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increase of worldly substance. Our hearts or affections cannot be set upon these two opposite things at the same time. If we truly love the Lord our God, and hold to Him, with purpose of heart cleaving unto the Lord,33 things earthly sensual, and devilish,34 will not be those in which we shall seek our gratification. We shall fear to have our portion in this life. We shall avoid the practice of what God has forbidden. We shall hate the garment spotted by the flesh,35 and not clothe ourselves with it. We shall despise or think ill of every thing that is condemned in the word of God, and not allow ourselves in it. We shall not be eager in our pursuit of the riches of this world; we shall not set our hearts
Our blessed Lord, having stated the impossibility of serving both God and mammon at the same time; or of having the affection set both on things above and on things on the earth, proceeded to caution His disciples against being overwhelmed with earthly anxiety. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what
The word rendered Take no thought, rather means Be not anxious. Do not disturb yourselves with anxious cares about obtaining what is needful for your bodily sustenance. But while you fulfil the duties of the station in life in which you are placed, being not slothful in business, 36 cast all your care upon God, and believe that He will graciously provide the supply that is requisite for your support. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? He that has given the greater, will He not give the less? The Creator of the body and soul will, by His overruling Providence, supply those who wait upon Him with what is necessary for their subsistence ; and this as surely as He provides for the birds of the air. Behold, the fowls of the air : for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? The birds of the air are utterly unable to lay up any store for futurity. They cannot by any means provide beforehand a supply for their necessities; and yet they are maintained by the providence of God. And will not He, who provides for the wants of those inferior animals, take care of His people that call upon Him? Giving way to anxiety of mind will not at all events afford relief; since nothing can be thereby obtained.
83 Acts xi. 23.
34 James jii. 15.
85 Jude 23.
Our Lord Jesus Christ proceeds to ask, Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature? To give way to distressing anxiety about obtaining food for subsistence, is as useless as to be anxious about the size to which children may grow. No anxiety on this subject would make the body grow taller; nor will it provide the means of support. And why take ye thought for raiment? or, why are ye anxious about making a respectable appearance among mankind? This is a matter of much less consequence than that which relates to food. But, oh! what trouble do many persons give themselves about the decoration of their persons. What folly is this! To them our Saviour says, Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin : and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Whatever pains men may take to adorn their persons, they cannot be placed in comparison with the lily of the field; the commonest flower far excels them in the delicacy and beauty of its appearance.
36 Romans xii. ll.
27 1 Peter v. 7.
If God can make so insignificant a thing so beautiful in its season, and is pleased to display His goodness to mankind, in thus providing for their gratification ; He may surely be trusted by His people for the supply of what is required for their preservation in life. If God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? The flowers of the field have but a shortlived existence, and are quickly withered and destroyed, yet they are clothed with exquisite beauty by the Creator of all things : He may therefore be trusted by His waiting people for the supply of all their need in their temporal as well as in their spiritual concerns; for their bodies as well as for their souls. It is because they have but little faith, or that they do not rely upon His goodness and mercy, that they distress themselves with anxious care in such matters.
Having thus vindicated the goodness of God to His people, our Saviour adds, Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed ? Be thankful for present mercies, and trust God for the future. Dismiss all anxiety about the things of this life. Be not solicitous about the enjoyment of personal comforts. For after all these things do the Gentiles seek. The children of this world have their hearts set upon earthly enjoyments only. Leave the world to them. Do not imitate their folly. Envy not their abundance, the sumptuousness of their fare, the gaiety of their clothing. Let them have these short-lived enjoyments, and welcome. Their case is indeed that of the flower of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven. They should be more the objects of pity, than of envy. They have their portion in this life ;98 and with it all their hopes end. Be not ye induced to follow their steps, or to walk in their ways. But for food and raiment put your trust in God; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. And as He knows this, His overruling Providence will ever be found to supply the wants of His people who walk humbly with Him.
Instead therefore of giving way to distressing anxiety respecting the things that pertain to this life, Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness. Let the eternal salvation of your immortal souls be your great concern ; let this be pursued before and above all other things: and let obedience to His holy will be that which regulates your conduct in life. And then all these things, the food and raiment of which your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need while you remain in this world, shall be added unto you. You shall not be left destitute of what is needful for your support and preservation. His overruling providence will supply all your wants for the body as well as for the soul. Take therefore no thought for the morrow : for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Every day will bring its own cares along with it. It is therefore unwise to add to them those
88 Psalm xvii. 14.