And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm:
~ Isaiah 9:20
Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness. ~ Psalms 52:7
The Art of Divine Contentment, by Thomas Watson. Two Excerpts.
Sect. VII. The seventh argument to contentation is,
Consider the evil of discontent. Malcontent hath a mixture of grief and anger in it, and both of these must needs raise a storm in the soul. Have you not seen the posture of a sick man? Sometimes he will sit up on his bed, by and by he will lie down, and when he is down he is not quiet; first he turns on the one side and then on the other; he is restless; this is just the emblem of a discontented spirit. The man is not sick, yet he is never well; sometimes he likes such a condition of life but is soon weary; and then another condition of life; and when he hath it, yet he is not pleased; this is an evil under the sun. Now the evil of discontent appears in three things.
Evil 1st. The sordidness of it is unworthy of a Christian. (1.) It is unworthy of his profession. It was the saying of an heathen, bear thy condition quietly; “know thou art a man;” so I say, bear thy condition contentedly, “know thou art a Christian.” Thou professeth to live by faith: what? and not content? Faith is a grace that doth substantiate things not seen; (He. 11. 1) faith looks beyond the creature, it feeds upon promises; faith lives not by bread alone; when the water is spent in the bottle, faith knows whither to have recourse; now to see a Christian dejected in the want of visible supplies and recruits, where is faith? “O,” saith one, “my estate in the world is down.” Ay, and which is worse, the faith is down. Wilt thou not be contented unless God let down the vessel to thee, as he did to Peter, “wherein were all manner of beasts of the earth, and fowls of the air?” Must you have the first and second course? This is like Thomas, “unless I put my finger into the print of the nails, I will not believe;” so, unless thou hast a sensible feeling of outward comforts, thou wilt not be content. True faith will trust God where it cannot trace him, and will adventure upon God’s bond though it hath nothing in view. You who are discontented because you have not all you would, let me tell you, either your faith is a nonentity, or at best but an embryo; it is a weak faith that must have stilts and crutches to support it. Nay, discontent is not only below faith, but below reason: why are you discontented? Is it because you are dispossessed of such comforts? Well, and have you not reason to guide you? Doth not reason tell you that you are but tenants at will? And may not God turn you out when he pleases? You hold not your estate by juridical right, but upon favour and courtesy. (2.) It is unworthy of the relation we stand in to God. A Christian is invested with the title and privilege of sonship, (Ep. 1. 5) he is an heir of the promise. O consider the lot of free-grace that is fallen upon thee; thou art nearly allied to Christ, and of the blood royal; thou art advanced in some sense, above the angels: “why art thou, being the king’s son, lean from day to day?” (2 Sa. 13. 4) why art thou discontented? O, how unworthy is this! as if the heir to some great monarch should go pining up and down because he may not pick such a flower.
Evil 2nd. Consider the sinfulness of it; which appears in three things; the causes, the concomitants, the consequences of it.
(1.) It is sinful in the causes; such as pride. He that thinks highly of his desets, usually esteems meanly of his condition: a discontented man is a proud man, he thinks himself better than others, therefore finds fault with the wisdom of God that he is not above others. Thus the things formed saith to him that formed it, “why hast thou made me thus?” (Ro. 9. 20) why am I not higher? Discontents are nothing else but the estuations, and boilings over of pride. The second cause of discontent is, envy, which Augustine calls the sin of the devil. Satan envied Adam the glory of paradise, and the robe of innocency: he that envies what his neighbour hath, is never contented with that portion which God’s providence doth parcel out to him. As envy stirs up strife, (this made the Plebeian faction so strong among the Romans) so it creates discontent: the envious man looks so much upon the blessings which another enjoys, that he cannot see his own mercies, and so doth continually vex and torture himself. Cain envied that his brother’s sacrifice was accepted, and his rejected; hereupon he was discontented, and presently murderous thoughts began to arise in his heart. The third cause is covetousness. This is a radical sin. Whence ae vexing law-suits, but from discontent? and whence is discontent, but from covetousness? Covetousness and contentedness cannot dwell in the same heart. Avarice is an hell, that is never satisfied. The covetous man is like Behemoth, “behold he drinketh up a river, he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.” (Job 40. 23) “There are four things (saith Solomon) that say not, it is enough.” I may add a fifth, the heart of a covetous man; he is still craving. Covetousness is like a wolf in the breast, which is ever feeding; and because a man is not satisfied, he is never content. The fourth cause of discontent is, jealousy, which is sometimes occasioned through melancholy, and sometimes misapprehension. The spirit of jealousy causeth the evil spirit. “Jealousy is the rage of a man.” (Pr. 6. 34) And oft this is nothing but suspicion and fancy: yet such as creates real discontent. the fifth cause of discontent is distrust, which is a great degree of Atheism. The discontented person is ever distrustful. The bill of provision grows low; I am in these straits of exigencies, can God help me? “can he prepare a table in the wilderness?” sure he cannot. My estate is exhausted, can God recruit me? my friends are gone, can God raise me up more? sure the arm of his power is shrunk. I am like the dry fleece, can any water come upon this fleece? “If the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be?” (2 Ki. 7. 2) Thus the anchor of hope, and the shield of faith, being cast away, the soul goes pining up and down. Discontent is nothing else but the echo of unbelief: and remember, distrust is worse than distress.
