Now surely, if ever any person was wholly dead to all the pleasures of the natural life, it was the blessed Jesus, who seldom tasted them when they came in his way; but never stepped out of his road to seek them. Though he allowed others the comforts of wedlock, and honoured marriage with his presence; yet he chose the severity of a virgin life, and never knew the nuptial bed: and though, at the same time, he supplied the want of wine with a miracle, yet he would not work one for the relief of his own hunger in the wilderness; so gracious and divine was the temper of his soul, in allowing to others such lawful gratifications as himself thought good to abstain from, and supplying not only their more extreme and pressing necessities, but also their smaller and less considerable wants.
We many times hear of our Saviour's sighs, groans, and tears; but never that he laughed, and but once that he rejoiced in spirit; so that through his whole life, he did exactly answer that character given of him by the prophet of old, that he was 'a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.'
Nor were the troubles and disaccommodations of his life other than matters of choice; for never did there any appear, on the stage of the world, with greater advantages to have raised himself to the highest secular felicity. He who could bring together such a prodigious number of fishes into his disciples' net, and, at another time, receive that tribute from a fish which he was to pay to the temple, might easily have made himself the richest person in the world; nay, without any money, he could have maintained an army powerful enough to have justled Caesar out of his throne, having oftener than once fed several thousands with a few loaves and small fishes; but, to shew how small esteem he had of all the enjoyments in the world, he chose to live in so poor and mean a condition, that 'though the foxes had holes, and the birds of the air had nests, yet he, who was Lord and heir of all things, had not whereon to lay his head'.
He did not frequent the courts of princes, nor affect the acquaintance or converse of great ones; but being reputed the son of a carpenter, he had fishermen and such other poor people for his companions, and lived at such a rate as suited with the meanness of that condition.