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for our need, are these : “ 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 sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you, by taking thought, can add one cubit to his stature ? And why take ye thought for raiment ? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow : they toil not, neither do they spin ; and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Therefore if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or what shall we drink ? or wherewithal shall we be clothed ? (for after all these things do the gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself: sufficient to the day is the evil thereofm.” The same discourse is repeated by St. Luke" : and accordingly our duty is urged, and our confidence abetted, by the disciples of our Lord, in divers places of Holy Scripture. So St. Paul : “ Be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto Godo." And again, “ Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoyp.” And yet again, “ Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have ; for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee : so that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper9.” And all this is by St. Peter summed up in our duty, thus : “ Cast all your care upon him, for he careth for you.” Which words he seems to have borrowed out of the fiftyfifth Psalm, v. 23, where David saith the same thing almost in the same words. To which I only add the observation m Matt. vi. 25, &c. n Luke xii. 22–31.
• Phil. iv. 6. P 1 Tim. vi. 17.
? Heb. xiii. 5, 6.
made by him, and the argument of experience; “ I have been young, and now am old, and yet saw I never the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging their bread.” And now after all this, a fearless confidence in God, and concerning a provision of necessaries, is so reasonable, that it is become a duty; and he is scarce a Christian, whose faith is so little as to be jealous of God, and suspicious concerning meat and clothes : that man hath nothing in him of the nobleness or confidence of charity.
Does not God provide for all the birds, and beasts, and fishes? Do not the sparrows fly from their bush, and every morning find meat, where they laid it not ? Do not the young ravens call to God, and he feeds them ? And were it reasonable, that the sons of the family should fear, the Father would give meat to the chickens and the servants, his sheep and his dogs, but give none to them? He were a very ill father that should do so; or he were a very foolish son, that should think so of a good father. But, besides the reasonableness of this faith and this hope, we have infinite experience of it. How innocent, how careless, how secure, is infancy! and yet how certainly provided for! We have lived at God's charges all the days of our life, and have (as the Italian proverb says) set down to meat at the sound of a bell; and hitherto he hath not failed us : we have no reason to suspect him for the future: we do not use to serve men so; and less time of trial creates great confidences in us towards them, who for twenty years together never broke their word with us : and God hath so ordered it, that a man shall have had the experience of many years' provision, before he shall understand how to doubt; that he may be provided for an answer, against the temptation shall come, and the mercies felt in his childhood may make him fearless, when he is a man. Add to this, that God hath given us his Holy Spirit: he hath promised heaven to us : he hath given us his Son; and we are taught from Scripture to make this inference from hence,“ How should not he with him give us all things else?"
The Charge of many Children. • We have a title to be provided for, as we are God's creatures, another title as we are his children, another because
God hath promised ; and every of our children hath the same title : and therefore it is a huge folly and infidelity to be troubled and full of care, because we have many children. Every child we have to feed, is a new revenue, a new title to God's care and providence; so that many children are a great wealth : and if it be said, they are chargeable, it is no more than all wealth and great revenues are. For what difference is it? Titius keeps ten ploughs, Cornelia hath ten children: he hath land enough to employ and to feed all his hinds : she, blessings and promises, and the provisions and the truth of God, to maintain all her children. His hinds and horses eat up all his corn, and her children are sufficiently maintained with her little. They bring in and eat up; and she indeed eats up, but they also bring in from the storehouses of heaven, and the granaries of God: and my children are not so much mine as they are God's: he feeds them in the womb by ways secret and insensible; and would not work a perpetual miracle to bring them forth, and then to starve them.
