[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Thoughts on the Divine Govern- ter, and the wisdom of his go

ment ; suggested by the read- vernment. Thus “light is sown ing of the 97th Psalm.

for the righteous, and gladness

for the upright in heart.” N no exercise is the human True religion is reason re

mind so nobly employed fined-reason established upon in no subject is such a boundless its proper base, and exalted to field for contemplation and im- its sublimest height. Vain is provement presented, as in the that religion which ascribes to direct and devout meditation of casualty the direction of events ; the government of God. It re- or arrogating to creatures the spects all creatures, directs all rightful honors of the Creator, events, connects the two ex- yields not to Jehovah the absotremes of past and future, and lute possession of his throne, embraces the vast concerns of and the universal influence of his eternity. Every object, or oc- power. Absurd is that philosocurrence, forms a part of the im- phy, " opposition of science, measurable whole, and is as a falsely so called,” which, by aslittle stream issuing from this cribing any independent efficacy infinite fountain. It is this alone, to means and second causes, opwhich gives importance to the pugns the sovereignty and most inconsiderable things. Ab- universal agency of God-shuts stracted from this, the greatest out the immediate power and lose their magnitude, and inex- presence of the Divine Maker pressive of order, beauty or de- from any part of his system, and sign, would serve but to involve denies, to the King Iminortal the moral world in darkness and that dominion which he exerconfusion. It is only in God's cises over all the works of his light that we see light. It is hands. The government of but by considering the operation God is as unlimited as his works, of his hands, by the attentive, benevolent as his nature, and piercing eye of faith, that we unchangeable as his being. It cliscern the beauty of his charac- l is the united display of all his Vol. VI. No. 11


perfections, in their proper and fliction, or distress; while crossgenuine fruits. It is that sensi-ed in the beloved object of his ble medium by which the divine hope, embittering his afflictions character is diffused and acted with unavailing murmurs, and out. It is God's internal glory looking about him, in vain, for or fullness existing externally in comfort, from creature enjoyits emanation. In a word, it is ments. A mind thus affected the visible portraiture of the in- would be liable to misconstrue visible God, drawn by his own the sentiment of the Psalmist, hand, and corresponding, in all and consider it as the effusion of points, with infinite exactness, selfish joy, arising from some to its eternal original.

pleasing advancement of bis own If then, the Divine character private interest and worldly he infinitely amiable and ex- prosperity. Judging from the cellent, such is the divine go.disposition and tendency of his vernment; for it is a perfect own heart, he would be ready to copy of

at original. If God argue, surely David did not serve be love, all his conduct is be- God for nought. He surely had nevolent. If be alone be wor obtained the desires of his heart, thy of our supreme affection and without any thorn to infest his government is like himself his pillow, or any bitter ingredi. it affords just ground of joy and ent in his cup, full well might he happiness to the whole rational rejoice in the government of creation.

God, and bless the kind hand so Such, we find, were the views munificently extended in his faand feelings of the inspired vor. In sailing a sea naturally Psalmist.“ The Lord reigneth rough and tempestuous, who let the earth rejoice ; let the would not rejoice to find a multitude of isles be glad there-smooth surface and a favoring of. Clouds and darkness are gale, and extol the power so proround about him ; righteous- pitious to his views ? But had he ness and judgment are the ha- felt my afflictions—had he sufbitation of his throne.” Let us fered the disappointment of his take this sentiment along with fondest hopes, and mourned the us, as a lamp to enlighten us in loss of his dearest enjoyments in the contemplation of this sub- life—what room for joy? what lime and interesting subject. ground for exultation would

