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SERMON I.

PHIL. IV. 6.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing, by Prayer and Supplication, with Thanksgiving, let your Requests be made known unto God.

HIS is the Philofophy that was taught by Chrift and his Apoftles, and ought to be learn'd and practis'd by all of us, if we would make good the Namë we give ourselves of being Chrift's Difciples. We should take no Thought for our Lives, as our Saviour expreffeth it, but in all Things depend upon the Divine Providence, without whom a Sparrow doth not fall to the Ground, and by whom the very Hairs of our Heads are number'd.

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We should caft all our Care upon him that careth for us, as the Apostle expreffes it; and be fo fatisfied with every thing that comes from his Hands, as to rejoice everinore, and in every thing to give Thanks, which is the Will of God concerning us.

We should not difcompofe our Minds either with tormenting Reflections upon our prefent Circumftances, or with Solicitude for what is to come: But leave the Government of the World to God, refer to him the Management both of the publick and our private Affairs; no further concerning ourselves about the Events of either, than only to do our own Duties in our Place and Station, and by hearty Prayer, and Supplications, and Thanksgivings, to recommend ourselves and all our Concerns to the Mercies of God. This, I fay, is the Christian Philofophy; and oh! what happy Lives fhould we all of us lead, if we lived up to it! What outward Condition could be made fo bad as to render us miferable! How many Anxieties, and Fears, and Difquietudes, fhould we be freed from,

which do imbitter oftentimes the most profperous Fortune! and what Eafe and Comfort fhould we find in the most calamitous! In our Prosperity we should rejoice in the Enjoyment of that Portion of good things which God had vouchfafed to us, and even in our heavieft Afflictions we fhould

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hould in Hope and Patience poffefs our own Souls.

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But, alas! tho' we call ourselves Chriftians, yet few of us do practise this Point of Chriftianity, or fo much as endeavour to do it: Where is our Indifference to the World, and our Dependence on God? Where is that Moderation of ours which St. Paul, in the Verfe before my Text, requires us to make known unto all Men; that Equanimity and Contentedness which we ought to exprefs in every Estate and Condition in which God hath placed us; that abfolute Refignation of our Souls to the Will of God? Alas! We are fo far from letting this be known unto all Men, that on the contrary we live in the World, and purfue our Defigns, as if there was no God that took care of Human Affairs, or from whom we were to expect either Rewards or Punifhments. Our Life is a perpetual Drudgery, our Heads are always full of Care and Thoughtfulness, anxioufly labouring for this or the other Thing, carrying on this or the other Project, without either looking up to God in the Choice of our Defigns, or depending upon him in the Management of them, or acquiefcing in the Success and Event that he gives them.

But fince we are thus affected, what Wonder is it that the most of us live miferable all our Days, fome ftarving in the mid of Plenty, others murmuring at their

low Condition, both Sorts difcontented at every thing, fearful of every thing, restless and impatient, and ever complaining? These are the natural Effects of Carefulness, without depending upon God.

Let us all therefore, if we mean either to live like Chriftians, or to enjoy a tolerable happy Life in this World; let us, I fay, charge ourfelves with the Practice of St. Pauls Advice in my Text, To be careful for nothing; but in every thing, by Prayer, and Supplication, and Thanksgiving, to make our Requests known unto God.

Be careful for nothing, that is the first Part of the Advice here given us; and of this Point I fhall treat at this Time: And that which I fhall now do, is to give an Account of this Precept or Advice, and with what Limitations and Restrictions it is to be understood: Indeed, if we do not rightly inform ourselves about this, we fhall make mad Work of it.

Some, when they hear it faid, Be careful for nothing, in general Terms, Take no Thought for your Lives, and the like, will be apt to draw very comfortable Doctrine from hence to themselves, in favour of their, idle diffolute Lives. This Advice fuits with their Humour as much as is poffible; for they matter not how little Care they take. All the Happiness they court in this World, is a Life free from Thoughtfulness and Bufinefs, and wholly employ'd

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