(2.) Discontent is evil in its concomitants of it, which are two:
1. Discontent is joined with a sullen melancholy. A Christian of a right temper should be ever cheerful in God: “serve the Lord with gladness;” (Ps. 100. 2) a sign the oil of grace hath been poured into the heart when the oil of gladness shines in the countenance. Cheerfulness credits religion; how can the discontented person be cheerful? Discontent is a dogged, sullen humour; because we have not what we desire God shall not have a good work or look from us; as the bird in the cage, because he is pent up, and cannot fly in the open air, therefore beats herself against the cage, and is ready to kill herself. Thus that peevish prophet; “I do well to be angry even unto death.” (Jon. 4. 9)
2. Discontent is accompanied with unthankfulness; because we have not all we desire, we never mind the mercies which we have. We deal with God as the widow of Sarepta did with the prophet: the prophet Elijah had been a means to keep her alive in the famine, for it was for his sake, that her meal in the barrel, and her oil in the cruise failed not; but as soon as ever her son dies, she falls into a passion, and begins to quarrel with the prophet: “what have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? Art thou come to call my sin to rememberance, and slay my son?” (1 Ki. 17. 18) So ungratefully do we deal with God: we can be content to receive mercies from God, but if he doth cross us in the least thing, then, through discontent, we grow touchy and impatient, and are ready to fly upon God; thus God loseth all his mercies. We read in Scripture of the thank-offering; the discontented person cuts God short of this; the Lord loseth his thank-offering. A discontented Christian repines in the midst of mercies, as Adam who sinned in the midst of paradise. Discontent is a spider that sucks the poison of unthankfulness out of the sweetest flower of God’s blessing, and is a devilish chemistry that extracts dross out of the most refined gold. The discontented person thinks every thing he doth for God too much, and every thing God doth for him too little. O what a sin is unthankfulness! it is an accumulative sin. What Cicero said of parricide, I may say of ingratitude: “there are many sins bound up in this one sin.” It is a voluminous wickedness; and how full of this sin is discontent? A discontented Christian, because he hath not all the world, therefore dishonours God with the mercies which he hath. God made Eve out of Adam’s rib, to be an helper, but the devil hath made an arrow of this rib, and shot Adam to the heart: so doth discontent take the rib of God’s mercy, and ungratefully shoot at him; estate, liberty shall be employed against God. Thus it is oftentimes. Behold then how discontent and ingratitude are interwoven and twisted one within the other: thus discontent is sinful in its concomitants. (3.) It is sinful in its consequences, which are these. 1. It makes a man very unlike the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is a meek Spirit. The Holy Ghost descended in the likeness of a dove, (Mat. 3. 16) a dove is the emblem of meekness; a discontented spirit is not a meek spirit. 2. It makes a man like the devil; the devil being swelled with the poison of envy and malice, is never content: just so is the malcontent. The devil is an unquiet spirit, he is still “walking about,” (1 Pe. 5. 8) it is his rest to be walking. And herein is the discontented person like him; for he goes up and down vexing himself, “seeking rest, and finding none;” he is the devil’s picture. 3. Discontent disjoints the soul, it untunes the heart for duty. “Is any among you afflicted, let him pray.” (Ja. 5. 13) But, is any man discontented? how shall he pray? “Lift up holy hands without wrath.” (1 Ti. 2. 8) Discontent is full of wrath and passion; the malcontent cannot lift up pure hands; he lifts up leprous hands, he poisons his prayers; will God accept a poisoned sacrifice? Chrysostom compares prayer to a fine garland; those, saith he, that make a garland, their hands had need to be clean; prayer is a precious garland, the heart that makes it had need to be clean. Discontent throws poison into the spring, which was dealt among the Romans, discontent puts the heart into a disorder and mutiny, and such as one cannot serve the Lord “without distraction.” 4. Discontent sometimes unfits for the very use of reason. Jonah, in a passion of discontent, spake no better than blasphemy and nonsense: “I do well to be angry even unto death.” (Jon. 4. 9) What? to be angry with God! and to die for anger! Sure he did not know well what he said. When discontent transports, then, like Moses, we speak unadvisedly with our lips. This humour doth even suspend the very acts of reason. 