Immagini della pagina

tain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit “ who can bear?"

In this distressed situation, when every other refuge fails, divine revelation comes feasonably to our assistance. So bright are the objects it presents to our view, that they prevent the labour of a tedious inquiry : The mind fees them at once ; and though greatly disturbed, can with ease discover both their nature and their use. The import of a striking fact is much sooner comprehended than the force of an argument. Thus when we are told, that " God spared “ not his own Son, but delivered him up “ to the death for us,” we no sooner hear and believe the fact, than we are fufficiently prepared to draw the same conclusion from it that Paul did, “ How shall he not with 6. him also freely give us all things ?" But the Scriptures do not stop here : they not only relate what God hath already done, and thereby furnish us with proofs of his mercy and grace; they likewise contain explicit declarations of what he hath purposed and determined to do. They abound with great and precious promises, confirmed by : VOL. II.

Bь ,

the the oath of an unchangeable God, “ that 6 by two immutable things, in which it is s impoffible for God to lie, they may have * a strong confolation, who have fled for “ refuge to lay hold on the hope set before « them."

Of this kind is the argument with which the Apostle presleth the exhortation in my text, Cafting all your care upon God, faith he, FOR be careth for you. Nothing can be more fimple ; and, at the fame time, nothing can be more perfuafive. No acuteness is requisite for discovering the meaning of the argument. And then its strength is irresistible : * For if God be with us, who can be against « us ?” If the great Lord of heaven and earth vouchsafe to become our friend, nay, our guardian, then surely, with a cheerful and unreserved confidence, we may refign ourfelves wholly to his difpofal and government. The objects of his paternal care must always be fafe ; no real evil can befal them, neither shall any thing that is truly good be with-held from them. But to whom doth the Apostle address his hortation?

This question is of importance, and muft be answered in the first place.

Secondly, I shall lay open the nature and extent of the duty here enjoined, and show what is included in casing all our care upon God.

' Thirdly, I shall illustrate the propriety and strength of the motive with which the exhorsation is enforced, God careth for you. . ... And then direct you to the practical improvement of the . . .

Nothing would give me greater pleasure, than to fay to every one that hears me, Thou art the person who art invited to caft thy care upon God: but it is truth, and not inclination, that must dictate what I say. The great Prophet of the church compares the office of a minister to that of a steward, whose business it is to feed those committed to his care, by giving unto each « his por" tion of meat in due feason.” A promif. cuous distribution of the bread of life, is not merely unprofitable, but in many cases hurtful, to the souls of men: And give me leave to add, that in no case is it more likely to

B b 2


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

380 S E R MON XV.
be hurtful, than when the subject, like the
present one, is foothing and agreeable. And
therefore, that this word of truth may be
rightly divided, it will be necessary, .

I. In the first place, To inquire who the persons are to whom the exhortation may property be addressed.

It is certain, that as there are privileges peculiar to sanctified believers, fo there are many duties enjoined in Scripture, which the impenitent and unbelieving are incapable of performing: and, I apprehend, there is no duty whatsoever that lies farther beyond their reach, than the exercise of fruft and hope in God; for every part of his word denounces wrath against them fe long as they perfift in their rebellion and enmity. «God is angry with the wicked “ every day. He hath bent his bow, and " made it ready; he hath also prepared for is him the instruments of death.” And therefore, to persons of this character, a previous exhortation is necessary. I muft address you in the words of Eliphaz to Job, “ Acquaint now thyself with God, and be

« at

at peace, and hereby good fhall come un

to you.” At present my text doth not speak to you at all. If you look back to the foregoing part of this epistle, you will see the persons described whom the Apostle had in his eye. He doth not write to all promifcuoully, but “ to the elect, according " to the foreknowledge of God the Father, 6 through fanctification of the Spirit unto « obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of “ Chrift.” He writes to those “ who are

born again, not of corruptible seed, but % of incorruptible, by the word of God, 14 which liveth and abideth for ever." He addrefleth his exhortation to believers in Christ Jesus," who loved him though un“ seen,” having tasted of his grace; whom he distinguisheth by the honourable appels lations of “ a chalen generation, a royal “ priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar peo“ ple.” These are the objects of God's paternal care; and they only are qualified to east their care upon him.

I speak not thus to drive any, even the worst of you, away from Ged, or to disPourage your application to him when BD z


« IndietroContinua »