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to the court and to the market, as well as to the church and the closet; to our dealings with men, as well as to our dealings with God, and that under the pain of disobedience to the sovereign Lord of heaven and earth. How then can one imagine, but God is displeased with the not owning him in these things?
2. God has given a promise of direction to his people in all their matters, Prov. iii. 6. forecited. Pfal. cxii. 5.-A good man-will guide his affairs with discretion. And what God has put into the covenant by way of promise, his people ought to look to him for by faith, and sue to him for by prayer. And it is highly difhonouring to God, not to be concerned for that which he has made promise of, Ezek. xxxvi. 37. Thus faith the Lord God, I will get for this be in. quired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.
3. We can do nothing well or wisely in any mat. ter, but as the Lord is pleased to direct and guide us, Jer. x. 23. O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. Common gifts are from the Lord as well as faving grace, James i. 17. Every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights. Exod. xxxi. 6. In the hearts of all that are wise-hearted I have put wisdom. If one man have a dexterity to manage his civil affairs better than another, it is the Lord himself that makes the differa ence. And he has the lock and key of these gifts, to give the use and exercise of them, or to take it away in any particular whatsoever, when he pleases. Hence often the wisest are outwitted, and act as egregious fools, being infatuated of God.
4. The succefs of all our projects and endeavours depends on God entirely, so that men may do their belt to no purpose, while God frowns on the business,
Lamn. iii. 37. Who is he that saith, and it cometh to · pass, when the Lord commandeth it not ? Psal. cxxvii.
1. Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it : except the Lord keep the city, the watch
man waketh but in vain. God has a negative on all means and instruments, so that the most feasible means fhall miscarry, if he do not order them to prosper. God has a wheel within all the wheels of the world, which turns them what way he will: so that often man does propose one way, but God disposeth a quite other way
II. I proceed to thew, whence it is that men do not own God in their affairs.
1. Habitual untenderness of conscience is a main cause of it. Hence our Lord says, If thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! Matth. vi. 23. Most men have benumbed consciences, which makes them go through the world at random, hardly fearing the offence of God in any thing, Tit. i. ult. They profess that they know God; but in warks they deny him. They who are truly tender in one thing of offending God, will be tender in all things: but who can think, that those who are un. tender in all other matters, can be tender in their worldly business ? Paul's exercise would mix religion with civil business, Acts xxiv. 16. Herein do I exercife myself, fays he, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men. Bụt alas ! it is rare in the world. • 2. Moft mens religion is but a powerless, vain, empty fhew, 2 Tim. iii. 5. Having a form of godlinefs, but denying the power thereof. It cannot awe their consciences to a strict conformity to the way of God in all things, without reserve. They have still their reserves in their obedience, which never comes to be universal. They halve religion, pretend and make a shew of piety towards God, which cannot stand in the way of their worldly interest: but they make no conscience of righteousness, mercy, and charity, towards men. Well may the Lord address them, as he did the people of Judah of old, II. i. 11. 16. 17. To what purpose is the multitude of your fac crifices unto me ? faith the Lord: I am full of the burnt-offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts, and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats.-Wash ye, make ye clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes, cease to do evil, learn to do well, seek judgement, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow..
3. Many lay their projects in these matters so contrary to the rules of religion, that they cannot look for God's blessing on them, pr direction in them, Psal. xiv. 4. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge ?--they call not upon the Lord. So they do not own God in them, because they fee, upon a view of their measures, that they are unlawful ones, and their consciences would condemn them before the Lord. They are ruled by their lusts and passions in their contrivances, which makes them break over the rules of piety towards God, and righteousness towards men, to accomplish their designs. And what use could religion be of in these, but to mar all ? and therefore they carefully stave off the dictates of their consciences, to make way for the fulfilling of their unlawful projects.
4. Self-conceit. Men have a high opinion of their own wit, and are confident they can guide well enough, and so they do not see their need of owning God in these matters. Thus in the text, The men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of God. But little do they consider that pas. fage, Prov. xxiii. 26. My son, give me thine heart; and let thine eyes observe my ways. This is to make flesh our arm, which God can foon make a withered arm, Jer. xvii. 5. 6. Living by faith is quite contrary to this, and carries men out of themselves to depend on God in all things. And there is good reafon for it. For says the wife man, Ecel. ix. 1'1. I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle te the strong, neither yet bread
to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill, but time and chance happeneth to them all.
5. Many are fo little acquainted with religion, and particularly with the way of looking to the Lord, for direction in all things, that they do not think religion is concerned in their civil affairs, farther than that the thing they do be lawful in itself. But this is a wide mistake. People may perish by lawful things, fol. lowing them in a way not approved of God, as we fee in the case of the old world, Matth. xxiv. 38. In the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, &c. We are obliged to eye the honour of God in all things, i Cor. x. 31. Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye da, do all to the glory of God; to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, Col. iii. 17. that is, in obedience to his call pointed out to us by his word and providence, and in dependence on him for direction, throughbearing in it, and success. This was the psalmist's practice, Pfal. cxxiii. 2. Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress : fo our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us.
6. Lastly, Not weighing the event of their projects, which is wholly in the Lord's hand. Had the . princes of Israel considered, what weight was in this
business, and what it turned to within three days after they had made their bargain, ver. 16. they would not have been so rafh. How often is that done in a day or hour with much confidence, that is regretted many a day and year? Lot settled among those of Sodom without consulting of God, Gen. xiii. 10. 12. 13. but afterward, as he had little peace while he was there, he got a very sad removing again. Since we know not what may be in the womb of a day, we had
need every day to live in a close dependence on the Lord.
I now proceed to apply this subject; and the only use I shall make of it, shall be by way of exhortation.
I exhort all to own and acknowledge God in your civil affairs and business in the world. Behave your. felves as Christians, as fearers of God, therein, at all times, and especially at such times wherein ye have business of greatest weight in hand. Take not the way of the world, as ye would not perish with the world.
1. Tenants, in the taking of your lands, own God the great Landlord, and wrong not your neighbours, 1 Cor. vi. 9. And whether ye fit or remove, be sure ye do it with a good conscience. Abuse not the goodness of God, in the thriving of your stocks, left God send a curse on them, and make room enough. It will not excuse you before God, that. ye do not begin the work; Thou falt not follow a multitude to do evil, Exod. xxiii. 2. Ye must not follow either. Will one's wronging you give you a licence to wrong another? No, not if it were the very person that had wronged you, far less another that has done you no injury, Prov. iii. 31. Envy thou not the oppresor, and chufe none of his ways. Chap. xxiv. 29. Say not, I will do fo to him as he hath done to me : I will render to the man according to his work. No doubt it is Satan's game to find out some to lead the van in an unrighteous course, that others may follow.
2. Masters, in the hiring of your servants, own God the great Master, remembering that every Chriftian's family should be a church, Rom. xvi. 3. Ga. ther not together the scum and dregs of fervants, which may be the reproach of a society into which they come. Read the 101st psalm, and inquire what they are, and what they have been, as well as what they can do. It is hard to get choice, I own: but when a person has laid the matter seriously before the