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Thus have I opened the meaning of the cxhortation, and at the same time attempted to give you a general view of the dignity and excellence of the temper it recommends. But the most persuasive motive to the practice of this duty, is that which the Apostle himself maketh use of in the close of the verse, where he giveth full assurance to believers in Christ, that God, in a peculiar manner, careth for them.To this I shall proceed in my next discourse.-- +May God lead us by his Spirit to the knowledge of our duty, and dispose us by his grace to the love and practice of it, for Christ's sake. Amen.
S E R M O N
i Peter V. 7.
Casting all your care upon him, for he caret
THESE words contain a pressing exhortation to an important
duty, and a most persuasive argument to enforce the practice of it. It was an apostle of Christ who gave the exhortation, and he addressed it to believers in Christ : not to those who barely professed Christianity in opposition to Heathenism; but to real faints, as distinguished from mere nominal Christians, who “ have
a form of godliness, but deny the power " thereof." What their condition was with respect to external things, partly appears from the inscription of the epistle, where they are called “ strangers, scattered abroad " throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia,
Asia, and Bithynia.” Such persons were
not likely to enjoy much worldly ease or affluence: and indeed we have positive evidence that they did not ; for we are cold expressly, , that “ they were in heaviness through ma“ nifold temptations," reproached as evildoers, and cruelly persecuted for the name of Christ. Nay, as if these trials had been only the beginning of sorrows, the Apostle forewarns them, at the 12th 'verse of the preceding chapter, that they were soon to enter upon a new scene of sufferings; the severity of which should far exceed any, thing they had yet felt. “ Beloved,” faith he, “ think it not strange concerning the fiery “ trial which is to try you, -as though some
strange thing happened unto you: but
rejoice in as much as ye are partakers of « Christ's sufferings; that when his glory “ fhall be revealed, ye may be glad also “ with exceeding joy.”
We can hardly doubt, that such an awful prospect would beget many anxious disquieting thoughts. Cares it behoved them to have ; not about the trivial accommodations of a present life, theirs would be of a more serious and important nature :
How they should quit themselves like men, and maintain their ground against the crafe of reducers, and the furious attacks of
perfecuting zeal ;-how they thould, adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour, and
ss. a occafion from thofe who desired occasion " to blaspheme that worthy name by which
they were called ;"'-above all, how they fhould recommend religion to the esteem and choice of their enemies, and become the inftrúments of faving from eternal death, thofe who thirsted for their own blood, and treated them like the filth and offscouring of all things._Such, we may suppose, would be the principal cares of perfecuted faints : and all these they are exhorted to cast upon God: For, adds the Apostle, God careth for you.
This is the argument which I shall now endeavour to illustrate,
1. By laying before you the evidence of its truth; and,
2. By showing its propriety and strength for engaging us to cast our care upon God.
1. WHEN 'we consider the character of the persons to whom this exhortation was ori
ginally addressed, it will readily occur to us, that the Apostle means something more by the care of God, than that general Providence which extends to all the creatures he hath made.. The care he speaks of, is that peculiar and affectionate regard to the faints which he had before described, chap. iii. 12. “. The eyes of the Lord are " over the righteous, and his ears are open
unto their prayers: but the face of the “.Lord is against them that do evil.” — Thus it is written, that "he withdraweth “ inot his eye from the righteous.”- _" The « Lord is God,” saith the Prophet Nahum, " a strong hold in the day of trouble, and " he knoweth them that trust in him. Many other passages might be quoted which assert, in the most explicit terms, that God careth for his saints in another manner than he doch for the rest of the world. But that
you may have a more extensive and encouraging view of the evidence of this truth, consider
How intimately the saints are related to God. “ Behold,” saith the Apostle John in name of all the faithful, “ behold, what