« PoprzedniaDalej »
by me, and I see him not; he passeth on also, but I perceive him not.” And God in his providence rarely makes use of the marvellous, or acts so as to alter the regular and established order of things. His agency sometimes indeed resembles a torrent which sweeps over an unusual surface, and bears down cattle, and trees, and houses, and, as it rolls and roars along, draws people to the margin with amazement and dismay: but he more commonly brings his designs to pass in a manner more slow and tranquil, and unobserved, resembling the flow of a river that keeps its own channel, and reaches its fulness by a course as natural as it is efficient. It is a fine image the genius of Solomon employs, when he says, “The King's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever he will.” The husbandman does not change the quality of the stream, but its current; it still flows according to its natural tendency, yet runs under his guidance, and in subserviency to his pleasure. Thus agents act of themselves; yet are God's servants: they follow their own inclinations but fulfil his purpose.”
And the providence of God is universal. His superintendence, care, and control, extend to all his creatures. As there can be nothing too great for God's power to control, so there can be nothing too little for his condescension to notice.
The archangel who soars on high, and the worm that crawls upon the earth are alike the objects of his regard. The wants of all are supplied by his bounty. He feeds the young ravens when they cry. The shaggy monster of the forest roars after his prey, and seeks his meat from God. To man, especially, Providence gives all things richly to enjoy. With unsparing bounty, every living being is constantly supplied with food convenient for it. Of the Governor of the universe it may be justly said that his kingdom ruleth over all. While he rules over the army of heaven, and disposes of the empires and kingdoms of this lower world at his pleasure, he observes and superintends the most insignificant objects. He works every moment in every part of our world; moves every atom; expands every leaf; finishes every blade of grass ; erects every tree; conducts every drop of rain; breathes in every wind ; thunders in every storm ; wings the lightning; empties the volcano; heaves the ocean; and shakes the globe.
He sees with equal eye as God of all,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world. The Scriptures abundantly confirm the truth that there is a universal providence. They assure us that every thing, however minute or “ The
casual, is providential. They tell us “That a sparrow falls not to the ground without our Heavenly Father; and that the very hairs of our head are all numbered.” They say, Lord killeth and maketh alive : he bringeth down to the grave and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.
out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and he hath set the world upon them.”
And our Saviour employs the most emphatic language respecting this matter ; "Therefore, I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat,
or what ye shall drink : yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat; and the body than raiment ?" “Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they ?” “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not; neither do they spin : and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow
is cast into the oven, and shall he not much more clothe you? O ye of little faith! Therefore take no thought, saying, what shall we eat ?
all we drink ? or, wherewithal shall we be clothed ?
For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
Some have endeavoured to set aside the providence of God, and to account for the operation of all things, without the agency of an everpresent, active, and controlling Deity; and much has been said about the “Laws of nature,” the “Laws of destiny," and the "Laws of the universe;" as if the things around us brought themselves into existence, and carried on their own operations. Such objectors have asked, Are there not certain laws, such as the laws of attraction and gravitation, the force and influence of which, are sufficient to account for the motions and changes which take place in the earth and the heavens ? And are there not certain laws in connection with the human body, and the human mind, the observance or the violation of which, are sufficient to account for all the varied events which take place in the affairs of men ? Do not all events occur in the regular course of nature, and according to
established laws, without any presiding or controlling Deity ?
We reply by asking, Who established these laws, and by whom are they upheld ?
Has not God Wrought by laws and means since first he made the world ?
What is his creation less Than a capacious reservoir of means Form'd for his use, and ready at his will ?
The laws of nature, as they are called, are nothing more than the uniform
of God. Material causes are nothing more than instruments in the powerful hand of the Almighty. Were He for one moment to withdraw or suspend his agency, confusion would immediately take place, and the whole system of nature would fall into ruins. It is God who pervades and actuates the whole of this material world. His incessant and unremitting energy is the cause to which every effect must necessarily be traced. This thought is beautifully expressed by Cowper,
Some say that in the origin of things,