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and discover in the character of those
among whom you live. By lifting your
SERMON allotted. Did we suitably examine how that VIII. part was performed, we should be less dis
posed to busy ourselves about the concerns of others. We should discover many a disorder to be corrected at home; many a weed to be pulled out from our own grounds; much remaining to be done, in order to render ourselves useful in this world, and fit for a world to come.Wherefore, instead of being critics on others, let us employ our criticism on ourselves. Leaving others to be judged by Him who searcheth the heart, let us implore his assistance for enabling us to act well our own part, and to follow Christ.
On our present IGNORANCE of the
JOHN, xiii. 7.
Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do, thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.
HESE words of our Lord were oc- SERMON casioned by a circumstance in his behaviour which appeared mysterious to his disciples. When about to celebrate his last passover, he meant to give them an instructive lesson of condescension and humility. The mode which he chose for delivering this instruction, was the emblematical action of washing their feet. M 2
SERMON Simon Peter saw his Master addressing himself to the performance of so menial an office, he exclaims with the greatest surprise, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Our Lord replies, in the words of the text, What I do, thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter. My behaviour in "this instance, may seem unaccountable "to
to you at present; but you shall after"wards receive a satisfactory explanation "of the intent of that symbol which I "now employ."
The expressions of a Divine Person, on this occasion, can very naturally and properly be applied to various instances, where the conduct of Providence, in the administration of human affairs, remains dark and mysterious to us. What I do, thou knowest not now. We must for a while be kept in ignorance of the designs of Heaven. But this ignorance, though necessary at present, is not always to continue. A time shall come when a commentary should be afforded on all that is now obscure; when the veil of mystery shall be removed; and full satisfaction be given to every rational mind. 5
shalt know hereafter.
This is the doctrine which I purpose to illustrate in the following discourse.
I. OUR Saviour's words lead us to observe, that many things in the conduct of Providence are at present mysterious and unintelligible. The truth of this observation will not be called in question. It is indeed very readily admitted by all; and ever since the beginning of the world has been the foundation of many a complaint, and of much scepticism concerning the government of Heaven.-That human affairs are not left to roll on according to mere chance, and that Providence interposes in them to a certain degree, is made evident by various tokens to every candid mind. But the perplexity and trouble of the thoughtful inquirer arises from observing that Providence appears not to pursue any regular or consistent plan. An unaccountable mixture of light and darkness presents itself to us, when we attempt to trace the affairs of the world up to any wise and righteous administration. We see justice and order begun;