« PoprzedniaDalej »
vicious community, the greater must be the abhorrence and the distrust entertained of it by all other communities; and although it be suffered, for some providential purpose, to go forth as a scourge or a warning to the rest of mankind, in the exercise of its destructive energies; yet this can only continue until it shall have answered that especial purpose ; or until, having filled up the measure of its iniquities, it become ripe for destruction, and eventually work its own degradation and ruin. On the other hand, the very nations who suffer from the devastations of such an iniquitous power may be destined by the Almighty to exhibit edifying examples of faith and patience, of magnanimity and resolution ; and at length be more than recompensed for all that they have endured for righteousness' sake.
Upon the whole, our reasoning upon the ways of the Almighty, whether applied to nations or to individuals, is substantially the
In both, there is ample evidence that “ His righteousness standeth like the strong “ mountains, and His judgments like the great
deep";" that these constitute, if we may so speak, the established rule of His proceedings in the ordinary course of human events; and
9 Psalm xxxvi. 6.
that nothing repugnant to that rule can be clearly proved, even where there appears to be the greatest deviation from it, since there may be, and probably must be, various purposes connected with such occurrences which we are unable to discern, but which we nevertheless are bound to believe, and have sufficient reason to believe, are founded
the same basis of perfect and unerring wisdom, as well as of infinite goodness, which characterize every
known act of their Divine author and Disposer.
Let this, then, be our confidence under every circumstance and in every condition of life, private or public. Let it be our wholesome restraint in the day of prosperity, and
our refuge in the needful time of trouble.” In our personal concerns, let it teach us humility and patience, moderation and contentment; to pursue the path of duty with a steadfast and unruffled mind ; not disheartened by disappointment, nor intoxicated by success; not presuming upon the continuance of blessings which can never be at our own command, nor cast down by evils which the same God who inflicts them is able to remove. In public events, let it also teach us to beware both of despondency and of presumption. “ The Lord reigneth ; let the earth rejoice'.”
r Psal. xcvii. 1.
Great indeed is the motive for rejoicing, that whatever troubles or perplexities arise, that power who “ ruleth over all •,” can still the
raging of the sea, the noise of the waves, " and the madness of the people`.” Great is the satisfaction to be derived from a firm and undoubting conviction, that although “ clouds “ and darkness are round about Him,” yet “ righteousness and judgment are the habita“ tion of His throne.” No less awakening, on the other hand, is the call to seriousness and repentance, in the reflection that when that Power goeth forth to execute His “judg“ments in the earth,” it is that “ the inha“ bitants of the earth may learn righteous“ ness";" that they may “ stand in awe, and “ sin not",” and “ turn from their evil ways, “ and live.”
Thus, in every point of view, does the subject present to our minds the strongest motives individually to cultivate every Christian grace and virtue, and collectively to approve ourselves “ a people fearing God and working
righteousness;" ever bearing in mind, that, with reference both to this world and to the next, Verily there is a reward for the
righteous: doubtless there is a God that judgeth in the earth w.”
s Psal. ciü. 19. t Ps. Ixv. 7. u Isaiah xxvi. 9. v Psal. iv. 4. w Psal. Iviii. 11.
ISAIAH v. 20. Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil;
that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.
Of the state of morals under the monarchies of Israel and Judah, the strong expostulations and denunciations of their own Prophets lead us to form but an unfavourable opinion. Scarcely a chapter occurs in any of these writings, from which we may not infer such a general state of depravity as would be a reproach to any people ; more especially so to a nation distinguished above all others by laws and statutes and ordinances of Divine institution, and placed under the immediate superintendence of an extraordinary Providence, enforcing obedience to those laws by frequent and manifest interpositions of miraculous agency. That even under such a dispensation so many public offences and private vices should have pre