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he allots for us is the one most suitable to our present welfare; and therefore let us enjoy it with contentment and happiness, since it is chosen for us by that wise and beneficent Being, “ whose tender mercies are over all his works.” Nay it is certain, that, if we could take a view of the whole of our existence, and perceive how every thing which befals us shall issue in our good, we would choose exactly those circumstances in which we are placed: if then God does that for us, which we would do for ourselves, have we not reason to be satisfied with the allotments of his providence? As he is perfectly good, and distributes the fortunes of men according to the rules which his goodness dictates; how is it possible, that our lot can be better arranged than it now is by the appointment of his providence ?

If we imagine, that the distribution of our fortune might be otherwise arranged; that we might have greater prosperity, and fewer distresses; greater riches and a less share of poverty; that we are entitled to be placed in another rank than that which we occupy, and should attain many other enjoyments on which our hearts are set ; we thereby impeach the wisdom and goodness of God, because he has not thought fit to bestow them. What arrogant presumption is this; to call in question the benignity of the Father of mercies, or wish that human affairs were under another direction than that of “ the only wise God!" Wherefore, since he alone knows what is good for us, let us thankfully receive every thing which he appoints as the best that could befal us.-Do we not even take the advice, and submit to the direction of those who are wiser than ourselves in many important matters, especially if we are persuaded of their concern for our welfare? Surely we have much more reason to receive good or evil, prosperity or adversity at the band of God; since he both knows and consults our advantage, in every situation which his providence allots for us in the present world. He knows whether elevation of rank and dignified occupations, or success in business and the acquisition good :--and he perceives whether obscurity of station and a laborious employment, misfortunes in their families and the hardships of poverty, be most suitable to certain individuals; and places them accordingly in these respective situations, according to the good pleasure of his will.

We may allege indeed, that some men are the favourites of providence, and have reason to be thankful for the lot which is assigned them; but we cannot help repining when our expectations are disappointed, when disasters befal us, when poverty oppresses us, or sickness brings us low. But do we consider, that these events, disagreeable though they be, are a part of that sore travail which God hath ordained for the children of men, and that none of these things can happen without his direction or permis. sion? This should be sufficient to reconcile us to our lot, and induce us to say with Eli, “ It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good ;” and with David, “I was dumb, and opened not my mouth, because thou didst it.” Besides, we should reflect, that these trials are appointed for detaching our hearts from this present world, that they may be placed on heaven and the things above; and that “our light afflictions which are but for a moment,” will, if duly improved, “ work out for us a far more exceeding, even an eternal weight of glory.” Be patient therefore, brethren, and establish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. We are here as children placed under the discipline of our heavenly Father; and as they are often denied many things which they covet, and must submit to many corrections which they do not relish; so we also must be contented to want many desirable possessions, and endure many hardships in this state of probation in which we are placed. But, as parents confer what is best for their children; so our heavenly Father withholds or bestows what is good for us; and we may be all assured, that his infinite wisdom distinguishes what is most suitable for our necessities, and makes all things work together for good to those who fear and obey him.--Let us therefore acknowledge his wise disposal of all our concerns; let us trust in him that he will bring to pass every thing for our advantage; since all

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the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth to such as keep his commandments to do them. If our minds were impressed with this sentiment, we would rejoice in his providential appointments, we would confide in his righteous dispensations, we would cast all our care upon him, since he careth for us.

After such a minute detail of the reasons for trust in God, I come now,

IV. To apply the whole, in a very cursory manner, to practical purposes.

1. We should acknowledge the interposition of providence, in the direction of human affairs in general, and of our own lot in the world in particular. If we are poor, let us consider that it is the ordination of God we should be poor; if we are rich, that it is his blessing that maketh rich; and if we are deprived of our earthly comforts, that the Lord giveth and taketh them away; and therefore we should be resigned to his sovereign disposal.

2. We should learn to submit to the will of God, in the several vicissitudes of fortune which befal us. We may indeed endeavour to improve our condition by all lawful means; but still though a man's heart may devise his way, it is the Lord who directeth his steps. He can either render our projects successful, or counteract and baffle them; and as he disposes of our affairs in the manner most beneficial for our welfare, let us receive good or evil from the divine hand, and acquiesce cheerfully in every dispensation, saying, “the will of the Lord be done.”

3. We should put our trust and confidence in the providence of God, as our best security against the evils of life. Since God rules the affairs of the world, we and our concerns are safe in his hands; therefore let us not fear any dangers which may threaten, or wants which we

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will afford us the means for our subsistence as long as our lives are preserved.

4. Since God ruleth in the kingdoms of men, and dispenses their fortunes according to his pleasure, let us learn to supplicate him for such things as we stand in need of, pertaining both to life and to godliness. He is near to all who call upon him to succour and deliver them, and therefore to whom can we go but unto him ? he can grant us the requests of our hearts, and dispose of our affairs in the manner most conducive to our advantage.—Let us also return thanks to him for the favours we have received, which is our most reasonable duty; and we shall engage the Almighty to bestow upon us still greater blessings, when they are gratefully acknowledged, and well applied, to promote his glory and our own good.

Lastly, let us endeavour to secure the divine protection, by living in such a manner as becometh saints. If we approve ourselves to him in well-doing, he will bless us and do us good; he will make the light of his countenance to shine upon us, and give us peace. The righteous are objects of peculiar regard to the divine Being. A good man's footsteps are ordered by the Lord, and he will fulfil the desire of those who fear him. He guides them by his counsel; he teaches them the way which they should choose ; for the Lord forsaketh not his saints, they are preserved for ever. Let us therefore trust in the Lord and do good, and verily we shall be fed ; let us devote ourselves to his service, and he will protect us by his providence; let us please and obey him, and he will give us grace here, and glory hereafter, and withhold nothing that is truly good, so long as we continue to walk uprightly

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MATT. XXII. 37, 38. Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.


THE precept expressed in these words was uttered by our Lord, in answer to a Pharisee, who came to make trial of his knowledge in the divine law. It had long been a question among the Jews, which was the great commardment of the decalogue; and one which their Rabbies had not agreed in resolving, as there was such variety of opinion on this subject. They had been so far misled by their traditionary maxims, as to believe that God had delivered a number of precepts; that by observing any one which was most congenial to their inclinations, they might obtain a title to everlasting life. Accordingly every one selected some commandment, which he esteemed the most important; and by endeavouring to observe it, deemed himself at liberty to neglect the observance of others no less obligatory.-In our Saviour's time, the Jews seemed to consider the law of sacrifice as the great and fundamental duty, incumbent upon them as the peculiar people of God. Accordingly we find, from many passages of the gospel, that they dis

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