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ration of this point you have now been reading. For if God shall fix that truth in your hearts by faith, then,
First, Instead of running with others into the fame excess of riot, you will keep yourselves pure and unspotted in an unclean defiling. world. You will answer all temptations to fin, as Joseph did, Gen. xxxix. 9. “How can I do this great wickedness, and fin against
Secondly, Instead of joining with others in fin, you will mourn for the fins of others. You will say with David, Pfal. cxx. 5. “Woe is “ me, that I sojourn in Melhec, that I dwell in the tents of Kedár!” Your soul, like Lot's, will be vexed from day to day with the filthy converfations of the wicked, 2 Pet. i. 17, 18.
Thirdly, instead of returning to your country with a wounded name and conscience, you will return full of inward comfort and peace, and to the joy of all your friends and relations.
Fourthly, To conclude, You will give fair encouragements to the expectations of all that know you, of becoming useful inftruments of the glory of God, and benefit of the world in your generation. O therefore beg of God that this truth may be deeply engraven upon
Deut. viii. 17, 18.
gotten me this wealth; but thou shalt remember the Lord thy God; for
the Israelites, who were now passing out of their wilderness straits into the rich and fruitful land of Canaan, which abounded with all earthly blessings and comforts.' Now, when the Lord was about to give them poffeffion of this good land, he first gives them fome wholefonie caveats to prevent the abuse of these mercies. He knew how apt they were to forget him in a profperous estate, and ascribe all their comfortable fruitions to their own prudence and valour: to prevent this, he reminds them of their former estate, and warns them about their future estate : he reminds them of their former condition, whilft they fubfifted upon his immediate care in the wilderness; verses
152 16. “ Who led them through the great and terrible wil
“ derness, wherein were fiery ferpents and scorpions, and drought, “ where there was no water;" here were their dangers and wants. “ Who brought thee forth water out of the rock of fint, who fed & thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not :" here were their supplies in these straits. “ That he might humble « thee, and that he might prove thee to do thee good at thy latter « end;" here was the wise and gracious design of God in all this.
But wherein did God humble them by feeding them with manna? Were they not shrewdly humbled (faith Mr Gurnal, vol. II. P. 345. an ingenious author) to be fed with such a dainty dich, which had God for its cook, and was called angels food for its delicacy? It was not the meanness of the fare, but the manner of having it, by which God intended to humble them. The food was excellent, but they had it from hand to mouth; so that God kept the key of their cupboard, they stood to his immediate allowance : this was an humbling way. But now the dispensation of Providence was just upon the change; they were going to a land, ' where they thould eat bread 5. without scarceness," verse 9. and have their comforts in a more “ natural, stated, and sensible way; and now would be the danger. Therefore,
He not only reminds them of their former estate, but in this text cautions them about their future eftate, "Say not in thy heart, my “ power, or the might of my hand, hath gotten me this wealth,” c. In this caution we have these two things especially to obterve :
1. The false cause of their profperity removed. II. The true and proper cause thereof aflerted.
1. The false cause removed : « Not their power, or the might of " their hand.” That is faid to be gotten by the hand, which is gotten by our wisdom, as well as labour : head-work, and wit-work, are hand-work in the sense of this text. It cannot be denied but they were a great people, prudent, induftrious, and had an excellent polity among them: but yet, though they had all these natural external means of enriching themselves in that fertile soil, God will, by no means, allow them to ascribe their success and wealth to any of these caufes : for, alas! what are all these without his blefling?
2. The true and proper cause asserted : . It is the Lord that gives "thee power to get wealth :" i. e. All thy care, labour, wisdom, strength, fignify nothing without him; it is not your pains, but his blessing, that makes your designs to profper: and therefore in all your prosperity, fill acknowledge him as the Author of all. Hence note, Doct. That the prosperity and success of our affairs are not to be ascrib
ed to our own abilities, but to the blefing of God upon our lawful
endeavours. We find two proverbs, in one chapter, that seem to differ in the account they give of this matter ; and indeed they do but seem fo. It is said, Prov. X. 4. “ The hand of the diligent maketh rich;" afcribing.riches and prosperity to human diligence. And verse 22.
" The blessing of the Lord it maketh rich.” But these two are not really opposed to each other, but the one subordinated to the other. The diligent hand, with God's blessing upon it, makes rich; neither of them alone, but both Faith must not conjoined. A diligent hand cannot make rich Rifle industry, nor without God's blessing; and God's blessing doth industry blind not ordinarily make rich without a diligent hand. faith. And these two are put together in their proper places, 1 Chron. xxii. 16. « Up and be doing, and the Lord be with “ you.” It is a vain pretence for any man to say, If the Lord be with I may fit still, and do nothing; and a wicked one to say, If I am up and doing, I lhall prosper whether God be with me or not. The fluggard would fain profper without diligence, and the atheist hopes to prosper by his diligence alone : but Christians expect their prosperity from God's blessing, in the way of honest diligence.
It is a common thing for men to benumb their own arms, and make them as dead and useless by leaning too much upon them: so it is in a moral as well as a natural way: all the prudence and pains in the world avail nothing without God. So faith the Pfalmift, in Psal. cxxvii. 2. “ It is in vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, “ to eat the bread of sorrow, for fo he giveth his beloved sleep.”
A man would think, he that rises betimes fares hard, works hard, fits up late, cannot but be a thriving man; and probably he would be fo, if God's blessing did fecond his diligence and frugality. But the Pfalmist intends it of diligence in a separate sense; a diligent hand working alone, and then it is all in vain, and serves only to confirm the common proverb--Early up and never the nearer. Labour with out God cannot profper; and labour against God will not only deftroy itself, but the labourer too.
