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Now because it is very hard to work upon a murmuring spirit, there are many aggravations which we must consider for the further setting out of the greatness of this sin. 1. To murmur when we enjoy an abundance of mercy; the greater and the more abundant the mercy that we enjoy, the greater and viler is the sin of murmuring. For example, when God had newly delivered the people out of the house of bondage, for them to murmur, because they lack some few things that they desire, oh, to sin against God after a great mercy, is a great aggravation, and a most abominable thing. Now, my brethren, the Lord granted to us this summer, heaped mercies upon us, one mercy upon another! What a condition were we in at the beginning of this summer! And what a different condition are we in now! Oh, what a mercy is it that the Lord has not taken advantage of us, that he has not made those Scriptures before mentioned good upon us for all our murmuring! The Lord has gone on with one mercy after another.
We hear of mercy in Bristol, and mercy to our brethren in Scotland. But if after this anything should befall us that is contrary to us, and we should be ready to murmur again at once - Oh, let us not so requite God for those mercies of his! Oh, let us take heed of giving God any ill requital for his mercies! Oh, give God praise according to his excellent greatness, to his excellent goodness and grace!
And now has God given to you the contentment of your hearts? Take heed of being the cause of any grief to your brethren. Do not think that because God has been gracious to you, that therefore he has given you liberty to bring them into bondage. Oh, let not there be such an ill effect of Godís mercy to you, as for you for to exclude, by petitioning, or any other way, your brethren whom the Lord has been pleased to make instruments of your peace; let not that be the fruit of it, nor to desire anything that yourselves do not yet understand. God is very jealous of the glory of his mercy, and if any ill use should be made of the mercy of God after we enjoy it, Oh, it would go to the heart of God. Nothing is more grievous to the heart of God than the abuse of mercy, as, for example, if any way that is hard and rigid should be taken towards our brethren, and those especially whom God has made such special instruments of good to us, who have been willing to venture their lives and all for us; if now, when we have our turns served, we let God and his people and servants who helped to save us shift for themselves as well as they can. This is a great aggravation of your sin, to sin against the mercies of God.
For men and women to be discontented in the midst of mercies, in enjoyment of an abundance of mercies, aggravates the sin of discontent and murmuring. To be discontented in any afflicted condition is sinful and evil, but to be discontented when we are in the midst of Godís mercies, when we are not able to count the mercies of God, still to be discontented because we have not got all we would have, this is a greater evil. The Lord this summer has multiplied mercies one after another, the Lord has made this summer a continued miracle of mercy. Never did a Kingdom enjoy (in so little a space of time) such mercies one upon another. Now the public mercies of God should quiet our hearts and keep us from discontent. The sin of discontent for private afflictions is exceedingly aggravated by the consideration of public mercies to the land. When the Lord has been so merciful to the land, will you be fretting and murmuring, because you have not in your family all the comforts that you would have?
Just as it is a great aggravation of a manís evil for him to rejoice immediately in his own private comforts when the Church is in affliction; when the public suffers grievous and hard troubles, if any man shall then rejoice and give liberty to himself, at that time to satisfy his flesh to the uttermost in all outward comforts, this greatly aggravates his sin. So on the contrary for any man to be immoderately troubled for any private afflictions when it goes well with the public, with the Churches, is a great aggravation of his sin. It may be that when the Church of God was lowest, and it went worst in other parts, yet you did abate none of the comforts of your flesh, but gave full liberty to satisfy your flesh as formerly: Know that this was your sin. So, on the other side, when we have received such mercies in public, all our private afflictions should be swallowed up in the public mercies. We should think with ourselves, Though we be afflicted for our part, yet blessed be God, it goes well with the Church, and with the public interest. Thus the consideration of that should mightily quiet our hearts in all our private discontents, and if it does not do so, know that our sin is much increased by the mercies of God which are abroad. Now shall Godís mercies aggravate our sins? This is a sad thing, it is to turn the mercies of God to be our misery. Did you not pray to God for these mercies which God sent of late to the public? these great victories that God has given, did you not pray for them? Now you have them, is not there enough in them to quiet your heart for some private trouble you meet with in your family? Is not there goodness enough there to cure your discontent? Certainly, such mercies were not so worthy to be prayed for, except they have so much excellence in them as to countervail some private afflictions.
Public mercies are the aggravation of private discontent. It is so of public discontent too: if we receive so many public mercies, and yet if every thing goes not in the public according as we desire, we are discontented at that, it will greatly aggravate our sin. God may say, ĎWhat! shall I bestow such mercies upon people, and yet, if they have not everything they would have, they will be discontented?í Oh, it is exceedingly evil. So in particular, with the mercies that concern yourself, your family: if you would consider, you have many more mercies than afflictions - I dare boldly aver it concerning anyone in this congregation. Let your afflictions be what they will, there is not one of you, but has more mercies than afflictions.