Imatges de pÓgina
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lest the future should deprive us of them? Why should we add to the cares and troubles of the present, the cares and troubles of the future? Why should we collect all the possible evils of life in one accumulated burden, and then groan under the intolerable weight? Why should we madly draw aside the vail with which, in order that we may enjoy the present, a merciful Providence hath concealed the future; and by a prospect of the miseries which await us, fill our bosoms with despondency, with disquietude, and fear? "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

This immoderate solicitude is not only unnecessary and unwise

3. Lastly. It is criminal.

It is a distrust of the providence of God. He it is who orders all events to subserve purposes infinitely wise and good. The blasting, the mildew, the locust, the caterpillar; the lightning that consumes; the tempest that desolates; disease, and pestilence, and famine, and the sword, and death itself, are all but the instruments of his will; and to all of them he can say "Thus far shall ye go, and no further." Reigning over all in righteousness and mercy, no event can befall us which he does not design or overrule for our good-either to rouse us to repentance, or to perfect us in faith. Ah, then, what a criminal distrust do we discover of his gracious providence, when we indulge in immoderate anxiety concerning any of the events of the world! Let us "cast our care upon him who careth for us," who hath promised to "sustain us." Let us "commit our ways unto the Lord, and put our trust in him," who hath promised to "bring

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it to pass, and to make all things work together for our good." Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth," and "mercy and truth go before his face."

But this immoderate solicitude concerning the events of the world is also criminal; for it weakens, and will finally extinguish all the graces of the Christian. Faith, which would lead his aspiring soul to his God, his Saviour, to heaven, to eternal joys, is pressed down by those concerns of time which engross him. In the midst of the chilling damps of worldly anxiety and apprehension, the flame of divine love is extinguished: the holy graces of the Christian are tarnished by those cares, those anxieties, those worldly emotions that occupy him. Ever solicitous for his temporal condition; ever busied in some plan that promises future aggrandizement or pleasure; ever apprehensive of future evil, or solicitous about future good; his desires, his hopes, his fears become bound to the world; he forgets that he is a stranger and sojourner in it; he forgets that the life about which he is so anxious, fleeth away as a shadowthat the future, which he dreads as pregnant with some dire calamity, or hails as the dispenser of some exalted good, may never come to him; he forgets death, judgment, eternity; he forgets his God, his Saviour, his everlasting home. Ah! brethren, shun that inordinate solicitude concerning worldly objects, which may prove fatal to your faith, your holiness, your eternal peace.

"Take therefore no thought for the morrow." Neglect not, indeed, to provide for your worldly welfare, and, as far as human means can be efficacious, to avoid the evils, and to obtain the lawful

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advantages and enjoyments of the world; but pursue all these objects under that lively sense of the superior importance of spiritual things, and in that humble dependence on the providence of God which will save you from an immoderate anxiety concerning them. Habitually bear in mind the uncertainty of life, that you may perceive the folly of being unduly solicitous concerning evils which will soon terminate, and joys that will prove transitory. Disturb not your present comforts, nor aggravate your present evils, by apprehensions and anticipations concerning the future, which may never be realized. Flee for refuge from all worldly anxieties and fears, to confidence in God, in the wisdom, the goodness, the omnipotence of his providence. If indeed you are at enmity with him by wicked works, you have cause to tremble at his judgments. "There can be no peace, saith my God, to the wicked;" no peace here, no peace hereafter. But if you have been reconciled to him by humble penitence and faith in the merits of his Son Jesus Christ, and through the sanctifying power of his Spirit, what is there in this world that should agitate your spirits? Why should you be anxious concerning your treasure upon earth, when you have a treasure in heaven that faileth not? Why should you be solicitoùs concerning the honour of the world, when in heaven an enduring crown of eternal glory awaits you? Why should you be agitated with hope and fear concerning the perishing objects of the present life, when in heaven you have an inheritance that fadeth not away? Why should your soul be disquieted, and cast down within you, at the apprehension of worldly calamity, when "the Lord of hosts is with you," when "the God of VOL. II.

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Jacob is your refuge?" Why should you faint under your tribulations that are but for a moment, when they are working out for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory? Let yours be the holy affiance of the prophet-" Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be on the vine; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."*

ON SOLICITUDE ABOUT WORLDLY CONCERNS.

Hab. iii. 17, 18.

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SERMON XXII.

GOD'S PRESENCE IN HIS TEMPLE.

HABAKKUK ii. 20.

The Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.

THE heaven, and the heaven of heavens, cannot contain that High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity; yet it has pleased him to have his habitation among the sons of men, and to dwell in temples made with hands. Under the Jewish dispensation, there was a temple consecrated to the service of Jehovah, in which he more particularly dwelt; and it is the promise of our blessed Lord-" Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." To the Christian sanctuary, then, the declaration of the prophet may be applied-"The Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him."

On the awful and interesting subject of the presence of God in his holy temple, we are naturally led to consider

I. The characters in which he dwells there, and in which we are to worship him;

II. The particular methods in which he manifests his presence; and,

III. Lastly. The dispositions with which we should worship him.

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