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Thus have I opened the meaning of the cxhortation, and at the same time attempted to give you a general view of the dignity and excellence of the temper it recommends. But the most persuasive motive to the practice of this duty, is that which the Apostle himself maketh use of in the close of the verse, where he giveth full assurance to believers in Christ, that God, in a peculiar manner, careth for them. To this I shall pro.ceed in my next discourse. --+May God lead us by his Spirit to the knowledge of our duty, and dispose us by his grace to the love and practice of it, 'for Christ's sake. Amen.

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Cafting all your care upon him, for be careth

. ... for you.

THESE words contain a pressing ex

1 hortation to an important duty, and 'à most persuasive argument to enforce the · practice of it. It was an apostle of Christ who

gave the exhortation, and he addressed it to believers in Christ: not to those who barely professed Christianity in opposition to Heathenism ; but to real faints, as distinguished , from mere nominal Christians, who “ have “ a form of godliness, but deny the power " thereof.” What their condition was with respect to external things, partly appears from the inscription of the epistle, where they are called “ strangers, scattered abroad " throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, 54 Asia, and Bithynia.” Such persons were

not

i

inot likely to enjoy much worldly ease or afflu-
ence: and indeed we have positive evidence
that they did not ; for we are cold expressly,
that “they were in heaviness through ma-
“ nifold temptations,” reproached as evil-
doers, and cruelly perfecuted for the name
of Christ. Nay, as if these trials had been
only the beginning of sorrows, the Apostle
forewarns them, at the 12th 'verse of the
preceding chapter, that they were soon to
enter upon a new scene of sufferings; the
severity of which thould far exceed any,
thing they had yet felt.“ Beloved,” saith
he, i think it not strange concerning the fiery
trial which is to try you, -as though some
“ strange thing happened unto you: but
“ rejoice in as much as ye are partakers of
“ Christ's sufferings; that when his glory
“ fhall be revealed, ye may be glad also
“ with exceeding joy.”.

We can hardly doubt, that such an awful prospect would beget many anxious disa quieting thoughts. Cares it behoved them to have ; not about the trivial accommodations of a present life, theirs would be of a more serious and important nature :Сc4

How

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How they should quit themselves like men, and maintain their ground against the crafe of reducers, and the furious attacks of perfecuting 'zeal ;-how they should adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour, and “.cut off a occafion from those who desired occasion « to blaspheme that worthy name by which " they were called ;" above all, how they fhould recommend religion to the esteem and choice of their enemies, and become the inftrúments of faving from eternal death, thofe who thirsted for their own blood, and treated them like the filth and offscouring of all things.-Such, we may suppose, would be the principal cares of persecuted faints: and all these they are exhorted to cast upon God: For, adds the Apostle, God careth for you.

This is the argument which I shall now endeavour to illustrate,

1. By laying before you the evidence of its truth; and,

2. By showing its propriety and strength for engaging us to cast our care upon God.

I. When we consider the character of the persons to whom this exhortation was orii

g inally

,

ginally addressed, it will readily occur to us, that the Apostle means fomething more by the care of God, than that general Providence which extends to all the creatures he hath made.. The care he speaks of, is that peculiar and affectionate regard to the saints which he had before described, chap. iii. 12. ". The eyes of the Lord are " over the righteous, and his ears are open “ unto their prayers : but the face of the « Lord is against them that do evil.”_ Thus it is written, that “ he withdraweth “inot his eye from the righteous.”_" The “ Lord is God,” saith the Prophet Nahum, wa strong hold in the day of trouble, and " he knoweth them that trust in him.” Many other passages might be quoted which assert, in the most explicit terms, that God careth for his saints in another manner than he doth for the rest of the world.--But that you may have a more extensive and encouraging view of the evidence of this truth, consider

How intimately the saints are related to God. “Behold,” faith the Apostle John in name of all the faithful, “ behold, what

“ manner

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