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Thing, the way would be plain. A miser, or an ambitious man, knows his points; and he has such a simplicity in the pursuit of them, that you seldom find him at a loss about the steps which he should take to attain them. He has acquired a sort of in-stinctive habit in his pursuit. Simplicity and rectie tude would have prevented a thousand schisms in the Church; which have generally risen from men having something else in plan and prospect, and not the one thing.
WHAT I do, thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter-is the unwearied language of God,
in his providence. He will have CREDIT every - step. He will not assign reasons, because he will
PRIDE urges men to inquire into the PHILOS07 PHY of Divine truth. They are not contented, for example, with the account which the Bible gives off
the origin of evil, and its actual influence on mant; - kind; but they would supply what God has left un
told. They would explain the fitness and propriety
of things. A mathematician may summon his - scholars round his chair, and from self-evident.
principles deduce and demonstrate his conclusions: he has axioms; but concerning evil we have none."
A Christian may say on this subject, as Sir Chris-. - topher Wren did concerning the roof of King's.
College. Chapel"Shew me how to fix the first stone, and I will finish the building."-"Explain the origin of evil, and I will explain every other diffi- . culty respecting evil.” We are placed in a disposition and constitution of things, under a righteous Governor. If we will not rest satisfied with this, • something is wrong in our state of mind. It is a solid satisfaction to every man who has been se-* duced into foolish inquiries that it is utterly impossible to advance one inch by them. He must come back to rest in God's appointment. He must come back to sit patiently, meekly, and with docility, at the feet of a teacher.
DUTIES are ours: events are God's. This removes an infinite burden from the shoulders of a miserable, tempted, dying creature. On this consideration only, can he securely lay down his head and close his eyes.
The Christian often thinks, and schemes, and talks, like a practical Atheist. His eye is so conversant with second causes, that the great Mover is little regarded. And yet those sentiments and that conduct of others, by which his affairs are influenced, are not formed by chance and at random. They are attracted toward the system of his affairs or repelled from them, by the highest power. We talk of attraction in the universe; but there is no such thing, as we are accustomed to consider it. The natural and moral worlds are held together in their respective operations, by an inces
sant administration. It is the mighty grasp of a * controlling hand, which keeps every thing in its station. Were this control suspended, there is nothing adequate to the preservation of harmony and "affection between my mind and that of my dearest friend, for a single hour.
LORD Chesterfield tells his son, that when he ene tered into the world and heard the conjectures and
potions about public affairs, he was surprised at • their folly; because he was in the secret, and knew 1
what was passing in the cabinet. We negotiate. * We make treaties. We make war. We ory for
peace. We have public hopes and fears. We distrust one minister, and we repose on another. We recal ore general or admiral, because he has lost the national confidence, and we send out another with a full tide of hopes and expectations. We find something in men and measures, as the sufficient cause of all sufferings or anticipations. But a religious man enters the cabinet. He sees, in all public fears and difficulties, the pressure of God's hand. So long as this pressure continues, he knows that we may move heaven and earth in vain: every thing is bound up in icy fetters. But, when God removes his hand, the waters flow; measures avail, and hopes are accomplished.
We are too apt to forget our actual dependance on Providence, for the circumstances of every instant. The most trivial events may determine our state in the world. Turning up one street instead of another, may bring us into company with a person whom we should not otherwise have met; and this may lead to a train of other events, which may de. termine the happiness or misery of our lives.
LIGHT may break in upon a man after he has taken a particular step; but he will not condema himself for the step taken in a less degree of light: he may hereafter see still better than he now does, and have reason to alter his opinion again. It is enough to satisfy us of our duty, if we are conscious that at the time we take a step, we have an adequate motive. If we are conscious of a wrong motive, or of a rash proceeding, for such steps we must expect to suffer.
Trouble or difficulty befalling us after any particular step, is not, of itself, an argument that the step was wrong. A storm overtook the disciples
in the ship; but this was no proof that they had done wrong to go on board. Esau met Jacob, and occasioned him great fear and anxiety, when he left Laban; but this did not prove him to have done wrong in the step which he had taketh Difficulties are no ground of presumption against us, when we did not run into them in following our own will: yet the Israelites were with difficulty convinced that they were in the path of duty, when they found themselves shut in by the Red Sea. Christians, and especially ministers, must expect troubles: it is in this way that God leads them; he conducts them "per ardua ad astra." They would be in imminent danger if the multitude at all times cried Hosanna!
We must remember that we are short-sighted creatures. We are like an unskilful chess-player, who takes the next piece, while a skilful one looks further. He, who sees the end from the beginning, will often appoint us a most inexplicable way to walk in. Joseph was put into the pit and the dungeon: but this was the way which led to the throne.
We often want to know too much and too soon. We want the light of to-morrow, but it will not come till to-morrow. And then a slight turn, perhaps, will throw such light on our path, that we shall be astonished we saw not our way before. "I can wait,” says Lavater. This is a high attainment. We must labor, therefore, to be quiet in that path, from which we cannot recede without danger and evil.
THERE is not a nobler sight in the world, than an aged and experienced Christian, who; having been sitted in the sieve of temptation, stands forth as a confirmer of the assaulted-testifying, from his own trials, the reality of religion; and meeting, by bis warnings and directions and consolations, the cases of all who may be empted to doubt it.
THE Christian expects his reward, not as due to * merit; but as connected, in a constitution of grace,
with those acts which grace enables him to peri form. The pilgrim, who has been led to the gate
of heaven, will not knock there as worthy of being admitted; but the gate, shall open to him, because he is brought thither.' He, who sows, even with tears, the precious seed of faith, hope, and love. shall doubtless come again with joy, and bring his sheaves with him; because it is in the very nature of that seed, to yield, under the kindly influence secured to it, a joyful harvest.
ON SUBJECTS CONNECTED WITH THE
On a Minister's Qualifying Himself for his Office.
WHEN a young minister sets out, he should sit down and ask himself HoW HE MAY BEST QUALIFY HIMSELF FOR HIS OFFICE.
How does a physician qualify himself? It is not enough that he offers to feel the pulse. He must read, and inquire, and observe, and make experiments, and correct himself again and again. He must lay in a stock of medical knowledge before he begins to feel the pulse.
The minister is a physician of a far higher order. He has a vast field before him. He has to study an infinite variety of constitutions. He is to furnish himself with the knowledge of the whole, sys; tem of remedies. He is to be a inan of skill and expedient. If one thing fail, he must kuow how to apply another. Many intricate and perplexed cases will come before him: it will be disgrace.si