Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:
I. THE REQUESTS — THE THINGS PLEADED FOR AT THE HANDS OF GOD.
1. "Remove far from me vanity and lies." This respects his inward man, the concerns of his soul.
2. The second request concerns his outward man, and the temporal enjoyments of this transitory life. These are also the gifts of God. Notice somewhat that he deprecates and declines, viz., poverty and riches. Something for which he supplicates, viz., food convenient for him.
II. THE ARGUMENTS UPON WHICH HE GROUNDS THIS CHOICE. An argument drawn from the perils of riches and the temptations of poverty. He argues that a middle estate or condition in the world, upon rational and religious grounds, is most eligible for a man, as such, with respect to this life; or for a Christian, as such, designing the happiness of another life. Proposition —
1. God hath the absolute disposal of all men as to their estates and conditions in the world.
2. God, in His various dispensations of the good and evil things of this world, acts not only as an absolute Sovereign, but according to the rules of His own most infinite wisdom, as may most conduce to His own glory and the good and weal of His own people.
3. No outward condition in the world that men can be brought into hath any influence upon God, so as to render us more or less acceptable to Him.
4. One and the same condition in the world is not alike desirable or eligible to all men under all circumstances, nor to the same men at several times, or as placed by God in several stations.
III. WHAT IS THIS MIDDLE WORLDLY CONDITION? Consider it with a threefold respect.
1. With respect to a man's personal and private capacity as — a single person.
2. With respect unto a man's relative capacity — as he may be concerned to take care of others, as well as make provision for himself.
3. With respect unto a man's being placed in a higher or more public station — as magistracy or ministry.
IV. UPON WHAT GROUND MAY THIS MIDDLE ESTATE BE ADJUDGED THE MOST ELIGIBLE AND DESIRABLE. It is with respect to man's short passage through this world, for his mind and for his body. It is in relation to another world. Three things are prerequisites in order to our future happiness.
1. A right and orderly entering into the way of salvation by the door of sound regeneration and conversion.
2. A progress in that way by a holy and heavenly conversation.
3. A perseverance in that way of faith and holiness to the end against all internal or external opposition. Caution to the poor. Remember that your condition lays you open to many strong temptations to dishonour and neglect God and Christ, and your souls, and so makes way for your being miserable in both worlds. Two cautions to the rich: "Be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches." "Honour the Lord with your substance." Three cautions to those in middle state of life: See what interpretation you are to make of those providences that have put a check to your endeavours and graspings at great things in the world. Moderate your affections to the things of this world. Seeing Providence has placed you in the most eligible condition, labour to answer it, and evidence it to be so by your proficiency and progress in holiness and godliness.
Parallel VersesKJV: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: