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BE CAREFUL FOR NOTHING.
PHILIPPIANS iv. 6, 7.
Be careful for nothing : but in every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
And does the great apostle of the Gentiles exhort his Philippian converts to be careful for nothing? Are they to understand these words in a literal sense ? and are they on that account to neglect the duty which they owe to themselves, their families, or society? Unquestionably not. The meaning of the expression is precisely the same with that of our blessed Saviour in his sermon on the
mount; "Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself; sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."* We are not to be over anxious about temporal matters; we are not to be full of care, when our hearts should be relying upon the promises of God in Christ Jesus. We are not to be full of worldly care, our hearts overcharged with anxiety and tormented with distrust, when the good providence of God, which is engaged to support and bless the man who humbly seeks his help, is neglected, forgotten, and despised !
The previous exhortations are most animated: “Therefore, my brethren, dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved." And, having called upon certain in the church by name, with others of his fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life, he says: “Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say, Rejoice. Let
moderation be known unto all men.
The Lord is at hand !” Under these circumstances he yet says, “Be careful for nothing; but
* Matt. vi. 34.
in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God!"
It seems to be mercifully designed by Almighty Wisdom, that whenever, in reading the sacred writings, we find any present help from man to be taken away, immediately the sufferer has some greater good vouchsafed to him. You would be forming some plan for yourself—the Lord disappoints you. You would be leaning upon a broken reed—the Almighty in mercy removes it, and gives you his rod and his staff to lean upon. You would be contented to draw water from a broken cistern-God, by some wise appointment, incomprehensible to your blind faculties, takes away this cistern, which would soon hold no water, and leads you, perhaps, through many a thorny path, to the living Fountain of waters. Israel would fain go back into Egypt; a recollection of the refreshing water fruits, the melons, and the cucumbers, which they there enjoyed, tempted the people to loathe the sameness of the manna, forgetting that the good land of Promise was before them. They would make them a captain
to lead them back, unmindful of Jehovah, the great Captain of their salvation! It is for these reasons that, whenever we are cautioned by the Lord against temptation, or taken from present gratifications, some better way, some greater good, or more desirable object, is set before us ! Be careful for nothing !” Let neither care, nor anxiety, nor discontent, lead to disobedience, but observe a safer and a happier path;“In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.” Prayer will bring down a blessing ; thanksgiving will be pleasing to God through Jesus Christ. You will soon perceive that a gracious friend and parent is caring for
peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
May that God who has been pleased to give us such wise directions by an inspired apostle, enable us to obey them to our own present and everlasting comfort, as well as the happiness of all around us. We will endeavour to see what will be the temper of the man who is thus, in a scriptural sense, careful for nothing, whilst he endeavours,
"by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, to make his requests known unto God.”
1st. He must be taught by a better spirit than his own natural heart, or than the spirit of the world, or he will never have this patient, dependent temper. It is true that, in the world at large, as in private families, we see individuals of tempers most opposite; but when any of these persons become the subjects of true religious principle, their tempers, if angry, full of malice, wrath, anxiety, or covetousness, will be subdued by the Holy Spirit of God. The warm and tender affections will be directed to better objects than to those which theyoriginally loved. The lover of pleasure will become the lover of God; he will still love, but he will love a better object; the courageous will be bold in the greatest and best of causes; the timid will be led to fear, not him who kills the body, and after that has no more that he can do, but that God who can destroy both body and soul in hell. The man who has been hitherto guided by his own fancied wisdom, prudence, and discretion, the shrewd, calculating man of the world, will find that God is wiser than man,