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The Only Proper Object of Solicitude

The Only Proper Object of Solicitude

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY Samuel Porter Williams


Philippians iv. 5, 6, 7»

Be careful for nothing : hut in every tiling, hy prayer and sup*
plication y with thanksgiving, let your requests he made known
unto God ; and tite peace of God, which passeth all under-
standing, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ
Jesus.
BY Samuel Porter Williams


Philippians iv. 5, 6, 7»

Be careful for nothing : hut in every tiling, hy prayer and sup*
plication y with thanksgiving, let your requests he made known
unto God ; and tite peace of God, which passeth all under-
standing, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ
Jesus.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 19, 2013
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THE OLY PROPER OBJECT OF SOLICITUDE BY Samuel Porter WilliamsPhilippians iv. 5, 6, 7» Be careful for nothing : hut in every tiling, hy prayer and sup* plication y with thanksgiving, let your requests he made known unto God ; and tite peace of God, which passeth all under- standing, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Distrust of God, lies at the foundation of all human sorrow. The world is full of crimmation and reproach. Wherever you go, you hear the voice of complaint. o community is free from it, whether it be the smallest — such as the family circle ; the largest — such as the nation ; or the intermediate clusters of men, in towns, villages, and states. Whoever, tlierefore, should have the happiness, by his wis- dom and benevolence, to devise a perfect remedy for the evil, would be justly pronounced the greatest benefactor of man- kind. Such a benefactor, I present you, in him who said, through a querulous woman in the village of Bethany, to all her sex, and to all the species, " thou art careful and .164 SERMO XII. troubled about many things ; but one thing is needful." The remedy is also before you — Be careful for notliing ; but commit yourself, and your way, unto the Lord ; and peace, sweet peace, such as the world giveth not, shall take posses- sion of your soul. Adopt his principles, and follow his ex- ample, and your happiness is secured bej^ond the possibility of invasion. Man is a sinner ; and his sins make him wretched. But " the Lord is good to all, and his tender mer- cies are over all his works." The proof of this, however, is found only in following his directions : for it would be pre-
 
posterous to suppose, that an unknown fountain, is to be ap- proached and tasted, by any other means than keeping in the path which leads to it. The way to happiness, there- fore, and to God, is in keeping his commandments. Follow the Lord fully, in his directions, and you will certainly find peace. If God is good, his laws are good ; and that is a perverse mind, which complains of unhappiness, while re- fusing to take the road which leads to it. The ways of wisdom, and these only, are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths, and only her's, are paths of peace. Deny your ungodliness, and worldly lusts, and you shall find no cause of complaint — no gnawing worm at the root of your gourds, and your vines. Let the spirit of the world be sup- planted, by adopting the spirit of this precept, and then, though prosperity or adversity, life or death, be yours, you shall be found rejoicing in the Lord, and joying in the God of your salvation. And until you arrive at this point of moral elevation, any external condition which has been reached in earth or heaven, would leave you comfortless ; and a descent would remain to you, like that of Satan from the abodes of bliss. And this for the very obvious reason, that pleasure and pain do not result from any state of mat- ter, but from the state of the mind. Wandering of desire, would make an angel wretched ; and fixedness of the heart SERMO XII. 165 on proper objects, has made a thousand martyrs superior to torture. This, then, is the sentiment to be ilhistrated ; and I beg you to take fast hold of it, and never let it go : to keep it, that it may be your life. This is the sentiment of Jesus Christ — That any solicitude of man, which excludes a sense of dependance upon God ; which implies a want of submission to God ; which involves the supposition that we are wise?- than God ; or which implies distrust o{ the good- ness of God ; is self-tormenting, and must bereave the soul of settled tranquillity and peace.
 
1. First, that solicitude, which excludes a sense of de- pendence upon God, makes a man his own tormentor. Con- cerning all things which relate to the present life, whether food or raiment, houses or friends, a good name, or health and freedom, our duty is plain and well defined, and consists in a diligent and faithful use of such means as God has put into our possession. Beyond this, all is without our reach, and beyond our control ; and all solicitude and anxiety, other than that of doing our duty, is sure to harrass and dis- tress the mind. Why then should a man exercise, or trouble his thoughts, on the subject ? It will efiect nothing, towards hastening or accomplishing his desire. He can add nothing to his stature, nor make one hair white or black. All his anxiety beyond this, is like that of the child crying for the moon — it makes himself and others much disquietude, but has no tendency or influence, to bring the object of his so- licitude into possession. The law of gravitation, and all the other laws of nature, are forever settled in heaven ; and they will not cease their operation, nor deviate from their course. Why then, if man seeks enjoyment, should he take the very method which ensures his disquietude ? Why does he not do, what he knows to be his dut}^ ; and in humble, and thankful dependance upon him who has reserved the event in his own power, feel content that the issue is of God f 166 SERMO XII. TRe mother who watches over her diseased infant, or sends her darling boy upon the waves, to seek a subsistence for herself and him, may pass her nights in watchings, and her days in fastings and labors, and refuse to be comforted, till they are safely restored to her arms ; and in consequence of such determination, vex and distress her soul for months and years. But her solicitude comes too late. The only ques- tion which should have excited it, was a question of duty ; and when this was settled, by the rules of God's word, and done accordingly, nothing more belonged to her, but all the rest to God ; and what she had no control over, should nev-

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