One is born to sway a fceptre; to another is allotted a sphere of confined and private influence only. One attains to the fame and glory of an hero; another bears the more peaceable character of the inspired prophet, or of the Christian minister. One man is a philofopher, who enlightens the world by his investigations of nature: another is a merchant, or a tradefman, who contributes to enrich it by the fruits and arts of commerce. But each filleth the station appointed him by GOD; each moveth in the rank affigned to him by the Supreme Governor of the world, who,

"Furnisheth every one with his refpective powers and talents." In this fense, "a man "can receive nothing, except it be given him "from heaven.” As to the extraordinary gifts, which qualified the ancient prophets for their facred office, the very nature of them, fince they were fuperior to the common powers of human nature, as well as rarely displayed, led every spectator to afcribe the energy which healed the fick, to GOD; and every hearer to own that the ftriking predictions of future scenes and perfons were derived from a

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communication with the GoD of heaven, to whom are known all things from the beginning to the end.

But talents and powers, which appear to be natural to the human mind, and exerted without any extraordinary influence, are often too easily confidered, and spoken of, as if underived from GOD, and independent on Him. Nothing but great inattention, nothing but that these are more common and familiar, can betray men into a forgetfulness of the Author of every good and perfect gift. As far as they refult from the enjoyment of existence, they are undoubtedly the grants of the Creator, to whom we owe existence itself: as far as they arife from the opening and continuance of life, and from the circumstances which have favoured their growth and cultivation, they are equally derived from the Gop "in whom "we live and move," and who fixeth our various ftations.

What one endowment have we, which we have not received? Are the folid judgment, the lively and fertile imagination, the penetration of a fagacious mind, the persuasive tongue, the benevolent heart, the wisdom of

the statesman, the acumen of the philofopher, the bravery of the general, and the gifts of the minister, talents which we have from ourfelves? If so, why cannot those who prize and value, but want them, poffefs an equal portion of these powers with others who are distinguished for them? Why doth one excel another, but because he is formed by his Maker, and aided by the disposals of his providence, to attain to eminence. It is not by his own power or holiness that one is more wife, more eloquent, or more diftinguished for any excellence, than another. The LORD giveth to every man his talents and abilities. Again,

"The respect, influence, and fuccess with "which a man is bleffed, is to be confidered "as given from heaven." That certain exertions of the powers of the mind, that certain dispositions of heart, and actions of life, that certain labours and fervices for mankind, should excite attention, merit esteem, procure applause, win the heart, and fix attachment, is to be ascribed to a law of divine wisdom, and to be refolved into the frame of the human mind; which it hath pleased our Maker so to

form and conftitute, that it fhould be thus affected by the abilities of others, and act in unifon with them.

The fame Providence which affigns to us our rank, adjusts the circumstances of our ftation and condition, so as to affift and favour the use of the powers He hath bestowed, or the discharge of the duties to which He calleth us forth. Favour and promotion come from GOD. By his difpofition of things, and by his influence, are men inclined to hearken to the counfels of wisdom and benevolence, and to repay with affection the labours that are directed to their benefit. When numerous converts are made to the gofpel, the hand of the LORD is with those who preach it." "The LORD opened the heart of "" Lydia, that she attended to the things which were spoken by Paul." "Paul may plant, Apollos may water, but God giveth the "increase: fo then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but "GOD that giveth the increase.'

His perfuafion of this difpofed the mind of John the Baptift cheerfully to acquiefce in

y Acts xi. 21. z ch. xvi. 14.

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I Cor. iii. 6, 7.

those honours paid to CHRIST, which his disciples beheld with concern and jealousy. That CHRIST was rifing into reputation, while his own fame was decreasing, afforded no uneasiness to him; that CHRIST was followed by people from all parts was no ground of complaint to him; for he refolved all into the will and appointment of GOD, who had called him to the more humble and lefs illustrious office of a forerunner only to CHRIST; while CHRIST himself was raised up to sustain a more public and fublime character, and before his fuperior greatnefs and opening glories John was to retire and give way. This he saw to be a fufficient reafon, why JESUS should meet with greater homage, and enlist a greater number of difciples. "A man can "receive nothing, except it be given him from "heaven."

Having thus confidered the import of this declaration, I would,

Secondly, Suggest some remarks, which arise from the subject. Before we proceed to fuch as more immediately concern our own temper and conduct, let us paufe, to reflect,


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