTS corps was stolne away by night while they slept, and promise withall uto secure them, or so to saue them harmlesse, that they shall not neede to take further care in that kinde. The Souldiers were yet to plot and deuise how to tell their Tale so, as it might carry most shew of truth with it, and ha∣uing so done, they were to relie on the Preists credit for the rest, who had giuen them their word before for the issue of it, that it should no way proue preju∣diciall or jeapordous to them. In like manner it is our part to take care how to performe those offices and duties that God hath called vs vnto in the best manner that we may: but for the successe of it, when we haue performed our part, and done our dutie and our endeuor, we must, as the Apostle willeth vs, xbe wholy secure or carelesse; take no thought for ought, but leaue all to God, and relie wholy vpon him, who hath commanded vs yto castzall our care in this kinde vpon him, and promised withall that he will take this care for vs.
This distrustfull care breedeth that aCouetousnes that is the Roote of all euill. Not amisse termed the Page 84 Roote, as some well haue obserued: because as there is life oft in the roote, when there is no sap in the branches: so this vice oft liueth, when other die and decay. For b euen old men, c against rea∣son, that haue least time to liue, are oft-times most carefull for, most couetous of the things of this life: they thinke, though they haue neuer so much, that vnlesse they gather still more, they shall want or starue yet ere they die; they shall not haue meate, saith one, to put in their mouths while they liue, nor money to burie them with when they be dead.
But neither will such eCarefulnes, or such fCo∣uetousnes stand with Contentment: and therefore must be both far from vs, if we would be accoun∣ted truly religious. We must banish all such distrust∣full thoughts, we must abandon all such greedy de∣sires. We must learne, as g we pray but for daily bread; so to rest content with it when we haue it; yea to rest content too, when we haue it not, with the want of it. We must learne, when we haue done our best endeuor, to leaue the issue and euent of our labors to God. As Ioab saith to his souldiers; hLet*vs be of good courage, and fight valiantly for our King and our Country; and let the Lord then do what seemeth good in his sight. So must we do what God hath enjoyned vs to do; and when we haue so done, icommit our way for the issue of it to him, and relie vpon him, and he will bring it about; he will be sure then to giue such issue to it as shall be for our good.
The third and last Note of Contentment may be kSilence before the Sheerer. When God commeth Page 85 to sheere a man of his substance, of his wealth and his riches, if he haue a contented minde, he will not murmur and repine at it, as l the Israelites euer and anon when they wanted m water, or n bread, or o flesh in the wildernes: but rather praise God with Iob;pGod gaue it, and God taketh it: blessed be Gods name.qI returne my life to Nature requiring it back, said that Apostata, as some report of him, when he lay a dying, as a faithfull debtor, with a good will. So r should we returne God his owne againe, that he hath pleased to lend vs, as faithfull and thankfull debtors with hearty good will; s rendring thanks vnto him, that we haue had them so long, not repi∣ning because we can haue them no longer.
But we contrariwise, when we haue had a long time the vse of Gods blessings, are wont to lay claime to them, and to account them as our owne by prescription; and so, t as it falleth our oft∣times by bad borrowers and worse pay-masters, God looseth a frend with vs for asking his owne of vs.
uI was dumbe, saith David, and opened not my mouth, because it was thy doing. It is a signe that a man seeth Gods hand on him for his good, if he can be silent when God straitneth and impaireth his estate.
And x the faithfull Hebrewes, saith the Apostle, Page 86with ioy, not quietly onely but cheerefully, sustained the losse of their worldly goods, knowing that they had better treasure and more durable laid vp for them in heauen. It is a signe that y a man looketh at a better matter, when he can so readily and so cheerefully part with his wealth: as zIacob re∣garded not his houshold-stuffe and substance in Canaan, when he had all the fat of Aegypt before him.
Shut we vp this last point with this familiar simi∣litude. A garment that hangeth loose about a man is put off with ease; but so is not the skin that stick∣eth fast to the flesh, nor the shirt that cleaueth fast to the vlcerous leper; a tooth if it be loose, it commeth out with ease, but if it sticke fast in the head, it is not pulled out but with paine, yea many times it bringeth away some peece of the gumme or the jaw with it. So here, a a man is content willingly to part with his riches, when b his heart is not set vpon his wealth: but c if his heart be glewed to it, it euen renteth his heart in two to part with it, it pul∣leth as it were a peece of his soule away with it. And that is the reason why dIob blessed God, when he took away all that euer he had from him, where∣as most men, if God take from them but a small pi∣tance of that they haue, are ready, as e the Diuell Page 87 vntruly said that Iob would do, euen to curse him to his face.
To conclude then: Would we be esteemed truly Religious? fLet our contentment of mindegappeare to the world; in not seeking of these outward things, either by indirect courses, or with distrustfull desire; in patient enduring the want of them, when God seeth good to denie them, and in quiet parting a∣gaine with them, when God shall call againe for them: Assuring our selues that God doth all for our good, as well in with-holding or with-drawing of them from vs, as in conferring them vpon vs, or in continuing them vnto vs: So shall we be sure of a comfortable vse of Gods good blessings in this life, and of certaine enjoyment of eternall blessednes togither with God himselfe in the next life.