Reason approves the senti- have been left ? Far different ·ment and joins her voice with had been his feelings from the that of the Psalmist-yet, to the language he uttered. The voice unthoughtful and inattentive of joy would but have sickened mind-to the man wedded to his heart, and the breath of deworldly prosperity, supremely votion have frozen upon his attached to the enjoyments of tongue. sense, and heated in the pursuit But neither the connection of of pleasure, wealth or fame ; the passage, northe history of Dait but illy accords with his feel- vid’s life, gives the least countenings, and speaks a language for ance to a sentiment so dishonoring reign from his heart. It is es- to religion, so opposed to the spirpecially so, if we view him in it of Christianity, and every genthe hour of disappointment, af- uine feeling of the good man's heart. With respect to out- love, which seeketh not her ward and worldly circumstan- own, but the general good ; and ces, there is scarcely a more which, as well under the heavi. complex character on scripture est pressure of afflictions, as in record, than that of David.- the brightest seasons of prosperFrom the humble situation of ity, seeks for repose, and coman obscure shepherd, it is true, fort only in the bosom of his Fahe was advanced to the power ther and his God, is expressed and dignity of a throne-but by the Psalmist in the most conwhat trials did he encounter by cise and striking point of view. the way, and indeed through the Aware of what objections would whole course of his life ? At at once arise in the worldly times he appears almost over- mind, from a superficial and diswhelmed with affliction, and his connected view of the present own account attests that tears mingled and varied state of had been his meat, day and things, and how readily the renight. Like his divine Lord, of ply would be made, what wiswhom he was an eminent type, dom or goodness is evidenced he was, notwithstanding his high by a world that is full of sin and advancement, in worldly pros- wickedness, of suffering and perity and honor, a man of sor- sorrow ? what ground of rerows,

and acquainted with joicing in that government in griefs. But what more natural which all things come alike to to the man after God's own all-the good and evil of life heart, than to rejoice in the uni- are. promiscuously distributed versal government of God, and to persons of all characters build all his happiness and his in which the little happiness we hopes upon that foundation ? enjoy, is constantly embittered He, who, with humble sincerity and spoiled by a thousand evils of heart, could join with Asaph we daily see, or feel, or fear and say,

66 Whom have I in while losses and crosses, disapheaven but thee, and there is pointments and vexations, pain, none upon earth, whom I de- sickness and death are the comsire besides thee," breathes the mon lot of all ?-aware, I say, of same self-denying spirit and all such reasonings of the carnal would readily adopt the same mind, he proceeds to describe, language with that of the proph- in a word, the general excelet Habakkuk “ Although the lency of the divine government, fig-tree shall not blossom, nei as the special and substantial ther shall fruit be in the vine, ground of his joy. And noththe labor of the olive shall fail, | ing more was necessary, in or. and the field shall yield no meat, der to remove every objection. the flocks shall be cut off from It needed only to be seen just the fold, and there shall be no as it was, for every caviling herd in the stall, yet I will remouth to be stopped, and every joice in the Lord, I will joy in benevolent heart to be filled with the God of


salvation." joy.--The Lord reigneth, the The same spirit of self-deni- Psalmist had declared, and calal—the same humble devoted-led on creatures to triumph with ness of soul to God the genu him in this joyful assurance. ine breathings of that divine / But, how doth he reign ? Are

[ocr errors]

the measures of his government | implicit confidence in the wise
dictated by an imperfect view of dom of that government, whose
things, by prejudice, passion or reason and measures we are una
caprice? Are they such as the able to comprehend-saying
frailty of human reason would “ The Lord reigneth, let the
prescribe, or the short sighted earth rejoice”-fully confiding
powers of creatures can com- in the universality of a Divine
prehend ? Shall man presume Providence that infinite wise
to enter the pavilion of his ma- dom which cannot err, orders
ker, scrutinize the propriety of and disposes all things, in the
his government, and dare to wisest and best manner; and
say, what doest thou ? Shall he though“ clouds and darkness
who is but of yesterday, and are round about Him, yet, right-
knows nothing teach infinite wis- eousness and judgment are the
dom how to rule? Shall he that habitation of his throne.
is nothing, lend assistance to These impressions and views
almighty power? And shall he of the divine government are not
that deserves nothing but destruc- calculated to lead us astray, but
tion, censure the conduct of in- to conduct us in the path of true
finite goodness, and feel him- wisdom, and enable us to make
self aggrieved ? No. Let us progress in divine knowledge.
be humble and be wise. Let us | Being the language of truth, and
be still and know that He is the dictates of indispensible
God.--"Clouds and darkness are duty, they are no less conducive
round about hiin, yet righteous to our highest interest ; and
ness and judgment are the ha- whether in prosperity, or ad-
bitation of his throne."

