Imatges de pàgina

ing agency of providence; this is a spirit which should not be entertained by those, who are taught to confide in the supporting care of their heavenly Father. The spirit which religion inspires, directs us to say, “ if the Lord will we will do this or that;" it induces us “ to cast all our care upon him, since he careth for us, to repose our burthen upon him, that he may sustain us,”-assured that “ he will not suffer us to be moved, but will guide us by his counsel while we live, and afterwards receive us to glory.” Such being the temper of mind which Christianity enjoins, it may tend to our edification, if we illustrate it more particularly in the following discourse. It is therefore proposed to shew, in the prosecution of this subject,

1. The nature and extent of trust in divine providence, expressed in these words;-cast all your care upon God.

II. The proofs afforded by experience and scripture, that God careth for us.

III. The reasons which should induce us to comply with the duty enjoined in the text.

IV. The application of the whole, to practical purposes.

We are then to consider, I. Wherein the nature and extent of trust in divine providence, implied in the text, consists. It must appear evident, by the least reflection, that the précept here enjoined is not to be understood in the most unlimited sense; as if it were intended to supersede our own carefulness, for procuring the necessaries and comforts of life. No: this would be contrary to the divine ordination, that by the sweat of our brow we shall eat bread, and earn our subsistence. We are placed in a world, where much care is required to provide things honest in the sight of all men, and where we must support our families in the stations assigned us. our holy religion inculcates diligence in our callings as an indispensable duty ; by directing every man “ to labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” Nay, it expresses the most marked disapprobation of those who are


slothful in business, by declaring, that “ he who will not work, neither should he eat, and that the man who provideth not for his own household, hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." We must not therefore relax our industry under pretence of casting our care upon God; since that is indispensable on our part, and hath the promise of his blessing; when it is exercised with moderation, and does not prevent us from promoting our salvation, which is the one thing needful.—But, the care which we should cast upon our heavenly Father is, that anxiety respecting our future condition, lest we should not attain any desirable good, or suffer any impending'evil, of which we are apprehensive. Such a care should never be allowed to interrupt our tranquillity, nor render us uneasy and faint in our minds. We should not be afraid that we may hereafter be reduced to poverty and want, or that our circumstances may be distressing and calamitous. We should not be fearful that misfor. tunes may befal us, that our health may decline, our family be unprosperous, and a thousand other accidents overwhelm us, at some future period. These events may indeed occur ; but let us not anticipate them, because they may never happen ; or if they do, we shall find, that “ sufficient for the day is the evil thereof." Our present duty is, to use such endeavours as may promote our prosperity, and take such precautions against adversity as are in our power; and leave the issue of our affairs and fortunes to the wise controul of divine providence.

This is the general import of the precept ; but it may be exemplified in a few particular cases, which the experience of every one will lead him to apply for his own instruction. The greater part of mankind have all some cares about the attainment of certain objects, on which their hearts are set as the summit of their wishes. The young, whose imaginations are boundless and extravagant, often desire to be placed in such situations, as they deem the most enviable condition of human life. They think how happy they would be, if their good fortune should lead them to those distinguished stations, which afford those who enjoy them the means of gratifying themselves with every pleasure which this world can supa ply. If indeed their rank enables them to arrive at that greatness which they covet, they may in due time acquire those honours which are now afar off. But meanwhile, they should submit patiently to the circumstances of their present condition, and act the part assigned them with prudence and propriety, and trust that providence will bring them forward to eminence, by opening up a way for their exaltation. Thus, let them cast all their care upon God, since he careth for them.-Men in all ranks of life have the same wish for farther advancement in their professions, and hope that they will one day surmount the difficulties under which they labour, by being placed in a situation of life more dignified and comfortable. This feeling is allowable in itself, and a motive for diligent exertion in the sphere which they occupy, if they would rise to greater distinction. Meanwhile, it should not render them dissatisfied, though they do not attain the object of their wishes, so soon as their ardent imaginations suggested; but stimulate them to submit to the ordination of their lot, and confide in the superintendance of divine providence in all their ways. Let them commit their way unto God, and he will direct their steps; let them cast all their care upon him, as he careth for them.-Again, it is the natural desire of almost every one, to be settled in the world in a domestic capacity, and this excites no small degree of anxious solicitude. Such a state of life is indeed the one which is most congenial to the hearts of men ; but often it is not attainable according to their wishes, or it is protracted so long, till “ hope deferred maketh the heart sick.” When this is the case, it is their duty to render themselves easy in that condition which providence hath allotted them; and when they are disencumbered with domestic concerns, to make greater progress in the cultivation of their minds, and in personal holiness. They should consider, besides, that God appoints their respective fortunes, and fixes the bounds of their habitation ; and that if he perceives it will be for his glory and their advantage, that they should enjoy connubial felicity; he

