Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

-And can he ? “Son of man, behold I take from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke --and behold at evening my wife died."

But cannot parents hinder Him? “Lo! children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” We view them as our treasures, and say to each enquirer, “These are the children which God hath graciously given thy servant.” Every day some latent power or quality seems to unfold itself. We watch the tottering steps till they become a walk : and listen to their lisping, till with distinctness they can cry “My father and my mother.” We look forward and indulge in the fondness of hope and the visions of fancy. We expect to find in them our companions, the ornaments of our family, the support of our age, and the hands that shall close the eyes that first sparkled on them with pleasure.—But while we are exceeding glad because of the gourd, some worm is preying at the root—and after a few months or years, we turn to the common spoiler, and say, “Me hast thou bereaved of my children: Joseph is not: and Simeon is not-and wilt thou take Benjamin away ?--all these things are against me."

Behold! God taketh away and who can hinder Him?

Keep silence all created things,

And wait your Maker's nod ; My soul stands trembling, while she sings

The honours of her God.
Life, death, and hell, and worlds unknown,

Hang on his firm decree :
He sits on no precarious throne,

Nor borrows leave to be.
His providence unfolds the book,

And makes his counsels shine ;
Each opening leaf, and ev'ry stroke,

Fulfils some deep design.
Here, he exalts neglected worms

To sceptres and a crown;
And there, the following page he turns,

And treads the monarch down.

CHAPTER VIII.

PROVIDENCE OVERRULING ACCIDENTAL

EVENTS.

Did not God's eye rule all things, and intend
The least of our concerns, (since from the least
The greatest oft originate,) could chance
Find place in his dominion, or dispose
One lawless particle to thwart His plan,
Then He might be surprised, and unforeseen
Contingence might alarm him, and disturb
The smooth and equal course of His affairs.

COWPER.

Properly speaking, nothing can happen by chance; for nothing can happen without some real cause.

What is generally called an accident, is nothing more than the combination of several causes, which produce an effect altogether unforeseen and unexpected. Experience and observation teach us that occurrences of this kind are frequent in human life. Unforeseen accidents may entirely change the fortunes of men, and overturn all their designs. "We very naturally think that the race should be to the swift, the battle to the strong, and success to the wise and prudent; this, however, does not always happen; frequently an unforeseen accident, a favourable circumstance, an event which could not be guarded against, accomplish more than the combined efforts of power, of genius, and of human wisdom and prudence.

We daily witness that the best laid schemes among men often fail of success. Incidents, in themselves the most trifling, disconcert them, and produce some of the greatest changes that take place in human affairs. This is a strong proof that Providence has the secret direction of what appears to us insignificant and accidental. There are many devices in a man's heart, but the counsel of the Lord shall stand. Nothing appears to be more casual and contingent than the falling of a lot; yet even in that instance, we are taught by divine inspiration, that the hand of Providence interposes. “The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord." “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing ? and one of them shall not fall to the ground without your Father. But the

head are all numbered.” The sparrows were of so little value, that two of them were sold for a farthing; and yet one of them could not perish without our Father's care. Hence, chance, fortune, or luck, is blind and uncertain ; Providence is intelligent, benevolent, and wise. Things or events called accidental, make a part of the divine plan. Little things no less than great ones are essential in their place.

very hairs of

your

From Nature's chain, whatever link you strike,
Tenth or ten-thousandth, breaks the chain alike.

The Scriptures afford us many examples, confirming the truth, that PROVIDENCE OVERRULES EVENTS WHICH TO MEN APPEAR ACCIDENTAL, --examples, in every one of which, we observe a surprising concurrence of incidents, undesigned and unthought of by any human being, and yet all tending in the most direct way imaginable, to bring forward the great designs of Provi. dence.

Abraham sent his faithful servant into Mesopotamia, to find among his father's kindred a wife for his beloved son Isaac. The servant arrived at a fountain, in the border of the city of Nahor as the sun was declining in the west, just at the hour when the women were accustomed to come out to draw water. He prayed to God that the maid who might show him hospitality, by giving water to himself and the camels, might be the chosen individual. While the prayer was on his lips, by accident Rebecca drew near with

« PoprzedniaDalej »