« PreviousContinue »
body,-- whether it is good, or whether it is bad.
Can any one doubt but the moft in. considerate of men sometimes sit down coolly, and make some fuch plain reflections as these upon their state and condition, or, that after they have made them, can one imagine, they lose all effect.--As little appearance as there is of religion in the world, there is a great deal of its influence felt, in its affairs, nor can one fo root out the principles of it, but like nature they will return again and give checks and interruptions to guilty pursuits. There are seasons, when the thought of a juft God overlooking, and the terror of an after reckoning has made the most determined tremble, and stop short in the execution of a wicked purpose ; and if we conceive that the worft of men lay some restraints upon themselves from the weight of this prin*ciple, what shall we think of the good and virtuous part of the world, who live under the perpetual influence of it, --who facrifice their appetites and passions from conscience of their duty to
God; and consider him as the object to whom they have dedicated their fervice, and make that the first principle, and ultimate end of all their actions. How ma. ny real and unaffected instances there are in this world, of men, thus governed, will not so much concern us to enquire, as to take care that we are of the number, which may God grant for the sake of Jesus Christ, Amen.
TIME and CHANCE,
ECCLESIASTES ix. 11.
I returned and saw under the sun, that the
race is not to the swift, - nor the battle to the strong, ---neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor get favour to men of kill, but time and chance happenetb to them all.
WHEN a man cafts a look upon this
melancholy description of the world, and fees contrary to all his guesses and expectations, what different fates at tend the lives of men,how oft it happens in the world, that there is not even bread to the wife, nor riches to men of understanding, &c.—he is apt to con
clude with a ligh upon it in the words, -tho' not in the sense of the wise man, that time and chance happeneth to them all. That time and chance, apt seasons and fit conjunctures have the greatest fway, in the turns and disposals of mens fortunes. And that, as these lucky hits, (as they are called) happen to be for, or against a man, —they either
--they either open the way to his advancement against all obftacles, or block it up against all helps and attempts. That as the text intimates, neither wisdom, nor understanding, nor skill shall be able to surmount them..
However widely we may differ in our reasonings upon this observation of Solo-mon's, the authority of the observation is strong beyond doubt, and the evidence given of it in all ages fo alternately confirmed by examples and complaints, as to leave the fact itself unquestionable. That things are carried on in this world, fome, times so contrary to all our reasonings, and the seeming probabilities of success, that even the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong---nay, what is ftranger still, - nor yet bread to the wife,