« AnteriorContinuar »
. friendly part.—The favours which Providence bestows upon him at present, he ought to receive with thankfulness, and may enjoy with chearfulness. Though commanded not to boost himself of to-morrow, the meaning of the precept is not, that he must be fad to day. Rejoice he may in the day of prosperity: but certainly, Rejoice with trembling, is the inscription that should be written on all human pleasures.
As for them who, intoxicated with those pleasures, become giddy and insolent; who flattered by the illusions of prosperity, make light of every serious admonition which the changes of the world give them, what can I fay too strong to alarm them of their danger? ■—They have said to themselves, My mountain stands Jirong, and all never be moved. "To-morrow JhaU be as this day, and more abundantly. I Jhall never fee adversity.—Rash and wretched men! are you sensible how impious such words are? To the world, perhaps you dare not utter them; but they speak the secret language of your heart. Know,
you arc usurping upon ProvidencejSERM.
you are setting Heaven at defiance; you 1 <-"^
are not only preparing sharper stings for yourselves, when the changes of life shall come, but you are accelerating those changes ,, you are fast bringing ruin upon your own heads. For God will not suffer pri4e in man; and the experience of all ages hath shown, how careful he is to check it. In a thousand memorable instances, the course of his government has been visibly pointed against it. He Jheweth strength with his arm, andscattereth the proud in the imaginations of their hearts. The day of the Lord is upon every one that is proud and lifted up; to humble the lofty looks of man, and to fiain the pride of all glory*. Some of the ministers of divine pleasure are commissioned to go forth; and to humble without delay, the boaflers of to-morrow.
B b 2 II. As
* Luke i. 15. Isaiah ii. I J. xxiii* 9.
SERM. H. As we are not to boast, so neifber are we to despair, of to-morrow. The former admonition was directed to . those whom prosperity had elated with vain hopes. This is designed for those whom a more adverse situation in life has filled with fears and alarms of what is to come. The reason of both admonitions is the fame; thou knouoefi not what a day may bring forth. It may bring forth some unexpected misfortune; and therefore thou shouldst be humble in prosperity. It may bring forth some unforeseen relief,- and therefore thou shouldst hope under distress. —It is too common with mankind, to be totally engrossed, and overcome, by present events. Their present condition, whatever it is, they are apt to imagine, will never change; and hence by prosperity they are lifted up, and by adversity are dejected and broken; prone, in the one case, to forget God, in \he other, to repine against him. Whereas-, the doctrine, which the changes of the world perpetually in*. culcate culcate is, that no state of external S E R M.
things should appear so important, or ^
Distress not yourselves, then with anxious fears about to-morrow. Let me exhort you to dismiss all solicitude, which goes beyond the bounds of prudent precaution. Anxiety, when it seizes the heart is a dangerous disease, productive both of much sin, and much misery. It acts as a corrosive of the mind. It eats out our present enjoyments, and substitutes, in their place, many an acute pain.—The Wife Man, in the text, has advised us not to boqft of to-morrow; and our Saviour has instructed us to take no thought for
SERM.to-morrow*. Both these directions, properly understood, are entirely consistent; and the great rule of conduct, respecting futurity, is compounded of them both; requiring us, neither arrogantly to presume on to-morrow, nor to be anxioufly, and fearfully solicitous about it. The morrow, fays our Saviour, Jhall take thought for the things of itself. We mail be better able to judge of. the course most proper for us to hold, when events have begun to come forward in their order, Their presence often suggests wiser counsels, and more successful expedients, than it is possible for us to contrive at a distance. By excess of solicitude before hand, we frequently introduce that confusion of mind, and that hurry and disorder of spirits, which bring us into the most unfavourable state for judging soundly.—Wherefore, never indulge either anxiety, or despair, about futurity. Affright not yourselves with
Matth. vi. 33.