« הקודםהמשך »
be “slothful in business,” to be slack and dilatory therein. This, likewise, is contrary to the whole spirit and genius of his Religion. A Christian abhors sloth as much as drunkenness; and flees from idleness as he does from adultery. He well knows, that there is one kind of thought and care, with which God is well pleased; which is absolutely needful for the due performance of those outward works, unto which the Providence of God has called him. . .
It is the will of God, that every man should labour to eat his own bread; yea, and that every man should provide for his own, for them of his own household. It is likewise his will, that we should “owe no man any thing, but provide things honest in the sight of all men.” But this cannot be done, without taking some thought, without having some care upon our minds; yea, often, not without long and serious thought, not without much and earnest care. Consequently this care, to provide for ourselves and our household, this thought how to render to all their dues, our blessed Lord does not condemn. Yea, it is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.
It is good and acceptable to God, that we should so take thought concerning whatever we have in hand, as to have a clear comprehension of what we are about to do, and to plan our business before we enter upon it. And it is right that we should carefully consider, from time to time, what steps we are to take therein; as well as that we should prepare all things beforehand, for the carrying it on in the most effectual manner. This care, termed by some, “ the care of the head,” it was by no means our Lord's design to condemn. . 17. What he here condemns, is, the care of the heart; the anxious, uneasy care; the care that hath torment; all such care as does hurt, cither to the soul or body. What he forbids, is, that care which, sad experience shows, wastes the blood and drinks up the spirits; which anticipates all the misery it fears, and comes to torment us before the time. He forbids only that care which poisons the blessings of to day, by fear of what may be tomorrow; which cannot enjoy the present plenty, through apprehensions of future want. This care is not only a sore disease, a grievous sickness of soul, but also an heinous offence against God, a sin of the deepest dye. It is an bigh affront to the gracious Governor and wise Disposer of all things; necessarily implying, that the great Judge does not do right; that he does not order all things well. It plainly implies, that He is wanting, either in wisdom, if he does not know what things we stand in need of; or in goodness, if he does not provide those things for all who put their trust in him. Beware, therefore, that you take not thought in this sease: be ye anxiously careful for nothing. Take no uneasy thought : this is a plain, sure rule, Uneasy care is unlawful care. With a single eye to God, do all that in you lies, to provide things honest in the sight of all men : and then give up all into better hands ; leave the whole erent to God.
18. “ Take no thought,” of this kind, no uneasy thought, cren “for yonr life, what ye shall cat, or what ye sball drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" If then God gave you life, the greater gist, will be not give you food to sustain it? If he hath given you the body, how can ye doubt, but he will give you raiment to cover it? More especially, if you give yourselves up to Him, and serve him with your whole heart. “Behold,” sce before your eyes, “the fowls of the air : for they sow not, ocither do they reap, nor gather into barns ;' and yet they lack nothing; “ yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? ” Ye that are creatures capable of God, are ye not of more account in the eyes of God? Of a higher rank in the scale of being's? “ And which of you, by taking thought, can add one cubit to his stature?” What profit have you then from this auxions thought ? It is every way fruitless und unavailing.
só And why take ye thought for raiment ? ” Have ye not a daily reproof, wherever you turn your eyes? “ Consider the lilies of the field how tliey grow; they toil not, neither do they spin ; and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven," [is cut down, burnt up, and scen no more,] “shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? ” You, whom he made to endure for ever and erer, to be pictures of his own eternity! Ye are indeed of little faith; otherwise ye could not doubt of his love and care, no not for a moment.
1. “Therefore tako po thought, saying, What shall we eat, if we lay up no treasure upon earth? “What shall we drink,” if we serve God with all our strength, if our eyc be singly fixed on him? “Wherewithal shall we be clothed," if we aro uot conformed to the world, if we disoblige those by whom we might be profited ? “For after all these things do the Gentiles seek,”-the heathens who know not God. But ye are sensible, “your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." And he hath pointed out to you an infallible way of being constantly supplied therewith: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and bis righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
20. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God:"_Before ye give place to any other thought or care, let it be your concern, that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who “gave his only begotten Son,” to the end that, believing in him, “ye might not perish, but have everlasting life”) may reign in your heart, may manifest himself in your soul, and dwell and rule there; that he may “cast down every high thing which cxalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." Let God have the sole dominion over you: let him reign without a rival: let him possess all your heart, and rule alone. Let him be your one desire, your joy, your love; so that all that is within you may continually cry out, “ The Lord God omnipotent reigneth."
