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has stored it with a variety of blessings, for our comfort and pleasure. He has commanded his sun to chear us in the day-time, and the moon to give her 'light in the night season :- He maketh the clouds drop fatness, and the grow upon the mountains, and herb for the use of man:-He arrays the lilies of the field in more than royal splendor, to administer to our delight :-wherever we turn our eyes, united beauty and convenience, the gifts of a kind providence, meet us, and conspire to fill the heart with joy and gladness. With how much gratitude, therefore, should we yenerate that invisible hand, which feeds and supports us! With what love and filial homage should we regard that indulgent Father in heaven, who condescends to supply our daily wants with daily bread.

2dly, This petition ought to teach every one who uses it, a firin trust and dependence upon God. We have been left unto him ever since we were born; he was our hope, from the time we hanged upon our mother's breasts to the present hour; and he hath not yet forsaken us. Our past experience, therefore, should beget in us a patient reliance upon his bounty, even in our greatest distresses : for, what though the clouds may lour, and the storms of adversity bluw hard upon us; “ although,” in the beauM 2

tiful

tiful language of scripture, “the fig-tree shall “ not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines;

though the labour of the olive shall fail, and “ the field shall yield no meat; though the “ flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there “ shall be no herd in the stall; yet will I re

joice in the Lord; I will joy in the God of my

salvation.” We are in the hands of a just and powerful God, who is able to dispel the darkness that hovers over, us, and to restore peace and plenty to our afflicted souls.

He has taught us to pray for our daily bread, and he would never teach us to pray for what he did not intend to grant. He is our Father in heaven, and, therefore, if his children ask bread, he will not give them a stone.

The fear of want is, indeed, natural to all, and is wisely implanted in our breast. But it is the intention of this fear, not to lead us to a dis. trust of providence, but to guard against the danger of poverty, by a cautious foresight and honest industry. If, therefore, we are afraid of being reduced to want, even daily bread, we should redouble our prayers to God, and our own endeavours against it, but patiently leave the event to him, who feedeth the young ravens that call

upon

him.

And

And truly, if we consider the common course of human affairs, there is little reason to fear the evils of real poverty, if we are not wanting to ourselves. There are, indeed, too many who feel thein : but, I am afraid, if we trace back their misfortunes to their proper source, we shall much oftener find them the effects of indiscretion or idleness, than either the desertion of God's providence, or the neglect of man: for. God's blessing, which is never wanting where it is deserved, added to a chearful industry, will seldom fail to produce a competent share at least of the necessaries of life.

If, indeed, men will call themselves poor and deserted, because they want the luxuries and superfluities of life, they may easily fancy that the kindness of providence does not correspond to their own wishes. But such persons ought to be told, that what they call poverty is no real, evil. The purposes of society must ever require a subordination in rank and fortune, and that some should abound, whilst others, comparatively, suffer need. But so long as they have food to eat and raiment to put on, suitable to their humble station, they have all they ought to require,--they have all their Saviour had upon earth, they have all he taught them to pray for to their Father in heaven. For, M 3

3dly,

.

3dly, We should reinember, that all we are here taught to pray for, is our daily bread. Had God commanded us, any where, to pray for the delicacies or luxuries of life, we might have thought ourselves hardly dealt with, if we had not obtained them: but, he who best knows what is useful for us, has taught us to pray only for the necessaries of life, reserving to himself the distribution of his farther blessings to every man severally as he pleaseth.

It is, however, certains that what we call necessaries of life, will ever vary according to the rank and situation a man holds in it. Every man, therefore, who uses this petition, máy lăwfully be supposed to request of God such a supply and competency, as is suited to his station: for the same God, who has appointed different ranks in life, can never have made it unlawful to ask such things as are necessary to support those ranks.

It is not, therefore, unlawful to request such a share of riches, or credit, or honour, as are suited to our condition, provided it is our design to apply them always to their proper uses; that is, to promote the glory of God, and the welfare of mankind. Some men, indeed, talk of the plainness and simplicity of the Gospel, as utterly incompatible with every thing beyond what mere necessity requires. But,

· when

when I turn my eyes towards the splendor of that civil and religious polity, which God himself established among the Jews; when I farther consider the liberal and enlarged genius of the Gospel ; I cannot prevail upon myself to believe, that it was ever the intention of its divine Author, to contract the bounds of Christian liberty into so narrow a compass. Expressions there may be in the apostolic writings, which have the sound of inflexible severity in this point. But surely it would be the height of madness to extend cautions or precepts, derived from rigorous necessity, and directed to the disciples of Christ when under a state of persecution, to Christians in very

different circumstances; or to argue from Christianity in an infant and oppressed state, to Christianity when arrived at full maturity, and secured by the fences of national establish, ment. On the contrary, if we allow that God foresaw that kings should one day become its nursing fathers, and queens it nursing mothers, we must, at the same time, allow, that he has no where disapproved of those innocent, though not essential, ornaments, which have, in all ages, been the constant appendages of royalty.

Athly, When we consider that weakness and inability of our nature, which brings us upon our knees day by day, to ask of God a daily support,

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