5. Discontent doth not only disquiet a man’s self, but those who are near him. This evil spirit troubles families, parishes, &c. If there be but one string out of tune, it spoils all the music: one discontented spirit makes jarrings and dis-cords among others. It is this ill-humour that breeds quarrels and law-suits. Whence are all our contentions, but for want of contentation? “From whence come wars and fighting among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts?” (Ja. 4. 1) in particular from the lust of discontent. Why did Absalom raise a war against his father, and would have taken off not only his crown but his head? was it not his discontent? Absalom would be king. Why did Ahab stone Naboth? was it not discontent about the vineyard? Oh this devil of discontent! Thus you have seen the sinfulness of it.
Evil. 3d. Consider the simplicity of it. I may say, as the Psalmist, “surely they are disquieted in vain:” (Ps. 39. 6) which appears thus, 1. Is it not a vain simple thing to be troubled at the loss of that which is in its own nature perishing and changeable? God hath put a vicissitude into the creature; all the world rings changes; and for me to meet with inconstancy here, to lose a friend, estate, to be in constant fluctuation; is no more than to see a flower wither or a leaf drop off in autumn: there is an autumn upon every comfort, a fall of the leaf; now it is extreme folly to be discontented at the loss of those things which are in their own nature loseable. What Solomon saith of riches, is true of all things under the sun, “they take wings.” Noah’s dove brought an olive-branch in its mouth, but presently flew out of the ark, and never returned more: such a comfort brings to us honey in its mouth, but it hath wings; and to what purpose should we be troubled, unless we had wings to fly after and overtake it? 2. Discontent is a heart-breaking: “by sorrow of the heart, the spirit is broken.” (Pr. 15. 13) It takes away the comfort of life. There is none of us but may have many mercies if we can see them; now because we have not all we desire, therefore we will lose the comfort of that which we have already. Jonah having his gourd smitten, a withering vanity, was so discontented, that he never thought of his miraculous deliverance out of the whale’s belly; he takes no comfort of his life, but wisheth that he might die. What folly is this? We must have all or none; herein we are like children, that throw away the piece which is cut them because they may have no bigger. Discontent eats out the comfort of life. Besides, it were well if it were seriously weighed how prejudicial this is even to our health; for discontent, as it doth discruciate the mind, so it doth pine the body. It frets as a moth; and by wasting the spirits, weakens the vitals. The pleurisy of discontent brings the body into a consumption; and is not this folly? 3. Discontent does not ease us of our burden, but it makes the cross heavier. A contented spirit goes cheerfully under its affliction. Discontent makes our grief as unsupportable as it is unreasonable. If the leg be well, it can endure a fetter and not complain; but if the leg be sore, then the fetters trouble. Discontent of mind is the sore that makes the fetters of affliction more grievous. Discontent troubles us more than the trouble itself, it steeps the affliction in wormwood. When Christ was upon the Cross, the Jews brought him gall and vinegar to drink, that it might add to his sorrow. Discontent brings to a man in affliction, gall and vinegar to drink; this is worse than the affliction itself. Is it not folly for a man to embitter his own cross? 4. Discontent spins out our troubles the longer. A Christian is discontented because he is in want, and therefore he is in want because he is discontented; he murmurs because he is afflicted, and therefore he is afflicted, because he murmurs. Discontent doth delay and adjourn our mercies. God deals herein with us, as we use to do with our children; when they are quiet and cheerful, they shall have any thing; but if we see them cry and fret, then we withhold from them: we get nothing from God by our discontent but blows; the more the child struggles, the more it is beaten: when we struggle with God by our sinful passions, he doubles and trebles his strokes; God will tame our curst hearts. What got Israel by their peevishness? they were within eleven days journey to Canaan; and now they were discontented and began to murmur, God leads them a march of forty years long in the wilderness. Is it not folly for us to adjourn our own mercies? Thus you have seen the evil of discontent.
