« PreviousContinue »
worst mifchief his malice could devise to do to Job, was, to touch his bone and his flesh, and to take away his life; and all that the fury and rage of man can do, is to wound these vile bodies, and to spurn down these houses of clay, whose foundations are already in the dust: but the man's soul, which is himself, that they cannot touch ; they only prevent nature a little, they do but antedate an evil a few moments, and bring our fears upon us a little sooner ; they kill that which must die within a few days, though they should let it alone; they do but cut asunder that thread which would shortly break of itself, by it's own weakness and rottenness.
God can do all that man can do, he can kill the body, and that by an immediate act of his divine power. He can blast our reputation, and ruin our estate; and afflict our bodies with the sharpest pains, and smite us with death. And God doth all that with ease, which men many times do with labour ; they use the utmost of their wit and power, to do us mischief; but God can do all things by a word : if he do but speak, judgments come : we are but a little dust, and the least breath of God can disperse it ; he hath all creatures at his command, ready to execute his will. So that whatever man, or any creature can do, that God can do also; and infinitely more. His power is not confined to the body, but he hath power over the spirit, he cannot only make body and soul miserable in this world, but in the other also; and that not only for a few years, but for all eternity. I
XI. The homage due to God in all our wants Trust in God
od and dangers, is to trust in him, whereby we founded,
mens place our supream confidence in him. It is founded in a perfwasion of his all-sufficiency, and of his inviolable faithfulness to perform his word and engagements. As far as I trust a man, I suppose him able to do, what I trust him for ; that he hath given me some encouragement to believe his willingness, and that he will not deceive me. It must be so in
any regular trust in God. We must be firmly perOn his Pow- swaded of his all-fufficiency, that he is able to do
for us, exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think. But then, it is of the utmost concern to us, that we admit not expectations from God for things, which he
1 hath never promised; but that we hope in his word, our
trust should be grounded on his promises. Where
taken for it. But where his promises are made with a reserve vody for his own sovereignty, or the superiority of his divine wis
dom, as he knows far better than we what is good for man tout in this life; there we should not allow ourselves to be positive
in our expectations of particular events, but cast our cares up
on him in a more general manner; relying upon this, that in dow the way of duty, he will do that which, upon the whole, is i bei best for us to be done. Moreover, . . Whenever God cares for us, our concerns are in the best ess and fafest hands, and where we should desire to evil have them; infinitely safer than under any care and Sufe of it is conduct of our own. And this ought to be a great
fatisfaction to our minds, and to free us from all disquieting thoughts ; for if God undertakes the care of us, then we are fure that nothing shall happen to us, but by the disposal or permission of infinite wisdom and goodness. There are many things, which to us seem chance and accident; but in respect of God, they are providence and design; and as they are appointed or permitted by God, they are the result of the deepest counsel, and the greatest goodness. And
In all conditions that befal us we must repose ourselves upa on God, in confidence of his support and deliverance, of his care and providence, to prevent and In all our
wants. divert the evils we fear; or of his gracious help to bear us up under them; and of his mercy and goodness to de
liver us from them, when he sees best; provided always we 23 be careful to do our duty to him. Therefore, 3. As our Saviour exhorts his disciples, let us Tempta
tions. ?? watch and pray, left we enter into temptation,
And, as the apostle likewise exhorts, let us be sober, and vigilant, and watch unto prayer, taking all opportunities for it, and spending much time in this duty, than which none of all the duties enjoined by the christian religion, will turn to a better and more comfortable account, if our hearts and lives be but answerable to our prayers.
. Let us earnestly beg of God, that his watchful States and and merciful providence would undertake the care
use of us ; that he would fit and prepare us for every condition which he hath designed to bring us into; and that he would teach us to demean our selves in it as we ought; that he would consider our frailties, and lay no greater load of affliction upon us, than he will give us grace and strength to bear ; that if he sees it good to exercise any of us with affictions and sufferings in any kind, he would make us able to stand in that evil day, and when we have done all to stand.
