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cxii.

576

Christ cautions his disciples against anxious care ;
SECT. them; and how very uncertain that life is, on the continuance of

which our possession of them does so evidently depend. But, alas, Ver. how many are there, who are now as deeply engaged in their 16 worldly schemes, as this rich fool in the parable, to whom God

,
& seq. will, in a few weeks, or days, if not this very night, say, by the
20 awful voice of his irresistible providence, Thy soul is required of

thee! And then, what will all these treasures do to purchase life,
or to allay the agonies of death? So far will they be found froin
being capable of this, that they will rather serve to increase and

imbitter the surprise and anguish of those agonies.
21 Let it then be our labour and care that we may be rich towards

God; rich in works of piety and charity. So shall we safely
consign over our treasure to the bank of heaven, and shall be
enriched by it, when we leave the world as naked as we entered
upon it, and lose all but what has been so wisely and happily
spent,

SECT. CXIII.

Christ repeats the cautions and arguments against an anxious and

covelous temper, which he had formerly given in his sermon on
the mount. Luke XII. 22–37.

SECT. cxiii.

Luke

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LUKE XII. 22.

LUKE XII. 29.
THUS
HUS Jesus cautioned his followers against AND he said unto his
setting their hearts on worldly treasures ; I say unto you, Take

disciples, Thcreiore but as most of them were in such low circum- no thought for your XII. 22.

stances as to be in greater danger of immoderate life, what ye shall cat ;
solicitude about the necessary supplies of life, neither for the borly,
he proceeded to caution them against this, by what ye shall put on.
repeating some of those admonitions which he
had formerly delivered in his sermon on the
mount?. And accordingly he said to his disciples,
For this cause, that is, considering the great in-
certainty of riches, I say to you, and strictly
charge it upon you, That you be not anxious
about your life, what ye shall cat, or how you
shall procure food to support it; nor for the body,

what you shall put on to cover, defend and adorn
23 it. For you must needs be sensible, the life 23 The life is more
itself, which you have received from God with thun meat, and the

body out any care or thoughtfulness of yours, is much more important than meut, and the body than

raiment;

a Repeating some of those admonitions, I hope, sufficiently explained there. I &c.] Most of the thoughts and expressions content myself therefore with referring the used here occurred betore, sect. xli. and are, reader to it.

cxiii.

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ther SOW

nor reap;

God clothes the lilies; and will much more take care of them. 577 body is more than rai- raiment; and well then may you hope that the sect. ment.

great Author of your life, and the Former of your
body, will maintain bis own work in a proper Luke

a manner, without your anxiety and solicitude XII. 23. 24 Consider the about it. Especially may you expect it, when 24 ravens, for they nei.

you see the care which he takes of the inferior
which neither have creatures: as, for instance, consider the ravens,
storehouse nor barn; how they are subsisted; for they neither sow, nor
and God feedeth them:
how much inore are ye reap, and have neither storehouse nor barn, to lay
better than the fowls up any thing against a time of want; nay, their

young ones are early deserted by their dams;
and yet, voracious as they are, God one way or
other feedeth them, so that you see the species is
still continued: now, how much more are you
better than they? and how much rather may you
hope to be supplied with the necessaries of life,
than any kind of birds? (Compare Mat. vi. 25,

26. p. 227.)
25 And which of you,
with taking thought, will also be unprofitable ; for which of you, by

And moreover, as this care is unnecessary, it 25 can add to his stature one cubit:

taking the most solicitous thought, can add a sin-
gle cubit, or the least measure or moment, either

to his age or stature? (Compare Mat. vi. 27. 26 If ye then be not and noteh on that text, sect. xli.) If then you 26 able to do that thing cannot do the least matter", as in this which is least, why

proverbial take ye thought for the expression you grant, why are you anxious about

the rest, as if you were to hold your life by a kind
of perpetual lease, and were secure against all

danger of a sudden ejectment? 27 Consider the li.

