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Contentment

Contentment

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Published by glennpease

BY J. R. MACDUFF, D.D.



Phil. it. 11.

" I hare learned, in whatsoerer state I am, theirwith to be

eontent.

BY J. R. MACDUFF, D.D.



Phil. it. 11.

" I hare learned, in whatsoerer state I am, theirwith to be

eontent.

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Published by: glennpease on May 01, 2014
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COTETMETBY J. R. MACDUFF, D.D. Phil. it. 11. " I hare learned, in whatsoerer state I am, theirwith to be eontent. How few among as have made this advance- ment in knowledge ! How ready aie we, when anything thwarts our inclinations, disarranges onr plans, or affects onr interests, to fret and mnrmnr — to sit down in gloomy despondency, and say with the patriarch, ^^ All these things are against me!'' The reason is, because we have not, like the apostle, been "learning." Contentment is not acquired all at once. It is only by a gradual process that this spirit is fos- tered in us, — only by striving to bear patiently the lesser ills of life — the daily crosses and vexa- tions which come upon us — that we can acquire the power of bearing up, without complaint, under the more trying and oppressive sorrows which, in the providence of God, fall to our share. or is it by trusting to our own strength that wc can attain this happy frame of mind. 266 COTETMET. 9 God gives grace to those who improve what they have already received. The ofiener He sees His child putting forth the strength akeady imparted,
 
the more willing is He to renew that strength. It was so with the apostle. How varied had been his experience ! and how strenuously did he seek, under every change of circumstance, to improve and manifest the grace of God which had been given him ! Think of what he had to undergo whilst "learning" the hsson of can-- tentmenti In his joumeyings and perils, — his imprisonments and shipwrecks, — ^hia weariness and painfolness, — his watchings, hunger, thirst, fastings, cold, and nakedness, — ^he must have endured many severe and painful privations; but all the while he was " learning," and all the while realising more fully that the grace of God was sufficient to enable him to undergo the countless trials which had been allotted. By degrees he had been instructed not to murmur at the allotments of Divine Providence, — not to be envious at the prosperity of others, — and not to repine when his comforts were removed. And this, Christian, was no easy lesson. To be able to use the language of St Paul marks a great advancement in the divine life. It is COTETMET. 267 often a trying thing to see the wicked prosper- ing,— free from trouble and anxiety, — ^unvisited by misfortune or calamity ; and yet, amid suffer- ing, and sickness, and distress, to cherish a con- tented spirit — ^to continue patient and trustftd and uncomplaining. ot unfrequently, alas, the language of the heart is similar to that of David, "Behold, these are the ungodly who prosper in the world: they increase in riches. Verily, I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the
 
day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning." Reader, it is the triumph of true religion that it can stand such a shock — that it can so fill the heart with peace, so animate it with hope, and so stablish its faith and trust in God, that trials, reverses, sicknesses, and sorrows only attract the believer nearer to the bosom of his Qod, And, in truth, it is not strange that they should do so. If I find that my God has com- forted me under a small trial, shall I not repair to Him under a heavier one? — if He has spoken to me in accents of intenser love while suffering was pressing upon me than at other times, shall I not instantly flee to Him when my troubles 268 COTETMET, return? — and if His grace has brought me forth out of one affiction, wiser, better, more earnest, self-denying, humble, and resigned, oh, to whom should I rush with greater eagerness and urgency, when the flood of sorrow is overwhelming me, than to Him who, having " given His own dear Son for me, shall with Him also freely give me all things " needful for my present emer- gency ? Besides, dear reader, never forget the m^ecessiiy of trial. Assuredly God does not send trouble or sickness or poverty merely to fret and annoy His children — to render them unhappy and dis- contented. o ; but forasmuch as our natures are sinful, and must be sanctified, — forasmuch as we are wilful, and must be brought to obedi- ence,— forasmuch as every remnant of the evil principle must be removed ere we can enter the

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