Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.…
The first day of the new year is often a season of —
1. Peculiar transactions: balancing of accounts and commencing business.
2. Humanity and benevolence, family gatherings, gifts to the poor.
3. Thankfulness and joy for preservation of life, etc.
4. Seriousness and recollection.
5. Forecast. Let us confine ourselves to the latter view, and consider —
I. OUR INABILITY TO DETERMINE OUR FUTURE CIRCUMSTANCES. The endowments of the apostles were not absolute. In some cases Paul could foretell things to come, but in others he was left in ignorance, and could only reason from probabilities (Acts 20:22). And when we look into futurity, all that meets the eye is a dark unknown.
1. Even prophecy is wrapped up in so much obscurity that the fulfilment and the explanation generally arrive together. How often has this been exemplified in the calculations of not very wise men, who, in addition to being drawn off from more useful duties, have frequently survived their laborious schemes.
2. Your own history testifies that God has led you by a way which you knew not, and you hardly know it now. Had all your changes been foretold, they would have appeared incredible?
3. Nor have you any information that can enable you to foresee things for a single year — how it will go with your health, circumstances, relations.
II. WHAT USE WE SHOULD MAKE OF THIS IGNORANCE. Let us —
1. Learn our littleness, and that God is all in all. "Trust in the Lord with all thy heart."
2. Beware of presumption. The future is God's, not thine. Never say "I will" without "If the Lord will."
3. Never despair. Seeing we know not how it will go with us, why should we look only for evil?
4. Draw off our attention from future events to present duties. We are to cast, not our work, but our care, upon the Lord. Duty and means belong to us, but events are entirely His.
5. Seek after a preparation for all events. We shall find this in Divine grace. This drew prayer from Jacob when he went forth with a staff; this preserved Daniel in the court of Darius and in the lion's den; this enabled Paul to say, "I can do all things," etc. And seeing that we have neither the ordering of the weather, nor the choice of food, happy is the man whose constitution enables him to bear any weather, and whose appetite enables him to relish any food.
III. WHAT THERE IS TO ENCOURAGE US UNDER ALL THIS DARKNESS AND UNCERTAINTY. You say, "I see not how it will go with me," and —
1. It is well you do not. You know as much as is good for you. It is with the mind as with the senses. A greater degree of hearing would incommode us. If our eyes could see things microscopically we should be afraid to move. Were we informed of the blessings of providence beforehand, we should cease to enjoy those we have; or of adversities, what dismay would ensue.
2. God does; and He is your friend, and far more concerned for your happiness than you can be.
3. You know that it shall be well with them that fear God.
4. Your ignorance only regards time; all in eternity is sure.
Parallel VersesKJV: Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.