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the light. And as we grow in years, and become the fellows, and companions, and servants, and masters of a new generation, straightway, to the cares that come upon us from the generation that gave us birth, there are added the cares of this world's business and government, which our fathers resign into our hands; and a little further onward in the journey of this mortal life, we become authors to ourselves of the cares of another generation, sprung from our loins : and so it fareth with us from generation to generation, that we are burdened with the care not of ourselves, but of many others, from which we cannot escape by any act of stern resolution, or stoical pride, without turning the milk of our nature into sourness, or making our abode in the cold and solitary regions of pride, or sinking into the depths of indifference and apathy towards our kind, unless indeed which is the only cure, we are enabled by faith to enter into the mystery of God's fatherly providence, and repose our souls with security upon his care.
. O how intricate and interwoven is this net of carefulness, in which the spirits of men are taken captive! It reacheth unto all; it is around all ; it is Satan's snare for catching all. If I look into my own breast, and observe what passeth therein continually, that is, to what my nature is ever inclined, I find from the opening of my eyelids in the morning, until their closing in unconscious sleep, that faster and more plentiful than motes in the sun-beam, cares succeed each other, and float about in the light of intelligence which is within me; and Satan will not give me leisure for a morning or evening prayer, but he will be interposing, between the eye of my faith and the heaven of my desires, some phantom of worldly care or interest, the ghost of something past, or the shadow of something coming, or the substance of something present; and yet I am not a man like many here present, loaded with worldly charges, but exempted from them by the nature of my calling, and desirous in my spirit to keep myself exempt: but I do find that my natural eye loveth not more the light, or an object to look upon, than my natural man loveth an object in this world to hope, or fear, or desire; and I do moreover find that there is no deliverance in nature, that the understanding hath its cares, in the objects of knowledge; that the heart hath its cares, in the objects of affection; that every profession is filled with worldly cares, which will not be kept out by the gratings of the convent, as our pious fathers vainly thought, which will not be kept out by the untrodden solitudes of the hermitage, nay, which will not be exorcised from the closet by the voice of solemn prayer, but haunt sick men's couches, and sit heavy upon the dying man's breast, and would seem almost to follow us into the grave; and I wonder not at the superstition of the Romanist, which feigneth that the fires of purgatory are needed to separate this earthy intermixture from the soul, before it be fit to ascend into the pure abodes of the blessed.
Seeing then, brethren, that this subject toucheth us all so closely, revealing that troublous sea into which every man is cast at his birth to swim for his life, we do well, like men earnestly desiring to be delivered from these many waters of evil, and planted upon a rock, to consider the causes which have brought us into this jeopardy of our life; the fatal issues of abiding therein ; and the only way of deliverance which the Lord, in his grace, hath revealed. And, as to the causes which entwine these cares with our natural being, I observe, that they are no less than the preservation, the well-being, and the happiness of this our present estate. It is not that the mind naturally loveth care on its own account, from which indeed it would rather be delivered, for the enjoyment of its own will and pleasure ; but that without care nothing will proceed well in the outward world, which is very obstinate and entangled, like the wild forest and the woody thicket, and cannot be brought into regular and productive courses, but by much husbandry, and economy, and care; yea and the soul itself, if suffered to grow according to its own will and pleasure, doth likewise become overrun with the weeds of idleness, and infested with the brood of evil and wicked passions. And what were a family without the care of a thrifty wife and industrious husband ?' and what were any concern of business without the care of a head master and inferior servants ? and what were a state without the watchful care of its governors ? and what were laws without the diligence of magistrates ? and what were the rising generation without the labour and care of teachers ? and, in short, of what worth were the existence and well-being of society without the care to maintain it on the part of those who enjoy it? As the beautiful garden, and well cultivated fields would, but for the hand of man, soon return under the dominion of the curse, and become a sterile wilderness, so would the regularity, and peace, and concord of society, without the dutiful cares of men, return to the rudeness, and ferocity, and wild disorder of savage life. The causes therefore of care are deeply seated and wide spread in the natural wants and advantages of human life ; and while the objects of this world continue the chief or only objects of the soul, it were not only a vain but a very unwise thing to call upon men to suspend their cares,- for it could lead only to improvidence, waste, idleness, and disorder, against which the commandments of the Gospel are set in direct opposition.
“ He that will not work,' saith the Apostle, “neither should he eat.' “ He that provideth not for his own, especially those of his own house, hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” To him who hath no higher object than this world, care is the certain portion ; and, as it were, the present price with which its future goods are purchased : it is his pain, it is his penalty for want of faith on the providence of God, and the world unseen ; and while this faith is unpossessed, his soul must have the tortures of anxiety, and the pains of disappointment, and the sufferings of loss and defeat. The moralist may do his best to regulate, but he cannot deliver the soul of men from this evil agitation; for while men have hope, it must look forward to something; while they have desire, it must fasten upon something; and if there be nothing assured to them by faith beyond the grave, and above the world, then upon this side the
the world, their desires must rest: and if in my wife and child I know nothing immortal and eternal, whereon to fix my love, and in the fixed fellowship of which to defy time and change, what can I do but fix it upon that visible transient being, this natural existence, in the mysteries of which we have become acquainted together, and with all the uncertainties of which our acquaintances must be disturbed ?
If there be a cure therefore for care, it is not in things visible: its remedy is not in the understanding, nor within the resources of man; for, as hath been said, every thing is full of care, and, as hath been shewn, nothing can proceed without it.
To which agree the words of our Lord; and this is the spirit of his discourse, when treating the subject of care and forethought, in his Sermon on the Mount. “No man can serve two masters : for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." He deduceth his exhortation as a consequence from this proposition, “ Ye cannot serve God and mam
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life,
your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.
Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment ? ” Whence we gather assuredly that he regarded even the most necessary of human cares as a virtual acknowledgment of the mastery of mammon, and renunciation of the mastery of God, which is the very conclusion at which we have arrived from the above premises ; but in our Lord's discourse there are many touches of deep wisdom, and appeals of great_power, which we cannot pass without noticing. The first in these words, “ Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment ?” That is,
That is, Think you that the Lord who gave the life, and so marvellously endowed it with the mysterious power of turping all things to its sustenance and enjoyment, would stop short in his work, and not also give the material substances, the corn, and the wine, and the oil, on which it is to be sustained ? that he