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therefore it were beft to lay it afide, and take things as they happen, without murmuring. But this were only to amufe
you; for the burden would ftill prefs you with its weight, and all my reafoning would amount to nothing more than a cold unavailing advice to ftruggle with it as you can. But if your cares be very painful, though I cannot encourage you to go directly to God with them in your present ftate, yet I fhall fuggeft a hint which by the bleffing of God may be of ufe to you. It hath often been obferved, that one great care will fwallow up many others of finaller importance, and even banish them from the mind altogether. Thus in a storm at fea, the most covetous worldlings have been known to throw their most precious goods overboard with their own hands, when no other means could be found to keep the ship above water. This points out a remedy; and it is the only remedy that occurs to me. Were you awakened to a proper concern about the life of your fouls, this would have a powerful influence to cure your anxiety about leffer things.
brought to cry out with the jailor, "What "fhall I do to be faved?" you would find neither leifure nor inclination to afk these difquieting anxious queftions, "What shall "I eat? and what fhall I drink? and where"withal fhall I be clothed ?" All these would be swallowed up in your concern for "the "one thing needful." And give me leave to add, that when this becomes your care, I fhall then be at full liberty to invite you to caft it upon God; nay, I fhall be able to affure you, that he will not only accept the charge, but likewife give you what you care for, even a complete and everlasting falvation. O then "feek the Lord while he is to be "found; call upon him while he is near."
MAY God determine and enable you to take this courfe, and make your worldly cares the means of leading your hearts be yond and above this world, to seek rest and happiness in himself alone. Amen..
2 CORINTHIANS xii. 9.
He faid unto me, My grace is fufficient for thee.
N the foregoing verfes of this chapter,
I an reIN
the Apostle relates an extraordinary revelation he had been favoured with, above fourteen years before the date of this epiftle. He informs us, that "he was caught up into "paradise," or the third heaven, (whether "in the body, or out of the body, he could "not tell), where he heard unspeakable "words, which it is not lawful," or poffible," for a man to utter." This probably happened foon after his converfion; and was graciously intended, either to remove those doubts and fears which the remembrance of his former conduct might naturally occafion, or rather to fortify his mind against the trials and fufferings he was afterwards
to meet with in the course of his ministry. -One fhould imagine, that fuch a glorious manifeftation could not be liable to any abuse. When Satan would have tempted our Lord to worship him, it was by giving him a fight and offer of all the kingdoms of this world; and we readily admit, that fuch a temptation might prove very fatal to us. Earthly objects have indeed too powerful a tendency to inflame our fenfual appetites, and to alienate our hearts from God but furely no danger can be apprehended from a view of heaven. The glories of the upper world, a display of those things above, upon which God himself hath commanded. us to set our affection, cannot be fuppofed to have any bad effect.
And no doubt this will be the cafe, when we fhall be perfectly freed from all remainders of corruption. But we learn, from what follows, that in our present state of weakness and depravity, even a view of heaven might prove a fare to our fouls. Holy Paul, as we read verfe 7. was in danger of being exalted above measure through the "abundance of the revelations;" for which
cause "there was given to him a thorn in "the flesh, the meffenger of Satan to buffet “him." What this particular exercise was, is not material for us to know. The words plainly import, that it was both violent and painful; and the effects it produced as evidently show, that it was appointed in mercy, and wifely calculated for his fpiritual advantage. This eminent faint, who but a little before was caught up into paradife, now humbles himself as low as the duft. He falls down upon his knees, and earnestly implores deliverance from this trial. Once and again he repeats his fupplication, but gets no anfwer. This could not fail to heighten his diftrefs. A meffenger of Satan is fent to buffet him; and God, by his fi lence, feems deaf to his intreaties. But ftill this is made to work for his good: He becomes more and more fenfible of his own weakness; he draws nearer to a throne of grace, and renews his fuit with increafing fervour and importunity. "For this thing," fays he, verfe 8. "I befought the Lord "thrice, that it might depart from me.". At length the answer comes in the words of