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The Propriety of Considering Times and Circumstances

The Propriety of Considering Times and Circumstances

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1 Chron. xii. 32. The children of Issachar ivere men that had
undeistanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.

1 Chron. xii. 32. The children of Issachar ivere men that had
undeistanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 18, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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THE PROPRIETY OF COSIDERIG TIMES AD CIR- CUMSTACES. BY REV. C. SIMEO, M. A.1 Chron. xii. 32. The children of Issachar ivere men that had undeistanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do. THE doctrine of expediency is of difficult investi- gation : but it is highly deserving of our attention ; because the greater part of our conduct in every situation of life depends upon it : and it is no small honour to the tribe of Issachar, that they were dis- tinguished above all the other tribes of Israel in practical acquaintance with this important branch of human knowledge. In the account given of the other tribes who came to David to Hebron, we are merely told, how many they brought with them to place David on the throne of Israel : but in relation to the tribe of Issachar we are informed, that they acted from a dispassionate consideration of David's claims, as compared with those of the house of Saul, and from a full conviction, that, in supporting David, they performed an acceptable service to God him- self. From the character here given of them we shall take occasion to shew, I. That our conduct must often be affected by times and circumstances — We are in the midst of a world changing every moment, ourselves also changing with the things around us. Hence arises a necessity of attending to times and circumstances in our concerns, of what- ever nature they be ; — 1. Civil— [It is the knowing how to judge of the vanous occurrences
that arise, and how to improve them to the good of the State, that constitutes the great science of poUtics : and it is to this knowledge, that the expression of " understanding the times" primarily refers ^ A statesman cannot determine what will be fit to be done a year hence, because circumstances may arise which would render all his plans abortive. He may indeed display • See Esth. i. 13. 184 1 CHROICLES, XII. 32. [264. display much wisdom in the exercise of foresight, and in providing for contingencies ; but still he must of necessity follow events which he cannot controul, and be himself controlled by existing circumstances : and he is the greatest benefactor to the State, who is enabled to judge of them most correctly, and to adapt his measures to them most wisely.] 2. Social — [All of us have, as it were, a little world around us, whereia we move ; and all experience the same vicissitudes as are found in larger communities. In our families, innumerable things arise from day to day, which require us to vary our line of con- duct. Sometimes ease and gaiety may become us, and at other times seriousness and reserve : sometimes a yielding spirit will be proper, and sometimes it will be necessary to be firm. It is no little wisdom to know how to conduct ourselves towards persons of different dispositions and of different habits : but we should labour diligently for the attainment of this wisdom, because the happiness both of ourselves and others most essentially depends upon it.] 3. Personal — [It is obvious, that a very different deportment becomes us
in youth and in age, in prosperity and adversity. Solomon tells us, that " there is to every thing a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven''" To discern all these occasions, and to improve them aright, is the grand line of distinction be- tween the thoughtless and considerate, the fool and the wise^] But if our conduct must be influenced by them in temporal matters, there is still reason to inquire, II. How far it may properly be affected by them in the concerns of religion — That we may attend to times and circumstances, is certain — [This appears both from the example of Christ and his Apostles, and from many plain directions given us in the Scrip- ture. Our blessed Lord at one time was silent before his ac- cusers, (" insomuch that the Governor marvelled greatly,") and at another time " witnessed a good confession before many wit- nesses :" at one time he hid himself from his enemies, and at another delivered himself into their hands : at one time deli- vered his instructions darkly in ])arables, and at another spoke " plainly and without a jiarable." In like manner St. Paul did not deem " all things expedient that were lawful "j" but would sometimes '• See Eccl. iii. 1—8. « Eccl. ii. 14. Prov. xxii. 3, "1 Cor.vi. 12. & X. 23. 264.] ATTETIO TO TIMES AD CIRCUMSTACES. 185 sometimes conform to the ceremonial law, and at other times neglect and even oppose it ; at one time sanctioning circum- cision, and at another withstanding it with all his might : and

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