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If we acknowlege a God who governs the DISC. world, let us not diftruft him, or find fault with his government, but repent, tremble, and adore.
To do otherwise, is, in effect, to renounce our religion, and return to heathenifm. It is our Lord's own obfervation. "Therefore "be not anxiously thoughtful, faying, What "fhall we eat, or what fhall we drink, or "wherewithal shall we be clothed? for after "all these things do the Gentiles feek." They employ their whole care in feeking them. And why? Because they either believe there is no God, or, if there be, that he does not concern himself with the affairs of the world. In either cafe, men are left to themselves, and have no one else on whom to depend. With believers the cafe is different. "Your heavenly Father (fays Christ to his difciples) knoweth that ye have need of "all these things." There cannot be a more expreffive and affecting image. A child, who has a father in being, can only wish that his neceffities fhould be made known to
DISC. to that father; because, when once known, I. he is certain they will be supplied. But from our Father no fecrets are hidden. His wifdom is equal to his goodness, and his power equal to both. When therefore we have used our own endeavours, as he has directed us to do, we may, with the confidence of children, "caft all our care upon
him; fince," without doubt, "he careth "for us." The misfortune is, that, amongst all our cares, we care little for him, and think little of him, unless when the attention is roused by a clap of thunder, or some extraordinary event, which affects us, for the time, as that does. We have only a distant, uncertain notion of him floating in our minds. We do not confider him as prefent round about us, and, what is more, present within us, and perfectly acquainted with all that is paffing in the inmost chamber of the heart. We neglect him, and therefore he feems to neglect us-I fay, he seems to neglect us; for that very feeming neglect is gracioufly intended to humble, and reform, and bring us to a better mind, that we may become
become objects of his favour, and partake DISC.
of his bleffings.
This is our Lord's next argument. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and "his righteousness, and all these things "shall be added unto you." Christ does not mean to say, that if a man will become religious, he will immediately give him wealth. Certainly not: fince if the party in question were ever fo good a man, that might be the most effectual way in the world to make him a bad man. He might have fomething lurking in his conftitution either of body or mind, which would render him incapable of resisting the temptations of a large fortune; and He, who knows all things, knows this would be the cafe. Numberless are the perfons, to whose happiness fuch an estate would not add a fingle grain, but quite the reverfe; and the greatest kindness that can be fhewed them is to keep it out of their way, though you will never perfuade them to think fo. But thus much the promise implies, that to him who first
DISC. and principally feeks, as he ought to do, I. the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and is not wanting to himself, shall be added food and raiment, and fuch other things as are convenient and proper for him, such things as are really and truly, all circumstances confidered, beft for him upon the whole, and will hereafter appear to have been fo.-But is not wealth then a bleffing? To those who can manage and employ it to the glory of God, and the good of mankind, it is a bleffing, for this reafon, because « it is "more bleffed to give, than to receive:" but the number of these is small, very small indeed. If religion therefore does not give a man wealth, it does not give him that, which is much more likely, at the long run, to prejudice, than to benefit him. If religion does not give a man wealth, it makes him happy without it; if it does not enable him to have what he likes, it enables him to like what he has. And, as an Apostle obferves," the time is fhort; this present
fcene of things will foon be changed; it "remains therefore that he who has an estate "be
*be (towards God) as if he had none;" DISC. which is much the harder task of the two.
Since, then, the promife of worldly neceffaries and comforts is made on the condition of feeking firft the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, let him, who thinks he has not his share of good things in this life, retire into his closet for half an hour, and ask himself a few questions; as-Have I ever really and in earneft fought the kingdom of God, and his righteousness? Do I so much as know what they are? or have I taken any pains to enquire? If I have enquired, and understood their nature, do I not rather feek after any thing, than after them? Is not either business, or pleasure, or even idleness itself, that moft irkfome and tormenting of states, preferred before them? Do I give one hour, out of the four and twenty, to the contemplation of them? Have I entered into the kingdom of God? or rather, has the kingdom of God entered into me? Is it within me, and does it manifeft itself without me? Does Chrift rule in