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would construct the machine without any work to do, that he would prepare the apparatus of a living creature, that it might forthwith perish? Then neither were he wise nor were he fatherly. A foolish man would not, or none but a foolish man would waste his ingenuity, in constructing devices of genius, which were destined the next instant to be destroyed by his own hand. Oh, ye faithless men! and have ye life; have ye this organised body, this most consummate of the works of God, and master-piece of his creation, which containeth lodged within it the royal mind, and is born to have dominion over all earthly things; and doubt ye that he will give you grains of corn to feed it withal, or materials of covering to protect it from the winter's cold? Ye men of little faith, do “ 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?” That is, they mingle not distrust with their diligence, and give no signs of over-carefulness in making their provision. They forestal not the course of Providence, nor seek to place themselves independent of the next year's chances, or of the chances of many years, to take pledges and securities against God's failing them, and enter into a covenant with change and alteration, so as to set themselves above all risk, into the state and condition of the Unchangeable. He meaneth not that the birds of the air are loiterers, but that they are not hoarders: he meaneth not that they are so unwise or improvident as to think of doing without their instincts of seeking their food and building their nest, and providing for their young; but that, while they occupy all these gifts proper to their condition among the creatures, they seek not to shove Providence out, or do without their Creator's help, but trust that spring would bring the seeds to feed upon, and summer the heat for rearing their young, and autumn continue the store for feeding them.
And so also would he have each man to put forth his understanding, or the faculty whereby he hath insight into and power over the matters of the earth; which, let me tell you, is but his higher instinct for constructing his house, and seeking his provisions, and doing whatever else is necessary to subdue the earth over which he holdeth now a sullen and obstinate dominion. But not, in the pride of these higher instincts, to think of shutting out the help and co-operation, the supremacy and dispensation, of his Maker, with whom, for the express purpose of holding communion, he hath his higher faculty of reason. And to shew the utter arrogancy of man in thus seeking to set himself independent of his Maker, and to mark the small bounds of his power, he puts the question, " taking thought, can add one cubit to his stature?” That is, to what amounteth all this care about the body, and its accommodations, and all the proud boastfulness consequent thereon. Can ye make it a cubit higher with all your thought? Can you change the laws of life or of death, of health or of disease, with your thought and carefulness. What a deep philosophy there is in this question, if men would but give it their study! and how would it disabuse them of their pride in natural science, and bring them back again to the humility of faith and truth! The lesson is this, that man, by all his resources of knowledge and art, cannot create any thing new upon the earth, or give new
Which of you by properties to any thing created, but merely work upon those properties which they have had since the world began. He doth not make the sun to shine forth in summer, but only provideth all things for his coming: he doth not give the earth, or the manure of the earth, their faculty of conveying the moisture of the heavens with kindly ministry to the roots of plants and herbs: he doth not give to the seed her quality of reproducing her kind, he doth not give to the wheat its faculty of nourishment, or to the grass its cheerfulness, or to the fleece its warmth, or to the body any organ, faculty, or power of various life.
And why thy boasting, fool! when thou art working in another's work-shop, and forging with another's tools, and using his wonderful machines, whereof thou understandest not one, no not a single one, and thou callest them thine own, and boastest thyself as if thou wert the creator and deviser of them all! Canst thou by taking thought add a cubit to thy stature. I wish I could teach these recreant renegados called men of science this lesson. I would they would set to work and make us a little flesh out of bread and water, or quicken us a little which is dead, or do some feat of their own worthy of being talked about, with all their philosophy, mechanical and chemical ? Why can they not help us in a famine, or create us a little gold for the starved currency, or do something worthy of a name? And who helpeth them to that chief part of every operation in which they cannot help themselves? It is nature. Well then let them give nature her due worship, and not take it all to themselves, the boastful crew. What temples build they to her, what worship offer they to her? They cheat her also. They would not only deprive us of our
God and Father, but they will deprive their own goddess of reason, or nature, in order that they may have all to the credit of their own individual science and skilfulness.
And, brethren, this rebuke, contained in the words, Which of you, by taking thought, can add a cubit to his stature?” which I apply to those arrogant classes, I apply to all of you who follow the same practice in principle, though you would shrink from the arrogant declaration of it in words. But let me ask the labourer, Who refreshed his body over night, and laid in those stores of strength for another day? Was it not the wonder-working Spirit of God that refresheth the face of every man with sleep? But let me ask the careful mother, Who gave, and who hath preserved, the lives of her children for whom she is busy and careful all the day long? And if they are God's heritage, and his reward, why doth she not acknowledge his most goodly gifts, when with a mother's fondness she decketh their youthful pride? But I would ask the trader, Who opens and shuts the channels of trading, and causeth those wants to be felt whereto he ministers, and who giveth its virtue to the ocean to bear our merchant-navies, and to the wind to waft them into distant parts ? 'But I would say unto the merchant, And hast thou too so soon forgotten that invisible Power which took thee and all thy brethren, and scattered ye like chaff; your bills, bonds, and securities, securing you nothing at all? Oh men and brethren, put that question oft unto yourselves, “ "Can I by taking thought add a cubit to my stature?” And when thou meditatest the small hand which thou hast, and the great hand which
God hath in the future, turn thy cares into prayers, and let thy anxious solicitudes be changed for fervent supplications, according to the word of the Apostle, “ Be careful for nothing, but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, let thy requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.' To which our Lord addeth this rebuke,
" For after all these things do the Gentiles seek.” He spoke unto his disciples, even as I now speak unto his disciples, and said, that they were no better than the Gentiles in seeking after those things; and that their seeking after a higher thing, and leaving these lower things to come at their own time, and in their own course, was a mark which he wished to be the distinction of his disciples. And what might these heathenish requests and pursuits be, from the fellowship of which the Lord discharged believers ? Was it the pursuit of wealth, of hundreds and thousands laid up in store ? the pursuit of worldly offices and ambitious distinctions, of sounding titles and magisterial places? You shall hear and judge for yourselves. Therefore take no thought, saying; What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek.” So that it is heathenish to be careful about daily necessities, it is like a Gentile to be anxious about the common apparel wherewithal to clothe our nakedness, or comfort our bodies. For, brethren, so saith the Lord, that these commonest and most excusable desires are heathenish. And what shall I say to the anxieties of multitudes who hear me, how they shall maintain this rank, and that appearance; how they