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to their peace. Many parents acknowledge this to be their duty, and that it is of infinite importance that it should be faithfully discharged, but find in themselves much disinclination to it, and many difficulties in the way, and therefore, in the hope that difficulties will be less hereafter, they defer it for a future opportunity: thus by presuming on life, they practically deny that their times are in God's hand. The reverse of all these things is the line of conduct, which arises from the due influence of the truth, that our times are in the hands of God.
2. Since our times are in God's hand, we ought to acknowledge it in our conversation, and whole deportment, and by the manner in which we undertake our secular business ; and especially by the method in which we speak of any past providences, or future worldly prospects and enjoyments. This acknowledgment, made by a conformity of life and conversation, will be the effect of the genuine influence, the cordial belief, and impressive sense of this truth. Under this influence, we shall notice the hand of God in all things, and speak with reverence of divine providence. În support of this we have the example of the most eminent saints.
Caleb, that eminent Israelite, of whom it was testified, that he followed the Lord fully, speaking of the past scenes of his life, thus expressed himself, “ And now behold, the Lord hath kept me alive." The patriarch Jacob said, “ God, who hath fed me all my
life long to this day, and redeemed me from all evil.” And the apostle, “ Having obtained helḥ, I continue to this day.” The Psalmist also, in the words of our text, “ My times are in thy hand." Such are the examples set before us, of a serious and devout manner of speaking, both with respect to past providences, and future events, for which we are dependent upon God; and they are worthy of our imitation.
Since our times are in God's hand, it must be sinful to boast of to morrow, and wrong to express oura selves, in any such way as may intimate, that we
are forgetful of this truth ; or that we undertake any | business, without first seeking God's blessing, and
relying upon his assistance. Hence the reproof and advice of the apostle James : “ Go to now, ye that say to day, or to morrow, we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy, and sell, and get gain. Whereas ye know not what shall be on the
For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live and do this or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings. All such rejoicing is evil."
To how many persons might this reproof apply at the present day? How common are the instances of similar boasting; and how apt are even prosessing Christians, to fall into it, or at least, use a language similar to it? All such the apostle reproves, as acting a part dishonorable to God, and inconsistent with that acknowledging of him in all our ways, and that abiding sense of our absolute dependence, which he requires
3. If our times are in God's hand, and we have a realizing, impressive sense, and love of this truth, we shall not hesitate to perform any duty, through fear of man. This truth requires, and the love of it will influence us to pursue the course of our duty, whatever dangers may be in the way, or whatever evils may
be threatened as the consequence. In a believing view of this truth, and in a sense of the divine power and presence, the way of duty would be considered the way of safety, though the greatest evils were threatened, and though there was a prospect even of persecution and death. He in whose hand all our times are, cannot be disappointed in any of his designs. He can keep us from evil, amidst
threatening dangers, as well as in apparent safety. And to seek to avert the trials, which he designs ta bring upon us, by deserting the post of duty, is but provoking him to show us, by sad experience, that none can with impunity mock God, or contend with the Almighty and prosper.
4. If we feel that our times are in God's handmat his perfect and all-wise disposal, it will tend to inspire us with patience and resignation under evils, and to dispose us to wait God's time and pleasure for deliverance. Eyeing the hand of God in our circumstances, we shall perceive it to be in vain, and sinful to murmur, or to use any unlawful measures to lib. erate ourselves from sufferings; but shall say with Job, “ Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come." Hence we find the Psalmist, impressed with the truth which he had uttered in the text, and having experienced that God is good to them that wait for him, closing the Psalm with exhortations to faithfulness and patience, saying, “O love the Lord, all ye his saints, for the Lord preserveth the faithful be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart,
that hope in the Lord.”
5. À cordial belief, and a realizing sense, that our times are in God's hands, would be matter of joy and consolation to us, in view of the darkest and most gloomy prospects, which may at any tiine appear, respecting ourselves, our children, our friends, the church of God, or the land and the world. humble, faithful performance of duty, we may leave all with God. All events are at his disposal, and he will take care of his own cause, and be the portion of all who rejoice that their times are in his hand. This is the great secret of the Christian's comfort and joy. They know that the saints, and their
worns, are in the hands of God; they know that the Lord reigneth, and will do all his pleasure.
The question is put, “ If the foundation be de. stroyed, what shall the righteous do ?” And the answer is made, “ The Lord is in his holy temple. The Lord's throne is in the heavens; his eyes behold, his eyelids try the children of men.”—"O how great is thy goodness, (says the Psalmist in our context,) which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee, which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee, before the sons of men ? Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of men ; thou shalt keep them secretly, in a pavilion, from the strife of tongues."
Thus I have shown, in several particulars, what course of conduct is required of those, who admit that their times are in God's hand, and what would be the tendency, and happy, effects of this truth upon mankind, if cordially received. From these considerations it is suificiently evident, that it is our duty, and would be our happiness, to live always under its due influence.
And now, having this truth, and the general use to be made of it before us, let us apply it to our particular circumstances, and make use of it, to excite us to gratitude, and an humble trust in God, and submission to him at all times. Let us look back upon the past, and consider the tinies that have gone over us, and rejoice, that for the future, our times are in God's hand.
We stand at the close of one year, and the commencement of another. A year—the largest part of time, by which dying men measure out the short and uncertain period of the existence allotted them, in the present probationary state. Let us look back upon the past year, and briefly review our whole lives, remembering all the way which God hath led us, and noticing the evidence that our times have been in God's hand.
Let us look back upon our earliest years, and think of the divine goodaess and care.
When helpless, and unable to provide for ourselves, tlie tender hand of our heavenly parent conducted and guarded! us, amidst surrounding dangers. Little do we know, at that heedless, unthinking period of life, through what numberless perils we pass, and how much we are indebted to the care of an unseen hand, which is constantly employed in preserving and upholding us. In reflecting on the years of infancy and childhood; in which so many fall by death, the preserved pious soul will feelingly adopt the words of the text, and say-in the review, surely « My times are in thy hand.”
Let us also observe the dealings of providence towards us, in every succeeding period of our lives. Let us reflect on the hand that conducted us through the slippery path of youth, when surrounded with so many snares and temptations, and which imheld us in life, while others, our companions; feli at our right hand, and our left.
Let us reflect with what wisdom and kindness.God has fixed our lot in the world, having determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of our habite ations. How often in kindness, he has disappointed our expectations, and crossed our wishes, when the gratification of them would have been detrimental. And on the other hand, he has often surprised us with unexpected and unmerited mercies. Each for himself, in looking back on his past life, will see numerous scenes, in which an unseen hand directed wisely, when every thing at the time appeared dark and gloomy.
But not only temporal blessings, but religious privileges, and spiritual enjoyments, are to be noticed. Born in a land of Chistian instruction, we have enjoyed from our earliest years, the means of grace. Like. Timothy, we have known from our