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trouble overtakes you. A time of diftrefa is a very proper season for seeking acquainte ance with God. His rod hath a voice as well as his word, and both speak the same language, “ Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye “ die?" All I a firm is, that you cannot call your care upon God till your acquaintance with him be begun; and by telling you, that the saints are pofseffed of privileges which at present do not belong to you, my fole aim is “ to provoke you to jealousy," as Paul expresseth it, and to make you ambitious to cast in your lot with “ these ex" cellent ones in the earth," that ye also may partake of their joy. “This is the “ command of God," and the first in order under the gospel-dispensation,that we believe on the name of his Son Jesus “ Christ;" and it is only in consequence of our obedience to this command, that we obtain an interest in the blessings he hath purchased. Christ is that unfpeakable comprehensive gift, in which all other gifts are virtually included. It is our thankful acceptance of the Mediator of the covenant, that both manifefts our claim to the pro
mises of the covenant, and qualifies us to perform the duties it requires. From this account of the persons who are invited to cast their care upon God, we shall, with greater ease and certainty, discover,
II. The nature and extent of the duty itself; which is the second thing I proposed to illustrate.
It differs entirely in its nature from that carelesfness and infenfibility which the bulk of mankind too generally indulge. Many indeed enjoy a fatal tranquillity, having no concern at all about their eternal interests. Their inquiries are abundantly anxious with regard to the things of a present life; faying, “ What shall we eat, and what shall $. we drink, and wherewithal fhall we be
clothed ?" But they were never brought in good earnest to ask the infinitely more interesting question, “ What shall we do to 4 be saved ?" Or if at any time a serious thought, tending to this inquiry, force itself upon their minds, they immediately encounter it with a presumptuous hope of che divine mercy, and endeavour to per
fuade themselves, by some fallacious reafonings, that it may be well with them at last, though they go on in their trespasses. Now the faith of such persons is not only dead in itfeit, but likewise poisonous and killing to their souls. They are perishing, and will not believe it, till the unquenchable fire awaken them from their security, and put it out of their power to deceive themfelves any longer. We must not cast our work upon God, and presume that he will save us in the way of loth and carnal indulgence: on the contrary, we are commanded “ to work out our own salvation “ with fear and trembling.". It is only “ in well-doing” that we can regularly “ commit the keeping of our fouls to God," as the Apostle hath taught us in the close of the preceding chapter. We are exhorted to cast our care upon him, not that we may enjoy the base rest of the fluggard, “ who defireth and hath nothing, becaufe “ his hands refuse to labour ;" but that, having got our hearts enlarged, and freed from a load that pressed them down, we may quicken our pace,+ and run with greater alacrity in the way of God's commandments.
The character of the persons to whom this exhortation is addressed, doth likewise serve to limit the extent of the duty. It is not every sort of care that we are invited or permitted to cast upon God, but only the care of those things which the Christian dare avow in the presence of his father, and humbly ask of him by prayer and supplication. We read, Matth. xviii. at the beginning, that the disciples of our Lord came to him in a body, inquiring which of them should be a greatest in the kingdom of • heaven." This was a vain felf-interested anxiety, to which our Lord gave a sharp and sudden check, by telling them in plain terms, that till they should lay aside that ambitious care, they were not fit to possess the lowest place in his kingdom. “ called a little child unto him, and fet 4 him in the midst of them, and said, Verily, I say unto you,
be “ converted, and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” We have an account of ano
ther very careful man, Luke xii. 16,--20,
fiow: my fruits." And it was this that
16 What shall I do?" If you desire any further information concerning him, you will find it at verse 20 * But God faid unto him, Thou fool, this
night thy soul shall be required of thee;
then whose fhall those things be which 4 thou hast provided ?" It would appear, that his situation with respect to an heir was similar to what Solomon describes, Ecctes iv. 8. “ There is one alone, and