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and powerful alliances, and encouraged by the success of their former plans and exertions, the conclusion follows; "To-morrow shall be as this day, and much "more abundant." "Their inward thought is, that "their houses shall continue forever, and their dwell"ing-places to all generations: they call their land "after their own name." "He saith in his heart, "I shall never be moved: for I shall never be in ad"versity." Hear the man whose ground brought *forth plentifully; "Soul thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink and "be merry." When did not prosperity promote carnal security and presumptuous confidence? Of Moab God complains, "Thou hast trusted in thy works "and in thy treasures." "Jeshurun waxed fat, and "kicked. Then he forsook God which made him, "and lightly estimated the rock of his salvation."
For this is not the case with the people of the world only; even the godly are in danger of the same evil. David is an example. Though he had passed through very trying scenes, the ease which succeeded seems to have abolished the memory of them, and by continued indulgence his hopes became earthly and rash; "In my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.” Good Hezekiah furnishes another instance. He had been recovered from sickness, delivered from invasion, and enriched by presents; "But Hezekiah rendered "not again according to the benefit done unto him; "for his heart was lifted up;" his greatness elated him. He gloried in his abundance, and vainly exposed the treasures of his palace; to the ambassadors of Babylon he shewed his nest, and they told Nebu
chadnezzar their master, who returned and took it. It is the very image under which this plunderer speaks of his pillage; "By the strength of my hand "i have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am pru"dent and I have removed the bounds of the peo"ple, and have robbed their treasures; and my hand "hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and
as one gathered eggs that are left, have I gathered "all the earth; and there was none that moved the "wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped." And this brings us.
IV. To observe in these words something very FALSE and VAIN; "Then I said, I shall die in my "nest!" Ah, Job!" Boast not thyself of to-morrow, "for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." "While you speak, the storm is rising which will "shake down your nest, and lodge its contents upon "the dung-hill." In a few hours you will be deprived of all; one messenger shall announce the loss of your cattle; another the destruction of your servants; a third the death of your children. You will feel your health converted into loathsomeness and disease; and you will sit amongst the ashes, and take a potsherd to scrape yourself withal. And while your head is bare to the pelting of the pitiless storm, your friends will come around you, and read you lectures upon hypoc risy, and insinuate that the sins in which you have pri vately indulged have at last found you out. Miserable comforters! And you, alas! how changed your voice! You will say in the bitterness of your soul,
"I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I "quiet, yet trouble came."
So ignorant are we of futurity; so erroneous are we in our calculations; so liable are we to mortifying vicissitudes!" The inhabitants of Maroth waited carefully for good, but evil came down from the Lord' "unto the gate of Jerusalem." "Behold," says Hezekiah, "for peace I had great bitterness." "We "looked for peace," says the Church, "but no good "came; and for a time of health, and behold trou"ble." Indeed whatever engages our affection may become a source of sorrow; whatever excites our hope may prove the means of disappointment. Such is the hard condition upon which we take all our earthly comforts.
Are we secure from disappointment with regard to LIFE? This is the tenure by which we hold all our possessions, and nothing can be more uncertain. "For "man also knoweth not his time; as the fishes that 66 are taken in an evil net, and the birds that are 66 caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared "in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon "them." "Go to now, ye that say, To-day or to"morrow we will go into such a city, and continue "there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain where"as ye know not what shall be on the morrow. "For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that 66 appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.'
Are we secure from disappointment in our HEALTH? This blessing is necessary to our relishing every other enjoyment; but how precarious is the
continuance of it! Upon how many delicate and com bined causes does it depend! How easily may some of them be deranged! Are we ever safe from those accidents which may strike, or those diseases which may invade us? How many have been compelled by pain and indisposition to drop an enterprise which they had undertaken, a journey which they had begun!
Are we secure from disappointment with regard to CHILDREN? The forebodings of the parental mind are fond and flattering; but, Oh! how unanswerable to eager expectation have events often proved! "This "same shall comfort us" has been said of many at child who has been dismembered or sickly in body, beclouded in understanding, vitious and disorderly in life, embarrassed and miserable in circumstances. The father had looked forward, and promised himself an entertaining companion; and behold the care and the expense of fourteen years carried down to the grave! See Rachel; she has been laying aside the little garments her busy hands had wrought, and putting out of sight the toys which lately charmed the desire of her eyes; and " and "weeping for her children, refuses to be "comforted because they are not."
Are we secure from disappointment with regard to FRIENDSHIP? How many of our connections have dropped us already, and by their painful defections have called upon us to cease from man. How small is the number of true sterling friends, who will abide the day of trial! Some of those who are now fawning would not, if a change of circumstances occured, even know us. They leave the garden in winter, there is nothing to gather. The flower which they
placed in their bosom, as soon as it has exhaled its perfume, they throw withered into the dirt. Of what use is the scaffolding when the building is finished. It is laid by out of sight. "My brethren," says the renowned sufferer, "have dealt deceitfully as a brook, "and as the stream of brooks they pass away; what "time they wax warm they vanish; when it is hot "they are consumed out of their place."
Are we secure from disappointment with regard to PROPERTY? Where can you safely lay up treasure upon earth? Water inundates, flames devour, moth and rust corrupt, thieves break through and steal. Riches make to themselves wings and flee away. Appearances may be favourable, plans may be well laid, every assistance necessary to success may be procured; but "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 yet favour to "men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to "them all." "Money is a defence," and hence it is so anxiously desired, so universally pursued; but how many have fallen from the highest affluence into the depths of indigence, and have had their necessities embittered by the recollection of the plenty which once made their cup to run over. "Wo to him that cov❝eteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may "set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil!" "Though thou exalt thyself as "the eagle, and though thou set thy nest amongst the "stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord."
Let us conclude by observing, that it would be an abuse of this part of our subject, were you to suppose GG g