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ther or not I shall be restored to my house 4th place, To cast all our care upon and throne, I cannot at present foresee: God, implies a full and unsuspecting debut this I know, that in either case it pendence upon his wisdom and goodness; shall be well with me. If I return to such a dependence as quiets the mind, disJerusalem, I shall again behold this ark, posing it to wait patiently upon God, and and enjoy the Lord my God in his or to accept with thankfulness whatsoever he dinances; but if my God hath no farther is pleased to appoint. The Christian who service for me on this earth, I shall go to hath learned this important lesson, not that place where there is no occasion for only brings his cares to the throne of external means of correspondence and in- grace, but there also he leaves them, and, tercourse. Behold, here I lie at the dis- like Hannah, returns with his countenance posal of my Father and my King, equally no more sad. Having," by prayer and prepared to live or to die; to reign once supplication, with thanksgiving, made his more in the earthly Jerusalem, or to take requests known to God,” his mind is at up my eternal residence in the Jerusalem rest," he is careful for nothing;” he hath that is above.—This unlimited resignation put all his interests into the best hands; to the will of God makes an essential part he hath committed them to One, who is of the duty which my text recommends. too wise to bestow what is hurtful, and It further implies,
too kind to withhold what is good. In con3dly. That we renounce all confidence sequence whereof, “ the peace of God, that in the creature, and place our trust in God passeth all understanding, keeps his heart alone. We are required, you see, to cast and mind through Jesus Christ." This ALL our care upon him; not a part, but gracious temper brings not only rest, but the whole. For thus it is written, (Jer. liberty to the soul. It breaks all those xvii. 5, 8.) “Cursed be the man that fetters in pieces, by which the covetous, trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, the ambitious, the voluptuous, are chained and whose heart departeth from the Lord. to a present world, and dragged at the For he shall be like the heath in the de- heels of those worse than Egyptian tasksert, and shall not see when good cometh, masters," the lust of the eye, the lust of and shall inhabit the parched places in the flesh, and the pride of life.” What the wilderness, in a salt land and not in- ever God willeth is pleasing to the sanctihabited.” Whereas, “ Blessed is the man fied believer; and the light of his Father's that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope countenance, amidst the deepest and most the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree complicated distress, puts greater gladness planted by the waters, and that spreadeth into his heart than the sensualist can feel, out her roots by the river, and shall not or is capable of conceiving, when his corn see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall and wine do most abound. It is this that be green, and shall not be careful in the gives the Christian the true enjoyment of year of drought, neither shall cease from life. No man can have the relish yielding fruit." A divided trust between of any earthly.comfort, who is not preparGod and the creature, is as foolish and ed to part with it. This looks like a paraunsafe, as to set one foot upon a rock and dox, but will be found upon examination the other upon the quicksand. We must, to be a weighty truth. Where fear is, there as I formerly observed, be diligent in the is torment; and nothing mars our joy so use of means; for thus the commandment effectually as the prospect of being sepa
“ Trust in the Lord, and do good;" rated from what we greatly love. Talk but at the same time we must look beyond to a carnal man of death, and the poor and above all means to God himself for creature's spirit dies within him; the awsuccess; saying, as David did, “My soul, ful prospect of dissolution, like the handwait thou only upon God; for my expec. writing upon the wall which Belshazzar tation is from him. He only is my rock perceived while he was drinking wine with and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall his princes, his wives, and his concubines, not be moved. In God is my salvation and will, in the height of his gayety, change his my glory; the rock of my strength, and countenance, loosen the joints of his loins, my refuge is on God.” Once more, in the and make his knees to smite against one
another. Whereas the man who hath been ed abroad throughout Pontus, Galatia, taught to cast his care upon God, can sit Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” Such cheerfully at the feast which Providence persons were not likely to enjoy much affords him, and think of his dying hour worldly ease or affluence; and indeed we without diminishing the relish of his pre- have positive evidence that they did not; sent enjoyment. Like David, (Psal. xxiii.) for we are told expressly, that they were he can look forward without dismay, to in heaviness through manifold temptahis walk through the valley and shadow tions," reproached as evil-doers, and cruel of death ; and, while the gloomy object is ly persecuted for the name of Christ. in his eye, he can say to his God with Nay, as if these trials had been only the thankful praise, “ Thou preparest a table beginning of sorrows, the apostle forebefore me in the presence of mine enemies; warns them, at the 12th verse of the prethou anointest my head with oil, my cupceding chapter, that they were soon to runneth over : surely goodness and mercy enter upon a new scene of sufferings; the shall follow me all the days of my life; severity of which should far exceed any and I will dwell in the house of the Lord thing they had yet felt. “Beloved," saith for ever."