Violent Necessities... But some men are highly tempted, and are brought to a strait ; that, without a miracle, they cannot be relieved: what shall they do? It may be their pride or vanity hath brought the necessity upon them, and it is not a need of God's making ; and if it be not, they must cure it themselves, by lessening their desires, and moderating their appetites : and yet, if it he innocent, though unnecessary, God does usually relieve such necessities; and he does not only upon our prayers grant us more than he promised of temporal things, but also he gives many times more than we ask. This is no object for our faith, but ground enough for a temporal and prudent hope; and, if we fail in the particular, God will turn it to a bigger mercy, if we submit to his dispensation, and adore him in the denial. But if it be a matter of necessity, let not any man, by way of impatience, cry out, that God will not work a miracle ; for God, by miracle, did give meat and drink to his people in the wilderness, of which he made no particular promise in any covenant: and if all natural means fail, it is certain, that God will rather work a miracle than break his word : he can do that; he cannot do this. Only we must remember, that our portion of temporal things is but food and raiment. God hath not promised us coaches and horses, rich houses and jewels, Tyrian silks and Persian carpets ; neither hath he promised to minister to our needs in such circumstances as we shall appoint, but such as himself shall choose. God will enable either thee to pay thy debt (if thou beggest it of him), or else he will pay it for thee; that is, take thy desire as a discharge of thy duty, and pay it to thy creditor in blessings, or in some secret of his providence. It may be he hath laid up the corn, that shall feed thee, in the granary of thy brother; or will clothe thee with his wool. He enabled St. Peter to pay his gabel by the ministry of a fish; and Elias to be waited on by a crow, who was both his minister and his steward for provisions : and his holy Son rode in triumph upon an ass, that grazed in another man's pastures. And if God gives to him the dominion, and reserves the use to thee, thou hast the better half-of the two: but the charitable man serves God and serves thy need ; and both join to provide for thee, and God blesses both. But if he takes away the flesh-pots from thee, he can also alter the appetite, and he hath given thee power and commandment to restrain it: and if he lessens the revenue, he will also shrink the necessity; or if he gives but a very little, he will make it go a great way; or if he sends thee but a coarse diet, he will bless it and make it healthful, and can cure all the anguish of thy poverty by giving thee patience, and the grace of contentedness. For the grace of God secures you of provisions, and yet the grace of God feeds and supports the spirit in the want of provisions : and if a thin table be apt to enfeeble the spirits of one used to feed better, yet the cheerfulness of a spirit that is blessed will make a thin table become a delicacy, if the man was as well taught as he was fed, and learned his duty when he received the blessing. Poverty, therefore, is in some senses eligible, and to be preferred before riches; but, in all senses, it is very tolerable.
Death of Children, or nearest Relatives and Friends.
There are some persons, who have been noted for excellent in their lives and passions, rarely innocent, and yet hugely penitent for indiscretions and harmless infirmities ; such as was Paulina, one of the ghostly children of St. Jerome; and yet when any of her children died, she was arrested with a sorrow so great, as brought her to the margent of her grave. And the more tender our spirits are made by religion, the more easy we are to let in grief, if the cause be innocent, and be but in any sense twisted with piety and due affections. To cure which, we may consider, that all the world must die, and therefore to be impatient at the death of a person, concerning whom it was certain and known that he must die, is to mourn, because thy friend or child was not born an angel; and, when thou hast awhile made thyself miserable by an importunate and useless grief, it may be thou shalt die thyself, and leave others to their choice, whether they will mourn for thee or no: but, by that time, it will appear, how impertinent that grief was, which served no end of life, and ended in thy own funeral. But what great matter is it, if sparks fly upward, or a stone falls into a pit; if that, which was combustible, be burned, or that, which was liquid, be melted, or that which is mortal, do die? It is no more than a man does every day : for every night death hath gotten possession of that day, and we shall never live that day over again ; and when the last day is come, there are no more days left for us to die. And what is sleeping and waking, but living and dying ? what is spring and autumn, youth and old age, morning and evening, but real images of life and death, and really the same to many considerable effects and changes ?
Untimely Death. But it is not mere dying, that is pretended by some as the cause of their impatient mourning; but that the child died young, before he knew good and evil, his right hand from his left, and so lost all his portion of this world, and they know not of what excellency his portion in the next shall be. If he died young, he lost but little ; for he understood but little, and had not capacities of great pleasures or great cares: but yet he died innocent, and before the sweetness of his soul was deflowered and ravished from him by the flames and follies of a froward age; he went out from the dining-room, before he had fallen into error by the in