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who should last stand in want of it-nor yet riches to men of understanding, who you would think best qualified to acquire them,-nor yet favour to men of skill, whose merit and pretences bid the fairest for it, but that there are some secret and unseen workings in human affairs, which baffle all our endeavours, and turn aside the course of things in such a manner, that the most likely causes difappoint and fail of producing for us the effects which we wished and naturally expected from them. You will see a man, of whoni, was you to form a conjecture from the appearances of things in his favour, -you would say was fetting out in the world, with the fairelt prospect of making his fortune in it ;--- with all the advantages of birth to recommend him,- of personal merit to speak for him,
and of friends to help and push him forwards : you will behold him, not: withstanding this, disappointed in every effect you might naturally have looked for, from them;
every step he takes towards his advancement, something invifible should pull him back,csome unforeseen obstacle shall rise up perpetually VOL. II.
in his way, and keep there.--In every application he makes, some untoward circumstance shall blaft He shall rite early,-late take reft,--and eat the bread of carefulness, yet some happier man shall still rise up, and ever step in before him, and leave him struggling to the end of his life, in the very same placé, in which he first begun it.
The history of a second, thall in all respects be the contrast to this. He shall come into the world, with the most unpromising appearance, shall set forwards without fortune,---without friends,--, without talents to procure him either the one or the other. Nevertheless, you will see this clouded prospect brighten - up in sensibly, unaccountably before him; every thing presented in his way, shall turn out beyond his expectations, in spight of that chain of unsurmountable difficulties which firft threatened him, time and chance shall open him a way, feries of successful occurrences shall lead him by the hand to the summit of honour and fortune, and in a word, without
giving him the pains of thinking, or the credit of projecting it, shall place him in safe poffeflion of all that ambition could with for.
The histories of the lives and fortunes of men are full of instances of this-nature, where favourable times and lucky accidents have done for them, what wirdom or skill could not : and there is scarce any one who has lived long in the world, who upon looking backwards will not difcover such a mixture of these in the
many successful turns which have happened in his life, as to leave him very little reason to dispute against the fact, and I should hope, as little upon the conclusions to be drawn from it. Some, indeed from a fuperficial view of this representation of things, have atheistically inferred,--that because there was so much of lottery in this life,--and mere casualty seemed to have such a share in the disposal of our affairs, that the providence of God stood neuter and unconcerned in their several workings, leaving them to the mercy of time and chance, to be furthered or difapppointed as such blind agents directed.
Whereas in truth the very opposite conclusion follows. For consider, if a superior intelligent power did not fometimes cross and over-rule events in this world, then our policies and designs in it, would always answer according to the wisdom and stratagem in which they were laid, and every cause, in the course of things, would produce its natural effect without variation. Now, as this is not the case, it necessarily follows from Solomon's reasoning, that, if the race is not to the swift, if knowledge and learning do not always secure men from want,--nor care and industry always make men rich, -nor art and skill infallibly raise men high in the world ; tamthat there is some other cause which mingles itself in human affairs, and governs and turns them as it pleases; which cause can be no other than the first cause of all things, and the fecret and over-ruling providence of that Almighty God, who though his dwelling is so high, yet humbleth himself to behold the things that are done in earth, raising up the poor out of the dust, and lifting the beggar from the dunghill, and contrary to all hopes, setting him with
princes, even with the princes of his people; which by the way, was the cale of David, who makes the acknowledgment! And no doubt--one reason, why God has selected to his own disposal, so many instances of this, where events have run counter to all probabilities, -was to give testimony to his providence in governing the world, and to engage us to a consideration and dependence upon it, for the event and success of all our undertakings * For undoubtedly-as I said, -it should · seem but suitable to nature's law, that the race should ever be to the swift, and the battle to the strong; it is reasonable that the best contrivances and means should have best success -- and since it often falls out otherwise in the case of man, where the wiseft projects are overthrown,--and the ·most hopeful means are blasted, and time and chance happen to all ;- Yoù niust call in the deity to untye this knot, -for though at sundry times--sundry events fall out, which we who look no further than the events themselvs, call chance, because they fall out quite contrary both
Vid. Tillotson's sermon on this subject,