Now, that this is really fo as the doctrine states it, I shall endeavour to make evident.
1. By a general demonstration of the whole matter.
2. Bý a particular enumeration of the ordinary causes and means of all success, which are all dependent upon the Lord's blessing.
First, That success in business is not in the power of our hand, but in the hand of Providence to dispose it as he plu ases, and to whom he pleases, appears by this, " That Providence lometimes blasts and • frustrates the most prudent and well-laid designs of men ; and in
the mean time fucceeds and profpers more weak and improbable • ones.' What is more common in the observation of all ages than this ? One man shall toil as in the fire, for very vanity; run to and fro, plot and study all the ways in the world to get an estate, dený back and belly, and all will not do: he shall never be able to attain what he strives after, but his designs shall be ftill fruitless. Another hath neither a head to contrive, nor a hand to labour as the former hath : nor doth he torture his brains about it, but manages his affairs
VOL. V, No. 44.
with less judgment, and spends fewer thoughts about it, and yet suç. cess follows it. It thall be cast in upon fome, who as they did not, fo, considering the weak management of their business, had little rational encouragement to expect it; and Ay from others, who induftriously pursue it in the prụdent choice and diligent use of all the proper means of attaining it. And this is not only an observation grounded upon our own experience, but confirmed by the wifeft of men; Ecclef. ix. 11. “ I returned, and faw under the fun, that the " race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; neither yet
. bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet (o favour to men of kill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” If two men run for a prize, reason gives the prize to the swiftest : if two armies join battle, reason gives the victory to the strongest: if two men undertake a design to get wealth, reason gives the riches to the wifeft; yea, but Providence fometimes difpofes it quite contrary to the verdict of reason, and the prize is given to the flowest, the victory to the weakest, the estate to the more fallow capacity ; so that these events seem to fall out rather casually than answerably, to the means employed about them. And who that observes this, can doubt but it is the hand of God's providence, and not our diligence that disposes the issues of these things ? For why doth God so often step out of the ordinary way, and cross his hands, as old Israel did, laying the right hand upon the younger, and the left upon the elder : I mean, give success to the weak, and disappointment to the strong, but to convince us of this great truth which I bere bring it to confirm? And because men are sa apt to sacrifice to their own prudence, and diłown providence, therefore it sometimes makes the cafe much plainner than so: it denies riches to the industrious, that live for no other end but to get them, and casts them in upon those that seek them not at all, and indeed are scarcely competent for business. Aristides
, one of the wiseft men of his age, was yet still so poor, that Plutarch faid, it brought a flur upon justice herself, as if the were not able ot maintain her followers. Socrates, one of the prime Grecian sages, was so exceeding poor, that Apuleius could not but note, “ That
poverty was become an inmate with philosophy*;" when in the mean time, the empty, thallow, and foolish, shall come up with it, and overtake it without any pains at all, which others profecute in the moft rational course all their life, and all to no purpose Thus it was noted of pope Clement V. None more rich, 11one more foolish. † And this is the ground of that proverb, l'ortuna javet fatis : Fortune favours fools. Though the author of that proverb, in nick-naming providence, Thewed as little wisdom as he that is the subject of it.
By all which, this point is in the general made good : it is not industry, but providence, that directs and commands the success of
* Paupertas eft philofopbice vernacula. † Epitom. Hif. Gallis.
business: It being much in the attaining of riches, as the apostle faith it is in the obtaining of righteousnefs : “ The Gentiles, which fol“ lowed nor after righteousness, have attained to righteousness; but « Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not at“ tained to the law of righteousness,” Rom ix. 30, 31. So it is here, for the vindication of the honour of providence, which men would scarcely own, if it did not thus baffle them fometimes: they that follow the world cannot obtain it; and they attain it that follow it not; that all men may fee their good is not in their own hand; and left man, who is not only a covetous creature, and would engrofs all to himself, but as proud as covetous, should afcribe all to himself. But this will farther appear,
Secondly, By a particular enumeration of the ordinary causes and means of all success in business, which are all dependent things upon a higher cause.
Now, if we proceed upon a rational acccount, we shall find five things required to the success of our affairs : and that I may speak to your capacity, I will instance in that affair of merchandizing in which you are employed, as the hands that execute what the heads of your merchants contrive; and will fhew you, that neither their wifdom in contriving, nor your skill and industry in managing their designs, can profper without the leave and blessing of Divine Providence. Let us therefore consider what is necessary to the raising of an estate in that way of employment; and you will find, that in a rational and ordinary way, fuccess cannot be expected, unless,
1. The designs and projects be prudently laid, and moulded with much consideration and forelight. An error here is like an error in the first concoction, which is not to be rectified afterwards. « The “ wisdom of the prudent (faith Solomon) is to understand his way;" that is, to underftand, and thoroughly to consider, the particular designs and business in which he is to engage. Rashness and inconfiderateness here hath been the ruin of many thousand enterprizes. And if a design be never so well laid, yet,
2. No success in bufinefs can be rationally expected, except there be an election of proper instruments to manage it. The best laid defign in the world may be spoiled by an ill management. If the perfons employed be either incapable or unfaithful, what but trouble and disappointment can be expected ? “ He that sendeth a message “ (faith Solomon) by the hands of a fool, cutteth off the legs, and « drinketh damage.” It is as if a man should send him on his business that had no legs to go ; i. e. one that is incompetent for the bufiness he is employed about. All that a man shall reap from such a design is damage: and if the instrument employed be never fo capable, yet if he be not also faithful to the trust committed to him, all is lost; and fuch is the depth of deceit in the hearts of men, that few or none can be secured against it. Solomon was the wisest of men, and yet fatally miscarried in this matter ; “He seeing the young man