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4. Supreme love to the world is inconsistent with love to beaven. While men set their supreme affections upon things below, they cannot place them on things above. Hence our Lord says, “ Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earthfor where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
I must add,
5. That supreme love to the world, prepares men for future and eternal misery. They must be completely wretched, when the object of their supreme love is totally removed. And this will be the case with those who love the world, as soon as they are called from it. This our Saviour illustrated by the fate of the rich man, in the parable, whose soul was required of him, and by that of Dives, who was buried and went to hell.
HEADS OF IMPRROVEMENT. 1. If worldly-mindedness essentially consists in supreme * love to the world, then we have reason to think, that this is a very prevailing sin. It seems to be a common opinion, that none but rich and prosperous persons are really worldly-minded. But this subject shows us, that a worldly spirit may reign in the hearts of men, let their outward condition be what it will. This spirit may reign in the poor as well as the rich ; in the low as well as the high; in the ignorant as well as the learned ; in the aged as well as the young; in the moral as well as in the profligale.
2. If a worldly spirit be fatal to the souls of men, then all sinners are in great danger of destruction. This spirit reigns constantly in their hearts; while all the objects of sense cherislı and strengthen it. So that the heavens and the earih, their possessions and employments, their relations and connections, are all leagued against them, and unite their influence to lead them in the broad path to ruin. The world stands between them and all instructions and admonitions and all the enjoy. ments of heaven. How then can the worldly-minded be saved? It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.
3. If a worldly spirit will destroy sinners; then moral sinners stand in peculiar danger of destruction. They are prone to depend upon their morality, and even their worldly employments and usefulness, and think themselves clean escaped from the pollutions and dangers of the world. But
4. If a worldly spirit be fatal to the souls of men, then it is more important for parents to teach their children to renounce the love of the world, than how to gain the possession of it.
They ought, indeed, to teach them how to live-but rather how to live above the world.
5. If it is love to the world which prevents loving God and all other beings properly, then we learn in wbat the whole inability of sinners as to being saved, consists. They often complain of inability ; but it all consists in their love to the world.
This was the inability of the young man-of those who were invited to the marriage-feast-and this is the inability of all who now enjoy the offers of the gospel. Hence Christ put that solemn, pointed question, “ What is a man profited, if he sball gain the wbole world, and lose his own soul?"
6. This subject calls upon all to inquire, whether they serve God, or mammon ? Here then let it be asked, what do you propose to yourselves in getting the world? The same as the man in the parable ? What duties do you perform with the greatest pleasure ! Those which respect this iife? or the other ?—Those by which you may lay up treasures on earth? or in heaven? What burdens you most ? The lore of the world,or the cares of the world ? What do your hearts most delight to dwell upon ? Treasures on earth, or in heaven?
Finally. Let saints be urged to keep themselves in the love of God; and sinners to renounce the love of the world. You now have your choice; but the season of choosing may soon and suddenly cease.
For the Hopkinsian Magazine.
God's PECULIAR CARE OF HIS PEOPLE.
II. To show why he takes such peculiar care of bis people in this world.
I. I am to describe God's peculiar care of his people here in this world.
God exercises a universal providence over all his creatures, in every part of his wide dominions. This providence he exercises according to certain fixed laws, and by his own immediate influence, without the concurrence or instrumentality of any subordinate agents. He upholds the whole material and immaterial creation in existence ; he causes the regular motions and revolutions of the heavenly bodies; and produces the regular succession of day and night, of summer and winter, and of seed time and harvest, by his own immediate and powerful operations. But in his special providence, he employs angels
and other subordinate agents to work his will and accomplisho liis wise and gracious purposes. Now, it is this special and peculiar care of his people that I propose to describe. And here it may be observed,
1. That his peculiar care of his people is constant, without the least intermission or interruption. He keeps his eye and his heart constantly fixed upon thein. He attends to all their external circumstances and internal feelings. He regards them in prosperity and adversity, in joy and sorrow, in hope and fear. He counts their tears, their sighs, and groaus; and as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth his people. He never leaves, nor forgets, nor forsakes them. Speaking of his vineyard, he declares, “I the Lord do keep it: I will water it every inoment : lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day." David says, “Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper; the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, mor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee froni evil: hc shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even forever more." And again he says, “ As the inountains are round about Jerusa- • lem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even forever.' Though the people of Gud sometimes take care of one another, yet their care is inconstant and necessarily interrupted, and though angels take care of the heirs of salvation, yet they are liable to be interrupted. But God is omniscient. He can see all things, with one intentive, comprehensive, and unintermitting view. He does, therefore, with infinite ease and intimito pleasure, take care of all his people, at all times and under all circumstances. This was intimated to Jacob by the continual intercourse between heaven and earth, and the continual ascending and descending of the angels upon the ladder which he saw. The constancy of God's care of his people, is a must consoling thought, and adapted to give them that trust and confidence in divine providence, which they constantly need to exercise.