“ Seek the kingdom of God, and his righteousness." Righteousness is the fruit of God's reigning in the heart. And what is righteousness but love? The love of God and of all mankind, flowing from faith in Jesus Christ, and producing humbleness of mind, meekness, gentleness, longsuffering, patience, deadness to the world; and every right disposition of heart, toward God, and toward man. And by these it produces all holy actions, whatsoever are lovely or of good report; whatsoever works of faith and labour of love, are acceptable to God, and profitable to man.
“ His righteousness :"_This is all His righteousness still : it is his own free gift to us, for the sake of Jesus Christ the Righteous, through whom alone it is purchased for us : and it is bis work: it is He alone that workcth it in us, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
21. Perhaps the well observing this, may give light to some other scriptures, which we have not always so clearly understoood. St. Paul, speaking in his Epistle to the Romans concerning the unbelieving Jews, saith, “They, being iguorant of God's Vol. I. No.9.
righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” I believe this may be one sense of the words : They were “ignorant of God's righteousness,” not only of the Righteousness of Christ, imputed to every believer, whereby all his sins are blotted out, and he is reconciled to the favour of God: but (which seemis here to be more immediately understood they were ignorant of that inward rightcousness, of that holiness of heart, which is with the utmost propriety termed God's Righteousness; as being both his own free gift through Christ, and his own work, by his almighty Spirit. And because they were ignorant of this, they “went about to establish their own rightcousness.” They laboured to establish that outside righteousness, which miglit very properly be termed their own. For neither was it wrought by the Spirit of God, nor was it owned or accepted of him. They might work this themselves, by their own natural strength; and when they had done, it was a stink in his nostrils. And yet, trusting in this, they would “not submit themselves unto the righteousness of God.” Yea, they hardened themselves against that faith, whereby alone it was possible to attain it. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, to every one that believeth.” Christ, when he said, “It is finished !” put an end to the law, to the law of external rites and ceremonies, that he might bring a better righteousness through his blood, by that one oblation of himself once offered, even the image of God, into the inmost soul of every one that believeth.
22. Nearly related to thesc, are those words of the Apostle, in his Epistle to the Philippians : “I count all things but dung that I may win Christ;” an entrance into his everlasting kingdom; “and be found in him, [believing in him,] not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”—“Not having my own righteousness, which is of the law;” a barely external righteousness, the outside religion I formerly had, when I hoped to be accepted of God, because I was, "touching the righteousness which is of the law, blameless ; ' _“but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith;” that holiness of heart, that renewal of the soul, in all its desires, tempers, and affections, “which is of God:” it is the work of God, and not of man : “ by faith ; " through tlie faith of Christ,
through the revelation of Jesus Christ in us, and by faith in 'his blood; whereby alone we obtain the remission of our sins, and an inheritance among those that are sanctified.
23. “Seek ye first (this) kingdom of God” in your hearts; this righteousness, which is the gift and work of God, the image of God renewed in your souls; “and all these things shall be added unto you;” all things needful for the body; such a measure of all, as God sees most for the advancement of his kingdom. These shall be added, they shall be thrown in, over and above. In secking the peace and the love of God, you shall not only find what you morc immediately scek, even the kingdom that cannot be moved; but also what you seek not, not at all for its own sake, but only in reference to the other. You shall find, in your way to the kingdom, all outward things, so far as they are expedient for you: this care God hatb taken upon himself: cast you all your care upon Him. He knoweth your wants; and whatsoever is lackiug, he will not fail to supply.
24. “ Therefore take no thought for the morrow." Not only, take ye no thought how to lay up treasures on earth, how to increase in worldly substance; take no thought bow to procure more food than you can eat, or more raiment than you can put on, or more money than is required from day to day, for the plain reasonable purposes of life;- but take no uneasy thought, even concerning those things which are absolutely needful for the body. Do not trouble yourself now, with thinking what you shall do at a season which is yet afar off. Perhaps that season will never come: or it will be no concern of yours ;-before then you will have passed through all the waves, and be landed in eternity. All those distant views do not belong to you, who are but a creature of a day. Nay, what have you to do with the morrow, more strictly speaking ? Why should you perplex yourself without need ? God provides for you today what is needful to sustain the life which he hath given you. It is enough : give yourself up into his hands : if you live another day, he will provide for that also.
25. Above all, do not make the care of future things a pretence for neglecting present duty. This is the most fatal way of “ taking thought for the morrow.” And how common is it among men! Many, if we exhort them to keep a conscience void of offence, to abstain from what they are convinced is evil, do not scruple to reply, 'How then must we live ? Must we not take care of ourselves and of our families p'