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in another case, that were there any doubt of a Providence, yet it certainly would be very
desirable there should be such a Being of infinite wisdom and goodness, on whose direction we might rely in the conduct of human life.
It is a great presumption to afcribe our successes to our own management, and not to esteem ourselves upon any blessing, rather, as it is the bounty of heaven, than the acquisition of our own prudence. I am very well pleased with a Medal which was ftruck by Queen Elizabeth, a little after the defeat of the invincible Armada, to perpetuate the memory of that extraordinary event. It is well known how the King of Spain, and others, who were the enemies of that great Princess, to derogate from her glory, ascribed the ruin of their fleet rather to the violence of storms and tempefts, than to the bravery of the English. Queen Elizabeth, instead of looking upon this as a diminution of her honour, valued herself upon such a signal favour of Providence, and accordingly in the reverse of the Medal above-mentioned has represented a fleet beaten by a tempest, and falling foul upon one another, with
that religious inscription, Aflavit Deus & dispantur. He blew with his wind, and they were scattered.
It is remarked of a famous Grecian General, whose name I cannot at present recollect, and who had been a particular favourite of fortune, that upon recounting his victories among his friends, he added at the end of several great actions, And in this Fortune had no Mare. After which it is observed in history, that he never prospered in any thing he undertook.
As arrogance, and a conceitedness of our own abilities, are very shocking and offensive to men of sense and virtue, we may be sure they are highly displeasing to that Being who delights in an humble mind, and by several of his dispensations feems purposely to show us, that our own schemes or prudence have no share in our advancements.
Since on this subject I have already admitted several quotations which have occurred to my memory upon writing this paper, I will conclude it with a little Perfian Fable. A drop of water fell out of a cloud into the sea, and finding itfelf lost in such an immensity of Auid matter,
broke out into the following reflexion : · Alas! What an infignificant creature
am I in this prodigious ocean of wa.
ters; my existence is of no concern ( to the universe, I am reduced to a kind • of nothing, and am less than the least • of the works of God.' It so happened that an Oifter which lay in the neighbourhood of this drop, chanced to gape and swallow it up in the midst of this its humble Soliloquy. The Drop, fays the fable, lay a great while hardening in the shell, 'till by degrees it was ripened into a pearl, which falling into the hands of a Diver, after a long series of adventures, is at present that famous pearl which is fixed on the top of the Perhian diadem.
Si fra&us illabatur orbis
AN, considered in himself, is
ry helpless and a very wretched Being. He is subject every moment to the greatest calamities and misfortunes. He is beset with dangers on all sides, and may become unhappy by numberless ca
sualties, which he could not foresee, nor have prevented, had he foreseen them.
It is our comfort, while we are obnoxious to so many accidents, that we are under the care of one who directs contingencies, and has in his hands the management of every thing that is
capable of annoying or offending us ; who knows the assistance we stand in need of, and is always ready to bestow it on those who ask it of him.
The natural homage, which such a creature bears to fo infinitely wise and good a Being, is a firm reliance on him for the blessings and conveniencies of life, and an habitual trust in him for deliverance out of all such dangers and difficulties as may befal us.
The Man, who always lives in this disposition of mind, has not the fame dark and melancholy views of human nature, as he who considers himself abstractedly from this relation to the Supreme Being. At the same time that he reflects upon his own weakness and imperfection, he comforts himself with the contemplation of those divine attributes, which are employed for his safety and his welfare. He finds his want of foresight made up by the Omniscience of him who is his support. He is not sensible of his own want of strength, when he knows that his helper is Almighty. In short, the person who has a firm trust on the Supreme Being is Powerful in his Power, Wise by his Wisdom, Happy by bis Happiness. He reaps the benefit of every Divine Attribute, and loses his own infufficiency in the fulness of infinite perfection.
To make our lives more easy to us, we are commanded to put our trust in him, who is thus able to relieve and fuccour US ;
the Divine Goodness having made such a reliance a duty, notwithstanding we should have been miserable had it been forbidden us.
Among several motives, which might be made use of to recommend this duty to us, I shall only take notice of those that follow.
The first and strongest is, that we are promised, he will not fail those who put
their trust in him. L' But without considering the fuperna
tural blessing which accompanies this duty, we may observe that it has a natural tendency to its own reward, or in