Abbildungen der Seite

strengthen our weakness, that we may truly do his blessed will on earth, even as it is done in heaven.

For, thirdly, As no duty is more necessary, than that of doing the will of God, so also none is more reasonable.

1. God made the world, therefore, surely, has the best right to govern it. Shall man, then, dare to invade this right? Shall the thing formed defy him that formed it ? Shall dust and ashes presume to oppose Omnipotence?

2. Again: God is thy supporter and preserver: in him thou livest, movest, and hast thy being. Does it not become thee, then, to obey him on whom thou dependest ? Does it not become thee to tremble at his will, who is able to recall the blessings he gave, and to make thee, in a single moment, the same lifeless, breathless dust, frein which thou wast originally taken?

3. God is thy benefactor. He has showered down his blessings upon thee with an unsparing hand, and given thee all things richly to enjoy: He has commanded the sun to cheer and enlighten thee, the breezes to refresh thee; the former and the latter rain to descend in their season, for thy use : and, what is above all, He has redeemed thee from sin and death, and opened to thy view the gate of immortality. Wouldest thou, then, reject these blessings, or despise that will, which is hourly employed for thy benefit ?


4. Remember that the will of God is thy only security. Man is blind and ignorant, and hardly seeth a few things aright: he knoweth not what to ask for himself, nor how to guide his steps ainidst the dark mazes of the world. It is surely, therefore, the greatest of blessings, that the Almighty condescends, as it were, to take thee by the hand, and to guide thee by his will; --that thou art secure in his wisdom, and strong in his power.' And who, then, but a madman would throw off the reins of divine government, when he knows that he is incapable of governing himself? Who would prefer the dark glimmerings of his own feeble understanding, to the bright effulgence of heavenly wisdom?

5. This duty recommends itself to thee by its advantages. For the man who knows that he is doing the will of God, must unavoidably be happy in every state and circumstance of life. This is a thought, which will make his religion easy, his duty pleasant, liis afflictions light, and

[ocr errors]

his heart always chearful: for he knows, whether he abounds or suffers need, whether the world smiles or frowns upon him, that both the one and the other are the will of God, and are alike directed by that almighty hand, which holds men and kingdoms, as it were, in a balance: he is, therefore, resigned, contented, happy.

But compare now with such a man the bold railer against providence,--the fool, who hath said in his heart, there is no God:--how different, how dreadfully different, is his situation! If he acts virtuously, he has no joy in reflecting, that he is doing the will, and therefore deserving the approbation, of a gracious master in heaven. If he prospers, he has no comfort in thinking that his success is the reward and favour of a just God: he can only attribute it to blind chance, which scatters her undistinguished bounties at random. And if he is unsuccessful, he has no source of comfort; he may rail, indeed, at fate or providence, but he cannot help himself; he must submit to, though he will not acknowledge, the uncontrollable mandates, of Omni. potence.

How much better, therefore, is it to submit chearfully, and to do that just and kind will of God, which no power can evade, and which alone can secure and establish the happiness of man!



If then, my brethren, you' are sincere in making this petition, let your sincerity appear in your lives and conversation. Every day and every hour will furnish you with opportunities of shewing your obedience and submission to the divine will." Ye cannot plead ignorance what or where it is :-it is before you and around you.

His written will is in the Gospel, which is plain, and not to be mistaken, and extends itself to every action of your lives.' And his providential will is no less clear and intelligible. We feel it every day of our lives. -Am I in sickness or poverty? it is the will of God. -Am I envied or despised ? it is the will of God. ---Have I lost a friend or a fortune? it is God's will.Am I bereaved of children, or robbed of my good name? it is the will of the same just God, who knows what is best and most fitting for me.

[ocr errors]

In these, therefore, and all other events, ours should be the language of old Eli ;-". it is the

Lord, let him do what seemeth him good.” And though, at first, we may find some difficulty in bringing the stubbornness of flesh and blood to this resigned temper, yet let us not be dis


couraged. Subinission in small things will pave the way to it in greater : and we may rest aġsured, that time and perseverance will confirm what piety has begun; for the tree, which is constantly beint, however stubborn by nature, will become flexible and pliant at the last.

And should we want any example to animate us in the discharge of this duty, we need but look up to him, who was the Author and Finisher of our faith. --The same Jesus, who taught us to pray, that the will of God may be done on earth, was himself also the noblest example of doing it.

In the midst of agonies unsupportable, --within sight of that cross, which was to terminate his life in pain and ignominy, - his language was only this, “ Not my will, r6 but thine be done."

Let not man, then, plead the impossibility of doing the will of God. His divine Master was content to do it in the worst of circumstances, and to be made perfect through sufferings. Let not, therefore, the servant expect to be above his Lord :- let him rather think it his highest honour to be as his Lord; to be as ready and chearful in his obedience, as humble and contented in doing the will of his Father, which is in heaven.


« ZurückWeiter »