Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

1

zaroth in his Seafon, and guide Ar&turus with his Sons: For he hath appointed the Ordinances of Heaven, and set the Dominion thereof in the Earth. Job xxxviii. 12, 31, 32, 33. This present Course of Things dependeth wholly upon his Will, and shall continue while he seeth fit, and no longer ; and then, when it hath answered the Designs of his Providence, this vast Frame, or at least that part of it to which we are more nearly related, shall be taken down, For the Day of the Lord cometh, in the which the Heavens Mall pass away with a great Noise, and the Elements Mall melt with fervent Heat, the Earth also, and the Works that are therein, Mall be burnt up. And this great Catastrophe of Nature shall be succeeded by a new Face of Things, a new Heaven, and a new Earth, wherein dwelleth Righteousness. 2 Pet. iii. 10, 13. Surely when we consider all this, we should prostrate ourfelves before him, filled with the most adoring Thoughts of his incomprehensible Majesty. How should such feeble Creatures as as we are be able to resist him, or stand before him when once he is angry? Shall not we stand in Awe of his Power, and dread his Displeasure, who can wield and manage the whole Course of Nature as he pleaseth?

But secondly, God's sovereign Dominion over the whole materialWorld may also let us

fee

see what a proper Object he is of our steady Trust and Dependence. How happy shall we be if our Help be in the Name of the Lord, who at first made, and still governeth Heaven and Earth, and hath this vast universal Frame, and every Part of it, under his Direction, and at his Disposal! What can we want, or of whom should we be afraid, if the Lord of Nature be our Friend? What a comforting Consideration is it to a good Man, that the whole Series of natural Causes is in the Hand of God, directed and over-ruled by infinite Wisdom, Righteousness, and Goodness! Whosoever confidereth with Attention the State of Things, may easily observe a wise and benign Disposition in the ordering and governing the inanimate material World, for the general Good of the vital, sensitive, and rational Creation. It is made in numberless Ways subservient to the Enjoyments and Happiness even of the inferior Brute Animals, but especially of Mankind. And may we not then justly conclude, that he will upon the whole over-rule and order the Course of Things, for the Benefit of those who love and serve him in Sincerity? And if, for the present, he frequently maketh use of these Things to chasten them in this State of Trial and Discipline, yet all shall in the Iflue be so ordered, as to E 4

contribute

contribute unto, and terminate in their great Happiness.

I shall conclude this Discourse with observing, that a due Consideration of God's Dominion and Sovereignty over the inanimate Creation may convince us, that when the Course of Things in the natural World is disposed to our Comfort and Advantage, e. g. when we enjoy healthful and fruitful Seasons, and the like, it is our Duty to give God the Praise. And, on the other Hand, when Things have a contrary Afpect, we should reverence his Hand, and humble ourselves deeply before him. And it is very proper and reasonable for us, in all such Cases, to apply to him by devout Prayer and Supplication. It is the Command of God by the Prophet, Ask ye of the Lord Rain in the Time of the latter Rain, so the Lord shall make bright Clouds, and give them Showers of Rain, to every one Grass in the Field. Zech. X. I. And in the admirable Prayer which Solomon offered up at the Dedication of the Temple, particular Notice is taken of this: When Heaven is shut up, and there is no Raing because they have pinned against thee; if they pray towards this Place, and confefs thy Name, and turn from their Sin, when thou afflictest them: Then hear thou in Heaven, and forgive the Sin of thy Servants, and of thy People

Ifrael,

Ifrael, that thou teach them the good Way wherein they should walk, and give Rain upon thy Land, which thou hast given to thy People for an Inheritance. 1 Kings viii

. 35, 36. And, in the following Words, If there be in the Land Famine or Pestilence, Blasting or Mildew, they are directed to apply to God by Prayer and Repentance, that these Plagues may be removed.

There is nothing in this but what is highly agreeable to Reason, and to the Practice of all Nations, among whom any Face of Religion hath been preserved. For though in such Cases second Causes are not to be excluded, yet they are still to be regarded as under the Direction and Superintendency of the supreme Governor, who fo conducteth and over-ruleth them, as to carry on the Designs of his moral Administration towards Mankind. When therefore we are taught in Scripture to regard humble Prayer, and a sincere Repentance, as proper Means for procuring Blessings and averting Calamities; it must be acknowledged, that such a Constitution is worthy of God, and is wisely fitted to keep up a Sense of Religion, and of their absolute Dependence upon God, on the Minds of Men. And God's having a gracious Regard to such Prayer and Repentance, so as to confer those BierAngs, and avert those Evils on the account

of

of it, is perfectly agreeable to the Scheme of his wife and righteous Providence, and is a remarkable Instance of his adjusting natural Good and Evil to the Constitution of the moral World. Prayer in such Cases is a very proper Act of Homage to God, and a significant Expression of our Dependence. upon him, as well as tendeth to exercise and improve good and religious Affections and Dispositions, that pious and devout Temper of Soul which becometh reasonable Creatures, towards the great and universal Lord of the Creation; to whom be Glory and Dominion for ever and ever, Amen,

God's

« VorigeDoorgaan »