Sect. XIII. The thirteenth argument to contentation is this;
To have competency, and to want contentment, is a great judgement. For a man to have a huge
stomach, that whatever meat you give him he is still craving and never satisfied, you use to say, this is a great judgement upon the man: thou who art a devourer of money, and yet never hast enough, but still criest, give, give, this is a sad judgement: “They shall eat, and not have enough.” (Ho. 4. 10) The throat of a malicious man is an open sepulchre, (Ro. 3. 13) so is the heart of a covetous man. Covetousness is not only a sin, but the punishment of a sin. It is a secret curse upon a covetous person; he shall thirst, and thirst, and never be satisfied: “he that loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver. (Ec. 5. 10) And is not this a curse? What was it but a severe judgement upon the people of Judah? “Ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink. (Ha. 1. 6) O let us take heed of this plague! Did not Esau say to his brother, “I have abundance, my brother,” (Go. 37. 9) or, as we translate it, I have enough; and shall not a Christian say so much more. It is sad that our hearts should be dead to heavenly things, and a sponge to suck in earthly. Yet all that hath been said, will not work our minds to heavenly contentation.
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 under the wrath of God, (Jno. 3. 16) and shall he be content when that dreadful vial is going to be poured out? Is it nothing to be under the scorchings of divine fury? “who can dwell with everlasting burnings?” A sinner, as a sinner, is under the power of Satan, (Ac. 26. 18) and shall he in his estate be contented? Who would be contented to stay in the enemies’ quarters? While we sleep in the lap of sin, the devil doth to us as the Philistines did to Samson, cut out the lock of our strength, and put out our eyes. Be not content, O sinner, in this estate! For a man to be in debt, body and soul; in fear every hour to be arrested and carried prisoner to hell, shall he now be content? Here I preach against contentation,. Oh get out of this condition! I would hasten you out of it as the angel hastened lot out of Sodom; (Gen. 19. 15) there is the smell of the fire and brimstone upon you. The longer a man stays in his sin, the more sin doth strengthen. It is hard to get out of sin, when the heart as a garrison is victualled and fortified. A young plant is easily removed, but when the tree is once rooted, there is no stirring of it: thou who art rooted in thy pride, unbelief, impenitency, it will cost thee many a sad pull ere thou art plucked out of thy natural estate. (Jer. 6. 16) It is an hard thing to have a brazen face and a broken heart; “he travaileth with iniquity;” (Ps. 7. 14) be assured, the longer you travail with your sins, the more and the sharper pangs you must expect in the new birth. O be not contented with your natural estate! David saith, “why art thou cast down, O my soul?” (Ps. 43. 5) But a sinner should say to himself, why art thou not disquieted, O my soul? Why is it that thou layest afflictions so to heart, and canst not lay sin to heart? It is a mercy when we are disquieted about sin. A man had better be at the trouble of setting a bone, than to be lame, and in pain all his life; blessed is that trouble that brings the soul to Christ. It is one of the worst sights to see a bad conscience quiet; of the two, better is a fever than a lethargy. I wonder to see a man in his natural estate content. What! content to go to hell?
