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SE R M. of much mischief. Such a habit of
. thought is connected with a thousand
vices. It is the constant source of rash and severe censure. It arises from envy and jealousy. It foments ill nature and pride. It propagates misunderstanding and discord. All those evils would be prevented, if the reproof which our Lord administers in the text came oftener home, with proper authority, to the reflexion of men: What is that to thee? Each of us have more material and important business of our own to fulfil. Our task is assigned; our part allotted. Did we suitably examine how that part was performed, we should be less disposed to busy ourselves about the concerns of others. We would discover many a disorder to be corrected at home; many a weed to be pulled out from our own grounds; much remaining to be done, in order to render ourselves useful in this world, and fit for a world to come.—Wherefore, instead of being critics on others, let us employ our criticism oh
ourselves. Leaving others to be judged Serm. by Him who searcheth the heart, let us v_I^j implore his assistance for enabling us to act well our own part, and to follow Christ.
Vou IV. M SERMON
On our Present Ignorance of the Ways of God.
"Jesus answered andsaid unto him, What I do, thou knowesl not now; but thou/halt know hereafter.
r I ^HESE words of our Lord were oc
JL casioned by a circumstance in his behaviour which appeared mysterious to his disciples. When about to celebrate his last passover, he meant to give them an instructive lesion of condescension and humility. The mode which he chose for
John xiii. 7.
delivering this instruction, was the em- S E R M. blematical action of washing their feet. y^^J^j When Simon Peter saw his Master addressing himself to the performance of so menial an office, he exclaims with the greatest surprise, Lord, dost thou wa/k my feet? Our Lord1 replies, in the words of the text, What I do thou knoweft not now, but thou shalt know hereafter. "My "behaviour in this instance, may seem "unaccountable to you at present; but "you shall afterwards receive a satis"factory explication of the intent of that "symbol which I now employ."
The expressions of a divine person, on this occasion, can very naturally and properly be applied to various instances, where the conduct of Providence, in the administration of human affairs, remains dark and mysterious to us. What I do, thou knowest not now. We must for a while be kept in ignorance of the designs of heaven. But this ignorance, though necessary at present, is not always to continue. A time shall come M 2 when
SeRM. when a commentary shall be afforded on ^^l^j all that is now obscure ; when the veil of mystery shall be removed > and full satisfaction be given to every rational mind. Thou /halt know hereafter. This is the doctrine which I purpose to illustrate iri the following discourse *
I. Our Saviour's words lead us to ofc serve, that many things in the conduct of. Providence are at present mysterious and unintelligible. The truth of this observation will not be called in question. It is indeed very readily admitted by all; and ever since the beginning of the world has been the foundation of many a complaint, and of much scepticism concerning the government of heaveni-^-That human affairs are not left to roll on according to mere chance, and that Providence interposes in them to a certain degree, is made evident by Various tokens to every candid mind. But the perplexity and trouble of the thoughtful iniqui^ rer arises from observing that Providence