think it not strange concerning the Thus have I opened the meaning of the fiery trial which is to try you, as though exhortation, and at the same time attempt. some strange thing happened unto you; ed to give you a general view of the dig. but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers nity and excellence of the temper it re- of Christ's sufferings; that when his glory commends. But the most persuasive shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with motive to the practice of this duty, is that exceeding joy." which the apostle himself maketh use of We can hardly doubt, that such an awin the close of the verse, where he giveth ful prospect would beget many anxious, full assurance to believers in Christ, that disquieting thoughts. Cares it behooved God, in a peculiar manner, careth for them to have; not about the trivial acthem. To this I shall proceed in my next commodations of a present life, theirs discourse. May God lead us by his Spirit would be of a more serious and important to the knowledge of our duty, and dis- nature: How they should quit themselves pose us by his grace to the love and prac- like men, and maintain their ground against tice of it, for Christ's sake. Amen. the craft of seducers, and the furious at
tacks of persecuting zeal; how they should adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour,
and " cut off occasion from those who SERMON XXXIV.
desired occasion to blaspheme that worthy
name by which they were called; above THE CHRISTIAN CHRIST'S CARE.
all, how they should recommend religion
to the esteem and choice of their enemies, 1 PETER V. 7.—“Casting all your care upon HIM, for IE careth for you.”
and become the instruments of saving
from eternal death those who thirsted for THESE words contain a pressing exhorta- their own blood, and treated them like tion to an important duty, and a most per- the filth and offscouring of all things. suasive argument to enforce the practice Such, we may suppose, would be the prinof it. It was an apostle of Christ who cipal cares of persecuted saints; and all gave the exhortation, and he addressed it these they are exhorted to cast upon God: to believers in Christ; not to those who For, adds the apostle, God careth for you. barely professed Christianity in opposition This is the argument which I shall now to Heathenism, but to real gaints, as dis- endeavor to illustrate, tinguished from mere nominal Christians,
1. By laying before you the evidence “who have a form of godliness, but deny of its truth; and, the power thereof." What their condition 2. By showing its propriety and strength was with respect to external things, partly for engaging us to cast our care upon God. appears from the inscription of the epistle, I. WHEN we consider the character of where they are called "strangers, scatter- the persons to whom this exhortation was
Or if any
originally addressed, it will readily occur
Our Father in heaven hath in a man. to us, that the apostle means something ner laid open his heart to us, and told us more by the care of God, than that gene- plainly what we may lawfully ask and hope ral providence which extends to all the to obtain. He hath published his good will creatures he hath made. The care le in a variety of great and precious promspeaks of, is that peculiar and affectionate ises; promises that extend to all the neregard to the saints which he had before cessities of his children; insomuch, that described, (chap. iii. 12.) “ The eyes of be their condition what it will, they may the Lord are over the righteous, and his find some gracious declaration of what ears are open unto their prayers; but the God hath purposed to do, which suits their face of the Lord is against them that do case with as much precision and exactness, evil.” Thus it is written, that "he with as if their particular distress had been the draweth not his eye from the righteous.” immediate occasion of it. “ The Lord is God," saith the prophet calamity should present itself to their imNahum, "a strong hold in the day of agination, against which no effectual protrouble, and he knoweth them that trust vision appears to have been made, there in him.” Many other passages might be is one promise upon record, to which the quoted which assert, in the most explicit believing soul may at all times retreat, terms, that God careth for his saints in (Rom. viii. 28.) “ We know that all things another manner than he doth for the rest work together for good to them that love of the world. But that you may have a God, to them who are the called according more extensive and encouraging view of to his purpose.” These are the words of the evidence of this truth, consider him who is unchangeable, “ the same yes
How intimately the saints are related terday, to-day, and for ever, without any to God. "Behold," saith the apostle variableness or shadow of turning." Hear John in name of all the faithful,“ behold, what he saith, (Isa. xlix. 15.) “ Can a what manner of love the Father hath be- woman forget her sucking child, that she stowed upon us, that we should be called should not have compassion on the son of the sons of God." Nor is this a mere her womb ? yea, they may forget, yet will title of honor; the persons on whom it is I not forget thee.”