2d. Though, in regard of externals, a man should be in every estate content, yet he must not be content is such a condition wherein God is apparently dishonoured. If a man’s trade be such that he can hardly use it, but he must trespass upon a command, and so make a trade of sin, he must not content himself in such a condition; God never called any man to such a calling as is sinful; a man in this case, had better knock off and divert, better lose some of his gain, so he may lessen some of his guilt. So, for servants that live in a profane family, the suburbs of hell, where the name of God is not called upon, unless when it is taken in vain, they are not to content themselves in such a place, they are to come out of the tents of these sinners; there is a double danger in living among the profane.
1. Lest we come to be infected with the poison of their ill example. Joseph, living in Pharaoh’s court, had learned to swear “by the life of Pharaoh.” (Ge. 42. 15) We are prone to suck in example: men take in deeper impressions by the eye than the ear. Dives was a bad pattern, and he had many brethren that seeing him sin, trode just in his steps, therefore saith he, “I pray thee send him to my father’s house: for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” (Lu. 16. 27,28) Dives knew which way they went; it is easy to catch a disease from another, but not to catch health. The bad will sooner corrupt the good, than the good will convert the bad. Take an equal quantity and proportion, so much sweet wine with so much sour vinegar; the vinegar will sooner sour the wine than the wine will sweeten the vinegar. Sin is compared to the plague, (1 Ki. 8. 37) and to leaven, (1 Cor. 5. 7) to show of what a spreading nature it is. A bad master makes a bad servant. Jacob’s cattle, by looking on the rods which were speckled and ring-straked conceived the rods. We do as we see others do before us, especially those that are above us. If the head be sick, the other parts of the body are distempered. If the sun shines not upon the mountains, it must needs set in the vallies. We pray, “lead us not into temptation:” Lot was the world’s miracle, who kept himself fresh in Sodom’s salt water.
2. By living in an evil family, we are liable to incur their punishment: “pour out thy wrath upon the families that call not upon thy name. (Jer. 10. 25) For want of pouring out of prayer, the wrath of God was ready to be poured out. It is dangerous living in the tents of Kedar. When God sends his flying roll, written within and without with curses, it enters into the house of the thief and the perjurer, “and consumes the timber and the stones thereof.” (Ze. 5. 4) Is it not of sad consequence to live in a profane perjured family, when the sin of the governor pulls his house about his ears? If the stones and timber be destroyed, how shall the servant escape? And suppose God send not a temporal roll of curses in the family, there is a “spiritual roll, and that is worse.” (Pr. 3. 33) Be not content to live where religion dies. “Salute the brethren, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.” (Col. 4. 15) The house of the godly is a little church, the house of the wicked a little hell. (Pr. 7. 27) Oh, incorporate yourselves into a religious family; the house of a good man is perfumed with a blessing. (Pr. 3. 33) When the holy oil of grace is poured on the head, the savour of this ointment sweetly diffuseth itself, and the virtue of it runs down upon the skirts of the family. Pious examples are very magnetical and forcible. Seneca said to his sister, though I leave you not wealth, yet I leave you a good example. Let us ingraft ourselves among the saints; by being often among the spices, we come to smell of them.
3d. The third caution is, though in every condition we must be content, yet we are not to content ourselves with a little grace. Grace is the best blessing. Though we should be contented with a competency of estate, yet not with a competency of grace. It was the end of Christ’s assension to heaven, to give gifts; and the end of those gifts, “that we may grow up into him in all things who is the head, even Christ. (Ep. 4. 15) Where the apostle distinguisheth between our being in Christ, and our growing in him; our ingratifying, and our flourishing; be not content with a modicum in religion.
It is not enough that there be life, but there must be fruit. Barrenness in the law was accounted a curse: the farther we are from the fruit, the nearer we are to cursing. (He. 6. 8) It is a sad thing when men are fruitful only in the unfruitful works of darkness. Be not content with a drachm or two of grace; next to a still-born, a starveling in Christ is worse. O covet more grace! never think thou hast enough. We are bid to covet the best things. (1 Cor. 12. 31) It is an heavenly ambition when we desire to be high in God’s favour, a blessed contentation when all the strife is who shall be most holy. St Paul, though he was content with a little of the world, yet not with a little grace: “he reached forward, and pressed towards the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Ph. 3. 13,14) A true Christian is a wonder; he is the most contented, and yet the least satisfied; he is contented with a morsel of bread, and a little water in the cruise, yet never satisfied with grace; he doth pant and breath after more; this is his prayer, “Lord, more conformity to Christ, more communion with Christ; he would fain have Christ’s image more lively pictured upon his soul. True grace is always progressive; as the saints are called lamps and stars, in regard of their light, so trees of righteousness, (Is. 61. 3) for their growth: they are indeed like the tree of life, bringing forth several sorts of fruit.
