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imaginary terrors* Anticipate notsERM. evils, which perhaps may never come. Make the best which you can of this / day, in the fear of God, and in the practice of your duty; and, having done so, leave to-morrow to itself. Sufficient for the day, when it comes,; will be the evil thereof
III. Delay not till to-morrow any thing which is fit and proper to be done to-day. Remember, that thou art not the lord of to-morrow. Thou art so far from having any title to dispose of it, that thou art ignorant of the most material circumstances relating to it 5 not only of what it shall bring forth, but whether thou shalt live to see it.—Notwithstanding the uncontrovertible evidence of this truth, procrastination has, throughout every age, been the ruin of mankind. Dwelling amidst endless projects of what they are hereafter to do, they cannot so properly be said to live, as to be always about to live; and the future has ever been the gulph in which the present is swallowed
M. ed up and lost.—Hence arise many of those misfortunes which befal, men in their worldly concerns. What might at present be arranged in their circumstances with advantage, being delayed, to another opportunity, cannot be arranged at all. To-morrow being loaded with the concerns of to-day, in addition to its own, is clogged and embarrassed. Affairs which had been postponed, multiply and crowd upon one another; till, at last, they prove so intricate and perplexed, and the pressure of business becomes so great, that nothing is left, but to sink under the burden. Qf him, therefore, who indulges this lingering and delaying spirit in worldly matters, it is easy to prognosticate that the ruin is not far off.
Evils of the fame kind, arising from the fame cause, overtake men, in their moral and spiritual interests. There are few, but who are sensible of some things in their character and behaviour, which ought to be corrected, and which, at one time or other, they intend to correct;
some headstrong passion, which they SE RM."
design to subdue; some bad habit,
which they purpose to reform; some dangerous connection, which they are resolved to break off. But the convenient season for these reformations is not yet come. Certain obstacles are in the way, which they expect by and by to surmount; and therefore they go on in peace for the present, in their usual courses, trusting, at a future day, to begin their designed improvement. In the mean time, the angel of death descends; and in the midst of their distant plans, executes his commission, and carries them away.—Guard against delusions of this kind, which have been fatal to so many.—Thou art now in tranquillity, in health, in possession of a calm mind. Improve these advantages, for performing all that becomes. thee, as a man, and as a Christian; for who can tell how long thou shalt be permitted to enjoy them? New alterations of fortune may be just coming forward; new troubles in public, or in private life, about to arise 5 new exigencies ready to
SERM. throw thee into some condition, which ^1^, shall leave thee neither leisure nor opportunity, to execute any of the good purposes thou hast at present in thy mind. Wherefore, trifle no longer with what is so serious, and what may be so critical; but to day, while it is called to day, listen to the voice of God, and do his works. Do now, as the Wife Man advises, with thy might whatsoever thy handfindeth to do; for there is no work, nor device, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goes.* Instead of delaying
till to-morrow what ought to be done to-day, let me exhort you,
IV. To be every day prepared for whatever to-morrow may bring forth. There is a certain preparation for the vicissitudes of life, in which the multitude are sufficiently busied; providing, as they think> against whatever may happen, by increasing their riches, and strengthening themselves by friends, connections, and worldly honours. But these bulwarks which they erect, are totally insufficient against the dreaded
* Eccles. ix. 10.
storm. It is to some other quarter we SE RM.
must look for our defence; for when it is the world itself, whose changes we have reason to dread, the world, and the things of it, cannot afford us protection. The best preparation for all the uncertainties of futurity consists, in a well ordered mind, a good conscience, and a chearful submission to the will of Heaven. You know not what shall be on to-morrow. But there is One who knows it wellfor his decree hath fixed it. To him look up with reverence; and fay, " Not my will, but thine "be done what thou appointest is ever '* wife, and just, and good." Seek to fulfil the part which he hath assigned you to do the things which he hath commanded you to do; and leave all the rest to him. Whatever to-morrow brings forth, let it find you employed in doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with your God; and then you shall meet to-morrow without fear, when you meet it without the upbraidingsof guilt.
If it shall bring forth to you any unexpected good, prepare to receive it