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SERM. where the ordinary ones will suffice without
VII. our own fault or neglect, yet even those

ordinary ones themselves are owing to the
same goodness, and derive their efficacy
from the blefling of that God who has ap-
pointed their respective use and tendency.
Such things are usually reckoned the ef-
fects or works of nature, and do not affect
us with the same wonder and astonishment
as those which strike out of the usual me-
thod, and are called miraculous.

But what is Nature, let us seriously put
the question, besides the will and appoint-
ment of the Supream Being, who has fix-
ed to himself a certain rule or method, in
which he will ordinarily govern and up-
hold the Universe ? Which surely cannot
represent it to be less his act and deed, or
leis wonderful in itself, than when, for fpe-
cial reasons, he chooses to act after a new
and extraordinary method in the

government and preservation of his creatures. They are both alike the work and doing of the fame Agent, and effects of his Almighty power, only in the one case he acts according to a fixed and stated method, in the other by a special and particular appointment.

Observe by what a train of wonders our daily sustenance is provided and secured to us; how the warmth of the fun, and the moisture of the clouds, do mutually con


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spire to promote the pregnancy and ferti- SERM. lity of the soil

-how, after this, the VII. juíces of the earth do, in a mysterious manner, impregnate and augment the seeds committed to them, and convert in great variety to the substances of fruits and Howers, so that the several species of herbs and plants, the corn and grass of the field, do grow and spring up we know not bow ; how again by being digested and improved to the nourishment of Animals, or otherwife dressed and prepared by culinary arts, it is fitted and made ready for the food of men ;~-how, lastly, this is all fo suited to our frame and constitution, as to affimilate in just measure and proportion to the subftance of our bodies, the organs whereof are preserved in such tone and capacity, as may qualify them to digest and disperse it for that purpose.

And can we think it after all to be the result of chance or any limited power, that these natural causes (as we are apt to call them) do act with such harmony and regularity, and all conspire together to our use and fatisfaction ? Shall we not much rather refer it to the wise design and forecast of the Author of nature, who alone could bestow those faculties and powers on the creatures of his workmanship, or preferve them in the use, and direct the application of them? It is be that both minif


SERM. treth feed to the sower, and multiplies the
VII. seed fown. It is he that maketh corn to

grow out of the earth, that provides bread
to strengthen, and wine to exhilarate the
heart of man. It is he that giveth rain
and fruitful seasons, filling our bearts with
food and gladness.

Neither the vegetable economy by which
fruits are produced out of the earth, nor
the animal economy, by which they are
made to serve to the nutriment of living
bodies; they are neither of them the re-
fult of our own art and contrivance, nor
are we able so much as to conceive or com-
prehend the manner in which they are con-

The consequence hereof must be, that this is the daily and continual work of Providence, which ought not surely to abate our admiration of that power, wisdom, and goodness, by which it is effected, nor leffen the tribute of our praise and gratitude.

It is owing then to the Divine blessing and appointment, that the usual provisions which are made for our fuftenance do answer that end and purpose for which they are afforded us. And if the same blessing and appointment should be imparted in any other way or method, then that would be effectual to the fame end, and serve in like manner to the preservation of life.


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When Daniel, in obedience to the law Serm. of God, refused the King of Babylon's VII. meat, the officer, to whose care he was committed, was apprehensive left his spare diet should discover itself in the ill habit of his body, and endanger the King's displeasure for neglecting his appointment. But the effect (we read) was contrary; the Divine blessing followed his obedience to the Divine law, so that both Daniel and his three companions improved more upon plain pulse and water, than those other children of the captivity who consented to drink of the wine, and eat of the provifions appointed them at Babylon *.

And as the coarseness of the diet was no impediment to their nutrition, so where all diet has been wanting (as in the case of the Israelites before us) God has been pleased to supply it in a new and unaccuftomed manner, by sending bread immediately from heaven, when the barrenness of the soil, or the want of tion had occasioned the deficiency.

At other times (as in the case of Elijah with the widow of Sarepta, and those multitudes that followed our Saviour in the wilderness) he has wonderfully multiplied a small stock of provisions, to satisfy such great numbers of people, or last for such a period of time, as could not be, accord* Dan. i. 8, 10, 15.

proper cultiva

Serm. ing to the usual course of things, or by any
VII. means expected from them.

Yet neither are we allowed from such
instances as these to prescribe any method
to Divine Providence. The same power
which provides our food, either in the na-
tural course of things or by a miracle, is
likewise able to sustain our bodies and sup-
port life without any food at all, or con-
tinue the nourishment supplied by it thro'
a long and extraordinary space of time,

that shall appear most fitting and expedient to his godly wisdom. So it was that Mofes and the blessed Jesus, the Jewish Lawgiver in the Old Testament, and the Christian Lawgiver in the New, were both of them sustain'd for forty days together, without eating or drinking thro' that whole space of time. To which we may add the like example of the prophet Elijah. And when the Devil would have taken advantage of this abstinence to tempt our blessed Saviour, that if he were the Son of God, he would command the stones in the desart to become bread to satisfy his hunger; our Lord baffled and repelled the Tempter's fubtilty, by alledging this Text of Moses, which teaches, that the method of our sustenance ought to be submitted to the care of Providence :

-It is written (says he) Man shall not live by bread alone,


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