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not only threatened to be a swift witness against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, but hath strictly forbidden the detaining of their wages. The Jews were commanded to make payment before the sun-set*, Deut. xxiv. 14, 15. Levit. xix. 30. Be juft in all your dealings and contracts, or never expect the righteous God Ghould smile upon your undertakings.
(4.) Falsehood and lying is a blasting fin to our employments; a fin which tends to destroy all converse, and disband all civil focieties. And though by falsehood men may get some present advantages, yet here what the Holy Ghost faith of riches gotten this way: “The “ getting of riches by a lying tongue, is a vanity toffed to and fro of " them that feek death," Prov. xxi. 6. Some trade in lies as much as in wares; yea, they trade off their wares with lies. And this proves a gainful trade (as lome men count gain) for the present; but, in reality, it is the most unprofitable trade that any man can drive. For it is but the toffing of a vanity to and fro: a phrase importing labour in vain, it profits nothing in the end, and as it profits nothing, fo it hurts much : they seek profit intentionally, but death eventually; i. e. it will bring destruction and ruin, not only upon our trades, but our souls. The God of truth will not long prosper the way of lying; one penny gotten by a laborious hand is better than great treafures gotten by a lying tongue : take heed you seek not death in seeking an estate this way. It is a fin destructive to fociety; for there is no trade where there is no trust, nor no trust where there is no truth; and yet this cursed trade of lying creeps into all trades, as if there were no living (as ope (peaks) without lying: but sure it is better for you to be lofers than liars. He fells a dear bargain indeed that sells his confcience with his commodity.
(5.) Perjury, or false fwearing, is a blasting fin. The man cannot prosper that lies under the guilt thereof. It is faid, Mal. iii. 5. " That
God will be a fwift witness against the false fwearer, i. e. it shall not be long before God by one remarkable stroke of judgment or another witness against so great and horrid an evil. And again, Zech. v. 4. the curse, yea, the roll of curses, “ shall enter into “ the house of the false swearer, and shall remain in the midst of his « house, and shall consume it, with the timber thereof, and the stones " thereof.” This is a fin that hatb laid many houses waste, even great and fair, without inhabitant. The ruins of many that were once flourishing, and great men are at tbis day left to be the lasting monuments of God's righteous judgments, and dreadful warnings to pofterity.
And thus I have shewed you what are those common evils in trade, which are the causes of those blasts and disappointments upon it. It now remains that we apply it.
Inference 1. Doth God sometimes disappoint the most diligent la
* He does not make good payment who does not pay in due time.
bours of men in their lawful callings? Then this teacheth you patience and submission under your crosses and disappointments; for it is the Lord that orders it to be so. Events are in his hand, and it is a fin of great aggravation to fret and murmur at them when they fall out cross to your desires and hopes. « Behold, is it not of the Lord “ of hosts, that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the peo“ ple thall, weary themselves for very vanity ?” Hab. ii, 13.
To labour in the very fire, notes intense labour, such as exhausts the very fpirits of men whilst they are fweltering and toiling at it; and yet all is to no purpose, they labour but for vanity: and whence is it that such vigorous endeavours are blasted, and miscarry? Is it not of the Lord ? And if it be of the Lord, why do we fret and quarrel at his disposals? Indeed, many dare not opeply and directly charge God, but seek to cover their discontent at providence, by a groundless quarrel with the instruments, who, it may be, are chargeable with notbing; but that after they have done all they could, in the use of proper means, they did not also secure the event. It is true, the dominion of providence doth not excuse the negligence of inftruments; and, in many cases, these may be juftly reproved, when providence is duly honoured and submitted to : But when men groundlessly quarrel with instruments, because they are crossed in their expectations, the quarrel is commenced against God himself; and our discontents with men are but a covert for our discontents with God.
