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Ver. 15.

Sect. 112.

M O ST prudently did our Lord decline the invidious Office of art

I I Arbitrator in Civil Affairs ; and Wisdom will require his Ministers, Luke xii. 13, 14. "3 generally to avoid it likewise. It is more suitable to our Office, like our

Blessed Master, to endeavour to draw off and disengage the Minds of Men from Covetousness, and to pluck up the Root of those eager Contentions, which so often divide even the nearest Relations, and inspire them with mutual Aversions, more invincible than the Bars of a Castle. (Prov. xviii. 19.)

And that a Covetous Defire of the Enjoyments of the World may not create Contentions, and engage us in Pursuits that will be fatal to our Souls, let us seriously consider the true Value of Things, and reflect how little Riches can do to make us happy, if we obtain them; and how very uncertain that Life is, on the Continuance of which our Possession of them

does so evidently depend. But alas, how many are there, who are now Ver. 16, & as deeply engaged in their worldly Schemes, as this Rich Fool in the Pafeq. rable; to whom GOD will, in a few weeks, or Days, if not this very Ver. 20. Night, say by the awful Voice of his irresistible Providence, Thy Soul is

required of thee! And then, what will all these Treasures do, to purchase Life, or to allay the Agonies of Death ? So far will they be found from being capable of this, that they will rather serve to increase and imbitter

the Surprize and Anguilh of those Agonies. Ver. 21. Let it then be our Labour and Care, that we may be rich towards

GOD; rich in Works of Piety and Charity. So fhall we fafely consign over our Treasure to the Bank of Heaven; and shall be inriched by it, when we leave the World as naked as we entered upon it, and lose all but what has been so wisely and happily spent..

SECT. CXIII.
CHRisT repeats the Cautions and Arguments against an

Anxious and Covetous Temper, which he had formerly
given in bis Sermon on the Mount. Luke XII. 22,---34.

LUKE XII. 22.

LUKE XII. 22. Sect. 113. "T HUS Jesus cautioned his Followers against AND he said unto his DifI setting their Hearts on Worldly Treasures ;

A ciples, Therefore I fay

unte 11. but as most of them were in such low Circumstances, as to be in greater Danger of immoderate

Solici,

2.2.

CHRIST cautions bis Disciples against anxious Care. 115 unto you, Take no Thought Solicitude about the necessary Supplies of Life, Sect. 113. for your Life, what ye shall he proceeded to caution them against this, by w eat; neither for the Body, what ye ihall put on.

repeating some of those Admonitions, which he
had formerly delivered in his Sermon on the
Mount (a). And accordingly be said to his Disci-

ples, For this Cause, i. e, considering the great
: Uncertainty of Riches, I say to you, and strictly

charge it upon you, that you be not anxious about
your Life, what you all eat, or how you shall
procure Food to support it ; nor for the Body,

what you fall put on to cover, defend, and adorn
23 The Life is more than it. For you must needs be sensible, the Life 23
Meat, and the Body is more itself. which you have received from God with.
than Raiment,

out any Care or Thoughtfulness of yours, is much
more important than Meat, and the Body than
Raiment; and well then may you hope, that the
great Author of your Life, and the Former of
your Body, will maintain his own Work, in a

proper Manner, without your Anxiety and Soli-
24 Consider the Ravens: citude about it. Especially may you expect it, 24
for they neither low nor when you see the Care which he takes of the in-
reap ; which neither have
Storehouse nor Barn; and ferior Creatures : As for Instance, consider the
God feedeth them : How Ravens, how they are subfifted; for they neither
much more are ye better fow. nor reap ; and have neither Storebouse nor
than the Fowls ?

Barn, to lay up any Thing against a Time of
Want ; nay, their Young ones are early deserted
by their Dams; and yet, voracious as they are,
GOD one Way or other feedeth them, so that you

see the Species is still.continued: Now how much
more are you better than they? and how much
rather may you hope to be provided for with the
Necessaries of Life, than any Kind of Birds ?

(Compare Mat. vi. 25, 26. Vol. i. pag. 254.)
25 And which of you. And moreover, as this Care is unnecessary, it 25
with taking Thought can will also be unprofitable ; for which of you, by
add to his Stature one Cu-
bit?

taking the most solicitous Thought, can add a single
Cubit, or the least Measure or Moment, either to

his Age or Stature ? (Compare Mat. vi. 27, and
26 If ye then be not able the Note on that Text, Sect. 41.) If then you 26
• to

cannot

(a) Repeating some of those Admonitions, &c.] Most of the Thoughts and Expressions uled here, occurred before, Sect. 41. and are, I hope, sufficiently explained there. I content myself therefore with referring the Reader to it. Vol. i. pag. 251, o jeg..