But, to pursue the argument I began before, 27 lies how they grow. Do but consider God's providential care, even of they toil not, they spin not: and yet I say un- the vegetable creation: survey, for instance, the to you, That Solomon fair and beautiful lilies, and reflect how they in all his glory was not arrayed like one of grow; they neither labour to prepare the matethese,

rials of their dress, nor spin it into that curious
form; and yet Providence clothes them in so
elegant and splendid a manner, that I say unto
you, Even Solomon, when on some grand festi-
vai he appeared in all his utmost magnificence,

was not arrayed in so beantiful a white as one of 28 If then God so these. And if God so clothe and adorn the grass 28 clothe the grass, which is to-day in the field, of the field, among which the lilies grow, though and to-morrow is cast it is (flourishing] to-day in all its verdure, and into the oven; how by to-morrow ie cut down and thrown into the clothe you, O yc of little

furnace or still (see note on Mat. vi. 30. sect.
xli. p. 229), how much more (will he clothe]

you

rest:

much

more will he

faith?

b If then you cannot do the least matter.] was a proverbial expression for making the This proves, that to add one cubit to a thing lcast addition to it.

c Nor

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SECT.

Luke

30 For all these

578 They should seek the kingdom of God, and treasure in heaven.

you, O ye of little faith, who thus suspect his

, cxiii.

care?

And do not you then, who are acquainted with 29 And seek not ye XII. 29. the care of Providence, and are particularly in- what ye shall eat or

what ye shall drink, terested in it, be solicitous to seek what ye shall neither be ye of doubteat, or what ye shall drink; nor be like meteors ful mind. in the air, that are tossed about by every blast of wind, hurried with anxious cares, and agitated

with a variety of restless and uneasy thoughts, 30 For the Gentile nations of the world, who know little of Providence, or of a future state, seek things do the nations

of the world seek af. after all these lower things with great solicitude; ter: and your father and they are more excusable in doing it: but you knoweth that ye have are directed to much nobler objects of pursuit, need of these things. and furnished with a more substantial support against such anxieties, in that paternal relation which God avows to you; and as your heavenly Father well knows that you have need of these

things, he will certainly provide them for you 31 in a proper degree. Leave them therefore to

31 But rather seek his care; and, low as your condition is, be not ye the kingdom of uneasy and disquieted about them; but seek ye things shall be added

God, and all
rather the kingdom of God, and labour to pro- unto you.
mote its interest among men; and then you
may depend upon it, not only, that you shall
obtain that most important prize, but likewise,
that all these other necessary things shall be add-
ed to you, without your anxiety. (Compare

Mat. vi. 31–33. p. 229.) 32 I repeat the encouraging thought ; Fear not, 32 Fear not, little ye little flock, my dear property and charge, Father's good picasure

flock: for it is your however feeble you may seem ; fear not, I say, to give you the kingthat you shall be left destitute of these common dom. blessings of Divine Providence ; for it is your heavenly Father's gracious pleasure to give you what is infinitely more valuable, even the kingdom of eternal glory: and can you possibly imagine that, while be intends to bestow that upon you, and even takes pleasure in the thought of making you so great and happy there, d he

will

these

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c Nor be agitated with restless thoughts.] though some of them are produced to
After ali the various and perplexed things establish another. It appears from them,
which critics have said on this word, 14:18wse that any speculations and musings, in which
3:09c (of which a very large account inay the mind fluctuates, or is suspended in an
be seen in the learned Wollins), the sense uneasy hesitation, might well be express-
I have taken is the most simple, and, espe- ed by such a word.
cially here, the most natural. The authori- d Takes pleasure in the thought of mak.
ties produced by Elsner (Obser. Vol. I. ing you so great and happy there.] This
p. 233, 234), and several of those men. is the beautiful and wonderfulimport of the
tioned by Raphelius ( Annot. er Xen. p. 97, word sudoxntry in this connection : which
98), seem to me to favour this sense, generally signifies a pleasurable acquiescence.

Aud

cxiii.

Luke

thief ap

f

Reflections on the duty of casting out our care upon God. 579

will refuse you those earthly supplies, which he sect. liberally imparts even to strangers and ene

mies? 33 Sell that ye liare, Animated therefore by such a hope and con- XII. 33. and give alms: proz fidence, instead of being solicitous to increase vide yourselves bags ulrich wax not old, your possessions to the utmost, rather be prea treasure in the hea

pared, when Providence shall call you to sell
vens that faileth not, what you already have, and distribute [it] in
where no
proacheth, neither charity ;' and so you may provide for yourselves
moth corrupteth. purses which do not grow old and wear out,

even a never-failing treasure in heaven, that re-
gion of security and imortality, rehere no thief
approaches to plunder the riches of its inhabi-

tants, nor doth the moth corrode and spoil the 34 For where your robes of glory, in which they appear. And 34 treasure is, there will the more careful should you be about this heayour heart be also.

venly treasure, because it is certain, that where
that which vou account your chief treasure is
laid up, there will your heart be also fixed, and
the whole tenor of your thoughts and affections
will naturally flow in that channel.) Compare
Mat. vi. 20, 21, 226.)

