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How unworthy therefore were they of the Name of Philosophers and wise Men, who denied Providence under Pretence of consulting the Tranquillity and Happiness of Mankind! Such were Epicurus and his Followers. If all Things were left to a ', blind Chance, without a supreme Director; or to what the Heathens called Fortune, a giddy capricious Thing, without Reason or any certain Rules of proceeding; what could be expected but wild Confusion and Disorder, endless Uncertainty, and lawless Anarchy! He that looketh upon Things in this View hath nothing certain to depend upon, and must live in a perpetual Fluctuation and Perplexity of Mind : Whereas to consider that all Things are under the Superintendency of an infinitely wise and benign presiding Mind lays the best Foundation for a solid Tranquillity and a noble Confidence. He that lives from Day to Day, under the Influence of this Persuasion hath Joys which others are unacpuainted with. And as, with Regard to the universal Administration of Things, he rejoiceth in the Belief that they are excelJently ordered upon the Whole ; so, with Regard to his own particular Case, he is satisfied that nothing befalls him but under God's wife and kind Direction, and that
all Things shall be made to work together for his real Benefit. And, finally, he carrieth his Views beyond this present transitory Scene to a future State of Retributions. He considers that this Life is not the Whole of Man's Existence, but is only the first Part of it ; that it is designed to be a State of Trial and Discipline, and not of final Recompence; and therefore it is not to be wondered at, if there be several Things in the present Dispensations of Providence which we find it hard to account for. And therefore he looks forward with unspeakable Satisfaction to that great Day, when all the amazing Difficulties, the seeming Irregularities and Inconsistencies, in the present Methods of the Divine Dispen, sations, shall 'be fully cleared, and the admirable Scheme of Providence shall be placed in a fair and beautiful Light, and God's most wise Designs towards Mankind brought to their everlasting glorious Ilfues,
On Delighting in the gracious Methods of
our Redemption by Jesus Christ.
ROMANS V. II.
We joy in God through our Lord Jesus
O consider the Works of God, as
exhibiting the Displays of his Glory and Perfection, is not only a very useful but a delightful Employment. This hath been already shewn with Regard to the Works of Creation and Providence, the Contemplation of which yields a pure and noble Delight to a rational and well-disposed Mind, Let us now take a View of the wonderful Work of our Redemption and Salvation by Jesus Christ, in which the Glory of God is
illustriously manifested, and which, if duly considered, hath a Tendency to fill the Heart with holy Admiration, Love, and Joy. This is what the Apostle here signifies, when he faith, We joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the Atonement. And elsewhere he gives it, as the Character of real Christians, that they worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus. Phil. iii. 3. And St.
Peter, writing to those who made an open Profession of their Faith in Jesus Christ in the Face of many Difficulties and Dangers, expresseth himself thus : Whom having not seen ye love, and in whom, though now ye fee him not, yet, believing, ye rejoice with juu unspeakable and full of Glorj. 1 Pet. i. 8.' Good Men under the Old Testament rejoiced in the Prospect they had of the Saviour which was to come. Thus did that great Patriarch Abraham, concerning whom our Lord declares to the Jews, Your Father Abraham rejoiced to see my Day; and he faw it, and was glad. John viii. 56. But we, who live after Christ's actual Manifestation in the Flesh, have in this Respect à vast Advantage above those that lived under
any former Dispenfation. The original Word súæggéniov, which we render Gospel, properly fignifieth good Tidings; and it is fitly so called,