And that we may conferred are invested with a full and un- have fuller assurance of this, we are told alterable right to all those privileges which by the prophet Malachi, that a book of rethe title imports; for, as St. Paul reasons, membrance is written before God, for them “If children, then heirs, heirs of God, that fear the Lord, and that think upon and joint heirs with Christ.”' And can it his name." Nay, the Scriptures inform be supposed, that the Father of mercies us, that there is One in heaven, infinitely will abandon his own offspring ? Do earth- dear to the Father, who is not only a ly parents care for their children ? and faithful Remembrancer, but a powerful can he who hath implanted that disposi- Advocate, and unwearied Intercessor, in tion in their nature, be unconcerned about behalf of all who come to God by “him." those whom he hath adopted into his And this may be considered as an adfamily, and regenerated by his Spirit ? Is ditional ground of assurance that believers it possible that the streams should have are the objects of God's peculiar care. more sweetness than the fountain whence “ We have a great High-Priest, who is they flow? No, surely. "If men, being passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of evil
, know how to give good gifts to their God, who constantly appears in the prechildren, much more will the Father of sence of God for us." Thus John beheld mercies give good things unto them that him in vision, “standing in the midst of ask hiin.” And is not this a solid ground the throne, as a Lamb that had been of confidence and hope ? Every believer slain,” displaying those wounds which he in Christ may expect all from God, and received, when "he bore our sins in his infinitely more, than any child can expect own body on the tree," as so many mouths from the most affectionate and tender- filled with the most prevailing arguments hearted parent upon earth. But this is for mercy and grace to his redeemed ones, not all : for
whom he then did, and still doth, represent. We have a specimen of his inter- of his peculiar people ? Nothing can be cession recorded by that apostle in the conceived more formidable than Pharaoh's 17th chapter of his gospel; where, among preparation against the Israelites; the other tender and affectionate requests, we whole strength of an extensive and potent find the following remarkable words : empire employed against an undisciplined “Now I am no more in the world, but company of fugitives, who had long been these are in the world, and I come to thee. dispirited by oppression and slavery: but Holy Father, keep through thine own though the bush was all in flame, yet it name those whom thou hast given me. I was not consumed. when the enemy said, pray not that thou shouldst take them out " I will pursue, I will overtake, I will diof the world, but that thou shouldst keep vide the spoil, my lust shall be satisfied on them from the evil. Neither pray I for them, I will draw the sword, my hand these alone, but for them also which shall shall destroy them :”—then the sea opened believe on me through their word." In a passage for their escape, and overwhelmsuch terms did our Lord recommend his ed their enemies; “God did blow with his immediate followers, and all his disciples wind, the sea covered them, they sank as in succeeding generations, to the protec- lead in the mighty waters.” How wontion and care of his heavenly Father. derful were the steps of Joseph's advanceAnd may not this beget in us the fullestment to which his father and brethren owed and most joyful assurance, that God doth, their preservation in a time of famine ? and always will, care for them ? And And no less wonderful was the defeat of still more, when we consider, that he who Haman's wicked attempt to cut off the thus intercedes in their behalf, is himself whole nation of the Jews as one man. In possessed of all power in heaven and in either case the failing of one circumstance earth, and is constituted Head over all would have varied the event; and yet each things for the church. “I am he," said circumstance in both, when viewed apart, he, " that was dead and am now alive, and seems purely accidental; nay, some of behold I live for evermore, and have the them appear at first sight rather adverse keys of hell and of death."
than favorable. And lest any should These are some of the evidences which imagine that these, and other deliverances the Scriptures afford us, that God careth of the like nature, were really casual, and for sanctified believers. The relation he therefore no proofs of God's gracious probears to them, the promises he hath given tection, let it be observed, that in two of to them, the constant prevailing interces- the instances I have mentioned, the events sion of his Son, together with the power were the direct and immediate answers of committed to him as King of Zion, all prayer. Thus the Red Sea was divided concur to secure this important benefit. when Moses and the children of Israel
But I have further to add, that we have cried unto the Lord.” And Haman's the evidence of facts, as well as of argu- plot was detected and broken on that very ments, to establish our faith of the divine day which Esther and Mordecai had set care and protection. The sacred records ) apart for fasting and prayer. To which I bear witness, that God hath been the may add, that Asa obtained a complete dwelling-place of his people in all genera- victory over his enemies, after he had uttions, and give us abundant reason to say, tered that fervent supplication, “ Help us, with David, “Our fathers trusted in thee; | O Lord our God.” And the apostle Pethey trusted, and thou didst deliver them. ter was brought out of prison by the minThey cried unto thee, and were delivered; istry of an angel, on that very night they trusted in thee, and were not con- when prayer was offered up by the church founded." And God is always in one in his behalf. mind : “ He is the rock, his work is per- You see, then, upon the whole, that the fect, and all his ways are judgment; a truth of the apostle's assertion in the text God of truth and without iniquity, just is supported and confirmed by every kind and right is he."
