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lific Warmth of the Sun ; that fix'd the Ordinances of Heaven, and let the Dominion thereof in the Earth ? Did not the firft Principles of Nature, the Seeds of all Fruits, and Plants, and Herbs fpring from him ? Doth not He continue to visit the Earth with his Goodness, and enrich it with Rivers which are full of Water, to foften its Furrows with the Drops of Rain, and to bless it with the Encrease of Plenty? Weak and ridiculous would be our Attempts to bring forth Food from the Earth, unless the Almighty was to succour our Endeavours ; we could not form the Seeds, if the Planc itself should once cease to yield them, nor cherish them with vital Heat, if the Sun should withdraw its shining ; we could not of ourselves call down Fatness from the Clouds of Heaven, nor cause the Bud of the tender Herb to spring forth ; so far are we from any Ability to produce them, that we are perfe&ly ignorant of the Nature of the Production the most common Blade of Grafs puzzles our nicest Enquiries ; and however some second Causes do not escape our UnderVOL I.
standing, certain it is, that the Nature of these Causes we can never find, and the Methods of their Operations are utterly out of our Sight : All our Business is to make use of the best Means that Experience has taught us, for a plentiful Produce, but we must depend on God for the Success of them ; we may plant and water, but God alone giveth the Encrease. Let him therefore who casteth his Seed upon the Ground, with modest Dependance upon the good Providence of the Almighty, sleep and rise Night and Day, his Seed will nevertheless spring up he knows not how; the Earth will bring forth Fruit of itself, first the Blade, then the Ear, then the full Corn in the Ear ; and when the Corn is thus brought forth, thus ripened, then let bim with joyful Thankfulness put in his Sickle, because the Harvest is come. And this brings me naturally to consider the Second Head of this Discourse ; viz. the Tempers of Mind which these Reflections ought regularly to raise up in us.
1/1, THEN, Doch God alone crown the Year with his Goodness? ought not
we in continual Thankfulness to look up to Him on whom we depend for our daily Bread, and use those Blessings to his Glory, by which He largely provides for our Happiness ? Every Meal we feed upon is an Entertainment sent from Heaven ; and to abuse the Riches of God's Goodness is ungrateful : Luxury and Wantonness, Riots and Intemperances in the Use of this Bounty are the highest Indignities we can offer to the Almighty, who is a God of Purity and Holiness; a chearful Singleness of Heart, a thankful Enjoyment of whatever is given, and a modest Dependance upon Him for the Continuance of well-accepted Favours, are the Tempers of Mind which God's Benefactions ought to inspire. But moreover, the Largeness of the Provision which is here made for us, ought to carry up our Thoughts higher than the perishing Food of this Life : We are at present only upon our Journey, Strangers and Pilgrims upon Earth, hastening towards our native Country, and if the Providence of God hath made our Accommodations upon this Road of Sorrow
in this Vale of Misery thus bountiful, comfortable and delightful, how much more shall we enjoy the Abundance of his Loving kindness, and the Riches of his Goodness, when we have arrived at those joyful Mansions of Eternity prepared for us in the highest Heavens ? These Thoughts will teach us the truc Use of the good Things of this Life, Thankfulness in receiving, and Modesty in using them, and will particularly serve to excite that second Temper of Mind which I shall choose to insist upon, name. ly Charity.
The Almighty, who is so liberal a Disposer of the good Things of this Life, certainly never intended to confine the abundant Encrease of vast Poslesions to the sole Enjoyment of one Person, and exclude several others from the comfortable Supports of Nature, His Bleffings are in common, and a free Communication of them is entirely expected from us.
The Division of the World into Rich and Poor is highly providenţial, and several Gospel-Duties are grafted upon the Relation of them to one
another, another, but none is so much infifted upon as that of Charity : The Products of the Fruit of the Earth arise yearly, wherefore then should the rich Mammonist busy himself in laying up Fruits for many Years; is not this a Diftrust of God's Providence to ourselves, and an unjuft Encroachment upon what is our Neighbour's ? Whatever exceeds the Measure of our own comfortable Subfistence, and the necessary Provision for our Families, becomes due to the Poor, who are deftitute of the Blessings which we so largely enjoy ; for the Riches of God's Goodness are not to be hoarded up, but we ought to imitate the Almighty Benefactor, in freely and liberally difpensing the Overflowings of God's Bleffings among our neceffitous Brethren, and imparting those Comforts to others, which we abound in the Possession of; and this Enlargement of our Souls will be a much greater Security to us for the Countenance of those Blesfings, than the Enlargement of our Barns : He that trufts in the Multitude of his Riches, depends upon a Treasure where Ruft and