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will bring to pass what concerns them in this respect in due season. Meantime, let them cast all their care upon him, since he careth for them; let them be anxious for nothing, but submit to his disposal, as the best and most desirable.-When persons have been blessed with children, and begin to think of their maintenance, education, and provision; they have many anxious cares how they shall support them with honour, and promote their future success in the world. But their first care should be, to train them up “ in the nurture and admonition of the Lord;" to instil into their minds the principles of virtue; and by prudent discipline, to qualify them for acting their part in society, with dignity and honour. Thus, they may expect that their children shall walk in the truth, and be blessings in their generation; by the possession and exercise of every good disposition, and by passing their days in the fear of God. But, as the divine blessing alone can render them virtuous and happy; therefore it should be the care of parents to implore the grace of God, and the protection of his providence, to guide their children in all their ways. Then shall they be enabled to proceed through all the perils of life with integrity, and walk in the path appointed them, and no: stumble. Thus, let them cast all the cares of their family upon God, since he careth for them.

When people have established themselves in those respective professions, by which they must earn their subsistence; they are often careful about accumulating a portion of this world's goods, and deem it indispensable to acquire such a share of wealth, as may support themselves in the station which they occupy. This is doubtless a reasonable wish, since the comforts of life are necessary to render us easy and contented. They can only be attained, however, by success in our pursuits, and prosperity in all that we put our hands unto.. But how is success ensured; is it not by steady conduct, and “the blessing from on high, which maketh rich, and addeth no sorrow ?" Yet notwithstanding our integrity and steadiness, if we suffer anxiety about the issue of our affairs to perplex our minds, this will be a constant source of vexation of spirit. For; while human schemes are subject to a thousand accidents; we must be uncertain about the events which may ensue, to disappoint our expectations. But if, when we have done all that prudence recommends, we then trust to the divine disposal, this will relieve us from anxious cares; since we believe that God will make all things contribute to our welfare. If we supplicate his favour and loving-kindness, this will engage him to make our way prosperous; or if misfortunes should befal us, we shall be resigned to the will of him who lifteth us up, or bringeth us low. Thus, let us cast all our cares upon God, since he careth for us. When we are placed in comfortable circumstances, we often dread a change for the worse, which occasions many an uneasy reflection. Though we are now suffi. ciently fortunate in our worldly business, and though our families are flourishing around us; yet we think, a time may come, when we shall no longer enjoy our present advantages, and we shall be bereft of those in whom our hearts delight. The evils of human life are indeed appalling to the mind, even in the prospect; and render many men all their life-time subject to bondage. But, if religion taught us to trust in God, that he will still continue to bless us, and to do us good; such desponding anticipations would be banished from our breasts, and we would have no apprehension of contingent disasters. Let us therefore pray, “ that God would never leave us, nor forsake us ;" let us cast all our care upon him, since he careth for us. When also, we look forward to old age, and conceive ourselves reduced to poverty and indigence, such a melancholy scene is sufficient to stir up dejection and anxiety. Indeed, the forlorn condition of the aged, who have none to help them, is in a high degree deplorable; and therefore it is no wonder that the stoutest heart should be alarmed at the prospect. But if we trusted, that he who has hitherto guided us all our life long, will not forsake us in our old age, but will furnish means for our accommodation and support; this would be an anchor of hope to which we could cling, whenever the billows of adversity would overwhelm our souls. Let us


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