2. God's care of his people is particular, as well as constant. Fle not only takes a coustant care of all his people, who are scattered over various parts of the earth; but he also takes a particular care of every individual person. Though some have denied the particularity of divine providence, and maintained only a general providence; we have abundant evidence, both from reason and scripture, that God does exercise a parlicular, as well as general providence. We cannot conceive it to be possible, that God should exercise a general providence, without a particular care of individuals. In order to preserve the whole of his people, he must preserve each individual, and in order to provide for the good of the whole, he must provide for the good of individuals, who compose that whole. But we have no occasion to reason upon this subject, because God has plainly revealed his particular providence in his word. David
believed that God took a particular care of him and of erery one of his people; and he expatiates upon the particularity of divine providence with peculiar pleasure and pertinence. " He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almigliiy. I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress ; my God; in him will I trust. Surely he sliall deliver ihee froin the snare of the fowler, and from the noisumc pestilence, ile shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor for the destruction that wasteth at noon-day. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee: only with thine eyes shalt thou behold, and see the reward of the wicked.” Our Saviour taught his disciples to derive consolation from the particularity of divine providence. “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing ! and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very bairs of your head are all nuinbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." Though there may be thousands and even millions of God's people on the earth at the same time, yet he takes a particular care of each individual, and as much care of each as if he attended to him alone. There is nothing incredible, though there be something astonishing in the universality and particularity of divine providence. For there is nothing so sinall as to escape the notice of an omniscient eye. God constantly sees all, and each individual of his people with equal plainness. And as he constantly sees each individual of his people, so he constantly takes particular care of every individual. be paid particular attention to the peculiar circumstances and to the particular feelings of Jacob. And he pays as particular attention to the circumstances and feelings of every one of the seed of Jacob.
3. God's care of his people is not only constant and particular but effectual. He does not stand a mere idle spectator of their circumstances, but exerts his own agency, and the agency of his creatures for their benefit. If they are in danger, he guards them ; if they are in distress, he relieves thein ; if they are in want, he supplies their wants; if they are sinking in despondency, he raises them up and comforts their hearts by his gracious influences. This effectual care was intimaled to Jacob in his dreams when he saw the angels ascending and descending on the ladder, which reached from heaven to earth. God thereby signified to him, that he would exert not only his own power, but the power and agency of angels for his gui. dance and protection. The scripture abounds with striking instances of God's effectual care of his people, both in general and in particular. He took effectual care of Abraham, while travelling from place to place, among strangers and enemies. He took effectual care of Isaac, when bound and laid upon the
altar, and exposed to instant death. He took effectual care of Moses, and employed proper agents to preserve his life, and train hin up for the most signal services. He commanded the ravens to feed Elijah, and restrained the lions from destroying Daniel. But his long and effectual care of Jacob deserves the most particular notice. When he was going to Padanaram, God appeared to him in a dream to comfort him. When he arrived to his friend's house, God took effectual care of his interest, and made him rich. When he was returning bome to his native place, exposed to eneinies behind and before him, God first sent his angels to guard him. We are told « Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said, this is God's host; and he called the name of the place Mahanaim." After this, be approached his brother Esau, who was coming to meet him with four hundred men, on purpose to wreak his vengeance upon him, for taking away his birth-right. Then God sent his Son, the the angel of the covenant, to protect him and melt the heart of Esau into love and tenderness. In the course of a few years another calamity fell upon Jacob. There was a famine in the land, and he and his family were exposed to perisb by it. But God sent Joseph bis darling son into Egypt to preserve him, his household, and a whole nation from famishing. Such eflectual care God took of Jacob through the whole course of his life. Nor did God neglect to take effectual care of his pog. terity. When a new king arose, who knew not Joseph, and subjected them to hard and cruel bondage, God sent Moses and Aarop to deliver them, and by a long series of miracles, carried them through hosts of enemies, and ten thousand dangers, to the land of promise. And so long as they continued his peculiar people, he never withheld from them his effectual care and protection. Though God has long since rejected the Jews, yet he still has a people in the world, of whom he takes effectual care at all times, in all places, and under all circumstances. Though they are now scattered over almost every part of the earth ; yet he employs angels and men, and a vast vari. ety of means for their protection and benefit. He keeps the whole creation in motion and action, and overturns nations and kingdoms for the enlargement and prosperity of his people. Though God does not now, as he formerly did, work miracles in his people's favor, yet be exerts as inuch power and wisdom, and employs as many angels and subordinate agents as he ever did, to increase their number, multiply their privileges and guard them against their visible and invisible enemies. Thus God's care of his people is as consta.t, as particular, as effectual, as they can possibly desire. He does as much himself, and employs others to do as much for their benefit as can be done. He challenges his people to say, what more he could do for them, though he continually does for them. He never forgets, forsakes or neglects them. He never omits. any opportunity, nor neglects any means of doing them good,