versity, are alike necessary for This may well check a spirit the enjoyment of any real comof restless inquietude, from fort. « Behold,” saith the invainly seeking to pry into the spired Prophet, “his soul which depths of the eternal mind, and is lifted up, is not upright in examining the purposes of God him, but the just shall live by his by the standard of human wise faith.Hab. ij. 4. From this dom, blinded as it is by the sel- it is plain, that both the experifish feelings and corrupt affec-mental knowledge, and the comtions of a depraved and wicked forts of religion, are the fruits heart. It is from this quarter only of faith; and that to judge only, that our danger arises.- aright of the ways of God, we In humility, our wisdom and must first realize our own true safety consist. Without this, characters as dependent, sinful, all our researches will be vain weak, and fallible creatures. and fruitless, and the further we This most surely is necessary, proceed, the further shall we when we consider the perfection wander from the right path, and of God's reason, and the weakthe more difficult and uncertain ness of our own. And even in will be our return. As pride is matters which are, as it were, the very essence of folly, it is just within our reach, what the fruitful parent of all evil. In would become of the world, if the present dark state, we are to the practice of all moral duties, walk by faith and not by signt, and the foundations of society, and to content ourselves withi an I rested upon having their reasana


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

made clear and demonstrative | for it is built upon the wisdom
to every individual ? We may and rectitude of an infinite, an
be satisfied that a mind, which unchangeable God.
has no restraint from a sense of This gives us full assurance
its own weakness, of its subor- of a Divine Providence, both
dinate rank in the creation, and universal and particular ; and
of the extreme danger of letting though God's ways may to us
the imagination loose upon some appear dark, mysterious and un-
subjects, which being the most accountable, yet righteousness
sublime, are for the same reason and judgment are the habitation
the least comprehensible, might of his throne. There is no con-
very plausibly attack every tingency in the system-nothing
thing, even the most excellent takes place by chance; but di-
and venerable that it would vine counsel determines and di-
not be difficult in this way, to cri- rects all events, and will finally
ticise, even the government of bring good out of evil, light out
God ; and that, if we were to of darkness, and order out of
examine the divine conduct, confusion. An infinitely wise
by our ideas of reason and fit- and powerful being, though
ness, and to use the same mer invisible in his essence, and en-
thod of attack, by which many throned in heaven, is yet con-
people assault the dearest and stantly present with all his
most important doctrines of re- works—in him we live and move
vealed religion, we might, with and have our beings. He who
as good color, and the same suc- first created, hath ever support-
cess, make the wisdom and pow- ed and governed the universe.
er of God in his providence, He first bade the wheels of na-
appear to many, no better than ture roll. He conducts the in-
folly and injustice. How im- finitely various parts of the great
portant, then is this practical machine, to an inimitable beauty
instruction of his word, to crea- and perfection.
tures so exceedingly liable to

ASAPH. err, and to forsake the real object

(To be continued.) of happiness, for a delusive and imaginary good ? How necessary is such a divine declaration, on the one hand, to point out Manual labor a branch of the duty the proper limits of our enqui- which God requires of man. ries, and, on the other, to direct our views, establish our faith, S the greater part of the and comfort our hearts ! Clouds time of a large majority and darkness are round about of mankind is usually employed him ; righteousness and judg- in labor, to obtain the necessament are the habitation of his ries and comforts of life, or to throne. This, while it holds advance their worldly interests ; forth a solemn reproof to our and as many consider it a matpride speaks peace to the hum- ter of importance, to labor with ble soul, suggests the noblest diligence, and to employ their motives of consolation, and lays time to the best advantage, for the most permanent foundation these purposes; it is thought it for support to the afflicted ;- may be proper and useful, to

« VorigeDoorgaan »