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our life, but to every future stage of human existence. 'To-morrow" sometimes stands in contrast with the present and the past, and this is its position here. The whole period of our being in this world is described by the limits of a day. Thus saith Job: "Seeing his days are determined, turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day."* So also the whole of our future pilgrimage is represented as terminating "to-morrow." The apostle speaks of certain epicures who said, Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die," which is to say, very shortly. "They were right in their computation, but wrong in their inference. It should have been, let us watch and pray to-day, we are to die tomorrow; let us labour for eternity, because time is short."+ Men may travel in different directions, yet come to the same point at last. We read of one who resolved to gratify all his sensual appetites, because he had "goods laid up for many years. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee: then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?"
Believers are too apt to load themselves with the cares of "to-morrow," and to overlook the good of to-day, in the anticipation of evil to come. There are few but unnecessarily put a mixture of bitter with their sweets, and shade the light of their path by imaginary darkness. Religion calls us to "walk by faith, not by sight;" to follow our Lord "through evil report, and good report;" yet how many err in this matter! Perhaps it is more difficult to trust the God of providence under cloudy skies, than to go forth to active and self-denying exertions in his service. Neither, through the corruption of the heart, does experience of his goodness subdue this stubborn
mistrust. Many have passed through much tribulation; have waded through deep waters; perhaps have been hurled from the heights of prosperity and affluence, to the depths of affliction and woe. In these varied scenes, and amidst these painful vicissitudes, they have learned many a salutary lesson; they have discovered the emptiness and vanity of the world, and have felt the value of personal religion; but the repose of all their anxious cares of "to-morrow" on Him, "who careth for them," they have never learnt! "To-morrow," they exclaim, "what shall we do for our families? how shall we clothe, and feed, and instruct our children? how shall we weather the storm that may then arise, or bear the trial and loss which we may then be called to sustain?" And are you really Christians? And is this how ye have learned Christ? Oh, my brethren, how ungrateful aud unworthy is this disposition! Come, resist it at once. "He that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things?"
Secondly. Observe the grounds on which the prohibition is founded. That the disciples of Christ might honour their Father in heaven by an unfaultering confidence in his fidelity and care, the Divine Teacher before us bids them look at the "fowls of the air, and the lilies of the field." He did not desire that they should possess worldly honours and riches, for He knew that such things are enemies to personal godliness; but He would have them happy and contented with food and raiment ; and these are, therefore, the blessings which a gracious Providence will not fail to bestow on the friends of Christ. For what is the doctrine of the passage under consideration? It shows us that this settled anxiety is heathenish. "After all these things do the Gentiles seek." What a reproof! According to this representation, your solicitude about the things of " to-morrow" is profane and
idolatrous, and worthy only of those who know not God. Renounce, therefore, your possession of the Christian name, or sustain it better. It is likewise ungrateful, and carries in it a species of impiety: "For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." But your fostered anticipations of future indigence would rob Him of this knowledge, and make Him either ignorant of your necessities, or unable to relieve them. Besides, it is wholly fruitless on the one hand, and unnecessary on the other:-Fruitless, because "the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself;" and unnecessary, because sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Here is repeated, for the third time, the same admonition against it; but a new inducement to suppress it is suggested. The day which brings peculiar trials, will bring its mercies and provisions also. The same Almighty Parent who watches your path now, will watch it then. Moreover, it is as unwise as it is sinful. The trouble of every day will be sufficient when it comes, without your augmentation of it by imaginary woes. Come, then, my brethren, and commit your persons, and families, and necessities, and souls into his hand, as unto a faithful Creator." O how much sorrow you may spare yourself, did you thus confide in God! And how much greater had been your spiritual progress, had you but listened to the commandment of your Lord on this subject. Religion, says one, is a tender plant; it will not grow among the thorns and thistles of anxiety. If the good seed is to take root and bring forth abundantly, the heart must be cleansed of these weeds. Christians, beware of such enemies to your prosperity, and pray for grace to leave present and future events to the divine disposal of your heavenly Father. Then you will be happy, truly happy. "Trust ye in the Lord for ever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength."
II. LET US CONSIDER THE DUTY COMMANDED US. This, you will perceive, is not negative but positive—it is something which we have to perform rather than to avoid. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." Thus we must transfer our solicitude for the body to the soul. Here let us notice,
First. The objects we are to pursue. The text tells "the kingdom of God and his righteousness." We may, doubtless, take the first expression in its enlarged acceptation, as including all that belongs to the reign of Jesus Christ in his church. In this sense it amounts to an exhortation to endeavour to possess the blessings of the gospel ourselves, and to communicate them to others. Nor do I consider this last circumstance an immaterial point in this matter. We have just been taught to pray,
thy kingdom come;" and here we are directed to "seek" its arrival by all proper means. This is "the kingdom of God"-a moral empire peculiarly his own, which he governs and enriches "with all spiritual blessings in Christ." But what is the righteousness of this kingdom? It is called "his righteousness," which is to say, the righteousness that its King requires of his subjects, and which He has made an essential principle in the laws of his realm. Do you ask its nature? I reply, holiness; the renovation of our minds and the sanctification of our hearts by the Spirit of God. Let no man deceive himself upon this subject. Grace reigns" in a way of personal holiness, as well as by the imputation of the merits of our Lord's obedience unto believers. By virtue of the latter we have a title, and by the possession of the former we have a meetness, "for the inheritance of the saints in light." The one removes all impediments out of the way of salvation, which arise from divine justice, and the other takes away those which grow up in our
fallen nature. These blessings are inseparable in their bestowment, and must not be divided in our pursuit. Depend wholly on the righteousness of the Saviour for salvation, but earnestly seek the purifying grace of the Holy Spirit to enable you to enjoy it: "For except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."*
Secondly. The precept given us respecting them. We are to seek them, and to seek them first. This duty is easily explained. To seek these things is to value and esteem them, to set our heart and affections on them, and never to rest until we have attained them. Many things are included in this pursuit. It is supposed that we renounce every other object as the ground of hope in all that concerns the soul, that we use every divine method for obtaining possession of the blessing, and that we devote ourselves to the praise and glory of God, to promote the knowledge of his will, and establish his kingdom among men. But, in addition to this, there is another circumstance mentioned in the text. The righteousness of Christ, the renovation of our corrupt nature by his Spirit, the advancement of his moral empire in the world, and the attainment of the crown of glory which “ fadeth not away," we must seek first. In a parallel passage in St. Luke we have the exhortation," Seek ye rather." Taking the precepts together we have these two ideas.
First. That we are to make religion our earliest and primary object of attention. Thus did Josiah, who, “in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, began to seek after the God of David his father."+ And Timothy, who knew the Scriptures from a child." Thus, likewise, testifies the king of Israel, "I made haste and delayed not to keep thy commandments." How different from the conduct of the man who came to the