Watts - Houston-Packer Collection BX5207.W3 S4x 1805 v.1

SERM. V.3 THE SOUL DRAWING NEAR TO GOD. 79 if our hearts are but in a serious frame, and if our tem-. per or circumstances of mind or body have any thing a-kin to the grief or piety of this good man. Job had now beard long stories of accusation from bis friends, while he was bowed down, and groaning under the heavy providences of God ; they persecuted . him whom God had smitten, and poured in fresh sor- rows upon all his wounds. " I will turn aside, saith he, from man, for miserable comforters are ye all ; and I will address myself to God, even the God that smites me. O that I knew where I might find him !" The stroke of the father doth not make the child fly from him, but come nearer, and bow himself before his best friend ; this is the filial temper of the children of God. " My complaint is bitter, saith Job, ver. 2. because of my sorrows from the hand of God, and from the ac- cusations and reproaches of my friends; you may think I am too lavish in my complainings and my continual cries, but I feel more than I complain of." And there- fore Job is set up as a pattern of patience ; for he could say,' my stroke is heavier than my groaning. There are some of the children of Godwho give them- selves up to a perpetual habit of complaints and groans, though no trial has befallen them but what is common to men ; they make all around them sensible of every lesser pain they feel, and being always uneasy in themselves, they take the kindest and gentlest admonition for an ac- cusation; and while they imagine themselves in thecase of Job, they resent highly every real or suspected in- jury; in short, they make a great part of their own sor- rows themselves, and then they cry out and complain ; and among their dismal complainings, they often, with- out reason, assume the words of Job as their own, and say, "My stroke is heavier than my groaning." In some persons this is the temper of their natures, and in others a mere distemper of the body; but both ought to watch against it, and resist it, because it appears so much like sinful impatience and fretfulness, that it cannot be in- dulged without sin. There are others, whose real afflictions are dreadful indeed, and uncommon, who seem to tire all their friends with their complaints too ; but, it may be, if we knew all their variety ofsorrows, and could take an inti- 5