Now this is a fore evil, a fin of great and dreadful aggravations. • To be given over (faith a grave * author) to a contradicting spirit, • to dispute against any part of the will of God, is one of the greatest • plagues that a man can be given up to.' « Who art thou that re“ pliest against God?” Rom. ix. 20. It may be thou hast loft an eftate, thy friends tail, thy hopes are fallen; God hath blown upon all the projects that thy heart did fancy to itfelf. Possibly in one day, the designs, labours, and hopes of many years are destroyed : Well, be it so, yet repine not against the Lord. Consider, he is the Sovereign, and only Lord, who may do whatever he pleaseth to do without giving thee any account of his matters. Who can say to him, What doft thou ? Beside, if thou be one that God delights in, even thefe disappointments are to be numbered with thy best mercies. These things are permitted to perish, that thou mayest not perish for ever; and it should trouble thee no more than when thy life is preferved by casting out the wares and goods of the ship. It is better that these perish than that thou shouldst perisha ; but if thou be one that mingled fin (especially such as were before mentioned) with thy trade, and fo hast pulled down mifery upon thine own head, by provoking the Lord against thee : With what face canst thou open thy mouth to complain against him ? Will you lay a train to blow up
• Mr Stroog, of the will of God, p. 242.
all your success, and then fret againt God, when you see the iffue ? O how unreasonable is this !
But because disappointments fall out so frequently, and it is so hard to bring our hearts to a quiet submission to the will of God urder them, I will not dismiss this point until I have offered you fome proper and weighty considerations to work your hearts into a calm and meek submillion to the will of God; and I fall account it a great mercy, if they may prevail.
Consideration 1. And, in the first place, if thou be one that fearest God, consider, that disappointments in earthly things fix no mark of God's hatred upon thee. He may love thee, and yet cross thee, Eccl. ix. 1, 2. “No man knows either love or hatred by all the things that « are before him. All things come alike to all; there is one event “ to the righteous, and to the wicked.” Yea, we often find success and prosperity following the wicked, whilst the rod of God is, upon the tabernacles of the righteous. “ These are the ungodly that prof“ per in the world, (saith the Psalmist) whilst in the mean time he “ was plagued all the day long, and chaftened every morning," Pfal. Ixxiii. 12, 14. Well then, if you have no other ground than this, you cannot infer the want of love, from the want of success. A man may be prospered in wrath, and crossed in mercy.
Confideration 2. And what though your projects, hopes, and expec tations of enlarging your eftates fail; yet you may live as happily and comfortably in the condition you are, (if God give you a heart suitable to it) as if you had enjoyed all that success you so fancied and de fired.
It is not the increase of an estate, but the blessing of God upon a competency, that makes our condition comfortable to us. As the estate enlarges, fo doth the heart. The prophet Habakkuk, speaking of the Chaldean prince, Hab. ii. 6. faith, “ He keeps not at “ home, he enlarges his defire as hell, and is as death, and cannot so be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto “ him all people.” And this is the nature of every man's heart, to enlarge its desire and the greatest enlargements of providence. Still the heart is projecting for some further comfort and content, in fome new acquisition; when, indeed, a man is as near it in a lower condition as in the highest exaltation.
It is storied of Pyrrhus*, king of Epirus, that having enlarged his dominions by the conquest of Macedonia, he thirfted after Italy ; and demanding the advice of Cineas, his great counsellor, he asked the king what he meant to do when he had conquered Italy? Why then, faid he) I mean to get Sicily, which is near, rich, and powerful. When you have gotten Sicily, (said Cineas) What then? Afric, said the king, is not far off, and there be many goodly kingdoms, which by my fame, and the valour of my soldiers, I may subdue. Be it so, faid Cineas: When you have Afric, and all in it, what will you do then ? Why then, said the king, thou and I will be merry, and make good cheer. Cineas replied, Sir, if this be the end you aim at, what Deed you venture your kingdom, person, and honour, to purchase what you have already ? Surely Epirus and Macedonia are fufficient to make you and me merry;
* Plutarcb in Pyrrho.
you all the world, you could not be more merry
you may now be. Reader, I advise thee, under all disappointments of thy expectations, to bless God for any comfortable enjoyment thou halt. If God give thee a smaller 'estate, and a contented beart, it is as well, yea, better than if thou hadft enjoyed thy defire. The bee makes a sweeter meal upon two or three flowers, than the ox that hath so many mountains to graze upon.
