Section 9 Trust in God’s Blessing Only
Therefore, if we believe that all prosperous and desirable success depends entirely on the blessing of God; and that when it is wanting, all kinds of misery and calamity await us. It follows that we should not eagerly contend for riches and honors—trusting to our own dexterity and assiduity, or leaning on the favor of men, or confiding in any empty imagination of fortune—but should always have respect to the Lord. Under His auspices, we may be conducted to whatever lot He has provided for us. First, the result will be that, instead of rushing on regardless of right and wrong by wiles and wicked arts and with injury to our neighbors, to catch at wealth and seize upon honors, we will only follow such fortune as we may enjoy with innocence.
Who can hope for the aid of the divine blessing amid fraud, rapine, and other iniquitous arts? As this blessing attends him only who thinks purely and acts uprightly, so it calls off all who long for it from sinister designs and evil actions. Secondly, a curb will be laid upon us, restraining a too eager desire of becoming rich or an ambitious striving after honor. How can anyone have the effrontery to expect that God will aid him in accomplishing desires [that are] at variance with His Word? What God with His own lips pronounces cursed, never can be prosecuted with His blessing. Lastly, if our success is not equal to our wish and hope, we shall, however, be kept from impatience and detestation of our condition, whatever it be, knowing that so to feel were to murmur against God, at Whose pleasure riches and poverty, contempt and honors, are dispensed. In short, he who leans on the divine blessing in the way that has been described will not, in the pursuit of those things that men are wont most eagerly to desire, employ wicked arts that he knows would avail him nothing. Nor when anything prosperous befalls him will he impute it to himself and his own diligence, industry, or fortune, instead of ascribing it to God as its author. If, while the affairs of others flourish, his make little progress or even ret-rograde, he will bear his humble lot with greater equanimity and moderation than any irreligious man does the moderate success that only falls short of what he wished. For he has a solace in which he can rest more tranquilly than at the very summit of wealth or power: he considers that his affairs are ordered by the Lord in the manner most conducive to his salvation. This we see is the way in which David was affected; while he follows God and gives up himself to His guidance, [he] declares, “Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely, I have behaved and quieted myself as a child that is weaned of his mother” (Psa 131:1-2).
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