(John MacDuff, "The Christian's Pathway" 1858)
"But godliness with contentment is great gain."
1 Timothy 6:6
The believer is frequently exhorted to cultivate
contentment, and there are many considerations
by which the duty may be enforced.
One thing is very evident—that there is no condition
in the present world, which is free from trouble! Let
us pitch our tent wherever we may—we shall be
sure to find something to annoy us! And if there
is no situation without some inconvenience—had we
not better make up our minds to be satisfied with
that condition in which we are now placed?
We are too much in the habit of judging by outward
appearances. But things are often very different in
reality—to what they appear to be.
If we judge according to appearance, we shall be led to
regard the most prosperous—as the happiest individuals.
But we are assured by universal experience—that to be
great is one thing, and that to be truly happy is altogether
another thing! Under the glittering robes of the proudest
nobilities—there are hearts pierced with anguish, and
wrung with grief! In splendid palaces—there are many
broken hearts to be found. To sit upon thrones may
seem to be something very fascinating; but, "uneasy lies
the head—which wears a crown!" This is a truth which
receives fresh confirmation, from every passing year.
Let us not then, regard those who occupy the high places
of the earth, with feelings of envy. Instead of envying them
—it befits us rather to pity them and pray for them!
Reader, learn to distinguish between things that differ;
and be well assured that things as they appear outwardly,
and as they really are—do often differ, and that very
substantially! Such knowledge will tend, under God's
blessing—to make you more contented with your
present lot, notwithstanding its trials and privations.
It is not unusual—to be exposed to things which are
grievous and hard to be borne. This is not some strange
thing which is happening to us alone. Let us lay aside,
therefore, all murmurings and complainings—and ever
remember that God's arrangements are the wisest
and the best!