P 2

(b) If

27

116 GOD clothes the Lillies, and will much more take care of them. Sect. 113. cannot do the least Matter (b), as in this Prover- to do that Thing which is o b ial Expression you grant ; why are you anxious for the rest

least, why take ye Thought Luke XII. 26.

o about the rest, as if you were to hold your Life

by a Kind of perpetual Lease, and were secure
against all Danger of a sudden Ejectment ?

But to pursue the Argument I began before, 27 Consider the Lilies
Do but conßder God's Providential Care, even of how they grow : They toil

not, they spin not: and yet the Vegetable Creation : Survey, for Instance, the I say unto you, that Solofair and beautiful Lillies, and reflect how they mon in all his Glory was not grow ; they neither labour to prepare the Materials arrayed like one of thele. of their Dress, nor spin it into that curious Form; and yet Providence clothes them in so elegant and splendid a Manner, that I say unto you, even Solomon, when on some grand Festival he appeared in all his utmost Magnificence, was not arrayed in so beautiful a White as one of these. And if 28 If then God so clothe GOD so clothe and adorn the Gräss of the Field. the Grals, which is To-day

in the Field, and To-moramong which the Lillies grow, tho' it is flourish- row is caft into the Oven: ing] To-day in all its Verdure, and by Tomorrow how much more will he is cut down, and thrown into the Furnace or Still : clothe you, O ye of little (see Note (l) on Mat. vi. 30. Vol. i. pag. 256.) how much more [will be clothe] you, oh ye of little

Faith, that thus suspect his Care ? 29 And do not you then, who are acquainted with 29 And seek not ye what

the Care of Providence, and are particularly in, ye lhall eat, or what ye lhall terested in it, be solicitous to seek what ye mall eat, ful Mind.

drink, neither be ye of doubtor what you mall drink; nor be like Meteors in the Air, that are tossed about by every Blast of Wind,

hurried with anxious Cares, and agitated with a 20 Variety of restless and uneasy Thoughts (c). For 30 For all these Things the Gentile Nations of the World, who know

do the Nations of the World

seek after : and your Father little of Providence, or of a Future State, seek

knoweth after all these lower Things with great Solicitude ; and they are more excusable in doing it : But you are directed to much nobler Objects of Pur

suit, (b) If then you cannot do the least Matter.] This proves, that to add one Cubit to a Thing, was a Proverbial Expression, for making the least Addition to it.

(0) Nor be agitated with reftlefs Thoughts.) After all the various and perplexed Things, which Criticks have said on this Word, uelewpIL Eate, (of which a very large Account may be seen in the learned Wolfius,) the Sense I have taken is the most simple, and especially here, the most natural. The Authorities produced by Elsner, (Obferv. Vol. i. pag. 233, 234.) and several of those mentioned by Raphelius, (Annot. ex Xen. pag. 97, 98.) seem to me to favour this Sense, tho' some of them are produced to establish another. It appears from them, that any Speculations and Musings, in which the Mind fluctuates, or is suspended in an uneasy Hesitation, might well be expressed by such a Word.

(d) Takes

They should seek the Kingdom of GOD, and Treasure in Heaven. 117
knoweth that ye have Need suit, and furnished with a more substantial Sup-Sect. 113.
of these Things.

port against such Anxieties, in that Paternal Rew a
Iation which GOD avows to you ; and as your .

Luke XII.
Heavenly Father well knows that you have Need of

these Things, he will certainly provide them for
31 But rather seek ye the you in a proper Degree. Leave them therefore 31
Kingdom of God, and all
where Thinois moi he added to his Care, and low as your Condition is, be not
unto you.

uneasy and disquieted about them ; but seek ye
rather the Kingdom of GOD, and labour to pro-
mote its Interest among Men; and then you may
be secure, not only that you Nall obtain that most
important Prize, but likewise that all these other
necessary Things shall be added to you, without
your Anxiety. (Compare Mat. vi. 31,-33. Vol. i.

pag. 256.)
22 Fear not, little Flock; ' I repeat the encouraging Thought ; Fear not, 32

I repeat the encouro
for it is your Father's good

ye little Flock, my dear Property and Charge,
Pleasure to give you the
Kingdom.

