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kiah, to lengthen life. Our fields may be cultivated with all imaginable care—we may sow the best corn that can be procured--but if the will of the Lord be so, we can reap nothing but disappointment. If he designs to chastise a guilty people by sending a famine upon them, he can make a worm, or a dew, hail, storm, or lightning, to blast man's hope in a moment, and to teach him that except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it, and that except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. Psalm cxxvii. 1. If it be his will, to fill a sinner with remorse of conscience, he can make him cry out with Cain my punishment is greater than I can bear-or with Joseph's brethren, when they imagined that vengeance was about to overtake them, we are verily guilty concerning our brother---or with Judas, I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. All hearts are in his hand ; his power rules over all ; none can stay that hand or resist successfully that power. When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble ? And when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? Whether it be done against a nation or a man only--Job. xxxiv. 29. Who could have imagined that the cruelty exercised towards Joseph by his brethren, which was manifested by his captivity, sale, and banishment, would
all ; and thine is the power and might ; and in thine hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. Now, therefore, O God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.
But the brightest display of infinite wisdom, love, power, and providential arrangement, is made in the wondrous plan devised for the salvation of sinners through Jesus Christ-of this I shall speak, now that I come to state,
Thirdly—The duty incumbent to be satisfied with his lot. A sinner by nature and practice, man deserves no blessing from his Maker-he can lay no claim to a continuance of present mercies, nor has he in himself any ground to hope for fresh ones-of course every thing he enjoys is unmerited it is the free gift of God, and whatever his hand bestows, it can in a moment take away. Is it for such a being as this to be dissatisfied with what he possesses, because others possess more? Is it for him to compare his mercies with his supposed merits, and to maintain that the former are outnumbered by the latter ? Is it for him to envy the health, or riches, or honours, or ease, which others enjoy? Is it for him to think that he is hardly dealt with, while oppressed by pain, sickness, hunger, or thirst--when a moment's reflection ought to convince him that any thing short of hell is a
means to quicken the diligence of those who have been taught the value of salvation, and to arrest the attention of others who are evidently living without any recollection of their accountableness to Him, who will judge the quick and the dead at the last day. If ever there was a people loudly called upon to learn a lesson from such a source of instruction, we are that people. Judgments and mercies evidently bearing the marks of providential interposition, have been long displayed before our eyes, and a voice seeming to say through them all, “ Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end." Deut. xxxii. 29.
Men in general, when speaking upon the providential dealings of God, utter sentiments which ill become those who are favoured with a divine revelation: theirs is the language of sullen discontent, or of open accusation against that infinitely gracious God, who is no respecter of persons; who, with an unsparing hand, showers down the blessings of his providence upon the wicked as well as the righteous, and causeth his sun to shine upon the evil as well as the good. The long suffering of God rarely leads them to repentance, and we are frequently constrained to witness the verification of those words;
Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is set in them to do evil-Eccles. viii. 11. There is no more general subject of conversation than the seasons of the year--and surely, there is not one which affords a greater proof of the unbelief which exists in the hearts of men: they would sometimes lead us to entertain the opinion, that God had altogether given up the government of the world, which owes its existence to his creative power; and at others, that he is unable to overrule events for the furtherance of his own great purposes of love and mercy.
If such persons think that God deals hardly or unjustly with them, when he either withholds his rain altogether, leaving their fields to be parched with thirst, or sends it down in torrents so as to deluge them for a moment; what will be their feelings when they stand before his bar to be judged, and find to their unspeakable sorrow and dismay, that however they might have wrapped themselves up in the cloak of their own righteousness, and whispered peace to their souls, they must now not only give an account of the deeds done in the body, but receive the eternal punishment which is due to them? Severe visitations may doubtless oppress one people, while they are withheld from another;