of evidence we could wish to obtain. Let What signal appearances hath he made us now consider, in every age for the protection and safety II. The propriety and force of the argu
ment for engaging us to cast our care in what proportion, pain, or sickness, or upon God. This branch of the subject poverty, or reproach, are necessary to exwill need little illustration. For, pel some spiritual distemper, to exercise
1st. If God careth for us, then we have and strengthen some languishing grace, or one to care for us who is infinitely wise, to make room in the heart for his own diwho is perfectly acquainted with all our vine presence. Again, let our enemies wants, and can never mistake in judging plot against us in the most secret manner; what is best for us.
choose many let them shut themselves up in the closest things apparently good, the possession of retirement; yet it is impossible for them which would prove hurtful to our souls; to hide their consultations from God, for, as Solomon observed long ago, (and " who discovereth deep things out of daily experience confirms the observation) darkness, and bringeth to light the shadow “No man knoweth what is good for man of death." When Benhadad had failed in in this life.” There are many latent seeds his repeated attempts to cut off the armies of corruption in our hearts that we do not of Israel by surprise, his heart was sore at present suspect, and perhaps shall never troubled ; and suspecting treachery in his discover, unless a proper temptation bring own court
, he called his servants together, them forth to our view. David, whose and said unto them, “Will ye not shew conscience was so tender in the wilderness, me which of us is for the King of Israel?” that it smote him for cutting off the skirt To which one of his servants replied, of Saul's garment, continued insensible for "None, my Lord, O King; but Elisha the a long time under the most aggravated prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king guilt, after he was fixed in the peaceable of Israel the words that thou speakest in possession of a throne. Hezekiah, whose thy bed-chamber." Nay, he can preserve devotion was so humble and ardent in the his people from the effects of their own time of his sickness, waxed proud and folly, as well as from the craft and malice vain-glorious when restored to health ; in- of their enemies. " The Lord knoweth somuch that “he brought wrath upon how to deliver the godly out of temptahimself, and upon Judah, and upon Jeru- tion :"_" He leadeth the blind in a way salem."
Many who, in a low estate, were that they knew not :”. “He giveth underhumane and kind, and did good with the standing to the simple:”—“The meek will little they possessed, have been so intoxi- he guide in judgment, the meek will he cated with the full cup of prosperity, that, teach his way." ©And if infinite Wisdom for a season at least, they have forgotten take the disposal of our lot, if he who canthemselves, their neighbor, nay, their God, not err vouchsafe to become both our and become quite the reverse of what they guardian and our guide, with what unsusformerly appeared to be. One thing is pecting trust may we commit ourselves certain, that if left to our own choice we into his hands, and cheerfully acquiesce in should never feel distress or affliction of all the determinations of his Providence ? any kind; and yet the Scriptures assure Especially when we consider, us, and our own observation may convince 2dly. That his power is equal to his us of the truth of it, that adversity is more wisdom. “Whatsoever the Lord pleaseth, friendly to religion than prosperity. Our that doth he in heaven, in the earth, and diseased nature requires bitter medicines in the sea, and in all deep places." He much oftener than cordials; even the best causeth the wrath of man to praise him; need frequently to be dieted, and brought and the remainder thereof he is able to low, to keep their feverish passions and restrain. All the power of the creatures appetites within bounds. Now God is is derived from him, and dependent upon perfectly acquainted with all the tenden- him. The haughtiest tyrant upon earth cies of our nature, and can therefore judge is only the rod of his anger, which he with unerring skill what things are best employs for a season, and then breaketh for us, and most conducive to our interest. in pieces, and throws it away. When He knows what measure of health, or Pilate said to our Lord, “ Knowest thou riches, or honors, we shall be able to bear, not that I have power to crucify thee, or be disposed to improve; when, and ] and power to release thee ?” he at once