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of the former it is not the Business of this Place to deliver ; but to limit and perfect them by the Dictates of the latter : that we may neither endeavour to secure ourselves by acting wrong, nor doubt of Support in acting right. We are apt to look on Religion, very injuriously, as only prescribing disagreeable Duties; whereas it suggests the kindest Advice, and fuperadds the most comfortable Promises: which cannot be done more completely, in the great Point of moderating Fear and Uneasiness, than it is in the Text : where we have ..
I. A friendly Caution ; Be careful for nothing · II. A most necessary Direction: But in every thing by Prayer and Supplication, with Thankfgiving, let your Requests be made known unto God. · III. An Assurance of the happy Effect, which this Conduct will produce : And the Peace of God, which passeth all Understanding, shall keep your Hearts and Minds, through Chrift
Î. A friendly Caution: Be careful for noa thing : Words, which neither common Reaa fon allows us to take in their utmost Extent; nor Scripture itself. For it every-where demands from us the most earnest Care about the Things of another World : and enjoins, quite as often as it needed, a moderate Care about the Affairs of This. Being careful therefore must mean, in the Passage which I have cead to you, as an Expression mighty little varied from it, being full of Care, doth for the most part, in our daily Speech; not a discreet and rational, but a difquieting and tormenting Solicitude : and that principally, not concerning our Behaviour, which is the only Thing in our Power ; but the Event, which is often intirely out of it. This the Original Greek Phrase elsewhere usually signifies, though not always. In the Sixth of St. Matthew it is many times rendered, Take no Thought. But there also we must remember, that only what is immoderate was intended to be forbidden : which, it had been happy, if our Translation had more determinately expressed.
Thoughtfulness concerning our Deportment, our Welfare, that of others, and the Public, so far as it will really bę of Use, is a Duty of indispensable Obligation. And first acting at random, then turning our Eyes from the evil Day, when we see it coming, instead of considering how we may avert it, or make the best Provision against it, will prove the furest Way to bring it on with its blackest Horrors. But the contrary Extreme, Anxiety, is both a miserable Feeling in itself, and the Parent of many farther Mischiefs, without any Mixture of Good. It represents every Object of Terror as vastly greater than it is in Truth : and frequently gives far more Pain beforehand, than the Presence of all that we fear, is capable of giving. Nay, it makes us tremble at mere Spectres : and fills us with the most alarming Suspicions, sometimes of what cannot happen, often of what is highly improbable. And yet, were it ever so likely, excessive Dread will do nothing towards preserving us from it. Calm Reflexion will instruct and excite us to do every thing for ourselves, which we are able to do: and the utmost Agonies of. Disquiet can never carry us beyond our Abilities. Indeed very commonly vehement Emotions either hinder us from seeing what is fit, or disqualify us from performing it: nay,
hurry us into what is very unfit, and prejudi-
* Prov. xxvii. I.
+ Matt. vi. 34.
that appears at this Instant likely to fall out, or wise to do, may possibly in the next appear quite otherwise ; we ought studiously to moderate both our Actions and our Passions, by recollecting the Mutability of the World: which would save us a vast deal of fruitless Labour and needless Misery. We every one of us think the Sorrows of Life abundantly enough: why then should we multiply them by long Anticipations; and load ourselves at once with Misfortunes present and to come, unmindful of our gracious Lord's important Maxim : Sufficient unto the Day is the Evil thereof* ? Had our Maker framed the human Mind in such manner, that we muft have been always forecasting grievous Things I, and suffering every Hour, in Thought, all that through a Course of Years we are to suffer in Reality, and much more; we fhould certainly have looked on it as very hard Usage. Why then will we bring ourselves into a State, in which if God had placed us, we should have complained of him, as cruel ? He hath mercifully hid future Events froin us, left the Foresight of them should make
** Matt. vi. 34.'
9 Wisd. xvii, 13.