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Thus ye see the picture of difcontentment; and does it not look
black? There are ounces and pounds of rebellion against the will of God, killing sorrow, and fretting anger, and hideous heart blalphemy in it, while there is not one grain of religion or reason that goes into this hellish composition. If one should take it for a description of hell, he would not be far out; for the truth is, discontent is a hell in the bosom, and a lively emblem of the pit of darkness.
2. If ye view discontentment in the rise of it, ye will see further into the evil of it. It takes its rise from,
ist, A blinded judgement, which puts darkness før light, and light for darkness, and cannot see into the wisdom of the conduct of providence, that does all things well. When our blind minds begin to refine on the management of holy providence, they are apt to produce discontent, which in respect of providence is always unreasonable. See how good Jacob bewrays his folly and ignorance of the methods of providence, Gen. xlii. 36. Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjámin away : all these things are against me. Compare with this the promile, Rom. viii. 28. All things shall work together for good to them that love the Lord, to those who are the called according to his purpose ; and also compare the event; and ye will see that all these things were for the benefit of the good patriarch, and that of his numerous family:
Yea oft-times so readily does it rise out of dark. ness, that it springs up from mere suspicion, misapprehension, and miflake, so that a little cloud of that nature over the mind will in the end cover the mind with the blackness of discontent; as in the case of Ahab, 1 Kings xxi. 4. compare ver. 6. And indeed there is never a ground of discontent, but the blind mind does magnify it, and lay to it such
heaps of rubbish, as the heart is not able to stand under it, as in the case of Rachel, Gen. xxx. 1, When Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her fiter; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. Thus are our own dark minds the anvil on which our miseries are beat out into greater breadth and length than they are of, as they come out of the hand of God, to the end they may cover our hearts with discontent, Happy is the man that can take up his cross as God lays it down, without adding more to it.
2dly, A proud heart. Haman's pride discontented him for want of bows and cringes from Mordecai, which would never have troubled a humble man. A proud heart is a wide heart, Prov. xxviii. 25. Heb. It is not little that will fill it ; it is long ere it will say, It is enough: and so it natively produces discontent. The devil is the proudelt creature, and withal the most discontented; for pride and discontent lodge always under one roof. And could we get blood let of the heart-vein of pride, we would see the swelling ulcer of discontent fall apace.
3. An unmortified affection to the creature, i Tim. vi. 9. 10. Jonah had a gourd, and he was exceedjog glad of it, Jonah iv 6. it is taken away, and then he is exceeding discontented, ver. 9. The heart takes such a hold of such and such a created comfort, that it becomes like a live limb of a man's body; fo when it is rent away, what wonder one cry out, as it men were cutting a limb of him? No body cries out for the loosing of a tree-leg, because it has no communication with the members of the man's body, it is a dead thing. So were our affection to the creature deadened to it, as it should be, discontent could have no access.
4. A spirit of unbelief. Want of faith marred the acceptance of Cain's offering, Heb. xi. 4. and opened the fluice of discontent on him too, Gen. iv. 5. Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. Dit
content feeds on wants, faith brings in the supply of wants, and can feed on it, while it is yet in the promife. Where unbelief is, then tro wonder difcontent prevail. A lively faith would kill discontent, whereas unbelief nourishes and cherishes it; for it puts an effectual bar in the way of the rest of the heart, which it can never attain but in God.
3. View it in the effects, and it will appear very black. The tree is known by its fruits.
ist, It mars communion with and access to God. Muddy and troubled water receives not the image of the sun, as a clear and standing water will do. So a discontented heart is unfit for communion with a holy God, 1 Tim. ii. 3. Can two walk together except they be agreed? If one would have communion with God, his heart must not be boiling in anger against his brother, Matth. v. 23. 24. How then can he have it, when he is angry with his God, as in discontent?
2dly, It quit un sits a man for holy Jutics, fo that he cannot perform them rightly or acceptably; for fpeaking to God in prayer, or his speaking to them liy his word. 1. It deadens one's heart within him, as in Nabal's case, i Sun. xxv. 37. whose beart died within him, and be became as a stone. 2. It takes away the relish of spiritual things, vitiates the taste, and turns them fapless to people, as it did to the Israelites in Egypt, Exod. vi. 7. 8. 9.
. ries the heart off the duty, to pore on the ground of discontent, and inakes them drive heavily in God's worship, and serve him drooping and heartless, as it did the Jews in Malachi's time, Ma!. ii. 13. 14. Their unkindness to their wives made them difcontented and fretful, so that when they came to the temple, they were quite out of humour.
3dly, Nay, it unhts people for the work of their ordinary calling. It is not only an enemy to grace, but to gifts too, and common prudence. The black fumes afcending from the discontented heart over
3. It car
cloud the judgement in ordinary matters, that the one hand knows not what the other is doing, as in Nabal's case, who should have gone and made his peace with David. So that it is a plague to people, not only as Christians, but as men.
4thly, It mars the comfort of society, and makes people uneasy to those that are about them.' When Elkanah went up to Shiloh with his family to rejoice before the Lord, fretting Hannah is out of tune, and mars the harmony, i Sam. i. 7. 8. Peninnah provokes Hannah, Hannah is angry with her, and Elkanah with both. So it is the pelt of society, and makes an evil world ten times worse. It makes people a burden to others, because it gives hem a cloudy day while it lasts.
5thly, It is a torment to one's felf, and makes a man his own tormentor, 1 Kings xxi. 4. It wraps him up in darkness, feeds him with bitterness, and gives him gall and wormwood to drink, Prov. XV. 16. for his ordinary. It robs him of the best worldly thing he can pofsefs, i. e. his peace and tranquillity of mind; and makes his mind within hiin as the troubled fea that cannot reft. So the discono tented person is on a continual rack, and he himself is executioner. All fins are displeasing to God, yet in many there is some pleasure to men, both the actors and others; but corrupt nature cannot it rain any pleasure out of this in one's felf, nor in others eicher, unless like the devil they have a pleasure in seeing others miserable.
6thly, It is not only tormenting to one's mind, but is ruinous to the body, Prov. xvii. 22. A broken Spirit drieth the bones. It is a degree of self-murder. It wastes the natural spirits, and has a native tendency to cut frort one's days. The foul and body are so knit, that they mutually affect one another';, and the mind disordered by fretting passions will fret the body, and confume it like a moth.
7tbly, It fucks the fap out of all one's enjoyments.
As a few drops of gall will embitter a cup and a few drops of ink will blacken a cup of the cleareft liquor; so discontent upon one ground will embitter and blacken all other enjoyments. See it in Haman, Esth. v. 11. 12. 13. And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king. Haman said more : over, Vea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared, but myself; and to-morrow am I invited unto her also with the king. Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I jee Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate. See it also in Ahab, 1 Kings xxi. 4. And Abab 'came into his house, heavy and displeased, because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him. fon he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers; and he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread. As contentment turns all metals into gold, fo discontentment turns them into iron. What taste is there in the white of an egg without falt? There is as much as in any enjoyment under the fun without contentinent. If we have not that før seasoning to our comforts, they are tasteless and fapless, as alhes. And therefore let a man have what he will be enjoys no more than what he has contentment in.
8thly, Hence it always makes one unthankful. Let providence set the discontented man in a paradise, the fruit of that one tree, which is forbidden him, and which he is so uneasy about, will fo embitter him, that he will not give God thanks for all the variety of other delights which the garden is furnished with. For all these avail fim nothing while that is kept out of his reach. It will make him porę fo on his crofs, that he will not look over his Inoulder to all his comforts. Ingratitude is a fin of a