Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

" sake ;!'"* " for they watch for your souls,

as they that must give account; that they

may do it with joy, and not with grief." Of the behaviour that is due from the lower orders to those above them; from servants to masters, and labourers to those who em. ploy them, the same scriptures deliver these characters. “Servants be subject to your

masters, with all fear; not with eye ser“ vice, as men pleasers, but as the servants of “ Christ; doing the will of God from the • heart :" " not answering again, nor pur,

Joining, but shewing all good fidelity, that

they may adorn the doctrine of God dur “ Saviour in all things."

Such, my friends, is the conduct by which you are to “ let your moderation be known

unto all men ;" a behaviour which will generally bring a rich reward with it, even in this world, since nothing is more likely to engage the esteem and confidence of those whom we live among, and depend upon, than quietness and inoffensiveness of disa position, modesty and submissiveness of manners, and industry and fidelity in the exercise of our callings. But even should such praiseworthy behaviour fail of obtaining the success and encouragement in life, which it so well deserves; yet there is a motive imme. diately urged by St. Paul, that should be

sufficient in itself to induce us to practise it, independevtly of any temporal view: “ The « Lord is at hand. »

The Apostle does not mean by these words, that the second coming of Jesus CHRIST was' speedily to take place; for he knew, and "has mentioned in other parts of his epistles, that many ages would succeed before the final consummation of all things happened, when Christ should come to judge the world in righteousness. No! he meant to say, that death, which removes every man from all the concerns of this world, was ever at hand; that we inust all speedily fall before his stroke; that we know not when he will call us away; and, therefore, that it is of little consequence what our difficulties, or disappointments, or inconveniencies may be, while we remain in this world, seeing that our continuance in it cannot be long at the best; and that it is certain we must, sooner or later, “ go hence," and be removed into an endless state of being, where we shall enjoy in the fullest manner, and for ever, those rewards of our faith and obedience, which we have altogether missed, or only tasted in an imperfect degree here below.

With this view before our eyes, of our speedy departure from this scene of temporal things, St. Paul exhorts us to be careful “ for nothing." Here, again, we must not understand the Apostle literally; 'nor sup. pose that he bids us to cast off all prudent concern about the affairs of life, or about the duties of our calling, or the provision for our families, or the proper interest of ourselves and connexions; because, on the contrary, a prudent regard to all these matters is not only consistent with our christian duty, but actually makes a part of it. What he would urge upon the followers of Jesus Christ is this ; that they should not for. get Gon and religion in the business of the world; nor suffer “ the things eternal” to be put out of their minds by " the things

temporal.” That, even in lawful pursuits they should be moderate and reasonable; not follow up their worldly interests, to which they are allowed to attend, with too much earnestness ;

not be over desirous of obtaining them, or be too anxious about their preservation; or be fretful, or cast down, if they do not obtain them; or murmur and repine, if God think fit to take them from them : in one word, that they should follow that beautiful example of his own moderation, which he has given us in the very chapter from whence the text is taken. " I have learned in whatsoever state I am S therewith to be content; I know both how

[ocr errors]

to be abased, and I know how to abound:

every where and in all things I am in"structed, both to be full and to be empty, “both to abound and to suffer need."

Instead of this over-carefulness and anx. iety, which can only make us miserable, and must be displeasing to God, as it seeins, to doubt the goodness of Providence; the Apostle directs vs' to “make known our re

quests to God” in prayer and supplication ; to him who knows best what is good for us, and who will mercifully bestow upon us whatever it is right for us to have, if we offer up our petitions with sincerity and earnestness. “ Humble yourselves," says St. Peter, “un“ der the mighty hand of God, that he may “ exalt you in due time ; casting all your

cares on hiin, for he careth for you. He knows our wants, and is ready to supply them; he sees our infirmities, and is willing to assist them; he marks our troubles, and is inclined to relieve us from them; but be espects that we should apply to him for these assistances, by fervent prayer and supplication ; with a heart smitten with a sense of our own inability to help ourselves; of our unworthiness of his mercies, and of our ingratitude for his goodness: and in addition to these, that we should offer up to bim the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving for those innumerable instances of mercy which we have already received, and are constantly experiencing at his hands. When we stand in need of special favours from

men like ourselves,” we feel it right to ask for them with submissiveness, but earnestness; and when we have received any great and undeserved obligation from them, we think it equally our duty, to shew our gratitude to them by the warmest expressions of thankfulness. If, then, such be the case in human affairs, how much more should we feel it be our bounden duty to act in the same way in spiritual and heavenly concerns !--To pray humbly and earnestly, frequently and devoutly, to that great Being, in whom we live and move ; to whom we owe all that we are, and all that we have; and on whom we depend for safety and preservation, both in time and eternity, is certainly the first of human duties. And no man, who pretends to the character of a christian, will open his eyes in the morning, or close them in the evening, without praying to the Almighty Father of heaven and earth for grace during the day, and protection during the night ; for the pardon of his sins, and for the continuance of those blessings, without which he must perish both here and hereafter, Equally, regular will be be

« AnteriorContinuar »