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nature of an action as morally good or bad, or only neutral, can suffer no alteration through being foreknown.
There is besides no difficulty in the supposition, that men may be placed in the world successively in such situations in point of time, connexions, and other circumstances, that their whole conduct may coincide with the minutest arrangements of that foresight which is attributable to the Deity, and that order which he has established. It is reasonable to imagine this without supposing any infringement of human liberty, because the
carelessness of human inconsideration, and the very excesses of the passions may be made to subserve the purposes of God, as well as the various capacities, ranks, possessions, and influence of individuals; so that there
may be good instead of evil, even in what we deem simply evil, by the counter-workings of unthought of agencies, still specially designed, -as the very plague of London itself became the means of calling into operation a ministerial instrumentality, not otherwise likely, or perhaps possible, to have been employed, which, in the conversion of many souls, produced results the most glorious, and having their far-reaching influences beyond all calculation into eternity. Thus, as the contrary movements of a machine, though confusing to the eye of an unskilled spectator, are prepared for by the contriver to promote the ultimate effect; so each material change; or if you will, accidental occurrence, every action, with all its tendencies and consequences, every passion, with all its irregularities, constitute together the several parts of a complex but harmonious system. It may be assumed, therefore, as essential to the perfection of the great economy of the universe, that, while every person, in every age, is fulfilling, or aiming to fulfil, his own wishes, the MIND that rules over all is limiting to its proper sphere the exertions of the individual by invisible agencies, without interfering with his volitions; and every particular aim and effort is so ordered, as to render its occurrence an indispensable link in the chain of events.
PROVIDENCE OPERATING BY SIMPLE MEANS.
What prodigies can power divine perform
The constitution and arrangements of the world, are well calculated to convince us that it is not chance, but a Divine Wisdom surpassing all conception, which first erected this wonderful machine, impressed motion upon its different parts, and determined the great chain of events to depend upon and succeed each other with order and regularity. In all the movements of the natural and moral world, we perceive the greatest ease and simplicity, and by few and simple means, the greatest results are accomplished. It is so in the NATURAL WORLD.
The common works of nature spring from small beginnings. Great plants are formed from small seeds. The clouds which fertilize the earth are but a collection of vapours. As a small stone thrown into a stream, makes a small circle, then a greater, until it enlarges all around; so from small beginnings, God produces some of his mightiest works.
What a variety of effects, for example, are produced by the Heat of the sun. It not only contributes to the life of an innumerable multitude of animals, but also to the vegetation of plants; to the ripening of seeds and fruits ; the fluidity of water; the elevation of vapours; and to the formation of clouds, without which we should have neither rain nor dew.
The Air also is so constituted as to answer various ends. By means of this element, animals are preserved alive, and all the vital functions are performed with vigour. It is by the means of the air that the fire burns, and combustion is supported; that sound is conveyed in undulations to the ear; that winged creatures fly from place to place; and that man traverses the vast extent of the ocean. It is the air which supports the clouds, till, becoming too heavy, they fall in rain ; and without air the gift of speech and of hearing would be useless. All these, und many other advantages, depend upon
the air in which we live and breathe. Who can
enumerate the various uses of Water? It serves to dilute, to soften, to dissolve, and mix, many substances which we could not otherwise use. It constitutes a most wholesome beverage, is the chief nourisher of plants, sets in motion mills and other machines, is the habitation of fish, and bears upon its surface treasures from the four quarters of the globe.
The power of Gravitation existing in all bodies, preserves the mountains in their places, restrains the ocean within its depths, and keeps the earth within her prescribed orbit; supports every created being in its proper place in nature; and prescribes to the stars of heaven the course they are to observe. By the laws of gravity alone, the smallest particles of dust are prevented from being lost, either from our earth, or from any of the globes which continually revolve around us. We here see the greatness of that power, which produces the most aston