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[Preached 18th April, 1793, on the Day of a National Fast appointed by
Government, on occasion of the War with the French Republic.]
PSALM CXxii. 6, 7, 8, 9. Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem;
they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls,
and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and
companions' sake, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Be-
cause of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek thy
2 KINGS, iv. 13. Say now unto her, "Behold thou hast been
"careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for
"thee? Wouldst thou be spoken for to the King, or to the
"Captain of the Host?" And she answered, "I dwell among
[Preached at the Celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.]
PSALM lxxiii. 28. It is good for me to draw near to God. 281
On Wisdom in Religious Conduct.
PSALM ci. 2. I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. 295
ROMANS, xii. 21. Be not overcome of evil; but overcome evil
On a Life of Dissipation and Pleasure.
PROVERBS, xiv. 13. Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful;
On the Conscience void of Offence.
ACTS, xxiv. 16. Herein do I exercise myself, to have always a
conscience void of offence toward God and toward men.
[Preached in the Evening after the Celebration of the Sacrament of the
LUKE, xxiv. 50, 51. And he led them out as far as to
Bethany; and he lift up his hands and blessed them: And
it came to pass while he blessed them, he was parted from
ROMANS, Xii. 18. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you,
On the Folly of the Wisdom of the World.
I CORINTH. iii. 19. The wisdom of this world is foolishness
On the Government of Human Affairs by Providence.
PROVERBS, XVI. 9. A man's heart deviseth his way; but the
2 CORINTH. v. 10. For we must all appear before the judg-
ment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things
done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it
On our present IGNORANCE of the WAYS of GOD.
JOHN, xiii. 7.
Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do, thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
TH HESE words of our Lord were occasioned 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. When 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 you at present; but you shall "afterwards 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 shall 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. Thou shalt know hereafter. This is the doctrine which I propose 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 enquirer 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; but on many occasions they seem to be deserted. The ray of light which we had traced for a while suddenly forsakes us; and, where we had looked for