Confideration 3. And what if by these disappointments, God be care rying on the great design of his eternal love upon thy soul? This may be the design of these providences ; and if 10, sure there is no cause for thy despondencies. There is a double aim of these providences ; sometimes they are sent to awaken and rouze the dull decayed habits of grace, which under prosperous providerces fall asleep by the intermiffion of acts, and remiffion of wonted vigour and activity? And should the Lord permit things to run on at this rate, what a deplorable case would this grow to ? • Let a man live (faith * one) • but two or three years without affliction, and he is almost good for • nothing; he cannot pray, nor meditate, nor keep his heart
fixed upon spiritual things : But let God smite him in his health,
child, or estate ; now he can find his tongue and affections again; • now he awakes and falls to his duty in earnest ; now God hath « twice as much honour from him as he had before. Now, faith • God, his amendment pleaseth me; this rod was well bestowed : I
have disappointed him to his great benefit and advantage. And thus « God chides himself friends with his people again.'
And sometimes they prove the blessed occafions to work grace. “If « they be bound in fetters, and holden in cords of affliction, then “ he lheweth them their works, and their transgression that they “ have exceeded : He openeth also their ear to discipline, and com“ mandeth that they return from iniquity,” Job xxxvi. 8, 9, 10.
And if this be the fruit of it, you will bless God through eternity for these happy disappointments. Then these things perished, that thy soul might not perish.
Confideration 4. Be patient under disappointments; for if you meekly submit, and quietly wait upon God, he can quickly repair all that you have lost, and restore it by other providences double to you. Have you not heard, after all Job's deprivations, and the frultrations of all his earthly hopes, and his admirable patience under all,
• Mr Steel.
what a gracious end the Lord made with him ? And why may not
He hath looked for fruit (as it is, Ifa. v. 4.) for obedience, reformation, and renewed care of duty from you many times ; he promifed himself, and made account of a good return of his afflictions and mercies, and you promised him as much, and yet have failed his expectation : And is it then strange that you thould fail of your hopes, who have failed God so often?
O then see that you are quiet in the will of God; fret not at the defeating of your hopes, wreak not your discontent upon innocent inftruments, but look to the just and holy, and good will of God in all things. The wife is sometimes angry with the servant for what he hath done, till he tells her that it was his master's order, and then she is quiet.
Has a ship mifcarried, is a voyage loft, a relation dead, an estate gone, a friend carried into captivity, whose return was expected with so much delight and comfort ? why, if it be fo, it is the Lord hath done it, and be thou filent before him. Your repining will not make it better; fin is no proper cure for affliction. A quiet and fubmiffive spirit is well-pleasing to God, as well as profitable for you.
Inference 2. Doth God fometimes disappoint the expectations of men in their employments ? then never let your bearts immoderately upon earthly things, nor raise up to yourselves too great expectations from these things. The stronger your expectations, the hea vier God's disappointments will be.
There is a double evil in over-reckoning ourselves, and over-acting our confidence about worldly things : it provokes God to disappoint us, and then makes the disappointment much more grievous when it comes.
It provokes a disappointment, especially to the godly. The Lord is jealous of their affections, and will not endure that any thing should be a co-rival, or competitor with him for their hearts : yea, it is so usual with God to dash and remove whatever engroffes too much of the heart, that a gracious foul cannot but reckon that comfort in great danger to be loft, which he finds to be overloved.
If David fet his heart upon Abfalom, God will not only smite him, but fmite David by him, and make him first the instrument of his fora row, and then the object of it. Jonah did but take a little too much comfort in his gourd, and you know the next news we hear is, that God had prepared a worm to smite it, and cause it to wither away.