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eft, ἐγὼ σοὶ ὑπὲρ ἁπάντων τέτων προς ανθρώπες SERM. amoλoycoμas. If men fhall cenfure this provi"dence towards me, and fay, thou dealeft hardly " with me; I will apologise for thee, I will under"take and maintain thy caufe, that what thou doft "is beft for me." What could a Chriftian fay more or better, by way of refignation of himself to the providence of God? It almoft transports me to read fuch paffages from an heathen, especially if we confider in what condition Epictetus was; he had a maimed and deformed body, was in the extremity of poverty, a flave, and very cruelly and tyrannically used, fo that we can hardly imagine a man in worse and more wretched circumstances; and yet he justifies the providence of God in all this, and not only fubmits to his condition, but is contented with it, and embraces it; and fince God hath thought it fittest and beft for him, he is of the fame mind, and thinks fo too. I confefs, it doth not move me to hear Seneca, who flowed with wealth, and lived at ease, to talk magnificently, and to flight poverty and pain, as not worthy the name of evil and trouble but to fee this poor man, in the lowest condition, and worst circumstances of humanity, bear up fo bravely, and with fuch a chearfulness and ferenity of mind to entertain his hard fortune; and this not out of ftupidity, but from a wife fenfe of the providence of GOD, and a firm persuasion of the wisdom and goodness of all his dealings, this, who can chufe but be affected with it, as an admirable temper for a Chriftian, much more for a heathen! To which we may apply that saying of our LORD, concerning the heathen centurion, "Verily "I fay unto you, I have not found fo great faith, no, not in Ifrael;" fo wife, fo equal, fo firm a temper



SERM. temper of mind is feldom to be found, no, not amongst Christians. And this is the first consideration, that if "GOD cares for us,' "we and our concernments are in the beft and fafeft hands, and therefore we fhould "caft all our care upon GoD." The


2. Is, because all our anxiety and care will do us no good; on the contrary, it will certainly do us hurt. We may fret and vex our own spirits, and make them restless, in the contemplation of the evils and disappointments which we are afraid of, and may make our lives miferable, in the fad reflections of our own thoughts; but we cannot, by all our anxiety and care, controul the courfe of things, and alter the defigns of providence; we cannot, by all our vexation and trouble, over-rule events, and make things happen as we would have them. And this is the argument our SAVIOUR ufeth to this very purpose, Mat. vi. 27. "Which of you by taking "thought can add one cubit to his ftature ?" that all this trouble is unreasonable, and to no purpofe, because it hath no influence on the event, either to promote or hinder it. Things are governed and difpofed by an higher hand, and placed out of our reach; we may deliberate, and contrive, and use our best endeavours for the effecting of our defigns, but we cannot fecure the event against a thoufand interpofitions of divine providence, which we can neither forefee, nor hinder; but yet, notwithftanding, these our endeavours are reasonable, becaufe they are the ordinary means which God hath appointed for the procuring of good, and prevention of evil; and though they may mifcarry, yet they are all we can do: but after this is done, trouble and anxiety about the event is the vainest thing in the world, because it is to no purpose, nor doth at all conduc

conduce to what we defire; "we difquiet ourselves SER M. "in vain," and we diftruft God's providence and cxxxviu. care of us, and thereby provoke him to defeat and disappoint us.

Let us then, by these confiderations, be perfuaded to this duty, the practice whereof is of continual and univerfal ufe in the whole courfe of our lives; in all our affairs and concernments, after we have ufed our best endeavours, let us fit down and be fatisfied, and refer the reft to GOD, whofe providence governs the world, and takes care of all our interefts, and of the interest of his church and religion, when they seem to be in greatest danger.

We cannot but be convinced that this is very reafonable, to leave the management of things to him who made them, and therefore understands best how to order them. The government of the world is a very curious and complicate thing, and not to be tampered with by every unfkilful hand; and therefore, as an unskilful man, after he hath tampered a great while with a watch, thinking to bring it into better order, and is at laft convinced that he can do no good upon it, carries it to him that made it, to mend it, and put it into order; fo muft we do, after all our care and anxiety about our own private concernments, or the public ftate of things, we muft give over governing the world, as a business paft our skill, as a province too hard, and "a know"ledge too wonderful for us," and leave it to him, who made the world, to govern it, and take care of it.

And if we be not thus affected and difpofed, we do not believe the providence of God, whatever profeffion we make of it; if we did, it would have an influence upon our minds, to free us from anxious


SER M. care and difcontent. Were we firmly perfuaded of exxxviii. the wisdom and goodness of the divine providence,

we should confidently rely upon it, and according to the apostle's advice here in the text, " caft all "our care upon him, because he careth for us."


The wisdom of GOD in the redemption of mankind.


I COR. i. 24.

CHRIST, the power of God, and the wisdom of GOD.

Have, in the ordinary courfe of my preaching, CXXXIX. been treating of the attributes and perfections of GOD, more particularly those which relate to the divine understanding; the knowledge and wisdom of GOD. The first of these I have finished; and made fome progrefs in the fecond, the wisdom of GOD which I have spoken to in general, and have propounded more particularly to confider those famous inftances and arguments of the divine wisdom, in the creation of the world; the government of it; and the "redemption of mankind by JESUS CHRIST." The two first of these I have spoken to, namely, the wisdom of GOD, which appears in the creation and government of the world. I come now to the

I and

III. Inflance of the divine wisdom, "the redemp"tion of mankind by JESUS CHRIST," which I


shall, by God's affistance, speak to from these words, S ER M.

"CHRIST the wisdom of GOD."


The apostle, in the beginning of this epistle, upon occafion of his mentioning the divifions and parties that were among the Corinthians, where one faid, "I am of Paul," another, "I am of Apollos;" afks them, whether " Paul was crucified for them?" or, whether "they were baptized in the name of "Paul?" To convince them that they could not pretend this, that they were baptized into his name, he tells them, at the 14th and 15th verses, that "he "had not fo much as baptized any of them, except "two or three;" fo far was he from having baptized them into his own name; and at the 17th verse, he fays, that his work, his principal work, was “to " preach the gospel," which he had done, not with human eloquence, "not in wifdom of words," but with great plainnefs and fimplicity, "left the cross of "CHRIST fhould be made of none effect;" left, if he fhould have used any artifice, the gofpel fhould have been lefs powerful. And, indeed, his preaching was unaffectedly plain, and therefore the gofpel did feem to very many to be a foolish and ridiculous thing. The ftory which they told of CHRIST crucified, was" to the Jews a ftumbling-block, and to "the Greeks foolishness." The Jews, who expected another kind of Meffias, that should come in great pomp and glory, to be a mighty temporal prince, were angry at the ftory of, "a crucified "CHRIST." The Greeks, the philofophers, who expected fome curious theories, adorned with eloquence, and delivered and laid down according to the exact rules of art, derided this plain and fimple relation of CHRIST, and of the gospel.

But though this design of the gospel appeared fil-




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