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Things do not always answer to the SER M. Probabilities of fecond Caufes, unless the XIII. Wisdom of God thinks fit by the direction of his good Providence to make those Caufes fuccessful. I returned, and faw under the Sun; that is, in the whole Courfe of this lower and uncertain world, in the whole compafs of Humane Affairs, in the Hiftories of all Times or Ages, and in the Events that have happened to all Nations or People; I obferved, faith he, upon the largest View and most extensive Experience, that the Race is often not to the Swift, nor the Battle to the Strong. The Reason why the Events of Things do frequently fail in this manner, of answering to the natural Probabilities of second Causes; is because many little and unforefeen Accidents unavoidably interpofing, do very often change the whole Course of things, and produce an Event quite contrary to what in all reasonable probability was to have been expected. The swiftet Racer, upon the leaft accidental Slip, lofes the Prize to an Adverfary much flower than himself; and the Potenteft Armies, upon the leaft Disorder befalling


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SER M. them in a day of Battle, have been forced
XIII. to leave the Victory to an Enemy whom
they before defpifed for his inferior
Force. Accidents these things appear to
men, because not poffible to be foreseen or
prevented by our fhort and imperfect Un-
derstandings: But, in the hands of Provi-
dence, the Caufes and Reasons of these
even the minuteft Accidents are all as
clearly and distinctly known and determi-
nate, as the grossest and most obvious
Causes are apparently difcerned by us. And
by means of these unforeseen Causes, does
God in his Great Government of the
Universe, conftantly bring about his own
Defigns, in Bleffing or Punishing Nations
according to his own good pleasure. Amos
ii. 14;
The Flight fall perish from the
Swift, and the strong shall not ftrengthen
his Force, neither shall the mighty deliver
himfelf; Neither fhall He ftand, that hand-
leth the bow; and be that is fwift of Foot,
Shall not deliver himself; neither shall be
that rideth the horse, deliver himself. Again,
Pf. xxxiii. 15; There is no King that can
be faved by the multitude of an Hoft, nei-
ther is any mighty man delivered by much
Strength :

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-frength: A Horfe is counted but a vain SER M.
thing to fave a man, neither shall be deli- XIII.
ver any man by his great Strength: Be-
bold, the Eye of the Lord is upon them that
fear him, and upon them that put their
Truft in bis Mercy. Solomon expreffes the
fame Notion thus, Prov. xxi. 30; There is
no Wisdom, nor Understanding, nor Counsel
against the Lord; The Horfe is prepared a-
gainst the day of Battle, but Safety is of
the Lord. And Hannah, in her
prayer, re-
corded, 1 Sam. ii. 4, 9; The Bows of the
mighty men are broken, and they that
ftumbled are girt with Strength:- The
Lord will keep the Feet of his Saints, and
the Wicked fhall be filent in Darkness; for
by Strength fhall no man prevail. Thefe
are all, as it were, Paraphrafes upon the
words of the Text; the Race is not to the
Swift, nor the Battle to the Strong.

IT follows: neither yet Bread to the
Wife, nor yet Riches to men of Understand-
ing, nor yet Favour to men of Skill. That
is: As Strength and Agility of Body, are
not always fuccefsful in proportion to the
Degree of thofe Faculties; nor Powerful.
Armies Victorious, in proportion to the

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SERM. Numbers they confit of: So the Facul XIII. ties and Abilities of the Mind likewife, Wifdom and Understanding, Dexterity and Skill; are not always fuccefsful, as might regularly be expected, in obtaining Riches and Honour, Favour and Dignity in the World; But unfeen Accidents, (Accidents with regard to Men, but with God wife Difpenfations of Providence,) invifibly and inexplicably turn the Course even of these things alfo: For Time and Chance happeneth to them All: Is. xliv. 25; God turneth wife men backward, and maketh their Knowledge Foolish.

HAVING, thus, briefly explained the Meaning of the feveral Phrafes contained in the Text; the Doctrinal Obfervations I fhall now draw from thence, are as follows.

ift; WE may obferve, that what mem vulgarly call Chance or unforeseen Accident, is in Scripture always declared to be the determinate Counfel and Providence of God. What careless and inconfiderate menafcribe in common Speech to Chance or Fortune; that is, to nothing at all, but a mere empty word, fignifying only their



Ignorance of the true Caufes of things; this the Scripture teaches Us to afcribe XIII. to the all-feeing and all-directing Providence of God; that we may acknowledge T Him in all our Ways; and be fenfible of the True Author, from whom all the Good and all the Evil that befalls us, does either mercifully or justly proceed: Dan. iv. 35% He doth according to his Will in the Army of Heaven, and among the Inhabitants of the Earth; and none can stay his hand, or fay unto him, What doft thou? When a perfon is flain by Chance or Accident, as men vulgarly fpeak; the Scripture more accurately expreffes it, faying, that God delivered fuch a one, into the band of him that flew him without De fign; Exod. xxi. 13. And in all other Instances, the fame Notion is every where kept up in Scripture: Prov. xvi. 33. The Lot is caft into the Lap, but the whole difpofing thereof is of the Lord. And when the Apostles chofe by Lot a Succeffor to Judas, they expreffed their Senfe of the divine Providence in the following words, Acts i. 24. Thou, Lord, which knoweft the Hearts of all men, show whether of these

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