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SERMON XIII. The Event of Things not always answerable to Second Causes.
[ A Faft-Sermon. ]
EccLEs. ix. 11.
the Race is not to the Swift, nor the
HERE are some sort of per-Serm. fons in the World fo Noth: XIII. ful and negligent in 'their way own Affairs, so hardly pre
vailed upon to undertake any thing that requires labour and diligence,
SER M. so easily discouraged by any appearance X111. of ill Success, or so heedless and unactive
in the prosecution of whatever they are about; as if they were of opinion even in temporal matters, what in some Systems of Religion has been abfurdly affirmed concerning Spirituals, that God does every thing in men and for men, leaving nothing for them to do for themselves; or as if they thought That Precept to be literal and universal, which our Saviour spake, with the Latitude of a moral admonition, to the Apostles only, and upon an extraordinary Occasion ; Take no Thought for the morrow, what ye shall eat, or what we Mall drink, or wherewithal ye mall be clotbed. Such persons as these, the wise
Man elegantly describes in his Book of ch. XX. 4. Proverbs: The Sluggard, faith he, will
not plow by reason of the Cold ; therefore shall be beg in Harvest, and have nothing : The othful man faith, There is a Lion without; I fall be pain in the Streets; Prov. xxii. 13: And ch. xxiv. 30 ; I went by the Field of the pothful, and by the Vineyard of the man void of understand ing; And lo, it was all grown over with
. ... .. . . Tiorns,
Thorns, and Nettles had covered the Face Serm. thereof, and the Stone-Wall thereof was XIII. broken down ; - So fhall thy Poverty m come as one that travelleth, and thy. Want as an armed man. Nor is his Reproof and Admonition to those who are guilty of this Folly, less elegant than his Description of them; ch. vi. 6; Go to the Ant, thou suggard ; conßder her ways, and be wise.; Which having no guide, over seer, or ruler, yet provideth her meat in the Summer, and gathereth ker Food in the Harvest. And in the Words immediately before my Text, Eccles. ix. 10; Whatsoever thine hand findeth to do, do it with all thy Might; do it with Diligence; do it with Attention, Industry, and Care.
There are Others, in a contrary Extreme ; who rely with such confidence on the Effects of their own Wisdom and Industry, and so presumptuously depend upon the natural and regular Tendencies of fecond Causes; as if they thought, either there was no Superior Cause at all, on which the Frame of Nature depended; or at least, that the Providence of God did not condescend to direct the
SER M.vents of Things, in this lower and uncerXIII. tain World. And These, are elegantly
reproved in the words of my Text; I returned, and faw under the Sun, that the Race is not to the Swift, nor the Battle to the Strong, neither yet Bread to the Wise, nor yet Riches to men of Understand ing, nor yet Favour to men of Skill; but Time and Chance happeneth to them All.
I RETURNED: That is ; In that valt Compass of Knowledge which Solomon had, in being able to survey the whole Extent of Nature, and to observe the Tempers and Difpofitions of men, and the different Events of Things in all variety of Times and Circumstances; he turned his Thoughts and Observations from one Subject to another. In the verse before the Text, he views the careless or negligent part of mankind, and exhorts them to diligence : And then I returned, faith he, in the Words of the Text; that is, he turned his View the other way, towards the confident or presumptuous ; And them he bids to take notice, that the Race is not always to the Swift, nor the Battle to the Strong ; (that is,) that the Events