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SECTION III.

Constituent or Integral Parts of Patience.

1. That we may secure our patience we must take care that our complaints be without despair. Despair sins against the reputation of God's goodness, and the efficacy of all our old experience. By despair we destroy the greatest comfort of our sorrow's, and turn our sickness into the state of devils and perishing souls. No affliction is greater than despair; for that is it which makes hell-fire, and turn's a natural evil into an intolerable; it hinders prayers, and fills up the intervals of sickness with a worse torture; it makes all spiritual arts useless, and the office of spiritual comforters and guides to be impertinent.

Against this; hope is to be opposed; and its proper acts, as it relates to the virtue and exercises of patient are, 1. Praying to God for help and remedy; 2. Sending for the guides of souls; 3. Using all holy exercises and acts of grace proper to that state, which whoso does hath not the impatience of despair; every man that is patient hath hope in God in the day of his sorrows.

2. Our complaints in sickness must be without murmur. Murmur sins against God's providence and government; by it we grow rude, and, like the falling angels, displeased at God's supremacy; and nothing is more unreasonable - to talks against God, for whose glory all speech was made; it is proud and fantastic, hath better opinions of a sinner than of the Divine justice, and would rather accuse God than himself.

Against this is opposed that part of patience which resigns the man into the hands of God, saying with old Eli, ‘It is the Lord, let him do what he will;' and, ‘Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven;' and so by admiring God's justice and wisdom does also dispose the sick person for receiving God's mercy, and secures him the rather in the grace of God. The proper acts of this part of patience are, 1. To confess our sins and our own demerits; 2. It increases and exercises humility; 3. It loves to sing praises to God, even from the lowest abyss of human misery.

3. Our complaints in sickness must be without peevishness. This sins against civility and that necessary decency which must be used towards the ministers and assistants. By peevishness we increase our own sorrows, and are troublesome to them that stand there to ease ours. It hath in it harshness of nature and ungentleness, wilfulness and fantastic opinions, morosity and incivility.

Against it are opposed obedience, tractability, easiness of persuasion, aptness to take counsel. The acts of this part of patience are, 1. To obey our physicians; 2. To treat our persons with respect to our present necessities; 3. Not to be ungentle and uneasy to the ministers and nurses that attend us, but to take their diligent and kind offices as sweetly as we can, and to bear their indiscretions or unhandsome accidents contentedly and without disquietness within, or evil language or angry words without; 4. Not to use unlawful means for our recovery.

If we secure these particulars, we are not lightly to be judged of by noises and postures, by colours and images of things, by paleness, or tossing from side to side. For it were a hard thing that those persons who are loaden with the greatest of human calamities should be strictly tied to ceremonies and forms of things. He is patient that calls upon God; that hopes for health or heaven; that believes God is wise and just in sending him afflictions; that confesses his sins, and accuses himself and justifies God; that expects God will turn this into good; that is civil to his physicians and his servants; that converses with the guides of souls, the ministers of religion; and in all things submits to God's will, and would use no indirect means for his recovery; but had rather be sick and die than enter at all into God's displeasure.

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