The Art of Divine Contentment: Foreword An Exposition of Philippians 4:11
"I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
"Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward;" therefore we all need to learn the same lesson as Paul. "I have learned," he said "in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content," Philippians 4. 11. Bel ...read
The Art of Divine Contentment: Chapter 1 The Introduction to the Text.
These words are brought in by way of prolepsis to anticipate and prevent an objection. The apostle had, in the former verse, laid down many grave and heavenly exhortations: among the rest, "to be careful for nothing." Not to exclude, 1. A prudential care; for, he that provideth not for his own house, "hath denied th ...read
The Art of Divine Contentment: Chapter 2 The First Branch of the Text, the Scholar, with the First Proposition.
I begin with the first: The scholar, and his proficiency; "I have learned." Out of which I shall by the bye, observe two things by way of paraphrase. 1. The apostle doth not say, I have heard, that in every estate I should be content: but, I have learned. Whence our first doc ...read
The Art of Divine Contentment: Chapter 3 Concerning the Second Proposition.
This word, "I have learned," is a word that imports difficulty; it shows how hardly the apostle came by contentment of mind; it was not bred in nature. St Paul did not come naturally by it, but he had learned it. It cost him many a prayer and tear, it was taught him by the Spirit. Whence our second doctrine: go ...read
The Art of Divine Contentment: Chapter 4 The Second Branch of the Text, the Lesson itself, with the Proposition.
I come to the second, which is the main thing, the lesson itself, "in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Here was a rare piece of learning indeed, and is certainly more to be wondered at in St Paul, that he knew how to turn himself to every condition, than all ...read
The Art of Divine Contentment: Chapter 5 The resolving of some Questions.
For the illustration of this doctrine, I shall propound these questions.
Q. 1. Whether a Christian may not be sensible of his condition, and yet be contented?
Yes; for else he is not a saint, but a stoic. Rachel did well to weep for her children, there was nature; but her fault was, she refused to be comf ...read
The Art of Divine Contentment: Chapter 6 Shewing the Nature of Contentment.
Having answered these questions, I shall in the next place, come to describe this contentment. It is a sweet temper of spirit, whereby a Christian carries himself in an equal poise in every condition. The nature of this will appear more clear in these three aphorisms.
1. Contentment is a divine thing; it b ...read
The Art of Divine Contentment: Chapter 7 Reasons pressing to Holy Contentment.
Having opened the nature of contentment, I come next to lay down some reasons or arguments to contentment, which may preponderate with us.
The first is, God's precept. It is charged upon us as a duty: "be content with such things as you have." (He. 13. 5) The same God, who hath bid us believe, hath bid us ...read
The Art of Divine Contentment: Chapter 8 Use I. Shewing how a Christian may make his Life comfortable.
It shows how a Christian may come to lead a comfortable life, even an heaven upon earth, be the times what they will: by Christian contentment. The comfort of life doth not stand in having much; it is Christ's maxim, "man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he d ...read
The Art of Divine Contentment: Chapter 9 Use II. A Check to the discontented Christian.
Here is a just reproof to such as are discontented with their condition. This disease is almost epidemical. Some not content with the calling which God hath set them in, must be a step higher, from the plough to the throne; who like the spider in the Proverbs, will "take hold with her hands, and is ...read
The Art of Divine Contentment: Chapter 10 Use III. A Suasive to Contentment.
It exhorts us to labour for contentation; this is that which doth beautify and bespangle a Christian, and as a spiritual embroidery, doth set him off in the eyes of the world.
But methinks I hear some bitterly complaining, and saying to me, Alas! how is it possible to be contented? "The Lord hath made "my ch ...read
The Art of Divine Contentment: Chapter 11 Divine Motives to Contentment.
SECT. 1. The first argument to contentation.
1. Consider the excellency of it. Contentment is a flower that doth not grow in every garden; it teacheth a man how in the midst of want to abound. You would think it were excellent if I could prescribe a receipt or antidote against poverty: but behold here is that ...read
The Art of Divine Contentment: Chapter 12 Three things inserted by way of Caution.
In the next place, I come to lay down some necessary cautions. Though I say a man should be content in every estate, yet there are three estates in which he must not be contented.
1st. He must not be contented in a natural estate: here we must learn not to be content. A sinner in his pure naturals is u ...read
The Art of Divine Contentment: Chapter 13 Use IV. Showing how a Christian may know whether he hath learned this Divine Art.
Thus having laid down these three cautions, I proceed, in the next place, to an use of trial. How may a Christian know that he hath learned this lesson of contentment? I shall lay down some characters by which you shall know it.
Character 1st. A contented spirit ...read
The Art of Divine Contentment: Chapter 14 Use V. Containing a Christian Directory, or Rules about Contentment.
I proceed now to an use of direction, to show Christians how they may attain to this divine art of contentation. Certainly it is feasible, others of God's saints have reached to it. St Paul here had it; and what do we think of those we read of in that little book of martyrs, (H ...read
The Art of Divine Contentment: Chapter 15 Use VI. Of Consolation to the Contented Christian.
The last use is of comfort, or an encouraging word to the contented Christian. If there be an heaven upon earth thou hast is. O Christian! thou mayest insult over thy troubles, and, with the leviathan, laugh at the shaking of a spear. (Job 41. 7) What shall I say? Thou art a crown to thy profess ...read
The Beatitudes 0. To the Reader Christian Reader,
I here present you with a subject full of sweet variety. This Sermon of Christ on the Mount is a piece of spiritual needlework, wrought about with divers colours; here is both usefulness and sweetness. In this portion of Holy Scripture you have a breviary of religion, the Bible epitomised. Here is a garden of delight, set with ...read
The Beatitudes 1. Introduction And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him. And he opened his mouth, and taught them.
Matthew 5:1, 2
The blessed evangelist St Matthew, the penman of this sacred history, was at first by profession a publican or gatherer of toll; and Christ, having called him from the custom-house, ...read
The Beatitudes 2. There is a Blessedness in Reversion Blessed are the poor in spirit.
Having done with the occasion, I come now to the sermon itself. Blessed are the poor in spirit'. Christ does not begin his Sermon on the Mount as the Law was delivered on the mount, with commands and threatenings, the trumpet sounding, the fire flaming, the earth quaking, and the hearts of the Israe ...read
The Beatitudes 3. The Godly Are In Some Sense Already Blessed I proceed now to the second aphorism or conclusion, that the godly are in some sense already blessed. The saints are blessed not only when they are apprehended by God, but while they are travellers to glory. They are blessed before they are crowned. This seems a paradox to flesh and blood. What, reproached and maligned, yet blessed! A man that look ...read