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subject would, if raised to power, be a cruel, infolent, unjult oppressor ; that a petulant, peevish, obftinate servant would make a capricious, severe, unreasonable malter.
If we were to carve out our own lot, and to have all our own desires gratified, there is great reason to presume, we would throw ourselves into the most disagreeable circumstances with regard to our souls, and probably consult but ill for our peace and comfort in this world.
Let me put a few questions to every one that secretly murmurs at his state, Are you sure, that if you were advanced to a place of power and trust, you would be able to carry with prudence, resolution and integrity ? Are you sure, that if you were supplied with riches in great abun. dance, you would not allow yourselves to wallow in pleasure, or to fwell in pride ? Are you sure, that if you were raised to high rank, surrounded by flatterers, and worshipped by servants, you would, in that standing, behave with humility and condescenfion; or that pressed on all hands by business, company, or amusenients, you would still religiously save your time for converse with God?
A life of piety in an exalted station is a continual conflict with the strongest opposition. What says experience upon this subject ? Solomon did not wholly, and to the end, resist the temptation of riches and dominion. In the whole compass of history, sacred and profane, I do not remember any example of a man's behaving better in point of morals, in a prosperous, than an afllicted state, excepting one that hath this appearance, viz. Cicero, the Roman orator. His conduct in prosperity was full of dignity, and seemed wholly directed to the public good; whereas in adversity, it was to the last degree mean and abject -But probably the reason of this was, that pride, or rather vanity, was his ruling passion, and the great motive to his illustrious actions; and when he fell into adversity, this disposition had no scope for its exercise.
Christians, the Lord knoweth our frame, and is well acquainted with what we are able to bear, and consequently what state of life will be upon the whole most convenient
It is, therefore, our interest, as well as duty, to refer ourselves entirely to him, and leave him to choose Vol. II.
for us. This is not only the doctrine of fcripture, but so agreeable to reason and good sense, that it has been ac. knowledged by several of the Heathen Philosophers, who have expressed themselves in terms perfectly similar to those of the inspired writings. The prayer which Socrates taught his pupil Alcibiades, is very remarkable ; that he should beseech the Supreme God to give him what was good for him, though he should not ask it; and to with. hold from him whatever would be hurtful, though he should be fo foolish as to pray for it.
2. As God is certainly the best judge of what is good for us, fo resignation to him is a molt acceptable expression both of our worship and obedience. Single duties are particular acts; resignation is the very habit of obedience. The wisdom and goodness of God are acknowledged in the most authentic manner, when his holy and fovereign Providence is humbly submitted to, and cordially appro. ved. Every impatient complaint is an impeachment of Providence ; every irregular desire is an act of rebellion against God. Therefore a submissive temper must be highly pleasing to God, and is the way to glorify him in the most unexceptionable manner. The rather indeed, as it is impoflible to attain this temper, but by sincerely Jaying hold of the covenant of peace, which is ordered in all things and sure. This teaches us the grounds of submillion. This procures for us the grace of submission. This ftains the pride of all human glory. This changes the nature of our poffeffions to us, and us to them. This fpiritualizes a worldly mind, and makes us know, in our own experience, that all the paths of the Lord to his own people, are mercy and peace.
3. Such a temper of mind will greatly contribute to our own inward peace. It will be an effectual preferva. tive from all unrighteous courses, and unlawful, or even dilhonorable means of increasing our worldly substance; and consequently fave us from the troubles or dangers to which men expose themselves by such practices. It will preserve us from perplexing anxiety, and many unealy fears for futurity. It will bring us the near and lure way to the greatest of all earthly bleilings-a contented mind. Such will be the sweet and delightful effects of depending upon God, and leaving it to him to furnish our fup, plies as he fees most convenient for us. Whoever can pray with the prophet" give me neither poverty nor “ riches, feed me with food convenient for me”-may be fully assured, that his desire shall be gratified, as it is perfectly agreeable to the will of God.
I conclude with reading to you our Saviour's exhortation on this subject—" Therefore, I say unto you, take no " thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall “ drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is “not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? “ Behold the fowls of the air ; for they fow not, neither “ do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly " Father feedeth them. Are not ye much better than
they? But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”.
THE DANGER OF PROSPERITY.
PROVERBS XXX. 9.
Lest I be full and deny thee, and say, who is the Lord ? 0i,
lest I be poor and steal, and take the name of my God in pain.
PROCEED now to consider the arguments by which
the prophet enforces his wife and well conceived prayer. There, in connexion with the two branches of the prayer, stand thus; “ Give me not riches, left I be full
and deny thee, and say, who is the Lord ? And give “me not poverty, lest I be poor, and fieal, and take the " name of my God in vain.” If Agur's prayer is conceived in the most model and humble terms, the reasons, with which he fupports it, are every way becoming a truly wife and good man. You see in them a prevailing con. cern for the honor and glory of God, and his own preser, vation in the patlis of piety and virtue. You fee in them a hun ble sense of his own weakness, and the danger of temptation; he, therefore, defires to be placed in such a fi ate of life, as will expose him to the fewest trials. An excellent disposition this, and highly worthy of our imitation. How happy would it be for us all, if a desire to please God and prelerve our integrity, lay always nearest