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Calabria descends, that no man might gather it without paying tribute, the manna ceased till the tribute was taken off, and then it came again : and so, when, after the third trial, the princes found they could not have that in proper with God lo made to be common, they left it as free as God
The like happened in Epire, when Lysimachus laid an impost upon the Tragasæan salt, it vanished till Lysimachus left it public. And when the procurators of king Antigonus imposed a rate upon the sick people that came to Edepsum to drink the waters, which were lately sprung, and were very healthful, instantly the waters dried up, and the hope of gain perished.
Make the most of Adversity.-If, therefore, thou fallest from thy employment in public, take sanctuary in an honest retirement. If thou art out of favour with thy prince, secure the favour of the King of kings, and then there is no harm come to thee. And when Zeno Citiensis lost all his goods in a storm, he retired to the studies of philosophy, to his short cloak and a severe life, and gave thanks to fortune for his prosperous mischance. When the north wind blows hard and it rains sadly, none but fools sit down in it and cry, wise people defend themselves against it with a warm garment, or a good fire and a dry roof : when a storm of a sad mischance beats upon our spirits, turn it into some advantage, by observing where it can serve another end, either of religion or prudence, or more safety or less envy: it will turn into something that is good, if we list to make it so; at least it may make us weary of the world's vanity, and take off our confidence from uncertain riches ; and make our spirits to dwell in those regions where content dwells essentially.
The Bountiful Provider.-Does not God provide for all the birds, and beasts, and fishes? Do not the sparrows fly from their bush, and every morning find meat where they laid it not? Do not the young ravens call to God, and he feeds
them ? And were it reasonable that the sons of the family should fear the father would give meat to the chickens and the servants, his sheep and his dogs, but give none to them? He were a very ill father that should do so; or he were a very foolish son that should think so of a good father. But besides the reasonableness of this faith and this hope, we have infinite experience of it: how innocent, how careless, how secure is infancy; and yet how certainly provided for? We have lived at God's charges all the days of our life, and have (as the Italian proverb says) sat down to meat at the sound of a bell; and hitherto he hath not failed us : we have no reason to suspect him for the future.
Covetousness.-Covetousness pretends to heap much together for fear of want; and yet after all his pains and purchase, he suffers that really which at first he feared vainly; and by not using what he gets, he makes that suffering to be actual, present, and necessary, which in his lowest condition was but future, contingent, and possible. It stirs up the desire, and takes away the pleasure of being satisfied. It increases the appetite, and will not content it. It swells the principal to no purpose, and lessens the use to all purposes; disturbing the order of nature, and the designs of God: making money not to be the instrument of exchange or charity, nor corn to feed himself or the poor, nor wool to clothe himself or his brother, nor wine to refresh the sadness of the afflicted, nor his oil to make his own countenance cheerful: but all these to look upon, and to tell over, and to take accounts by, and make himself considerable and wondered at by fools, that while he lives he may be called rich, and when he dies may be accounted miserable, and, like the dish-makers of China, may leave a greater heap of dirt for his nephews, while he himself hath a new lot fallen to him in the portion of Dives.
But thus the ass carried wood and sweet herbs to the baths, but was never
washed or perfumed himself: he heaped up sweets for others, while himself was filthy with smoke and ashes.
Hope in God.-His providence is extra-regular, and produces strange things beyond common rules; and He that led Israel through a sea, and made a rock pour forth waters, and the heavens to give them bread and flesh, and whole armies to be destroyed with fantastic noises, and the fortune of all France to be recovered and entirely revolved by the arms and conduct of a girl against the torrent of the English fortune and chivalry; can do what He please, and still retains the same affections to His people, and the same providence over mankind as ever. And it is impossible for that man to despair who remembers that his Helper is omnipotent, and can do what He please. Let us rest there awhile ; He can if He please ; and He is infinitely loving, willing enough : and He is infinitely wise, choosing better for us than we can do for ourselves. This in all ages and chances hath supported the afflicted people of God, and carried them on dry ground through a Red Sea.
The Saviour a Sufferer.—All that Christ came for was, or was mingled with, sufferings : for all those little joys which God sent, either to recreate his person, or to illustrate his office, were abated, or attended with afflictions ; God being more careful to establish in him the covenant of sufferings, than to refresh his sorrows. Presently after the angels had finished their hallelujahs, he was forced to fly to save his life, and the air became full of shrieks of the desolate mothers of Bethlehem for their dying babes. God had no sooner made him illustrious with a voice from heaven, and the descent of the Holy Ghost upon him in the waters of baptism, but he was delivered over to be tempted and assaulted by the devil in the wilder
His transfiguration was a bright ray of glory ; but then also he entered into a cloud, and was told a sad story, what he was to suffer at Jerusalem. And upon Palm Sunday, when he
rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, and was adorned with the acclamations of a King and a God, he wet the palms with his tears, sweeter than the drops of manna, or the little pearls of heaven that descended upon Mount Hermon, weeping, in the midst of this triumph, over obstinate, perishing, and malicious Jerusalem. For this Jesus was like the rainbow, which God set in the clouds as a sacrament to confirm a promise, and establish a grace; he was half made of the glories of the light, and half of the moisture of a cloud ; in his best days he was but half triumph and half sorrow : he was sent to tell of his Father's mercies, and that God intended to spare us; but appeared not but in the company or in the retinue of a shower, and of foul weather. But I need not tell that Jesus, beloved of God, was a suffering person : that which concerns this question most, is, that he made for us a covenant of sufferings : his doctrines were such as expressly and by consequent enjoin and suppose sufferings, and a state of affliction ; his very promises were sufferings; his beatitudes were sufferings ; his rewards, and his arguments to invite men to follow him, were only taken from sufferings in this life, and the reward of sufferings hereafter.
A Prayer before a Journey.-0 Almighty God, who fillest all things with Thy presence, and art a God afar off as well as near at hand; Thou didst send Thy angel to bless Jacob in his journey, and didst lead the children of Israel through the Red Sea, making it a wall on the right hand and on the left : be pleased to let Thy angel go out before me and guide me in my journey, preserving me from dangers of robbers, from violence of enemies, and sudden and sad accidents, from falls and errors. And prosper my journey to Thy glory and to all my innocent purposes ;
and preserve me from all sin, that I may return in peace and holiness, with Thy favour and Thy blessing, and may serve Thee in thankfulness and obedience all the days of my pilgrimage ; and at last bring me to Thy country, to the celestial Jerusalem, there to dwell in Thy house and to sing praises to Thee for ever. Amen.
A Prayer before reading or hearing the Word of God.O Holy and Eternal Jesus, who hast begotten us by Thy Word, renewed us by Thy Spirit, fed us by Thy sacraments and by the daily ministry of Thy Word, still go on to build us up to life eternal. Let Thy most Holy Spirit be present with me and rest upon me in the reading (or hearing) Thy sacred Word : that I may do it humbly, reverently, without prejudice, with a mind ready and desirous to learn and obey ; that I may be readily furnished and instructed to every good work, and may practise all Thy holy laws and commandments, to the glory of Thy holy name, O Holy and Eternal Jesus. Amen.