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who teacheth the hands to war and fingers to fight*; who girdeth with strength for battlet; who breaketh the bow and cutteth the spear in pieces and burns the chariot in the fire.”—“ He held up the hands of Cyrus, and opened before him the gates of brass and cut in sunder the bars of iron, and girt him with strength, though he knew him nott.” He raised the Assyrian to be a rod of his anger, and sent him against the people of his wrath, to take and to spoil and to tread down as the mire of the streets*. And yet when these people humbled themselves and the Assyrian grew proud, God punished his stout heart, and his proud looks, and cut off his army by the destroying Angel.
The use of these reflections, especially the latter part of them, need hardly be pointed out to a protestant reader, after so signal an interposition of the divine providence, in favour of the British arms, as we have lately experienced. In the midst of our joy, it is hoped, we will not forget to raise our songs of triumph to the God of armies, the supreme ruler of nations, and guardian of the protestant cause!
• Psalm, 144.
Isaiah, chap. 10.
THE HERMIT, No. VIII.
Oh! for a sight of him my soul adores!
TWELVE months have now elapsed since I first began to offer my occasional speculations to the public, through the channel of the American Magazine. And, as I have employed my pen upon none but the most serious and important subjects, I flatter myself that, among the numerous readers of that work, many grave and sober Christians have reaped some benefit and consolation, from the fruits of my labours.
I have already explained the motives of my secession from this world of vanity and strife, and have given a short description of the ancient patriarchal life, together with those divine joys and soul-felt raptures, that spring from solitude and heavenly musing. I have drawn the most amiable and just picture, iu
my power, of the religion and government of my country; and, on a day solemnly dedicated to that purpose, have joined my prayers to those of the public, for the eternal preservation and prosperity of what we hold so dear. I have endeavoured to display the power and perfection of the Christian religion as revealed in the books of the Old and New Testament, and especially in that point where all institutions besides it have been vain and fruitless. I have shewn how efficacious it is to support its humble votaries, in that hour when every other support fails. I have presented the dying Christian in that transcendent degree of lustre, which he derives from his holy profession, and endeavoured to prove, that when we have tried every other expedient, it will be found that our only comfort is to be drawn from the Gospel-promises, an intimate conviction of its saving efficacy, and a sublime trust in the adorable goodness of its lovely author.”
In order to keep alive this trust among my fellow mortals, I was, in my last, recounting some of the works and wonders of God's providence, and shewing that, in the least as well as the greatest things, he is the same all-ruling, all gracious and all-powerful being! I was ravished with the thought, and wishing to see him, and know him, and be able to describe him to others as he is! When they shall say unto me, what is his name? What shall I say?
This is an important question; but, when I begin to meditate an answer, I am struck with astonishment, and pause at the very threshold.
A famous Scots divine*, the glory of his time, who died in the 26th year of his age, upwards of a hundred years ago, opens a sermon on the being and attributes of God in the following rapturous and sublime manner
“ We are now, says he, about this question, what God is? But, who can answer it? Or, if answered, who can understand it? It should astonish us in the very entry, to think that we are about to speak, and to hear, of his majesty, whom eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of any creature to consider what he is. Think ye that blind men could understand a pertinent discourse on light and colours? Would they form any suitable notion of what they had never seen, and what cannot be known but by seeing? What an ignorant speech would a deaf man make of sound, which a man cannot conceive but by hearing it? How, then, can we speak of God, who dwells in such inaccessible light, that though we had our eyes opened, yet they are far less proportioned to his resplendent brightness, than a blind eye is to the sun's light?”
Here we see this pious writer is obliged to answer one question (if it may be called answering) by ask. ing a series of other questions; thereby confessing at first his absolute inability to give any view of the immediate essence of God, a priori, as it is generally phrased. He, therefore, immediately betakes himself to the other method, a posteriori, to give a view of him through the medium of his works.
Rev. Hugh Binning minister of Govan near Glasgow, who dielin 1653, VOL. I
“ But what, says he, may convince souls of the divine majesty? Truly, I think, if it be not evident by its own brightness, all the reason that can be brought, is but like a candie's light to see the sun by. Yet because of our weakness, the Lord shines upon us in the creatures, as in a glass; and it is become the best way to take up the glorious brightness of his majesty, by reflection in his word and works. God himself dwells in light that cannot be approached unto. If any look straight to that sun of righteousness, he shall be astonished and amazed, and see no more than in the very darkness.”
“ The best way to behold the sun is in a pail of water; and the surest way to know God is in his works, those living mirrors of his power and good
If thou listen not to the speech which day uttereth unto day, and night unto night, declaring that one self-existent being gave thee being; if thou hearest not the language that is gone out into all the earth, and be not, as it were, noised and possessed with the sounds of every thing about thee, above thee, beneath thee, yea, and within thee, all singing a melodious song to that excellent name which is above all names; and conspiring to give testimony to the fountain of their being;—if this, I say, be not as sensible to thee as if a tongue and a voice were given to every creature to express it, then, indeed, we need not reason the matter with thee, who has lost thy senses! Do but retire inwardly, and ask in sobriety and sadness, what thy conscience thinks of it? Undoubtedly it shall confess a divine majesty, or at least