صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

and magnifying his wisdom in all things; never murmuring at the course of the world, or the state of things; but looking upon all around, at heaven and earth, as a pleased speetátor ; and adoring that invisible hand, which gives laws ta all motions, and overrules all events to endssuitable to the highest wisdom and goodness.

It is very common for people to allow them selves great liberty in finding fault with such things, as have God only for their cause.

Every one thinks, he may justly say, what a wretched, abominable climate he lives in. This man is frequently telling you, what a dismal, cursed day it is, and what intolerable seasons we have. Another thinks, he has very little to thank God for, that it is hardly worth his while to live in a world so full of changes and revolutions. But these are tempers of great impiety, and show, that religion, has not yet its seat in the heart of those, who have them..

It sounds indeed much better to murmur at the course of the world, or the state of things, than to murmur at providence z, to complain of the seasons and weather, than to complain of God; but if these have no other cause but God and his providence, it is a poor distinction to

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

say, that you are angry only at the things, but not at the cause and director of them.

How sacred the whole frame of the world is, how all things are to be considered as God's, and referred to him, is fully taught by our blessed lord in the case of oaths. * But I say unto you, swear not at all ; neither by heaven, for it is God's throne ; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great king ; neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black ;' that is, because the whiteness or blackness of thy hair is not thine, but God's. Here

you see all things in the whole order of nature, from the highest heavens to the smallest hair, are always to be considered, not separately as they are in themselves, but as in some rela: tion to God.: If this be good reasoning, thou shalt not swear by the earth, a city, or thy hair, because these things are God's, and in a certain manner belong to him ; is it not exactly the same reasoning to say, thou shalt not murmur at the seasons of the earth, the states of cities, and the change of times, because all these things are in the hands of God, have him for their author, are directed and governed by him to such ends, as are most suitable to his wise providence ?

[ocr errors]

upon oaths.

If you think, you can murmur at the state of things without murmuring at providence, or complain of seasons without complaining of God ; hear what our blessed lord says further

Whoso shall swear by the altar, Śweareth by it, and by all things thereon ; and whoso shalt swear by the temple, sweareth by him, that dwelleth therein ; and he, that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him, that sitteth thereon.'

Does not this scripture plainly oblige us to reason after this manner? Whoso murmurs at the course of the world, murmurs at God, that governs the course of the world. Whoso res pines at seasons and weather, and speaks ime patiently of times and events, repines and speaks impatiently of God, who is the sole lord and guvernour of times, seasons, and events.

As therefore when we think of God himself, we are to have no sentiments but of praise and thanksgiving ; so when we look at those things, which aré under the direction of God, and gova erred by his providence we are to receive them with the same tempers of praise and gratitude.

Though we are not to think all things right, and just, and lawful, which the providence of God permits.; for then nothing could be uni

just, because nothing is withotit his permission ; yet we must adore God in the greatest publick calamities, the most grievous persecutions, as things, which are suffered by God, like plagues and famines, for ends suitable to his wisdom and glory in the government of the world.

There is nothing more suitable to the piety of a reasonable creature, or the spirit of a christian, than thus to approve, admire, and glorify God in all the acts of his general providence ; considering the whole world as his particular family, and all events as directed by his wisdom.

Every one seems to consent to this, as an undeniable truth, that all things must be, as God pleases ; and is not this enough to make every man pleased with them himself ? How can a man be a peevish complainer of any thing, which is the effect of providence, but by showing, that his own selfish will and wisdom are of more weight with him, than the will and wisdom of God? What can religion be said to have done for a man, whose heart is in this state ?

For if a man cannot thank and praise God, as well in calamities and sufferings, as in prosperity and happiness, he is so far from the piety of a christian, as hè, who only loves them, that Love. bin, is from the charity of a christian.

ick

as

ties

and

bety ris

ce;

ances.

ular

om.

Fod Pry

a h ti е of

For to thank God only for such things, as you like, is no more a proper act of piety, than to believe only what you see is an act of faith.

Resignation and thanksgiving to God are only acts of piety, when they are acts of faith, trust, and confidence in the divine goodness.

The faith of Abraham was an act of true piety ; because it stopped at no difficulties, was not altered nor lessened by any human appear

It first of all carried him, against all show of happiness, from his own kindred and country into a strange land, not knowing whither he went.' It afterwards made him against all appearances of nature, when his body was dead, when he was about an hundred years old,' depend upon the promise of God, being fully persuaded, that what God had promised, he was able to perform.' It was this same faith, which against so many pleas of nature, so many appearances of reason, prevailed upon him to offer up Isaac, accounting, that God was able to raise him up from the dead.'

This faith is the true pattern of christian resignation to the divine pleasure. You are to thank and praise God, not only for tlings agreeable to you, which have the appearance of happiness and comfort; but when you are, like A

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
« السابقةمتابعة »