And let us be sure to keep within the bounds of When per- our duty, trying no unlawful ways for our ease and secuted for conscience preservation, and rescue from the evils which we fake. fear and lie under; for we may assure ourselves, that
God is never more concerned to appear for us, than when out of conscience of our duty to him, we are contented rather to suffer, than work our deliverance by undue means. Let us commit ourselves to him in well doing, and do nothing, no, not for the cause of religion, which is contrary to the plain rules and precepts of it.
, Should we instead of vain murmurings, and Is effectual to falvation. complaints, and terrifying our selves with fears of
what may never happen, follow the example of holy David, betake ourselves to prayer, and by this meansengage the providence of God for our protection from evil, or for our support under it; we should certainly do much better for ourselves, and contribute much more, than we can do any other way, to the prevention of any evil that we can fear, or to the mitigating or shortening of it, as to God's infinite wisdom and goodness Thall seem best. And let us always be mindful of that caution which our Saviour gives to his disciples, that they might always be in a due preparation for the coming of our Lord to judgmentTake heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come upon all them that dwell upon the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
This caution and counsel does proportionably hold, as to our preparation for any other evil day of affliction and suffering in this world; that we should beware of sensuality, and an inordinate love to the things of this world, and care about them; because these soften and effeminate our spirits, and
Tender them unfit for the day of adversity: and that we alle should watch and pray; because these are the best preparati
ons against an evil day, and perhaps may prevent it; at least as to ourselves, if God thinks it fit for us, and counts us worthy to be delivered from it.
If we be careful to do our duty, and to demean ourselves towards God as we ought, we may rest assured of his love and care of us; and if we do in good ear
oond en When ac
ceptable to nest believe the providence of God, we must think God. that he hath a peculiar regard to those that love and serve him, and that he will take a peculiar care of their
concerns, and that he can and will dispose them better for Yll us, than we could manage them ourselves, if we were left to
ourselves, and our affairs were put into the hands of our own
Supposing we had the entire ordering and disposal of ourhom felves, what were reasonable for us to do in this 199 case? We would surely, according to our best wis- hould "truit todom and judgment, do the best we could for our- in him. for felves; and when upon experience of our own ig
norance and weakness, we had found our weightiest affairs and designs frequently to miscarry, for want of foresight, or
power, or skill to obviate and prevent the hazards and disap1 pointments, which human affairs are liable to, we should athen look about us, and if we knew any person much wiser, of and more powerful than ourselves, who we believed did heartuly love us, and with well to us, we would, out of kindness Ç 3
to ourselves, ask his counsel in our affairs, and crave his affistance, and if we could prevail with him to undertake the care of our affairs, we would commit them all to his conduct and government, in confidence of his great wisdom and sincere intentions to promote our welfare. Now
God is such an one, he loves us as well as we do ourselves, and desires our happiness as much, and knows infinitely better than we do, what means are most conducive to it, and will most effectually secure it. And every man that believes thus of God, as every man must do, that believes there is a God, for these are the natural notions which all men have of the Deity : I say, every man that believes thus of God; the first thing he would do (if he knew not already that God had voluntarily, and of his own accord, undertaken the care of him and of his affairs) would be to apply himself to God, and to beseech him with all earnestness and importunity, that he would permit him to refer his faid affairs to him, and be pleased to undertake the care of them; and he would, without any demur or difficulty, give up himself wholly to him, to guide and govern him, and to dispose of him as to him should seem best. Therefore if God hath prevented us herein, and, without our desire, taken this care upon himself, we ought to rejoice in it, as the greatest happiness that could poffibly have befallen us; and we should, without any further care and anxiety, using our own best diligence, and studying to please him, chearfully leave ourselves in his hands, with the greatest confidence and security, that he will do all that for us which is really beit; and with a firm persuasion, that that condition, and those circumstances of life, which he shall chuse for us, will be the very fame, which we would chuse for ourselves, were we indued with the same wisdom.
We must so trust God, as to neglect no prudent How to trust and lawful means for our security and preservation in God.
from evil. Let us not, by our rashness and folly, provoke trouble and danger, and bring them upon ourselves. Let us, according to our Saviour's counsel, be wise as serpents, and innocent as doves. Let us use that care and prudence, which is consistent with innocence and a good conscience ; and when we have done that, let us be no farther follicitous,