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And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved. Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was in trouble.
When Saul was dead, and David was crowned king over Judah and Israel, he then thought himself in a state of prosperity, as stable and immoveable as Mount Sion, on which his royal palace stood, and fancied that all his troubles were now at an end. But he was deceived; God after that hid his face, drew a cloud, a black and dismal cloud, of trouble and affliction over all his splendour and glory. For as after his first being crowned king of Judah, he was for seven years together exercised with troubles from his enemies of the house of Saul; so after his second coronation, as king both of Judah and Israel, other troubles assaulted him; the most pungent of which was the unnatural rebellion and most miser→ able ruin of his son Absalom. By this example (to which many others might be added) let us learn not to build too much upon our present prosperity; and though we may seem to be in the most firm and settled state of secular happiness, yet not to be so vain as to think ourselves secure from all future troubles.
This is most certain, (howsoever we may escape in the general course of our lives,) there is one day of adversity which will infallibly come upon every one of us, and that is the day of our death; a day that will try the faith, patience, and fortitude of the best and most prepared Christian; but indeed will be a day of the deepest adversity to all such as are not beforehand, by a lively faith and effectual repentance, provided against it.
Let such considerations as these frequently enter into our thoughts, and check and restrain all excess and extravagance of our joy in the day of prosperity.
On the other side, in our adversity let us neither be insensible nor too sensible of it; let us consider, but not despair; let us submit to God's will, trust in his goodness, amend what is amiss in our lives; and in this way comfort ourselves with the assured hope of a good day to follow, if not here, yet certainly hereafter.
In a word, let us not fix upon any state of things in this world; for here there is nothing certain, nothing uniform, nothing constant; our present life being a variable, mixed state, made up of joy and sorrow; of days of prosperity, and days of adversity too, by very uncertain vicissitudes, and turns succeeding each other. Let us therefore raise our hearts above this world, and before all things desire, and with our greatest labour and diligence endeavour, after that unmixed state of happiness proposed to us in the other world; and if we do so, we shall there meet with no adversity, no trouble or sorrow at all, but shall have all joy, and rejoice always even to eternal ages.
To which blessed state, God of his infinite mercy bring us all, through the merits of his only Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
To whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be ascribed all honour and glory, adoration and worship, now and for evermore. Amen.
THAT IT IS A VERY SINFUL AND VAIN THING FOR ANY MAN SO TO GLORY IN HIS OWN WISDOM, STRENGTH, OR WEALTH, AS TO PLACE HIS TRUST AND CONFIDENCE IN EITHER OR ALL OF THEM.
JER. ix. 23, 24.
Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.
IT is generally agreed by the best interpreters, that my text hath reference to the preceding verses, even from the beginning of this chapter. Wherein the holy prophet predicts and foretells things so direful to God's people, and that with so feeling a sense of them, that he himself seems to have suffered little less in the prophecy, than they should in the event of it. He begins, verse 1, thus: O that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! As if he had said, I think I can never grieve sufficiently for the dismal slaughter and destruction which I foresee will shortly befall the people of the Jews. My people, i. e. my dear countrymen, the people to whom God hath sent me, as his prophet, the people whom I affectionately love,
and whose welfare I wish as much as, yea, much more than mine own.
In the following verses he most elegantly and pathetically describes both the great sins of the Jews, the causes of God's judgments, and the judgments themselves that should come upon them for those sins; one while sadly reflecting on the one, and then with a no less passion of sorrow passing to the other.
And after all, as well knowing the obdurate and stubborn temper of the Jews, that they would be apt to slight even this dreadful prophecy of his, and fancy that they might escape the threatened destruction, either by their policy and cunning, or by their power and strength, or by their wealth and riches: he, or rather the divine Spirit in him, seasonably obviates and meets with this vain conceit of theirs in the words of my text: Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. As if he had said, This calamity which I predict, no wisdom of yours can prevent, no power or strength of yours shall be able to resist, nor are all your riches and treasures sufficient to redeem you from it; and therefore trust not in any or all of these, but make God your refuge, who only can save you from the evils threatened, or preserve you under them.
This is the connection of my text with what went before in this chapter. I shall now immediately be
take myself to the text itself; which I shall first carefully explain, and then raise my observations upon it.
And first for the explanation, Thus saith the Lord. A solemn preface of God's holy prophets to conciliate authority, and to excite the reverent attention of their hearers to what they are about to say; and it always leads the way to something of great weight and moment following, such as is the matter of my text. And accordingly let me bespeak, yea in the name of God command and challenge, the awful attention of all that hear me this day, from the greatest to the least; for it is not I say it, but Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches, &c.
Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom. By wisdom may be understood all that knowledge universally, which may seem any way perfective of the mind of man, besides the saving knowledge of God. But by the context we are led to that wisdom especially, which we call prudence, and hath respect to the actions and affairs of human life, and consists in a due contrivance and disposition of means, in order to the avoiding the evils we fear, and the attaining the good things we desire in this world.
Neither let the mighty man glory in his might. By might most interpreters understand bodily strength or valour. And accordingly the Chaldee paraphrast on my text brings the example of Solomon, the wisest of all men, falling from God's favour, to dissuade us from trusting in our own wisdom; the example of Samson, the strongest of men, to shew us the vanity