Those people cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them because they see and covet what He has not given them. All of our discontents for what we want appear to me to spring from want of thankfulness for what we have.
Thus we never see the true state of our condition till it is illustrated to us by its contraries, nor know how to value what we enjoy, but by the want of it.
I have since often observed, how incongruous and irrational the common temper of mankind is, especially of youth ... that they are not ashamed to sin, and yet are ashamed to repent; not ashamed of the action for which they ought justly to be esteemed fools, but are ashamed of the returning, which only can make them be esteemed wise men.
I learned to look more upon the bright side of my condition, and less upon the dark side, and to consider what I enjoyed, rather than what I wanted : and this gave me sometimes such secret comforts, that I cannot express them ; and which I take notice of here, to put those discontented people in mind of it, who cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them, because they see and covet something that he has not given them. All our discontents about what we want appeared to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have.
Thus fear of danger is ten thousand times more terrifying than danger itself when apparent to the eyes ; and we find the burden of anxiety greater, by much, than the evil which we are anxious about : ...
It put me upon reflecting how little repining there would be among mankind at any condition of life, if people would rather compare their condition with those that were worse, in order to be thankful, than be always comparing them with those which are better, to assist their murmurings and complaining.
All our discontents about what we want appeared to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have.
And I add this part here, to hint to whoever shall read it, that whenever they come to a true Sense of things, they will find Deliverance from Sin a much greater Blessing than Deliverance from Affliction.
I know not what to call this, nor will I urge that it is a secret, overruling decree, that hurries us on to be the instruments of our own destruction, even though it be before us, and that we rush upon it with our eyes open.
[...] and now I saw, though too late, the folly of beginning a work before we count the cost, and before we judge rightly of our own strength to go through with it.
...in the course of our lives, the evil which in itself we seek most to shun, and which, when we are fallen into, is the most dreadful to us, is oftentimes the very means or door of our deliverance, by which alone we can be raised again from the affliction we are fallen into...
This grieved me heartily ; and now I saw, though too late, the folly of beginning a work before we count the cost, and before we judge rightly of our own strength to go through with it.
Call upon me in the Day of Trouble, and I will deliver, and thou shalt glorify me...Wait on the Lord, and be of good Cheer, and he shall strengthen thy Heart; wait, I say, on the Lord:' It is impossible to express the Comfort this gave me. In Answer, I thankfully laid down the Book, and was no more sad, at least, not on that Occasion.
But, he says again, if God much strong, much might as the Devil, why God no kill the Devil, so make him no more do wicked? I was strangely surprised at his question, [...] And at first I could not tell what to say, so I pretended not to hear him...
These reflections made me very sensible of the goodness of Providence to me, and very thankful for my present condition, with all its hardships and misfortunes ; and this part also I cannot but recommend to the reflection of those who are apt, in their misery, to say, Is any affliction like mine? Let them consider how much worse the cases of some people are, and their case might have been, if Providence had thought fit.
From this moment I began to conclude in my mind that it was possible for me to be more happy in this forsaken, solitary condition that it was possible I should ever have been in any other particular state in the world; and with this thought I was going to give thanks to God for bringing me to this place.