IMPROVEMENT.

Ver.

29

Are we not all conscious to ourselves, that on such topics as these, we need line upon line, and precept upon precept, as being too deficient in our regard, though God speak once, yea twice? (Job xxxii. 14.) We see our heavenly Father crowning the earth with his goodness : to this day does he clothe the grass and the flowers with the same profusion of ornament ; to this day does

he

27, 28

37

And agrecable to this, it is most edifying e Sell what you have and distribute it and delightful to observe, how God is in charity.] These words were probably represented in scripture, as enjoying his as a fruitful secil in the minds of some who oxn prescience, as it were, with a peculiar heard them : and the liberal sale of estates relish, in the view of those glories which a few months after, by which so many poor he has prepared for his people. Hence Christians were subsisted, might be in a those emphatical phrases of wisdom rejoice great measure the harvest,) which sprung ing in the habitable parts of the earth, or in up from it under the cultivation of the the prospect and idea of them, before blessed Spirit. Nothing is more probable they were actually made, (Prov. viii. 31.) than that some of the many myriads now of God's knowing the thoughts he thinks to attending our Lord, (ver. 1.) might be in rares his people. (Jer. xxix. 11. and of his the number of the thousands then converted; rejoicing over them with joy and silently rest- see Acis ii. 41-43. inz in his love to ihem, (Zeph. iii. 17.) The f Purses which do not grow old, and tenderness and energy of innumerable wear out.] This may be fitly taken as an scriptures depends on this remark; and allusion to the danger of losing money out many of those relating to election, predestin of a hole worn in an old purse. Such is fre. mation, &c. which have been as dry rods of quently the gain of this world, and so are controversy, when considered in this view, its treasures hoarded up, and put into a bag bud out into a thousand fair leaves and with holes ; (compare Hag. i. 6.) The fragrap: blossoms of hope and joy. rich men of Judea, so soon ravaged and de

stroyed

.

580

Christ exhorts his disciples to watchfulness, SECT: he feed the young ravens when they cry, (Psal. cxlvii. 9.) nor is

the meanest species of insects perished. Still does he know our 30 necessities; and still be addresses usin the same gracious language,

and avows the same endearing paternal relation. The experience of his power, goodness, and fidelity, is increasing with

every succeeding generation, with every revolving day. The 23 life that he has given, is supported by his care; and the same hand

that formed the body, nourishes and clothes it. Let us then cast

all our care on him, as being persuaded that he careth for us; 32(1 Pet. v. 7.) Feeble as his little flock is, it is the Father's good

pleasure to give us the kingdom ; and we are unworthy our share in so glorious a hope, if we cannot trust him for inferior blessings, and refer it to him to judge, in what manner our present wants are

to be supplied. 30

Let the heathens abandon themselves to these low anxieties; but as for us, let us thank God, and take courage, opening our 33 hearts wide to every sentiment of faith in God, and charity to

men ; and while we have this inexhaustible bank to draw upon, let us be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, so laying up in store for ourselves a good foundation against

the time to come, that we may lay hold on eternal life! (1 Tim. vi. 34 18, 19.) the very hope and expectation of which, if our heart

be set upon it, will give us incomparably sweeter delight than the securest possessions of this empty world, and the most ample magazines of its richest stores.

SECT. CXIV.

Christ exhorts his disciples to watchfulness and fidelity, in expectation

of his coming, and of the final account to be given for all their advantages. Luke XII. 55—48.

SECT.

Luke XII. 35.

LUKE XII. 35. Oul

UR Lord having thus exhorted his disciples. LET your loins be cxiy. to a due moderation as to their worldly pos- your lights burning;

girded about, and sessions, proceeded to press upon them a serious X11. 35. preparation for their final remove from earth, and

for the awful solemnities of death, judgment and
eternitya. He therefore went on to say, Con-
sider yourselves always as servants, who have a

Master

Luke

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stroyed by the Romans, particularly found a little below in note f, though I am senit so.

sible the generality of readers would rather a A serious preparation for-death, judg- bave expected an apology, if I had gone ment, and eternity.) I shall give the about to interpret it otherwise. reason of my interpreting this passage thus

Let

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