however feeble you may seem ; fear not, I say,
that you shall be left destitute of these common
Bleffings of Divine Providence ; for it is your
Heavenly Father's gracious Pleasure to give you
what is infinitely more valuable, even the King-
dom of Eternal Glory: And can you possibly ima-
gine, that while he intends to bestow that upon
you, and even takes Pleasure in the Thought of
making you so great and happy there (d), he will
refuse you those Earthly Supplies, which he libe-

rally imparts even to Strangers and Enemies ?
33 Sell that ye have, and Animated therefore by such a Hope and Con- 33.
give Alms : provide your fidence, instead of being solicitous to increase your

selves
"S Possessions to the utmost, rather be prepared, when
Providence shall call you to it, to sell what you

already

beautiful and enfurable Acquiescenceed in Scripture, as enjoying he has prepared foreheartb, or

(d) Takes Pleasure in the Thought of making you so great and happy there.] This is the beautiful and wonderful Import of the Word euroznoen in this Connection; which generally lignifies, a pleasurable Acquiescence. And agreeably to this, it is most edifying and delightful to observe, how God is represented in Scripture, as enjoying his own Prescience, as it were, with a peculiar Relish, in the View of those Glories, whieh he has prepared for his people.. Hence those emphatical Phrases of Wisdom's rejoicing in the habitable Parts of the Eartb, or in the Prospect and Idea of them, before they were actually made ; (Prov. viii. 31.) of GOD's knowing the Thoughts he thinks towards his People(Jer. xxix. 11.) and of his rejoicing over them with Joy, and filently resting in his Love to them ; (Zeph. iii. 17.) The Tenderness and Energy of innumerable Scriptures depends on this Remark.; and many of those relating to EleEtion, Predestination, &ci which have been as dry Rods of Controversy, when considered in this View, bud out into a thousand fair Leaves, and fragrant Blossoms of Hope and Joy.

(e) Sell

Tiker

33.

118 Refle&tions on the Reason we have to cast all our Care iipon GOD Sect. u13. already have, and distribute [it] in Charity (e) ; felves Bags which wax not w that so you may make for yourselves Purses which

old, a Treasure in the HeaLuke XII.

vens that failech not, where to do not grow old and wear out (f), even a never- no Thief approacheth, nei

failing Treasure in Heaven, that Region of Secu- ther Moth Corrupteth.
rity and Immortality, where no Thief approaches,
to plunder the Riches of its Inhabitants, nor does

the Moth corrode and spoil the Robes of Glory in :
34 which they appear. And you should be more 34 For where your Trea-

careful on this Head, because you may depend sure is, there will your Heart
upon it, that where that which you account your

be also.
chief Treasure is laid up, there will your Heart be
also fixed, and the whole Tenor of your Thoughts
and Affections will naturally flow in that Channel.
(Compare Mat. vi. 20, 21. Vol. i. pag. 252.)

IMPROV E M E N T. Luke xii. A RE we not all conscious to ourselves, that on such Topicks as these, 22, 29. A w e need Line upon Line, and Precept upon Precept, as being too

deficient in our Regard, tho' GOD speak once, yea twice? (Fob xxxiii. Ver. 27, 28. 14.) We see our Heavenly Father crowning the Earth with bis Goodness :

To this Day does he clothe the Grass, and the Flowers, with the same Profusion of Ornament; to this Day does he feed the young Ravens when they

cry; (Pfal. cxlvii. 9.) nor is the meanest Species of Insects perished. Still Ver. 30. does he know our Necessities; and still he addresses us in the same gracious

Language, and avows the same endearing Paternal Relation. The Experience of his Power, Goodness, and Fidelity, is increasing with every succeeding Generation, with every revolving Day. Let us then caft all our

Care on him, as being persuaded that he careth for us. (1 Pet. v. 7.) Feeble Ver. 32. as his little Flock is, it is the Father's good Pleasure to give us the Kingdom ;

and we are unworthy our Share in fo glorious a Hope, if we cannot trust him for inferior Blessings, and refer it to him to judge, in what Manner our present Wants are to be supplied.

Ver. 23.

Let

(e) Sell what you have, and distribute it in Charity. These Words were probably as a fruitful Seed in the Minds of some who heard them; and the liberal Sale of Estates a few Months after, by which so many poor Christians were subfifted, might be in a great measure the Harvest, which sprung up from it, under the Cultivation of the Blessed Spirit. Nothing is more probable, than that some of the many Myriads now attending our Lord, (ver. 1.) might be in the Number of the Thousands then converted. See Acts ii. 41,-45.

c) Purses which do not grow old, and wear out.] This may be fitly taken as an Allusion, to the Danger of losing Money out of a Hole, worn in an old Purse. Such is frequently the Gain of this World, and so are its Treasures hoarded up: (Compare Hag. i. 6.) And the Rich Men of Judea, so foon ravaged and destroyed by the Romans, particularly found it so.

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