A true Christian grows in beauty. Grace is the best complexion of the soul; it is at the first plantation, like Rachel, fair to look upon; but still the more it lives, the more it sends forth its rays of beauty. Abraham’s faith was at first beautiful; but at last did shine in its orient colours, and grew so illustrious, that God himself was in love with it, and makes his faith a pattern to all believers.
A true Christian grows in sweetness. A poisonous weed may grow as much as the hyssop or rosemary, the poppy in the field as the corn, the crab as the pearmain; but the one hath a harsh sour taste, the other mellows as it grows: an hypocrite may grow in outward dimensions, as much as a child of God, he may pray as much, profess as much: but he grows only in magnitude, he brings forth only sour grapes, his duties are leavened with pride; the other ripens as he grows; he grows in love, humility, faith, which do mellow and sweeten his duties, and make them come off with a better relish. The believer grows as the flower, he casts a fragrancy and perfume.
A true Christian grows in strength: he grows still more rooted and settled. The more the tree grows, the more it spreads its root in the earth: a Christian who is a plant of the heavenly Jerusalem, the longer he grows, the more he incorporates into Christ, and sucks spiritual juice and sap from him; he is a dwarf in regard of humility, but a giant in regard of strength, — he is strong to do duties, to bear burdens, resist temptations.
He grows in the exercise of his grace; he hath not only oil in his lamp, but his lamp is also burning and shining. Grace is agile and dexterous. Christ’s vine do flourish; (Ca. 6. 11) hence we read of “a lively hope, (1 Pe. 1. 3) and “a ferverent love;” (1 Pe. 1. 22) here is the activity of grace. Indeed sometimes grace is a sleepy habit of the soul, like sap in the vine, not exerting its vigour, which may be occasioned through spiritual sloth, or by reason of falling into some sin; but this is only for a while: the spring of grace will come, “the flowers will appear, and the figtree put forth her green figs.” The fresh gales of the Spirit do sweetly revive and refacilitate grace. The church of Christ, whose heart was a garden, and her graces as precious spices, prays for the heavenly breathings of the Spirit, that her sacred spices might flow out. (Ca. 6. 16)
A true Christian grows both in the kind and in the degree of grace. To his spiritual living he gets an augmentation, he adds to “faith, virtue: to virtue, knowledge: to knowledge, temperance,” &c. (2 Pe. 1. 5,6) Here is grace growing in its kind. And he goes on “from faith to faith;” (Ro. 1. 17) there is grace growing in the degree; “we are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, because your faith groweth exceedingly;” (2 Th. 1. 3) it increaseth over and above. And the apostle speaks of those spiritual plants which were laden with gospel-fruit. (Ph. 1. 11) A Christian is compared to the vine, (an emblem of fruitfulness) he must bear full clusters: we are bid to perfect that which is lacking in our faith. (1 Th. 3. 10) A Christian must never be so old as to be past bearing; he brings forth fruit in his old age. (Ps. 92. 14) An heaven-born plant is ever growing; he never thinks he grows enough; he is not content unless he add every day one cubit to his spiritual stature. We must not be content just with so much grace as will keep life and soul together, a drachm or two will not suffice, but we must be still increasing, “with the increase of God.” (Col. 2. 19) We had need renew our strength as the eagle. (Is. 40. 31) Our sins are renewed, our wants are renewed, our tentations are renewed, and shall not our strength be renewed? O be not content with the first embryo of grace; grace in its infancy and minority! You look for degrees of glory, be ye Christians of degrees. Though a believer should be contented with a modicum on his estate, yet not with a modicum in religion. A Christian of the right breed labours still to excel himself, and come nearer to that holiness in God, who is the original, the pattern, and prototype of all holiness.
Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.
~ Jonah 1:1-4, 10-11