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, ed in God
ner, per falls
foreseen, and fore-ordained to their best advan-
been any thing else, than what you are, you had, all things considered, been less wisely provided for, than you are now; you had wanted some circumstances and conditions, which are best fitted to make you happy yourself, and serviceable to the glory of God.
Could you see all that, which God sees ; all that happy chain of causes and notives, which are to move and invite you to a right course of life, you would see something to make you: like that state you are in, as fitter for you than:
But as you cannot see this, so it is here, that your
christian faith is to exercise itself, and render you as grateful and thankful for the happiness of your state, as if you saw every thing, which contributes to it, with your own eyes.
But, if this be the case of every man in the world, thus blessed. with some particular state, which is most convenient for him, how reasonable is it for every man to will that, which God has already willed for him ; and by a pious faith and trust in the divine goodness, thankfully
adore and magnify that wise providence, which he is sure has made the best choice for him of those things, which he could not choose for himself?
: Every uneasiness at our own state is founded upon comparing it with that of other people ; which is full as unreasonable, as if a man in a dropsy should be angry at those, who prescribe different things to him from those, which are prescribed to people in health. For all the different states of life are like different states of diseases ; what is a remedy to one man in his state may be a poison to another. So that to murmur, because you are not, as some others are, is, as if a man in one disease should murinur, that he is not treated like him, that is in another ; whereas, if he were to have his will, he would be killed by that, which would prove the cure of another.
It is just thus in the various conditions of life ; if you give yourself up to uneasiness, or complain at any thing in your state, you may, for ought you know, be so ungrateful to God, as to murmur at that very thing, which is to prove the cause of
you it in your power to yet that, which you think is so grievous to want, it might per
haps be that very thing, which of all others would most expose you to condemnation. .1
So that whether we consider the infinite goodness of God, which cannot choose amiss for us, or our own great ignorance of what is most advantageous to us, there can be nothing so reasonable and pious, as to have no will, but that of God's, and desire nothing for ourselves, in our person, our state, and condition, but that, which the good providence of God ap. points us.
As the good providence of God thus introduces us into the world, into such a state and condition of life, as are most convenient for us, so the same unerring wisdom orders all events and changes in the whole course of our lives in such a manner, as to render them the fittest means to exercise and improve our virtue.
Nothing hurts us, nothing destroys us, but the ill use of that liberty, with which God has intrusted us. We are as sure, that nothing happens to us by chance, as that the world itself was not made by chance. We are as certain, that all things happen, and work together for our good, as that God is goodness itself. So that a man has as much reason to will every thing, which happens to him, because God
wills it, as to think, that is wisest, which is directed by infinite wisdom.
This is not cheating nor soothing ourselves into any false content, or imaginary. happiness ; but is a satisfaction grounded upon as great a certainty, as the being and attributes of God. For, if we are right in believing God to act over us with infinite wisdom and goodness, we cannot carry our notions of conformity and resignation to the divine will too high ; nor can we ever be deceived, by thinking that to be the best for us, which God has brought upon
The providence of God is not more concerned in the government of night and day, and the variety of seasons, than in the common course of events, which seem most to depend upon the mere wills of men. So that it is as strictly right to look upon all worldly accidents and changes, all the various turns and alterations in your own life, to be as truly the effects of divine providence, as the rising and setting of the sun, or the alterations of the seasons of the year. As you are therefore always to adore the wisdom of God in the direction of these things so it is the same reasonable duty always to magnify God, as an equal director of every thing,
which happens to you in the course of your own life.
This holy resignation and conformity of your will to the will of God, being so much the true state of piety, I hope you will be in the constant habit of applying to God for so great a gift. By thus constantly praying for it, your heart may be habitually disposed towards it, and always in a state of readiness to look at every thing as God's, and to consider him in every thing ; that so every thing, which befals you, may be received in the spirit of piety, and made a mean of exercising some virtue.
There is nothing, which so powerfully gov, erns the heart, which so strongly excites us to wise and reasonable actions, as a true sense of God's presence. But as we cannot see, nor ap : prehend the essence of God, so nothing will so constantly keep us under a lively sense of the presence of God, as this holy resignation, which attributes every thing to him, and receives ev. ery thing as from him.
Could we see a miracle from God, how would our thought be affected with an holy awe and veneration of his presence ! But if we consider every thing as God's doing, either by order or